When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

CLARIN

Argentina Measures The Political Price Of Financial Crisis

A worsening economy in Argentina may cause political shifts before the 2019 presidential elections.

Protesters in the midst of a strike against Mauricio Macri's government in Buenos Aires
Protesters in the midst of a strike against Mauricio Macri's government in Buenos Aires
Rosendo Fraga

-Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES —Economic, social or political affairs never exist in a vacuum. The ways each affects the other winds up creating, deepening or appeasing any given crisis.

Argentina's shaky economic conditions will likely have an impact on general elections scheduled for October 2019. And in the meantime, while the economy is expected to bounce back before then, there is no assurance that ordinary people will feel its benefits and decide to vote for the sitting government of President Mauricio Macri. Indeed, public sentiment may worsen between now and then.

The economy can decisively affect and even hasten social developments. The effects of price devaluation can hit within weeks, while job creation may take months to affect the public mood. A year ahead of elections, the economy is causing poverty, unemployment, and the income gap to worsen. Social conflict works, in turn, through a "spring mechanism" with accumulated tensions and a trigger, which is always difficult to identify. In Argentina, social tensions started rising in April when market volatility began about six months ago.

argentina_protests_government_macri

Argentinian trade unions take to the streets — Photo: Patricio Murphy/Zuma

Trade unions and social movements have meanwhile organized several important protests, which, for the moment, have contained and channeled these tensions, avoiding an eruption.

By late September, these movements converged in national-scale protests. In recent weeks, social organizations led gatherings outside different government headquarters and backed hardline trade-union sectors in strikes and other actions on September 24. They were also participants in the general strike of September 25.

Just being in power can assure you as much as a third of all votes.

This is President Macri's fourth general strike, and the second in three months. The question is, if — or when — social protests will spill over. In the 72 hours between August 31 and September 3, for example, there were 21 reported lootings or attempted lootings in seven provinces, leading to 160 arrests. One teenager was killed in Sáenz Peña in northern Argentina. These are alarms on social protests coming out of the "structures."

Politics has its own calendar. One may assume that Cambiemos, the presidential party, will be a competitive option in next year's election. Just being in power can ensure as much as a third of all votes, even in adverse conditions. That could take the party to a second round. The last president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, will probably be running in spite of the half-dozen court cases she faces, perhaps heading a "personal" coalition, as she did in 2017. A third space may belong to anti-Kirchner: Peronism, the social-democratic movement from which Mrs. Kirchner emerged. It is already calling itself "federal" (though others qualify it as "rational") and presently leaderless and without a candidate. But it seems a valid alternative, with the economy working against Cambiemos and corruption tainting the Kirchner crowd.

A second round between Cambiemos and Kirchner's movement would favor the government, as anti-Kirchner Peronism could split between the two. But the government should be wary of a second round between itself and non-Kirchner Peronists. Kirchner herself could neutralize the benefits of an economic improvement for the government.

Yes indeed, the old dictum holds about the decisive connection between economic, social and political forces. We just have to wait until 2019 to see how it all plays out.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