Author: Luis Nassif
Translator: C. Brayton
Viewed from Argentina, Brasil is true blue. One of the constant catchphrases of the Argentine media holds up the Brazilian government as a model to be followed by the Kirchner government. Brazil and Chile, with their flexible monetary policies, are compared with tight control of the dollar in Argentina.
In talking with some Kirchner supporters from Buenos Aires, in fact, it is clear that Argentina shares a number of resemblances to Brazil, although with certain aggravating factors.
In each country, for example, the media is engaged in a permanent campaign to speak ill of their respective countries.
Compared to the largest of these media groups, Clarín, the Global network is a voice of moderation.
The group controls more than 600 media companies, and rules its regional newspapers with an iron hand. It remains the only source of newsprint paper in Argentina — expropriated by a family group during the dictatorship – and the principal national news agency. In order to obtain paper and news articles over the wire, the newspapers sign contracts in which they promise to feature the daily articles selected by Clarín for their front pages.
The progress made with the passage of the Media Law has been attenuated by a series of legal appeals. Just as the Brazilian Supreme Court has its Gilmar Mendes … Clarin has its own Supreme Court minister, Carlos Fayat, who is 97 years old and cannot be induced to retire by any legal or political measure.
The two countries share identical complaints about the manipulation of the news. Each day brings headlines about scandals great and small, be they factoids or fictions. According to Maira, our Buenos Aires blogger, the columnists are crude and uncouth, but she doesn’t think a senior editor would go so far as to propose the impeachment of the President, as happened at Globo.
Hitting its peak right now is an attempt to incriminate the president for the death of a prosecutor.
In the economy, there are problems with inflation and exchange rates — as the Kirchner supporters admit– but the economy has not deteriorated. Hotels and bar are full, reflecting the fact that there has been no erosion of purchasing power. Even so, Clarin and its associate La Nacion – the second largest daily in the country — carefully craft negative news, avoiding coverage of any fact favorable to the government or the nation.
Even the most prominent Argentine — the Pope — is censored when he dares to speak a sympathetic word about the government or something positive about the nation.
On the TV networks, the troglodytes simply put our pitbulls to shame. They often release the home addresses of Cristina sympathizers — from journalists to intellectuals and artists — in order to subject them to public rage. On the social networks and in the streets of Buenos Aires there is a rage similar to that witnessed, for example, in São Paulo.
But there are differences, chief among them the iron hand of Cristina Kirschner. To a greater degree than her late husband Nestor did, she has mustered substantial support among part of the electorate. It is estimated that she controls 35% of the Argentine vote and is capable of transferring those votes to her own candidates.
A few days ago, the opposition mobilized 400,000 anti-Cristina street demonstrators. It is expected that another will take place in the coming weeks. In the presidential election, however, this 35% appears solid. As you converse with Kirchnerists and ordinary citizens, you see that the opposition suffers from an immense power vacuum. As in Brazil, the parties wave the banner of anti-corruption in the daily scandalization of the news media, without presenting any alternatives of their own.
Kirchner and Lula have something in common. In Argentina, in the restaurant of the museum honoring Evita Perón after speaking about Argentina, Cristina and Nestor Kirchner, Latin Americanism and other topics common to the South American Left, the militant president began to speak of Lula, and tears ran down her cheeks. She explained that everytime Lula is mentioned she cannot withhold her tears.
Filed under: Brazil