Attempting to present recent Argentinian politics objectively, this third interview in the series is from a government supporter. During my time in Argentina I didn’t meet many but I had the pleasure to sit down with one and ask similar questions that I had asked Julian and Diego.
Natalia is a young mother and successful businesswoman with a background in law. The interview was conducted on 23-Nov.
We began by talking about the rumors that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner intends to reform the constitution to enable her to run for a third consecutive term in office, rumors that frighten many in Argentina and make people think of another Latin American President – Hugo Chavez. Natalia firstly wanted to clarify that there is no actual proof that the President personally wants to reform the constitution and that the rumors have originated from her political allies. Her allies feel that there is no one who could replace her to run in the next presidential election. The rumors have been fueled by the mainstream media who have exaggerated them by stating that the President wants to stay forever. Natalia doesn’t even think that the President wants any form of reform.
Corruption, crime and inflation, according to Natalia, do not belong to the current government but to Argentinian history. Crime has not increased in recent years and it is only now an issue because of the dramatic reporting of it in the media to cause fear and insecurity. Natalia does confess that the government is guilty of manipulating data related to the economy and inflation but only in an attempt to avoid a panic such as the panic the country suffered in 2001. In 2001 banking interests manipulated data and economic forecasts to cause a panic to bring about the fall of the government.
When asked if she had confidence in the economy, Natalia described it as the best in the country’s history. Since 2003, 9 million Argentines have risen above the poverty line – an international statistic. Argentina has the lowest level of inequality in Latin America. The Néstor/ Cristina Kirchner governments were the first in Argentine history to consider everyone and not only the wealthy.
I moved along to asking about the estimated 700,000 strong 8-Nov demonstration in Buenos Aires. Natalia told me that it was as big as it was because it attracted many different types of people. There were anti-government people as well as people against the system itself. A few were upper-class upset about the US Dollar restrictions and not being able to go on vacation to the US. Most of the people were there just to be a part of something big – the neutral spectators.
Two things most people can agree upon are what the current government has done in terms of human rights and helping the poor, although they don’t agree on motives.
During the 1970’s military dictatorships committed numerous atrocities. One of the worst they committed was to take children away from their families and give them to the wealthy or friends of the State. Natalia told me of teenage school friends who had discovered they were some of these children. When President Néstor Kirchner began prosecutions against members of these dictatorships, the first president to do so, Natalia, along with the nation were very appreciative. President Néstor also introduced State pension schemes which rewarded hardworking housewives who had never been entitled to one before.
My final question was why one popular protest slogan was “We are not afraid!”. Natalia explained that it referred to when President Cristina spoke at Harvard University in September 2012. During her address she declared that the only people who should fear her were members of her political party who opposed her programs. The next day the mainstream media, Clarin in particular, printed that she had warned the people that they should fear her. And here lies the problem, Natalia stresses, the people of Argentina do not read a story from more than one source and are too quick to accept the mainstream media’s version of events.