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Inicio arrow Análisis arrow Argentina arrow Argentine Political Outlook (Set-19-19)

Argentine Political Outlook (Set-19-19) PDF Imprimir E-Mail
Set-19-19, by Rosendo Fraga

1. Street control is a relevant issue 40 days before the first round and the left has managed to take the lead in it. The Frente de Todos has a relative control of the combative unions aligned in the three sectors of the CTA (teacher union, state workers union, etc.) and of the "moderate" social movements (CCC, CTEP and a sector of Barrios de Pie). They march, they claim, but they got the message from Alberto Fernández to avoid violence and provocation, although the request to leave the streets was not followed in fact. But it is the left that has the initiative and challenges the winner of the open primaries. The Fit-U, of Trotskyist ideology, whose candidate (Del Caño) will participate in the presidential debates and compete in the first round, is the political expression of the most combative unions (pneumatics, internal commissions of several important unions, etc.) and the "hard" social movements (Polo Obrero, FOL, Frente Darío Santillán, another sector of Libres del Sur, etc.) plus the political parties of this orientation (PO, PTS, etc.) complete the expression of this political current, which in the open primaries had only 3.5% of the votes and controls 10% of the "solidarity wages" that the government gives to these movements (20,000). But when politics takes the streets, active minorities get stronger. The left held the 48-hour camp at the gates of the Ministry of Social Welfare and will now decide if they hold a 72-hour camp in the same place during the week. On October 24 - before the electoral ban - they will launch a march towards Plaza de Mayo, "against the President, the governors and the IMF", which will take place in 21 provinces simultaneously, courts, marches and demonstrations. 

2. While this is happening on the streets, Alberto Fernández moves forward with his "social pact" bill, seeking to project an idea of possible governance in this framework. In Tucumán he presented it together with the President of the UIA (Acevedo) and the Secretary General of the CGT (Daer). A price and salary agreement was then proposed for six months at the start of the new government. In addition, the Catholic Church held a meeting last weekend between the Social Pastoral of the Episcopate and politicians of the ruling party and the opposition, union leaders and businessmen and social movements and organizations. The Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Poli) - close to the Pope - proposed the "dialogue between all" and the need for a "social pact", coinciding with the terminology used by the candidate of the Frente de Todos. But the idea is still vague. So much so, that in the same meeting, Felipe Solá said that this pact would be for only one or two months and limited to a price freeze, in exchange for tax breaks. Alberto Fernández' entourage has it that he aspires to reach 55% of the votes, in order to have sufficient political strength to impose this pact. But this intention implies that he wants to exceed the record of 54% reached by Cristina Kirchner in his re-election of 2011 who has had to prolong her stay in Cuba because of her daughter's health condition. 

3. For its part, the ruling party decided to support in Congress the food assistance bill, to avoid the political cost of opposing and not achieving it. It was approved in the Lower House by 222 votes in favor and only one abstention. On Wednesday, September 18, it is expected have a final approval at the Senate. It proposes reinforcing with 10 billion pesos what is destined to school canteens, popular kitchens, social movements and religious organizations. But this will not end with the presence of the left in the street and the inflation forecast for September that can reach 6%, and will not contribute to lower social tension. During the week, the Minister of Economy (Lacunza) is expected to present in Congress the draft budget for 2020, which the opposition considers it has no basis in reality on issues such as growth, inflation and debt financing. The government already assumes that the outstanding IMF disbursement would not come before the election and consequently seeks alternative financing, which is hard to find. In this context, economic uncertainty is likely to increase and not decrease in the 40 days remaining until the election. This makes government plans reduce the Frente de Todos' advantage even more difficult. Macri travels to the UN assembly that is held annually in New York and will seek contacts with heads of government, who show a supporting image at this time. 

4. In this context, the Judiciary shows clear signs of turning in favor of the next Administration, as has happened in Argentina in the last forty years. Two cases affecting the Macri group have accelerated: the mail and the toll extension (Dietrich and Iguacel are charged). The president's brother (Gianfranco) is involved in four cases. The ten against the previous Minister of Finance (Dujovne) have begun to advance and the same is happening with those that affect his predecessor (Caputo). Complaints have also been filed against the President of the Central Bank (Sandleris) and alleged irregularities in the agreement with the IMF are investigated in the federal justice. On the other hand, a businessman very close to Kirchnerism (Cristóbal López) would be released in the next few days. The two cases that affect the Kirchner family (the mother and the two children) that are Hotesur and Los Sauces, today do not have precise dates to continue. At the same time, in the Court there are 19 pending cases against the national state, as the province of San Juan issued a claim for National Road Administration funds. 

5. To conclude: 

a) Although Alberto Fernandez has a relative control of combative unions and moderate social movements, the left confronts him on the streets just like with Macri. 

b) The idea of the Social Pact was backed by the Church, which called a meeting with political and social leaders and the Social Pastoral. 

c) The Government voted for food assistance to avoid the political cost and admits that the IMF outlay may not materialize, causing financial tensions in the run-up to the election. 

d) The Judiciary gives clear signs of moving away from the current ruling party and moderate attitudes towards the opposition, which is expected to win, as has usually happened in Argentina in the past forty years.

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