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Argentina's relations with Uruguay at an all times low

By Tony Pagliaro

17.04.06 | Mr. Kirchner´s loyal “piqueteros” (bullies) have, once again, cut all international bridges that communicate Argentina with its neighbor, Uruguay. The damage they inflict to the economy of Uruguay is gigantic. So much so that Uruguay is announcing that it will turn to the World Trade Organization for compensation.

Populist and authoritarian Mr. Kirchner allegedly does not intervene in this conflict, thus relaying across the board the very definite impression that he is, as usual, behind the “piqueteros”. Encouraging them. Using them.

As it is normally the case, he frequently resorts to them for intimidation purposes at home and, worse, has one of them (Mr. D’Elía) acting as one of his ministers in the Argentine national cabinet. Now intimidation is used against Uruguay.

This occurs because the “citizens” of Gualeguaychú, a sleepy and insignificant town on the Argentina side of the international river, simply do not want that a Finish and a Spanish companies build a couple of pulp and paper mills on the other (Uruguayan) side of the river. It will damage, they say, the view on the other side.

In his recent book, “America at the Crossroads”, Francis Fukuyama (page 29) warns that “foreign policy reflects the values of their underlying societies”. This is so, he claims, because “regimes that treat their own citizens unjustly are likely to do the same to foreigners”.

Argentina is a very clear contemporary example of this. Mr.Kirchner and his “uncivil entourage” constantly intimidate Argentines, at home, and have now simply begun to use the same technique, i.e. intimidation, as an absurd foreign policy tool. It will not work and may well end up as a very costly adventure for Argentina. One more.

Argentina is still a country with no “rule of law”. It is governed by fiat by Mr. Kirchner and his ambitious first lady, Senator Cristina Kirchner and his sister, Senator Alicia Kirchner. What a party for the family!!

But Argentines are beginning to change, for the first time in weeks, polls now suggest that they are overwhelmingly against their fellow citizens from Gauleguaychú impeding, by force (with the total passivity of Argentina’s police forces and judiciary) all traffic to adjacent Uruguay. They may be finally rejecting the idea of living in a country that the Kirchners wants to maintain as an “out of control” one. As part, maybe, of a new “axis of chaos”.

In the meantime, Mr. Kirchner´s press partner, Mr. Magneto, who manages from his “Clarín” media empire public opinion for the Kirchenrs, is now back from Chicago, and lives again in Buenos Aires. Apparently he is successfully fighting against cancer, but rumors do suggest that he will soon go back to Chicago for further treatment.

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