Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Argentina and Honduras

Hat tip to Boz about the latest truly offensive O'Grady column, where she is one very small step from saying a military coup would not be such a bad thing in Argentina given its current institutional conflict, using the Honduran case as an analogy.


Randy Paul 2:14 PM  

If that were to happen, perhaps we can arrange for Ms. O'Grady to stay at ESMA.

She puts the ass in bombastic.

Anonymous,  7:50 PM  

Unlike Zelaya Kirchner is respecting judicial rulings against her. So it seems she won't create the same disaster Zelaya did.

Anonymous,  10:13 PM  

The author's failure is to conflate bad populist policy that has plagued Argentina since the 1940s and possibly unconstitutional actions, I think, Greg, you are off the mark in saying it is one short step from a coup.

The essential problem may very well be unbridled executive power. If the central bank president can be compelled by the president to deliver the money, or simply be fired, without congressional consent, there is no bank independence and almost certainly something other than the rule of law.

Argentina has no stomach for a coup. The military is a discredited shadow of its former self. However, if congress or the judiciary does decide to limit the president's actions, it may just be consolidating democratic practice by supporting separation of powers.

Greg Weeks 6:41 AM  

I would hope that it's clear that I don't think it is one short step from a coup. And that no rational person should think so either.

Anonymous,  8:19 AM  

Of course I wrote carelessly. I think you have been unfair in saying she believes it is one short step from a coup. Apologies.

My point is that while I don't like the piece as it conflates what may be bad policy with what may be unconstitutional actions, I don't think her analysis of Fernandez suggests a coup is imminent or desirable.

Many Argentines would agree in their assessment of the president given her controversial executive actions over the past 2 years. Some have been huge such as her desire for conflict with farmers, congress and media. Others silly and theatrical. A few weeks ago she charged Arturo Valenzuela, the US rep to the region, with outrageous foreign interference for having the audacity to say the Argentina has institutional instability and that this remains a problem for foreign investors. Any man on the street would have agreed but she shamelessly pilloried him in the media. People are tired of the populist "bogeyman" approach and want a president who will accept political responsibility.

Conflict with the opposition in congress will test separation of powers and Boz's analysis is spot-on. O'Grady's thinking is sadly wishful, the victory of the Radical opposition, it is just not quite as extreme as Greg's depiction.

Nicolás Tereschuk (Escriba) 9:31 AM  

Ms O'Grady has a long record of critics to Argentina's government, whose policies clash with neoliberal common sense.

Charles Crawford 1:55 PM  

Having read this article and being unfamiliar with the scene in Argentina, I am unable to see what you think is so truly or even untruly offensive about it.

It appears to present a reasonable case for the President attempting a number of manoeuvres of dubious legality or wisdom, and others fighting back. The Honduras precedent is mentioned to point up what might happen if a President violates the law. Scarcely a ringing endorsement of such an outcome?

As in Honduras, views may differ on what a violation of the law by a leader is or isn't, but the fact that the row is continuing in the courts is presumably Good?

I enjoy from afar your views on Honduras which come over as reasonable!

leftside 2:02 AM  

O'Grady said that the court that just ruled against President Kirchner was "widely viewed as under her control." The conventional wisdom about Argentina is often wrong. Now that Kirchner has bowed to the courts will she run an apology for her description of an impending "Constitutional Crisis?"

Anonymous,  7:04 AM  

Ah...there are two years left in her term. There is a political struggle going on between ideologies, social groups and branches of govt. I hardly suspect that any fair-minded observer would conclude that anything Fernandez does would be anything other than a feint. The root issues are excessive executive power and the citizen's confidence that Argentine political leaders take responsibility for the country's fate rather than blaming everyone else.

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