Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Macri effect

One week ago Argentina elected a new president, the first certifiably peronist free in decades. As expected there will be changes in Argentina foreign policy. What was less expected is the speed at which president elect Macri started those changes, more than two weeks before being sworn in. To begin with, of the few people allowed on the election night stand, one was Leopoldo Lopez wife, Lilian Tintori. This made it to the opening news of CNNSpanish...

So what now?


The first thing to note is that Macri means what he said. He repeated it twice on his morning after first press conference.  Other countries are taking notice and are not amused, like Uruguay. To which Macri replied stating point blank that human right violations were public and notorious in Venezuela and it was up to other countries to chose interest over ethics. In Venezuela they took a few days to acknowledge the hit, hoping, I suppose, that Dilma or somebody would call Macri to ask him to shut up. When nothing more but very gauche declarations like the one from Uruguay came, the regime finally reacted. National Assembly chair Diosdado Cabello called Macri a fascist (it takes one to know one, I suppose).  And president Maduro, not to be left behind, went as far as saying that the Argentinian people were ready to raise against Macri (interesting statement since he just got elected, is not sworn in yet,but then again Maduro was never suspected of being a democrat).

And yet, for of his apparent democratic ethics Macri thinks more about Argentina interests than those of Venezuela. He knows that a battle in Mercosur to evict Venezuela is lost because Brazil and Uruguay are too involved with Venezuela corruption and Venezuela owes them too much money. Macri's target is not only the increasingly abhorrent regime of Venezuela, it is Mercosur itself.

Mercosur is failing since Lula reached power. It has become for Brazil something like its private economic zone and as such things like true economic integration and political developments have been sub-ordained to Brazil's interests. The devastating Argentina crisis 13 years ago, and the very light weight of Uruguay and Paraguay made that possible. In other words, with the fraudulent incorporation of Venezuela Mercosur is going nowhere, and Macri seems to have no patience with that. In fact, Macri is looking towards relations with the Pacific Alliance which would favor Argentina more as its economy is more complementary to the P.A. needs than Brazil's one. If Mercosur fails to tame Venezuela it will be a perfect excuse for Macri to start taking its distances with it.

There is also more than Mercosur in the target, there is also the useless UNASUR, a presidential left self protection club for South America. Note that the the swearing in of Macri is on December 10, just when an eventual election fraud crisis in Venezuela would be at its apex. Apparently Macri has chosen his new foreign minister for her experience even though he did not know here personally. He gave her an agenda where two points were nonnegotiable: his pressure on Venezuela and the end of Argentina's relations with Iran. Clearly UNASUR received a notification that any unjustified support to Venezuela will not be approved by Macri and such a division could well mean also the end of the useless UNASUR.


7 comments:

  1. Boludo Tejano8:55 PM

    Other countries are taking notice and are not amused, like Uruguay.

    Which reminds me of a post of yours: No “Patria Grande” for Latin America: the Uruguayan example.

    If Macri is taking the view that moving towards the Pacific countries is more beneficial and more feasible for Argentina than trying to boot Venezuela out of Mercosur, he sounds like a realistic politician. Recall that Paraguay got booted out of Meccosur after the impeachment of its President, which means that Paraguay doesn't harbor warm feelings towards Mercosur and could thus be an ally of Argentina in Mercosur. But given its geographical position, with the electrical power complexes shared with Brazil, Paraguay will always be more tied to Brazil's economy than Argentina is. And given its size, Brazil is always going to run Mercosur.

    Regarding Macri's moves against Venezuela, I had wondered it he would eventually modulate his views in light of export revenues to Venezuela. If Venezuela owes Argentina a lot of money in back payments, Argentina can forget about ever getting paid if Macri keeps it up. Judging by Macri's behavior, either Venezuela is fairly current in its bills to Argentina, or Macri is willing to sacrifice dollars [palos verdes] for principles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The thing is that Argentina borrowed a lot from Venezuela. So it is not quite clear which way the balance swings.

      Delete
    2. Boludo Tejano, I think the only way Argentina ever gets paid for the Venezuela debt (or most anyone else outside of Venezuela gets paid for that matter), is if the Chavistas lose power and an economically sane regime replaces it.

      Therefore, there is no economic downside to Macri's stance on Venezuela. Nor do I see it is a stance against Venezuela so much as a stance against the Chavistas, corruption and crime.

      Allowing Lilian Tintori on the stage makes it clear that Macri is anti-Chavista and not anti-Venezuela.

      Delete
    3. Boludo Tejano2:03 PM

      Point Taken, Daniel. From 2008:Argentina’s Recent Debt Payment.

      In addition to dipping into the nation’s coffers, another huge financier is Venezuela, who to date has purchased over US$7.5 billion in Argentine junk bonds.

      The issue of why is a little more confusing. To pay back these old loans, Cristina has essentially had to take out new ones. The most recent “bond” purchased by Venezuela is valued at US$1.4 billion with an interest rate of 14.87%


      It may be that thumbing Argentina's nose at Chavismo will be in Argentina's financial interest. Who knows?

      Delete
  2. Interesting views, the Macri effect should be.. in Trump's words, HUGE

    "And yet, for of his apparent democratic ethics Macri thinks more about Argentina interests than those of Venezuela. He knows that a battle in Mercosur to evict Venezuela is lost because Brazil and Uruguay are too involved with Venezuela corruption and Venezuela owes them too much money. Macri's target is not only the increasingly abhorrent regime of Venezuela, it is Mercosur itself."

    Macri is a business-man and Argentina is much better educated and professional than Venezuela. Mercosur, compared to the Trans-Pacific recent deal is almost a joke. This article from Andres Op. is particularly revealing. If Macri is smart, he should be studying this carefully with his team of Economic advisors:

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/andres-oppenheimer/article20049081.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looking at the at Map of South America, Argentina should lean toward the Pacific Ocean. Trans-Pacific agreements. That's where it's at in the next decades. Mercosur or Unasur? Child's play. Peanuts. Play the game a bit more, I guess, but look at the Size of each trade deal, look to the Pacific Ocean, Chile, Singapore. Cape Horn is right around the corner, or truck-loads, intermodal, Rail through Chile. That's where it's at.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous10:40 PM

    Good to see one of the monkeys taking hands out of ears

    ReplyDelete

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