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The Kirchners' lawless Argentina is rapidly becoming a threat to regional peace and security

By Tony Pagliaro

31.01.06 | The traditionally friendly bilateral relations between Argentina and Uruguay has clearly deteriorated and tensions between both countries have dramatically escalated. So much so, that President Tabaré Vazquez, from Uruguay, has decided to tour the region to try to explain what is the reason of the river conflict that now separates both countries. Said conflict originates in the decision of Uruguay to allow the installation of two -state of the art- pulp and paper factories in the east side of the Uruguay river that separates both countries. The three factories being built are, of course, meeting all European environment criteria and, when completed, will be the most modern pulp and paper factories of the world.

Argentine environmentalist groups (originally organized and supported by Governor Busti, of Entre Ríos, a close friend, former guerilla participant, and a key ally of the Kirchners) have forcefully stopped the flow of Chilean goods in transit between Chile and Uruguay on the basis that said goods will be used in the construction of the mills by Finish and Spanish investors. Many trucks have thus been “intercepted” on the road and forced back. Argentina is definitely looking, more and more, like a real lawless country.

First, different groups of private citizens (“piqueteros”) have been able, since 2001, to cut -at will- all Buenos Aires streets to push for more and more subsidies, allegedly for the unemployed. Since they are always successful they simply go on with their strategy. Now pseudo-environmentalists are cutting -also at will- international bridges and highways to stop Chilean exports on their way to Uruguay.

A Federal Judge has ordered Argentina’s border police to guarantee freedom of transit and trade circulation, but his order has to be complied on the ground by forces that do not move without instructions to be given by the Kirchners Minister of Interior, Aníbal Fernández, who simply does not move. The mess has now reached very difficult levels.

A bilateral Commission that was supposed to diplomatically deal with the issue has failed to reach consensus and has been unable to even advise on how to best try to settle the problem.

Néstor Kirchner has decided that he will support his fellow Busti by taking the case to the International Court of Justice. It looks completely crazy, but may be legal. However, in the meantime, the Kirchners' organized bullies are making sure that no goods, which could be used in the projects, are allowed to cross the border.

Alain Turaine, the well known leftist French sociologist, has just concluded in Brasilia, that the Kirchners are “populists”. He is definitely right. But they may also be unpredictably dangerous “bullies”. And this is certainly not good for the regional peace and security, as the ongoing international river problem is clearly showing.

The Kirchners are not only a problem for an Argentina, where unfortunately the Rule of Law is gone, but for the whole region.

Like their friend, the “bolivarian” Hugo Chávez, they believe that they are above commitments, contracts, and of the law itself. History suggests that this is a well known recipe for chaos and very serious problems. Let’s keep an eye on this growing conflict. Its outcome does not look good, at all.

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