Don’t Cry for Argentina
Report from Buenos Aires: What a difference a new leader can make when a slender majority of a nation’s people decide they’ve had enough and select change.
That is what happened in the Republic last November, when Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri won as Argentina’s president. A conservative, macri, is the first nonradical democratically-elected or non-Peronista president since 1916.
Argentina is a nation making a comeback. Retrieval and that remarkable resurgence provides lessons for voters in this election year.
The Argentine Republic is the state in Latin America, and it occupies the majority of the continent’s area. It is a Spanish colony. It celebrated 200 years of independence.
It owes the first settler, Pedro de Mendoza, who, in 1536, christened it Puerto Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Aire that name.
But a barbarous and political smog enveloped the nation for much of the century and Argentina’s capital. Argentina was a debt-free nation thriving following World War I with exports. It was an economic mess.
Years of corruption military dictatorships, debt and fascism destroyed its economy and the country. People lost liberty, animal trapping and removal service, and controls on capital costs, and repression of the media and every part of life ruined lives. Murdered opponents and dictatorial leaders, nationalized the resistance was, jailed by pensions, confiscated assets and caused currency crises. The authorities defaulted on billions.
This was this mess that faced President Macri when he took office.
With the help of politicians at the congress, in record time, Macri has headed a turnaround that’s producing results that were stunning, with an hurry. He eliminated currency controls in place using a devaluation of the peso. Macri abolished quotas and brought trade back eliminating taxes on exports of fish, beef and grain.
However, with a portentous frame of mind in its center, Buenos Aires has its own world, like any city. This is His Holiness, but also the hometown not of Juan and Evita Peron.
It’s a city of broad boulevards, green parks, monuments and dining that is decent. In Ricoleta, where I remained, or at San Telmo’s antique stores and street fairs or in the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada, anyplace you will see an odd charm, culture and a charm unlike any other important city.
And also a place where individuals, after a time of darkness, are adapting to a freedom that is renewed