Who is Jorge Busti, the man endorsed by Kirchner who caused the Argentine conflict with Uruguay?
By Tony Pagliaro
20.03.06 | The Governor of Entre R�os, Jorge Busti, who started the conflict between Argentina and Uruguay in connection with the pulp and paper mills on the east side of R�o Uruguay, is a close ally of President Kirchner and his wife, Senator Cristina. So much so that �Queen Cristina� campaigned for him in the last election. Busti is on his third mandate as Governor of his province. His wife (also named �Cristina�, in this particular case her name is Cristina Cremer) may well (like in old Alabama) succeed him as Governor, as a mean to maintain power.
Mr Busti�s political profile is very similar to N�stor Kirchner's one. He likes to be considered a �caudillo� (a romantic name for modern mafiosis). He controls the press; intimidates constantly the opposition to keep it muted; places friends and family members in influential positions all over the provincial administration; and uses influence and manipulation to try to protect his political turf. He can be defined as the prototype of an authoritarian populist.
During the days of market-oriented President Menem, millions of dollars in fact vanished in the various privatizations undertaken in Entre R�os. Many are now convinced that Governor Busti was the principal beneficiary.
Busti, born in Concordia, Entre R�os, was elected to the first of his three governorship mandates back in 1987, when he was just 39 years old. Busti was imprisoned in the 70�s. He is a former militant of the �Juventud Peronista�, close to the guerrilla group known as the �Montoneros�. His driver, H�ctor Ducasse is now a very successful businessman in Entre R�os (President N�stor Kirchner former driver is now also an amazingly successful businessman in Kirchner's feud: Santa Cruz).
Busti studied law in C�rdoba where he developed links with the �Fuerzas Armadas Peronistas� and was close to a Marxist-Leninist guerrilla unit. He met therein his future wife and possibly the next Governor of Entre R�os, if Busti cannot cynically change (as he wants) the local Constitution to allow him to be permanently re-elected, as most Peronist Governors do.
He was first Mayor of Concordia, his hometown. Then Governor of Entre R�os. In the early 90�s he held a series of meetings, he now denies, with prospective investors in pulp and paper mills in his own province. Among others he met Spanish and Canadian investors. Some believe investors never invested because Busti requested a �kick-back� from them.
Like Kirchner in the national level, Busti invests heavily in �advertising� to manipulate the press, eager to get the monies he distributes.
Busti used his sudden �environmentalist� profile to be re-elected. He is also very close to Marxist Governor Jorge Obeid (of Santa Fe, across the Paran� river), who is a supporter of Fidel Castro and an open admirer of Hugo Ch�vez.
Kirchner�s close associate Carlos Kunkel (Under-secretary to the President) is the conduit between Kirchner and Busti. He often travels to Entre R�os to coordinate political actions. In Entre R�os, the Kirchners are afraid that the Radical party local leader, Sergio Montiel, may recover the governorship, which is the main reason why Kirchner has supported Busti�s showdown that has caused an amazing two months interruption of all land communications with a foreign country: Uruguay.
Traditionally the city of Gualeguaych� (the center of protests) has not voted Peronism. But Busti�s Vice-governor, Mr. Guastavino wants to be elected now as Gualeguaych� Mayor, the city where he was born. He needs noise and votes. This is why they created the conflict.
In Buenos Aires, Busti has co-opted Julio Ramos, the Director of Ambito Financiero, a daily that recently has switched his pro-market position to one that supports the Kirchners. Many believe that money caused the switch.
Argentina has its own low quality, polluting old pulp and paper mills located in the Paran� river. But Kirchner does not say a word about them. The name of the game is: politics and control of power. What a shame.
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