FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Argentina at a Crossroads

A new and widespread corruption scandal implicating businessmen with former Kirchner administration officials, may have unforeseen consequences for Argentina’s future as a democracy. The recent conviction of former Vice President Amado Boudou to 5 years and 10 months in prison for crimes committed while in office may still offer some hope for the country.

Corruption is certainly not new to Argentina. It has been chiseled into Argentina’s political landscape since the beginning of the 20th century, and acquired pandemic intensity after General Juan Domingo Perón’s governments. Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, spoke of Argentina pervasive “moral illness”.

Cheating has been the unspoken public policy in school, on taxes, and when paying bills and fines. This social conduct has soiled the roots of the country’s political system, and produced its most spectacular finale with the Kirchners’ government. Néstor Kirchner was Argentina’s President from 2003 to 2007 and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner from 2007 to 2015.

No one should be surprised, however. The germs were there, spreading in the basement, rotting the structures, preparing the final collapse. How can one otherwise explain the bloodthirsty repression carried out by the military during the 1970s without considering its previous acceptance by civilian political circles? How is it possible that people were made to disappear in broad daylight by military tactical commandos without complaints except for a few human rights groups?

How it could also be explained that the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) terrorist attack that killed 85 people in Buenos Aires in 1994 could occur, without considering the possible connivance by officials from former president Carlos Menem’s government? Or how could the assassination of Alberto Nisman be explained? He was the Special Prosecutor in the AMIA case, and was killed the day before he was to testify in Congress denouncing the Kirchner administration’s corrupted agreement with Iran. In that agreement, Iran and Argentina reportedly exchanged oil for immunity for Iranians suspected to have been involved in the AMIA attack.

Those disparate events were simply the consequence of corruption at all levels of Argentina’s society. The policy of decade-long complicity between politicians and judges not only allowed these crimes to remain unpunished, but condoned bribery as a channel for resolving any investigation of a corrupted system.

In the last scandal, it became known that the driver of one of the main officials in the Kirchner government filled eight notebooks with detailed explanations of meetings, people involved, places and bags with money to corrupt government officials. The notebooks implicated not only major members of government but several wealthy businessmen.

Is there any chance for Argentina to eliminate the chronic illness of corruption in its social life? After all, it seems easier to give up any resistance than to begin a disproportionate fight against a disease that has accomplices at all levels of society. However, as happens when we are confronted with injustice, we may either give up hope or maintain our resistance, believing that we deserve a better future.

Italy fought with success a similar corrupted system with “Mani Pulite” (clean hands.) This was an Italian nationwide judicial investigation into political corruption that led to the demise of the so-called “First Republic”. Several politicians and businessmen committed suicide after their crimes were uncovered. Brazil has recently produced “Lava Jato”, a similar approach, which shows a chance to get rid of widespread corruption in that country.

It is now up to Argentine judges to use this opportunity to put a final stop to Argentina’s endemic corruption. Opportunities like this one are rare, when there is a desperate voice of the population demanding justice.

Alberto L. Zuppi, is an Argentine attorney and professor of law, author of “AMIA: An Ongoing Crime“, Red Penguin, 2018.

César Chelala is a co-winner of an Overseas Press Club f America award for “Missing or Dead in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

Alberto Zuppi is an international attorney and a former Secretary of Justice of Argentina. Cesar Chelala is an award-winning writer on human rights issues.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
Naman Habtom-Desta
Up in the Air: the Fallacy of Aerial Campaigns
Ramzy Baroud
Kushner as a Colonial Administrator: Let’s Talk About the ‘Israeli Model’
Mark Hand
Residents of Toxic W.Va. Town Keep Hope Alive
John Kendall Hawkins
Alias Anything You Please: a Lifetime of Dylan
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigots in Blue: Philadelphia Police Department is a Home For Hate
David Macaray
UAW Faces Its Moment of Truth
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Horace G. Campbell
Edward Seaga and the Institutionalization of Thuggery, Violence and Dehumanization in Jamaica
Graham Peebles
Zero Waste: The Global Plastics Crisis
Michael Schwalbe
Oppose Inequality, Not Cops
Ron Jacobs
Scott Noble’s History of Resistance
Olivia Alperstein
The Climate Crisis is Also a Health Emergency
David Rosen
Time to Break Up the 21st Century Tech Trusts
George Wuerthner
The Highest Use of Public Forests: Carbon Storage
Ralph Nader
It is Time to Rediscover Print Newspapers
Nick Licata
How SDS Imploded: an Inside Account
Rachel Smolker – Anne Peterman
The GE American Chestnut: Restoration of a Beloved Species or Trojan Horse for Tree Biotechnology?
Sam Pizzigati
Can Society Survive Without Empathy?
Manuel E. Yepe
China and Russia in Strategic Alliance
Patrick Walker
Green New Deal “Climate Kids” Should Hijack the Impeachment Conversation
Colin Todhunter
Encouraging Illegal Planting of Bt Brinjal in India
Robert Koehler
The Armed Bureaucracy
David Swanson
Anyone Who’d Rather Not be Shot Should Read this Book
Jonathan Power
To St. Petersburg With Love
Marc Levy
How to Tell a Joke in Combat
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail