Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Outcry grows against official corruption, rising inflation and deteriorating democratic rights
Argentines have been busy… posting comments and organizing online. The surge in online commentary is a testament to its citizens’ robust civil engagement. It also reflects growing weariness with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s political agenda (for background, see: “The president and the potbangers” that ran in last week’s Economist.)
Yesterday Perfil profiled "the post-banging protests being organized for November 8th". (#8N) The organizers claim no singular political affiliation or leader and promise more people than on September 13. Collectively, they represent some 65,000+ members alone on Facebook.
And the online activity extends beyond Argentina’s borders – notably, the flurry of online activity around the Fragata Libertad in Ghana (#FragataLibertad) and President Kirchner’s Georgetown and Harvard University visits. In some 9,000+ online posts, Argentines encouraged students at Georgetown and Harvard to ask President Kirchner tough questions because they could not.
The volume of comments posted on Harvard’s site was so exceptional that it drew media coverage. On September 25, Clarín reported that the online forum that announced the Harvard event was full of comments – most of them negative – and also expressed anger at Harvard for inviting her.
On Twitter, individuals were also engaged all way from Argentina. #CFKdontlietoharvard was trending globally on September 27th and several individuals retweeted photos of ATFA’s “red cards”.
Following the event, The Harvard Crimson published the critical op-ed, "Cristina, Get Serious" today by a student who sat in the front-row at her talk. It also ran the op-ed, “Kirchner’s Lack of Answers,” co-authored by Ambassador Nancy Soderberg and Freedom House’s Karin Karlekar. To date, it has received 1,800 “likes” on Facebook and a plethora of supportive comments.
─ “As a citizen of Argentina I welcome the international spotlight on the deteriorating democratic rights we experience in this country…”
─ “No more to say to the people in Harvard except for a HUGE THANKS. This article is a great (and sad for us) expression of what we exactly think about her...”
─ “Excellent article!!!Thanks so much Harvard Community for unmasking president Cristina Fernandez. You have done a very important contribution to the argentine Democracy!!!”
─ “I am a professor at a National University of Argentina. In my opinion the assessment of Mrs. Kirchner made in this article is, unfortunately, simply the truth. Most tactics adopted by the Federal Government could be understandable under a dictatorship, but not a democratic nation…”
Another notable development has been the reaction to the the La Nacion coverage of the Foreign Ministry press release regarding the Frigate Libertad. The article set off a wave of almost universally anti-K commentary in Spanish in the comments section of the article. As of now, about 500 comments have been posted, with many saying that the Argentine government are the ones to blame – they are the “real vultures” and that “lying about settling the entire debt” is also an embarrassment.
─ alebariloche: Fondo buitre es un pésimo término. Son tenedores de bonos que Argentina debió haber pagado y no lo hizo. Qué quieren, que nos aplaudan? (Vulture fund is a terrible term. They are holders of bonds that Argentina had to pay and didn’t. What do they want, for them to applaud us?)
─ J_Cathelineau: No sé bien que son los fondos buitres....por ejemplo...AFIP y ARBA son fondos buitres? (I don’t know who is the vulture funds.. for example… AFIP and ARBA are vulture funds?)
Reply: blanca54 naaa, esas son pirañas (nooo, those are piranhas)
─ Krakatoo: Propongo pagarles a los fondos buitres con Timerman,esto trae 2 ventajas: 1- Nos sacamos de encima este badulaque 2- Estafamos otra vez a los acreedores !!!!!! (I propose to pay the vulture funds with Timerman, this brings 2 advantages: 1- We get out from under this idiot 2- We once again stiff the creditors!!!!!)
─ lopeznovoa: Los buitres tienen guarida en las Islas Caimán? Yo pensaba que anidaban en las agencias de la AFIP. (The vultures have a lair in the Cayman Islands? I thought that they were nesting at the offices of the AFIP.)
─ jaymir: Este gobierno fiel a su "modelo", solo nos hace pasar verguenza. (This government loyal to its “model”, only makes us ashamed.)
