The white supremacists chanting “blood and soil” as they marched through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, last year were probably unaware that the leading Nazi ideologue who used the original slogan of Blut und Boden to promote the creation of a German master race was not himself a native German. Richard Walther Darré, who proclaimed the existence of a mystic bond between the German homeland and “racially pure” Germans, was actually born “Ricardo” on the other side of the Atlantic, in Argentina’s prosperous capital, Buenos Aires.
Sent by his German immigrant family to the Heimat for schooling at the age of nine, Darré later specialized in agriculture, the logical choice for someone with an Argentine background at a time when the succulent beef and abundant wheat of Argentina’s pampas made the country renowned as the “breadbasket of the world.”… Seguir leyendo »
Argentina volvió a cambiar de dirección política en un zigzag centenario que va de izquierda a derecha y viceversa. Aunque este ritual obsesivo es traumático, lo más sorprendente es que el lenguaje casi nunca cambia: los poderes son corruptos, sácalos del gobierno.
Esto es válido para todo el espectro político. Cuando un titular es acusado de corrupción, lo sacan los votantes o un golpe de Estado. A menudo son citados en los tribunales pero los procesos judiciales no llegan a ninguna parte en manos de investigadores políticamente cautelosos o los jueces. Con el tiempo, los reformadores también son acusados de corrupción y el ciclo se repite.… Seguir leyendo »
Argentina is changing political direction again, in a century-old zigzag from left to right and back. Traumatic though this obsessive ritual is, what is most amazing is that the language almost never changes: The powers that be are corrupt. Throw them out.
This holds true across the political spectrum. Charged with corruption, an incumbent is ousted by voters or a coup. An appearance in court often follows, but the investigation goes nowhere at the hands of politically wary investigators or judges. Eventually, the reformers are themselves tarred with corruption charges, and the cycle repeats itself.
The current turnabout features the populist Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was president from 2007 to last year, and her husband, Néstor, who preceded her from 2003 to 2007 and died in 2010.… Seguir leyendo »
El día que el presidente Obama aterrice en Buenos Aires será la víspera de una de las fechas más traumáticas de nuestra historia. El 24 de marzo, Argentina conmemora el 40 aniversario del golpe de Estado que “desapareció” a miles de personas y causó un trauma profundo en la psique de la nación.
Hubo otras atrocidades, incluso peores, en América Latina en aquellos tiempos, como las que sucedieron durante las guerras civiles en Colombia o Guatemala. Los asesinatos en Argentina quizá fueron menos numerosos, pero se trató de una matanza masiva y premeditada.
La dictadura militar argentina organizó su genocidio en campos de exterminio, con métodos que recordaban los utilizados por los nazis (de hecho, muchos nazis encontraron asilo en Argentina después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial y seguían viviendo ahí en esa época).… Seguir leyendo »
When President Obama lands in Buenos Aires this week, he will be arriving on the eve of one of the most traumatic dates in our history. On March 24, Argentina commemorates the 40th anniversary of a military coup that “disappeared” thousands of people, a deep trauma in Argentina’s national psyche.
There were other, greater atrocities in South America in that era, like the ones that occurred during virtual civil wars in Colombia or Guatemala. The killings in Argentina may have been lesser in number, but this was premeditated mass murder.
Argentina’s military dictatorship organized its killings in death camps, with methods reminiscent of the Nazis’ (and many Nazis had, in fact, found asylum in Argentina after World War II and still lived there then).… Seguir leyendo »
“Because here nobody is better than anybody else.” The phrase, one of this small South American country’s most cherished sayings, dates back to the 19th century and is often repeated by its thinkers, presidents and everyday citizens. As a simple expression of the democratic spirit, it sums up how Uruguayans feel about their homeland.
With only 3.3 million inhabitants, Uruguay is the smallest nation by population in Latin America. Its giant neighbor Brazil, by contrast, has a population of more than 200 million. But what it lacks in numbers, Uruguay makes up for by ranking as the least corrupt and most democratic country in Latin America — as well as only one of two, along with Chile, rated as a “high income” country by the United Nations.… Seguir leyendo »
South America is a vast continent of light, yet it has a dark soul. Nestled in its political class, like a snake from the rain forest, corruption poisons the core of government.
