With the president under investigation for corruption, the year ahead will be an interesting moment for Argentina. [Click the image above or scroll down for the mini gallery.]
Argentine politics have never been straightforward. A tangled string of opinions, views, emotions and realities have shaped the official and unofficial histories of a country that still fights to understand its identity.
During the reign of the Kirchner family, Argentina’s diversity of opinion has become polarized. The multiplicity of thought that led the country to countless versions of Peronism has now led this outspoken society to face an “us vs. them” scenario. Some believe they are living under a corrupt demagogue government, while others argue that the rest of society serves the interests of imperialist neo-capitalist regimes. In other words, you are either in favor of the populist Kirchnerist project or you are anti-patriotic.
This divide is clear in every facet of Argentine politics and “The Silent March” was no exception. The protest held on February 18 was organized to honor the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who died under mysterious circumstances on January 18, hours before presenting his findings over an alleged terrorism cover up that was orchestrated by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s cabinet and the Iranian government in exchange for oil privileges.
The march was impressive, to say the least. The Buenos Aires City Metropolitan Police registered 400,000 demonstrators marching in the pouring rain from Congress, past Nisman’s former office and onward to the presidential palace, which was sectioned off after the multitude stood on every square meter available at the park.
Organized by a group of prosecutors and led by members Nisman’s family, the protest was coined “The Silent March,” as it asked people to walk quietly to keep it from becoming politicized. The aim was to request transparency in the investigation of the prosecutor’s death, as well as to demand independence of the judicial branch, which is often accused of working under Kirchner’s influence.
However, the march could not have been more politicized. Every major event in Argentina is a chance for finger-pointing by the media and deepening the divide between parties. The protest was organized by the opposition, attended by representatives from opposition parties and even renamed “The March of the Opposition” by government-sponsored media, who claimed its sole purpose was to destabilize the current administration.
Yet no matter how many times the government accuses any opposing view from being part of a coup d’état conspiracy, Kirchner’s party may find it difficult to hold credibility: Vice President Amado Boudou faces charges of bribery, while the president herself and members of the cabinet are under investigation for corruption, illicit profit and conspiracy. Under this setting, 2015 will undoubtedly be an interesting election year for Argentina.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
Photo Credit: Rodrigo Llauro