Week 2, group blogs, Argentina Political Outlook
Buenos Aires Travel Blog› entry 12 of 17 › view all entries
Written by: Nicole Tocci, Divya Kalb and Rachel Benkeser
On December 10, 1983, Raul Alfonsin of the Radical party took office in the first election since the military dictatorship of 1970s and was the first non-Peronist to win election since the birth of Peronism. Alfonsin was handed a government in shambles where democracy had not been a consolidated institution since the 1920s. Following the predictions of economist Samuel P. Huntington, it would be assumed that the development of political institutions in
The end of the military dictatorship produced a citizenry who were for the first time united regardless of class in the struggle to obtain the freedoms they were previously denied. The movement toward seeking justice for the atrocities of the dictatorship lead by such public figures as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo helped the investment in democracy by calling for accountability—something only democratic institutions can provide. And their call was answered in part by the governmental publication of the report “Nunca Más.” The same call for accountability occurred following the 1989 economic collapse when Cavallo was ousted from office. Despite Menem’s move away from judicial independence and the accountability movement as he expanded the Supreme Court size from six to nine and stacked the court in his favor, the pressure the public placed on the judiciary exemplifies the movement of the country as a whole toward the process of believing in institutions.
The closest the Argentine democracy has come to tumbling from its pedestal was in 2000 when a series of five presidents went through office in a matter of weeks (Bowman Lecture). The calls in the streets were “show them all to the door,” but the governmental officials were shown to the door not through coup, rather through political election when Duhalde gracefully stepped down and declined to run for office (Gelpern, After Argentina).
The continual emphasis on political stability first displayed in the investment of dollars throughout the 1980s and 1990s as well as through the actions of individuals like Duhalde have lead Argentina to a position of democratic stability. In 2006, not even half a century from the last military coup, President Kirchner is capable of standing in front of the military and in an Army Day speech telling them “I do not fear you (Herald).” In light of this statement from the President, and the overall lack of politicization of the military, the odds of a coup in the next five years are slim to none. After several transitions between political parties of the presidency, it can be assumed that democracy is an institution in
The Argentine people have simply invested faith into a continued democratic system, exemplified by the progression since the last coups. Governmental leadership in recent years continues to gain stability, and the threat of a coup has now become out the question. To change the way things are done, you now must work within the system and not around it or by destroying it all together. The people give consensus through their faith in a democratic system, to entrust the power of the nation to the president and the institutions through the election, and thus this can no longer be bypassed by an outside political force.
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