On the contrary, the government last week issued an order that in effect prohibits supermarkets from advertising in newspapers, which will financially strangle the main independent dailies that are critical of Fernández, Fraga noted. The rule will not affect pro-government newspapers, which depend mostly on government advertising.
Finally, a third group of political analysts believes the “Francis effect” will hurt the Fernández government, because the pope’s messages against authoritarianism, intolerance, and hubris will be read by most Argentines as indirect criticisms of Fernández.
“A clash is inevitable, and the clash will end up hurting Cristina,” says Jaime Duran Barba, an Ecuadorean pollster who advises opposition leaders here.
My opinion: Despite Fernández’s last minute turn to embrace “Francismania,” the pope’s emergence as the most popular figure in Argentina will end up hurting her.
Granted, Pope Francis will most likely not make any political statements about Argentine politics. He is expected to make his first visit to Argentina as pope in December — after the October mid-term elections — so as not to interfere with local politics.
But in his homilies during his first Latin American visit to Brazil this coming July, his frequent criticism of autocratic measures, political arrogance and hubris will inevitably be read by many here as indirect barbs at the president.
At the very least, “Francismania” will have a dampening effect on Fernández’s ability to circumvent the rules of good democratic behavior — and civility — to get reelected at any cost.