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What the Argentines Protest ^ | November 18, 2012 | Paul Jacob

Posted on 11/18/2012 6:11:21 AM PST by Kaslin

I arrived in Buenos Aires a few days ago, and didn’t stay long. It wasn’t an official event, not even a Fact Finding Expedition. My main business was in Montevideo, Uruguay, where I attended the 2012 Global Forum on Direct Democracy. Citizens in Charge, an organization I spearhead, had sponsored the previous Global Forum, held in San Francisco, and my interest in citizen participation in government has not decreased over time. And yet, this little “vacation” was more than relevant. For interesting things are happening in Argentina.

Things pertaining to citizen-powered government.

It’s neither a major referendum nor a citizen-initiated measure, the chief topics this week in Montevideo. But it’s something like recall, the ousting of a sitting politician. Specifically, it’s the public, widespread protest against motions and rumors that Argentina’s current president is trying to squirm out from under executive term limits.

The president in the news is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. She had entered office as the wife of the previous president, Néstor Kirchner. The couple had a plan: to take alternate runs for the position, thereby weaseling around the country’s term limit of two consecutive terms. This way, they could rule for an indefinite period.

But there is something more certain than term limits and constitutions. Death — which took Néstor in 2010. So now Cristina is sending up smoke signals to the effect that she would like to change the constitution in order to run again.

Shades of Peronista dynastic rule . . . and tyranny.

When Mrs. Kirchner won her election, five years ago, I had some advice: “Don’t cheer for Cristina, Argentina.” Thankfully, the Argentines aren’t cheering. In Beunos Aires, “Throngs of people banged pots and pans Thursday, as they protested government policies in Argentina,” relates a CNN report:

The massive march was the latest in a series of “cacerolazos,” protests named for the cooking pots participants hit to draw attention to problems they say are growing in the South American nation, including crime rates, inflation and political corruption.
Many demonstrators said a key issue drove them to the streets: the possibility that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner could push through changes to the country's constitution and run for re-election.

Term limits. The people want them, and if the signs at the protest rallies are any indication, Argentines are against “Corrupcion,” oppose Kirchner’s “Reelección,” and are for “Libertad.”

Expatriate Argentines are holding similar clamorous protests around the world. The first to bang at the pans and pots were folks in a Miami, Florida, neighborhood known as Little Buenos Aires. Marchers there expressed sympathy with friends and relatives in the Southern Hemisphere: “We are not afraid” and “We don’t want a communist Argentina.”

The full story of the protests, which have been going on since June, echo some of the issues and criticisms that were pushed for and charged against both Tea Party and Occupier protests in past years back in U.S.A. There’s talk of secret partisanship, even “astro-turf.”

But fear of dynastic rule needn’t be confined to any party. And it certainly doesn’t require any elaborate organization — just the organization that people spontaneously engage in when their interests meet.

It’s sunny here in Buenos Aires, and I haven’t stumbled onto any marches. But, if a traveler can glean a sense of a people during a short stay, what I hear seems to be what’s reported in the newspapers: A solid cohort of Argentina’s population demands the rule of law, not the rule of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs

1 posted on 11/18/2012 6:11:25 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Was just in Argentina, talking with a young sax player getting ready for a gig. When somehow the conversation turned to politics, he launched into a stream of cursing about the president. I was amused and pleased to hear it. One can only hope that clarity would come to America...

2 posted on 11/18/2012 6:37:42 AM PST by RKM
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To: Kaslin
Just wait until we begin to hear how Michelle sat in on all of the key meetings, and she is just so darned qualified to succeed Barack as POTUS.

3 posted on 11/18/2012 6:47:31 AM PST by Travis McGee (
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To: Travis McGee

That’s no joke. I’m pretty sure she’s going to be the Dems’ candidate in 2016.

4 posted on 11/18/2012 6:51:29 AM PST by livius
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To: livius
Doesn't she have to be elected senator in a state she has never lived in and then be appointed a cabinet secretary before she is qualifed to be president? < /sarc>
5 posted on 11/18/2012 7:01:13 AM PST by KarlInOhio (Big Bird is a brood parasite: laid in our nest 43 years ago and we are still feeding him.)
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To: KarlInOhio

Actually, that career path’s exhausted. The person who followed it probably won’t even be back in the country by 2016.

6 posted on 11/18/2012 7:33:13 AM PST by livius
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To: Kaslin

I read several days ago that Argentina had just become one of the very few nations to reduce the voting age to 16 - probably as a means of trying to preserve the current administration.

7 posted on 11/18/2012 8:54:48 AM PST by The Duke
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