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November 23, 2017
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Under the volcano

By Michael Soltys / Senior Editor
The volcano currently disrupting air transport nationwide can also be seen as a metaphor for a political system whose crust has been cracking in the most unexpected places. Few better examples of an iron grip can be found in Argentina than the degree to which Hebe de Bonafini’s branch of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo has been co-opted by both Kirchner presidencies or CGT Secretary-General Hugo Moyano’s control of his teamster union yet both have blown up in the faces of the lord and lady of the manor with the red-hot lava pouring through the fissures. All political fireworks to gladden the heart of any journalist (surely every day is Journalists’ Day in Argentina, not just yesterday) but for the average citizen the result is a cloud of grey ash descending on their lives with piles of rubbish defacing the streets.

These eruptions challenge such deep-seated assumptions that the perception of government invincibility comes under question. The human rights cause has served the Kirchners so long as an idealistic counterfoil to “cashbox” methods that its brutal inclusion within mercenary politics as a result of the Schoklender scandal is a severe shock whose impact on the progressive voting constituency (especially in this city, which votes next month) remains to be seen. If the trade-off for the Mothers between independence and lavish funding was largely given the benefit of the doubt before, questions are now starting to be asked as to whether a self-respecting human rights organization can make common cause with any government by definition — this tainted funding cannot possibly justify sacrificing the freedom to defend Toba Indians, for example, instead of seeking the umpteenth life sentence for ex-general Luciano Benjamín Menéndez and restricting the agenda to cases over 30 years old. As for Moyano, some very tough questions (already posed by his critics) are being widely asked by members of his own unions whose garbage collection strike was prompted by the death of a colleague blamed on the neglect of the teamster health care scheme — a fund whose priority is suspected to be Moyano’s empowerment and enrichment rather than cat scans for ailing workers.

If such pillars of the ruling party as the Mothers and trade unionism can crumble from one day to the next, who can say that October’s elections already have a winner? If this country were so predictable, there would indeed be only one Journalists’ Day every year.
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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia