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Andrés Malamud: 'For the first time in its history, for Argentine society the future seems worse'


Doctor in Social and Political Sciences. It states that Alberto Fernández refuses to exercise power because he never did. And that in Argentina there is a risk of anarchy.

Walter Schmidt

05/09/2021 7:00 AM

  • Clarí

  • Politics

Updated 05/09/2021 7:00 AM

- Many of those who voted for Alberto Fernández, Néstor Kirchner's implacable Chief of Staff, today meet another personality ...

In reality, Alberto Fernández did not win because of his charisma but because the election became a plebiscite for or against the government of Mauricio Macri.

And Cristina had the ability that for the first time in a decade the election was not an answer to the question about Kirchnerism.

The debate was between Kirchnerism and macroism.

Cristina eliminates the Kirchnerist element, washing it with Alberto's candidacy, but in reality the election is defined for or against the government.

Therefore, being very good, it does not exceed 48%.

- Why does Alberto Fernández refuse to exercise power, especially with the history of Peronism behind it?

Because he never exercised it.

If you look at the history of Kirchner, he arrives sponsored by Duhalde and as soon as he can get rid of him.

But Kirchner had previously ruled in Río Gallegos and in Santa Cruz.

Alberto had never, never been number one, he was always a good number two.

When they put him number one, he just didn't have the experience or the instinct.

- What is the true interest of Cristina Kirchner to be in power?

My impression is that you are primarily looking for two things.

One in the past, close your court cases.

Some call it impunity, she calls it justice.

The other, in the future, succession.

Let hers who are the ones who believe in what she believes to be the next rulers of Argentina.

My impression was always that she was not interested in managing the present, that she was discharging it to the delegate President, Alberto.

And that what she does at this moment, when it seems that she is managing the present, is simply improving the electoral conditions at the end of the year.

She does not want him to increase the rates, especially so as not to lose the elections;

last year I would have accepted it.

This year no.

More than a public policy, it is an electoral policy.

- There is something that seems very basic.

If her attitudes wear down the presidential figure and therefore her government, it is difficult to understand what the political gain is ...

I have the same dilemma and two answers. The first, the scorpion's response. The famous fable in which he asks the frog to cross the river, the frog does not want to because it is going to bite him and the scorpion explains that if the frog dies he too; and in the middle of the river it stings and when they are sinking the frog asks why, and the scorpion answers, it is my nature. One can be that, it is not rationality but nature.

Another may not be Cristina the one who sends these batons.

Cristina tries to elevate the debate and frame it in terms of the welfare state, of Joe Biden's speech, but those who made the decision to dismiss an official from La Cámpora in a bad way were the ones who argued that it was incompetent;

You cannot dismiss an official from an internal organization that is part of your coalition like this.

It is a succession of incompetencies that are not all attributable to Cristina.

I don't know how far Cristina is the one who decides that.

Perhaps it is Máximo Kirchner, Axel Kicillof or a lower level of responsibility or irresponsibility.

Cristina Kirchner, alleged Dollar Futuro case.

- Kirchnerism established a model with Nestor Kirchner, beyond its serious shortcomings.

But today, with the presence of Cristina herself in the Government, they are unable to establish a model which ends up being uncertain for the ruling coalition and for society….

Yes. Nestor's thing looked like the whip and the checkbook.

In international terms it is like a carrot and stick.

The problem is that at the moment there is no checkbook and what there is is a hyper deficit.

The three great battles of Kirchnerism, of Cristina in her second term, the field, the media and the justice system, she lost all of them when she had 54% of the votes and had scored 37 points from the second.

And now they obtained 48%, just 8 above the opposition.

The whip is not enough, it was not enough when they had the checkbook and now they are poor.

- What about the concept that without money, populism has no perspective?

Totally agree. What I do not agree with is that populism without money is authoritarianism because it can be an electoral defeat, not necessarily an authoritarian regime. And that's how I see Kirchnerism, losing elections. He lost three intermediates, with Kirchner, Insaurralde and with Cristina. And they lost the presidential of 2015. They lost four of the last six and the best thing is that when they lose they leave, I am not saying it because of anti-Kirchnerism, on the contrary, it is a compliment. Democracy, says Sanguinetti, is the epic of defeat. Winning is easy, the question is to leave. And here both Macri and Cristina gave an example, with bad manners if you like, but when they lost they left. I see an Argentina closer to anarchy than to tyranny. Of defeat than of eternization.