─ angelenghel: Según el comunicado de cancillería, todo esto fué orquestado "para perjudicar al país". Con los funcionarios públicos que tenemos, en especial el canciller, no necesitamos que nadie nos de una mano. Nos perjudicamos solos. (According to the FM statement, all of this was orchestrated “to damage the country.” With the public officials we have, especially the Foreign Minister, we don’t need anyone’s hand in it. We damage ourselves.)
─ fdebeer: No nos olvidemos que Cristina y Néstor eran parte de fondos buitres que les sacaban la casa a los deudores hipitecarios de la 1050. Entre bueyes no hay cornadas. (Let’s not forget that Cristina and Nestor were part of the vulture funds that took houses away from mortgage debtors from the 1050. Between oxen there is no statue.)
─ marleyhvalle: Timmerman, ellos no perjudican a la Argentina, simplemente quiere que se les pague lo se les debe. Si compras un coche y dejas de hacer los pagos, la financiera te va a pedir el coche. (Timerman, they aren’t hurting Argentina, they simply want to be paid what is owed to them. If you buy a car and stop making payments, the lender is going to ask for the car.)
─ fratelliditalia: No entiendo algo. ¿Argentina pidió plata? Sí. ¿Firmó las condiciones y estuvo de acuerdo? Sí. ¿La devolvió? No. ¿Qué gobierno se endeudó? Para los acreedores es el Estado Argentino. ¿Entonces de qué quejarse? Me gustaría saber que harían los ultranacionalistas si alguien no les paga una deuda. (I don’t understand something. Argentina asked for money? It signed the conditions and agreed? Did it return it? What government took the debt? For the creditors it’s the Argentine State. So what are they complaining about? I would like to know what these ultranationalists would do if someone didn’t pay them a debt.)
─ gbpuebloeden: Hay que pagar las deudas!!!... (Debts have to be paid!)
─ kapkapkap: Conozco un fondo pinguino que se llevó 500 millones de dolares para comenzar... (I know a penguin fund that took US$500 million to start...)
─ Daikaiju: "El fondo buitre tiene domicilio en las islas Caiman"...Eso no seria grave, lo grave es que la familia Kirchner tambien tiene cuentas secretas en la islas Caiman, con millones de dolares producto de la corrupcion. El muerto se asusta del degollado? (“The vulture fund is domiciled in the Cayman Islands”... That wouldn’t be so serious, what is serious is that the Kirchner family also has secret accounts in the Cayman Islands, with millions of dollars as fruit of corruption. The dead man is afraid of the beheaded man?”)
─ parcole: Sebastián: Hay bonistas que tienen los bonos desde antes del default. Un Bono lo emite alguien necesitado de dinero (en este caso el estado Argentino). Es un acuerdo entre dos partes con las condiciones puestas por el gobierno que emitió los bonos. Hoy me prestas 10 y tal dia te devuelvo 12 (por así decirlo). Si el día que tenés que devolver decís: "nos van muy bien las cuentas, somos los que damos ejemplo en el mundo y damos cátedra, pero vos sos un usurero y no solo no te voy a dar los 12 que te tengo que dar, sino que te doy 2,5 y aceptalo porque si no te quedás sin nada ya que es mi última oferta". Quién es el buitre en esta historia? (Sebastian: There are bondholders that have bonds since before the default. A Bond is issued by someone who needs money (in this case the Argentine state). It’s an agreement between two parties with conditions put forth by the government that issued the bonds. Today you owe me 10 and then on this day I’ll pay you 12 back (so to say). If on the deadline day you say: “we are doing very well with the accounts, we are the ones who are an example to the world and we have a Chair, buy you are a usurer and not only will I not give you the 12 that I have to give you, but I am giving you 2.5 and accept it because if you don’t you’ll get nothing and that’s my final offer.” Who is the vulture in this story?”)
It’s a very positive trend that as Argentina’s press is under fire, the online engagement is only heating up. This is a reflection of the shift underway in Argentine society and illustrates how the online community remains a free space untouched by the Kirchner government.