Photo Jonathan Blair

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Honduras-type crisis in Argentina?

A Constitutional crisis appears to be in the making in Argentina. President Cristina Kirchner is meeting resistance from Congress, where her Peronista party has lost its majority, from the Central Bank, whose President has refused Kirchner's request to use reserves to pay external debt, and from the Judiciary, with a judge putting the Bank's President back in charge after he was demoted by Kirchner for refusing to abide by her request.

We thus have an interesting situation, very similar to the beginnings of the crisis in Honduras: The Kirchner --Cristina and her husband, former president Nestor- want to stay in power, but there is growing resistance in the political class and in the electorate. In fact, Julio Cobos, the country's vice-president who broke with the Kirchner and has been voting regularly against the government in Congress, is the most popular politician in Argentina right now. By using the country's reserves, the Kirchner appear to be trying to free resources for domestic spending, the only way for them to secure a victory in the coming election. For obvious reasons, however, their plan is opposed by Congress, the Central Bank, and now the Judiciary. To push the parallel even further, Martin Redrado, the President of the Central Bank, just like Cobos, are former supporters of the Kirchner

What is next? Well, either the couple retreats and regroup for a counter-attack a few years down the road, OR they try to get through the street what they cannot get through normal --some say legal-- means.

This is very precisely what Zelaya did...