Argentina:  A Stunning Defeat for Macri, Trump and the IMF

By Atilio Boron on August 14, 2019

As soon as the results of Argentina’s primary elections were released on August 11, I posted a Tweet saying the two big losers were current President Mauricio Macri and Donald Trump. As a matter of fact, Trump gave his overwhelming support to the Argentinean Government. He stated it openly and on several important opportunities. He went even further and ordered his lieutenants at the International Monetary Fund (remember that according to President Carter’s former security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the IMF and the World Bank are “extensions of the Department of the Treasury”) to back the Macri Administration and his reelection by approving a financial aid package of about $ 57 billion for Argentina.

This was the largest payment made by the IMF in its history and it aimed at avoiding a default in Argentina’s economy. The daily implementation of that assistance was supervised by IMF Director (and, actually, Argentina’s real economy Minister and “co-president”) Mrs. Christine Lagarde. She was in charge of authorizing the Central Bank to sell dollars to stabilize its value in the wild local market, so as to control soaring prices in a country marked by a constant high inflation rate. In practice that huge amount achieved nothing but to fund the capital flight from which the regime’s friends and allies benefitted, united in the Macrista project of looting the country’s wealth. According to official Central Bank data released by economist Ismael Bermudez, the outflow of assets was about $70.2 billion between 2016 and the first quarter of 2019.

It is unnecessary to comment about the depressing consequences of this large scale financial outflow, to fight it as John M. Keynes proposed in the 1930 was like practicing “euthanasia”, to the renter living and speculators since they are mortal enemies of growth in the real economy. The Cambridge economist would have been amazed by the scope of these woes in Argentina. Such support and imperial munificence resulted in an Argentinean Government becoming a faint-hearted servant of the White House, willing to obey the slightest insinuations of its short-tempered holder.

Macri overplayed his obedience to Trump as he had openly expressed his support to Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign. Once the New Yorker tycoon won the election, Macri was desperate to correct his mistake. The Argentinean President groveled to the emperor offering himself to do as he pleased, bringing back the “carnal relations” of ex-president Carlos Menem with his humiliating behavior. Trump forgave him but he was precise and decisive in his orders, which we imagine may have been like these: “Attack Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro at every international forum, at all fronts, you and your f*** ministers and officials! Destroy UNASUR; finish off CELAC; keep the Chinese and Russians far away; forget the Falklands; accept that I will set up several military bases in Argentina; favor the business of U.S. firms; and let the IMF deal with your economy since all of your economists are useless.”

On the eve of primary elections in Argentina, Trump sent his Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to the country as another sign of support and courage to the Macri Administration. The purpose of the visit was to make sure Macri moved on without further delays in the missing structural reforms including the privatizing of the social security, labor and tax system; all of which is aligned with what the U.S. President imposed in his own country to ease the fiscal burden from large companies and vast fortunes. Macri strictly obeyed the imperial edict. Argentina remained without a foreign policy because it echoed that of the United States, adopting Washington’s enemies or adversaries in these moments when Trump is fighting almost against the whole world.

The country also remained without an economic policy because the IMF started to manage it through its experts. The result is evident: a dreadful social disaster and an economic collapse without precedent in some aspects, which is all worsened due to the devastating effects of the lawfare (hyperpolitization of federal justice; pairing among judges, attorneys, intelligence services, and the media; infringement to the rule of law, etc.) and the overwhelming control exerted by the government over the media and the mass utilization of pseudo-journalists who are in actuality  well-paid political operators trained to lie, misinform, frighten the population, and slander the main opposition personalities. This evil operation of public opinion manipulation was complemented with overwhelming government propaganda through all social media and the unscrupulous usage of “trolls” armies that contributed to general confusion through half-truths and fake news, particularly attacking the main opposition candidates.

But it was all in vain. Macri and his boss were resoundingly defeated in the vote. His government is languishing while waiting for a miracle —which is not going to happen. If anything occurs in the first round next October 27 it will be an even more stunning defeat of the government. This is going to be very positive to prevent the return of that neocolonial, elitist, falsely meritocratic and antidemocratic right to office. This if he is lucky and if troubled markets and the resulting social and institutional commotion do not sentence an anticipated final to the Macri Administration before the end of his term. This is something which has already occurred in two opportunities since democracy was restored in 1983 though under different conditions.

To sum it all up, Trump remained without one of his South American pawns, while Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro is walking a tightrope alone. The collapse of neoliberalism in Argentina would be a message that will be read carefully in many countries. It will be good news for the future of Our America. Who said the progressive cycle had finished?

Source: Atilio Boron blog, translation, Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau