Argentina: The Crisis of an Era

After the economical slump in 2002, the South American country, once world's seven largest economy, faces the end of a ruling pattern.

Once the hope of millions, largest political parties face a terminal crisis, which has led them to a breaking point in nowadays social life. Divisions, internal disputes and corruption are the main reasons of the dark horizon for Argentine politics.

The former powerful Peronist Party, heir of the popular and worldwide known movement led by General Juan Domingo Peron, has been officially divided last weekend. The internal factions inside Peronism, once a monolithic structure with one visible head, offer to the electorate to opposite projects.

The first one, headed by current President Eduardo Duhalde, is linked to the largest national companies, quite a few to be honest. Therefore, tends to strength the internal market, making almost impossible to acquire foreign goods, due to the high value of the US Dollar and the Euro.

On the contrary, the second project headed by former President Carlos Menem is connected with the interests of the foreign investors. It means an alliance with the financial markets, IMF included, and the privatized companies.

However, both parties inside the same one, use the same rhetoric to attract voters. Menem will run for President on April elections while Duhalde promised to leave office without looking for re-election. He has chosen the Governor of Santa Cruz Province, Nestor Kirchner, to express to the electorate his proposal.

This is the core of the internal dispute that brought the final division of the Peronist party in the last Congress celebrated on Friday. There, the Assembly decided not to call for primary elections and allowed all peronist candidates to go to the generals "in the name of Peron". This is what President Duhalde wanted, as he is sure Kirchner, his patagonic fellow, cannot defeat Menem on primaries.

Many voices let hear in the Congress. PRAVDA.Ru could obtain these testimonies:

- "I hope we did not come here to see Peronism's burial", said Carlos Pierri, main collaborator of Menem who once worked for Duhalde. - "We hope that according with the circumstances we're facing, peronism will go to the general elections as united as possible", expressed Felipe Sola, Governor of the Buenos Aires Province, once Latin America's richest State. Sola wasa relevant official during Menem's administration but plays today on Duhalde's side. - "If there are primaries, our party will not collapse", said Senator Ramon Puerta, former 48 hours President of Argentina during the 2001 turmoil.

Despite good wishes, Peronism is now broken. After the Congress, many remembered, ironically, their former leader's words: "First the country, second the party and then the men".

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo: Former Argentine President Juan Doming Peron, leader of the largest country's political party, named after him.