An important segment of society believes certain “truths” regarding the political system without ever questioning them. The “axiom” that all politicians are corrupt is among the most widespread, factual evidence isn’t necessary. While such a general statement is almost impossible to prove, it reflects a generalized feeling of dissatisfaction with the political class, which is tasked with improving overall welfare but many times ends up interfering with it. And, of course, the fact that politicians are public servants whose remuneration is paid by all of us so that their many benefits feel even more unfair. This notion is probably also tied to the fact that politicians generally live their lives in a comfortable socio-economic position, compared with a majority of society that finds it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
The emergence of specific instances that demonstrate foul play by the political class helps to reinforce said conception. A recent video in Argentina showed how the Labor Minister of the Province of Buenos Aires under former governor María Eugenia Vidal, now a national deputy and a presidential aspirer for 2023, and a group of lawmakers, businessmen and spies from the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) conspired to construct legal cases against union lider Juan Pablo “Pata” (“the Foot”) Medina during the Mauricio Macri administration.
The Foot ran the local subsidiary of the Workers Union for the Construction of the Argentine Republic (UOCRA) in La Plata, the provincial capital of the all important Buenos Aires Province. According to journalist Emilia Delfino writing for Perfil, the Foot owned seven properties including one in the exclusive beach town of Cariló, a speed boat and several pickup trucks and luxury vehicles, while companies attributed to him clocked sales for nearly 100 million pesos in 2017, some $7 million at that year’s exchange rate. He was locked up for setting up an illicit association and money laundering, and is estimated to have generated 11 billion pesos in losses for the construction sector (over $700 million), as well as 9,520 jobs. The Foot controlled construction in La Plata, deciding which projects went forward and which didn’t, while forcing companies to hire services controlled by his stooges. In 2016, the Medina clan entered into the voluntary tax forgiveness regime of the Macri administration, declaring a funds for some 8 billion pesos ($570 million).
The Foot, who is clearly a crook, is now accusing the Vidal administration of illegally persecuting him, while Argentina’s largest union clan, the Moyano family (Teamsters Union) have come out to accuse the Macri administration of political persecution. Unfortunately, they’re right. The Macri administration, which claimed to be the “slayer of populism” and sought to end corruption, ended up being part of the problem. Just like the Kirchners before them, Macri used the intelligence services and the judiciary to his benefit. Cristina Kirchner and several of her close associates were investigated, sentenced, and some of them put behind bars. In many cases, corruption was evident, in others the judiciary prosecuted policy decisions as if they were crimes. At the end of the day, these occurrences are the continuation of a modus opernadi that goes at least as far back as Carlos Menem.
Cristina Kirchner fills her mouth speaking of lawfare which se defines as a systemic plan by the “oligarchies” and the “factual powers” to eliminate “progressive” Latin American leaders. Macri, under intense investigation since leaving power, accuses the Fernández-Fernández administration of political persecution. They’re all right, and wrong at the same time. At least in Argentina, the judiciary and the intelligence services have always been used by the political power of the time for political and economic gain.
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