Argentina’s economy is likely to grow by 3 percent this year, thanks to high international prices for Argentina’s soybean exports that will temporarily prolong Fernández de Kirchner’s “soja y suerte” (“soybeans and luck”) economic formula. But that’s way below the country’s 9 percent growth rates in recent years.
And the president’s apparent plan to change the Constitution and seek re-election in 2015 is running into growing difficulties. Fernández de Kirchner’s legal crusade to silence the independent Clarín media group long before legislative elections this October — which officials hope will elect a new Congress that could rewrite elections laws and allow the president’s reelection — has not yet been approved by the courts.
My opinion: Time is running against Argentina’s president. If her crusade to silence the Clarín media group doesn’t succeed by mid-2013, Fernández de Kirchner’s re-election drive will look increasingly unlikely. That, in turn, will embolden growing numbers of journalists, politicians and judges to turn against her.
Fernández de Kirchner, a charismatic speaker, could still reverse her declining popularity if she called for a national dialogue, stopped insulting critics and abandoned the Venezuelan model of constantly creating confrontations with real or imagined enemies — whether it’s the media, the business community or foreign countries — to justify the accumulation of absolute powers. But so far, as her letter to Darín shows, she doesn’t seem to be getting the message that presidents should be accountable to their people, and not the other way around.