Badly needed resources are siphoned from public purposes to run the machinery of political parties. Pervasive and systemic, corruption is sanctioned by a culture of impunity from the top.
Until recently, this shield from prying eyes has been particularly strong in the economic powerhouses of Brazil and Argentina — though that may be changing. Lately, especially in Brazil, high public officials accused of corruption have been paraded almost daily through the media and the courts.… Seguir leyendo »
The last time Argentina was scheduled to hold a presidential runoff election was 12 years ago. That occasion was very unusual in that the winning candidate, intimidated by the thin margin of his victory, decided to quit the field. Rather than risk losing in the second round of voting, he chose to step down, leaving the presidency to the candidate who had been the runner-up in the first round.
Perhaps unsurprisingly in a country whose history can appear maddeningly cyclical, Argentina finds itself at the same crossroads once again. The winning candidate, the Peronist governor of Buenos Aires Province, Daniel Scioli, appeared glum-faced and depressed on election night, Oct.… Seguir leyendo »
“I wish to join my voice to yours in calling for land, lodging and labor for all our brothers and sisters. I said it and I repeat it: These are sacred rights. It is important, it is well worth fighting for them.” The combative-sounding message of Pope Francis last month on his South American tour resonated deeply in a region where poverty continues to be the most pressing concern.
In Ecuador, an estimated one million people turned out to greet the Argentine pontiff. In Bolivia, where these words were spoken, Francis held an open-air Mass for hundreds of thousands beneath a giant sculpture of Christ the Redeemer.… Seguir leyendo »
It started with a single tweet. “They’re killing us.” A cry of deep despair from a female journalist that needed no explanation for women in Argentina: Within weeks, hundreds of thousands marched in cities across the nation with a single purpose — to demand an end to the killing.
In recent years, there has been a relentless and harrowing succession of news accounts of women in Argentina killed with shocking violence, each new case crowding out the previous. Women set on fire by their male partners. Women killed and their bodies stuffed into garbage bags.
“I sent off that tweet in a fit of rage,” said Marcela Ojeda, a radio reporter whose nerves are raw from years of covering the fatal effects of Argentina’s seemingly unbridled male machismo.… Seguir leyendo »
When President Adolfo Rodríguez Saá told Congress on Dec. 23, 2001 that “the Argentine state will suspend the payment of its foreign debt,” legislators jumped to their feet with joy. Their cheering quickly morphed into a chant of “Ar-gen-ti-na! Ar-gen-ti-na!”
Today, it is Greece, led by a recently elected populist left-wing party, Syriza, that is contemplating a similarly drastic unilateral declaration of independence from foreign creditors and international financial institutions. Economists like Nouriel Roubini, a professor at New York University, have long argued that “Greece should default and abandon the euro,” using “Argentine-style measures” to prevent “a disorderly fallout.” Far from the sky falling in, they say, Argentina’s economy soon roared back to prosperity; Greece should follow suit.… Seguir leyendo »
Los “suicidios” políticos son tan comunes en Argentina que se les ha inventado una palabra especial.
Pregúnteles a varias personas en Buenos Aires y quizá no estén de acuerdo si el fiscal militante Alberto Nisman fue asesinado o si se quitó la vida. Pero la mayoría estará de acuerdo en que Nisman “fue suicidado”, la víctima más reciente de una centrifugadora oscura que con siniestra regularidad escupe cadáveres en esta dividida nación.
El registro histórico no es de buen augurio para esclarecer el caso de Nisman. Juan Duarte, el hermano mayor de la santa política de Argentina, Eva Perón, “se suicidó” en 1953, nueve meses después de que la prematura muerte de su hermana, a causa del cáncer a los 33 años de edad, lanzara al país en un paroxismo de dolor.… Seguir leyendo »
Political “suicides” are so common in Argentina that a special word has been invented for them.
Ask different people in Buenos Aires today and they may disagree whether the crusading prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered or took his own life. But most everyone will concur that Mr. Nisman was “suicided,” the latest victim of a dark-power centrifuge that with sinister regularity spews out dead bodies in this divided nation.
The historical record does not bode well for clarity in the Nisman case. Juan Duarte, older brother of Argentina’s political saint, Eva Perón, committed “suicide” in 1953, nine months after his sister had thrown the nation into a paroxysm of grief over her own early death, at age 33, from cancer.… Seguir leyendo »