- Did the Cámpora stop being a political group to become an organization that ends up replacing the Peronist apparatus?

No, not so much to Peronism.

What it is replacing is the state, which is more worrying.

A simple example, vaccination in the province of Buenos Aires, which has 40 percent of the inhabitants, is outsourced in La Cámpora.

Municipalities, health centers or public hospitals do not vaccinate, unless someone from La Cámpora so decides.

The Cámpora is not replacing Peronism, it is replacing the State, and badly.

- It also has the attraction that you can military in a political space with rapid job opportunities in the State ...

Yes, they have the infrastructure and state logistics that, added to the militant intensity, allow them that political efficacy, based on these two elements, not on votes.

Today, without Cristina, they have no votes.

It is possible that in two years Máximo Kirchner or Wado de Pedro become two charismatic candidates.

But today without Cristina La Cámpora it loses power to continue being an intense organization.

- What chances does a leader with the profile of Rodríguez Larreta, with a leadership leaning on management have, in this context of crack, can prevail?

It already happened twice, with De la Rúa and with Macri.

They have similar characteristics, the most important, which is the City of Buenos Aires.

The city where the national media reside and guide, shape the national agenda from the local agenda.

And the second thing is that they are all boring, their campaign was never based on charismatic leadership, neither De la Ría's, nor Macri's nor Larreta's.

Obviously the opposition, non-Peronism, has the natural candidate at the head of the City of Buenos Aires.

- Does society want moderation or confrontation?

They are both right. The radicalized are right in the midterm elections this year. Larreta is right in the presidential elections in 2023, because Argentine society, partly due to institutional incentives, is sometimes fragmented and radicalized in the middle and you can vote for De Narvaez. And it turns to the center in the presidential elections. That is why Fernández won because he ran to the center, Cristina was to the left. Macri won because he ran to the center, when after the first round he says I will not privatize anything, Aerolineas Argentinas will continue to be public. And the same Cristina in her election and in her re-election. In 2007 she wins with an institutional speech, in 2011 with the speech of the mother of the nation, of all Argentines. She polarized in the midterm elections and lost,he moderated in the generals and won. Larreta is saying that.

Horacio Rodriguez Larreta Press conference Photo Federico Lopez Claro

- In a country that is much more impoverished, are the variables that society takes into account to express itself are others, are they more basic because the needs are basic?

Argentine society is for the first time in its history living a moment in which the future seems worse than the past.

It never happened.

Now there is a majority perception that the next generation will live worse than the current one.

- In a very troubled region….

Argentina faces a Latin American destiny. What we describe is the same thing that happens in Colombia that is exploited, in Chile that is exploited; in Peru or in Ecuador where they are disaggregated and no matter who the President is, they will have a Congress with 20% support, which does not endanger governance, the stability of those presidents is endangered. And Argentina for now is far from that because it has bipolarity, a large concentration of the vote in the two main political spaces but has a worse economy.

Argentina goes against the rest of South America.

They have economies with low inflation, stable with international credit.

Argentina has high inflation and no credit.

But they have a tremendous fragmentation in Congress with unpopular presidents and little support.

While in Argentina the two spaces added, Macri and Alberto Fernández reach 88%.

What is the population looking for?

For now, beyond the galloping pauperization of Argentine society, it continues to search the center for the solution.

- It is incredible that there are rebellions in Colombia, Chile even in Brazil and here, under equal conditions, no ...

Exactly, that's the paradox.

We are in the mirror, it is not that we are better in one thing and the same in the rest;

we are worse off in the economy and better off in politics.

Perhaps for now the exception is Uruguay.

- What happened to those times when the region responded to the political tendencies of its governments, an ideology or even a model that later influenced agreements between countries? Now everything seems much more atomized….

As is, that's the word I hadn't thought of: atomization. There are three major trends in Latin America. One is political fragmentation or disaggregation. The other is the social inequality that we had improved a lot, however it is still very high. And the third, the most serious, is informality, which is partly responsible for the failure of health policies. If we have 70 percent informality as in Peru, this is unfeasible and this is going to increase. What we are seeing is the famous cliché “you get away with more state”. It is tragic, because if that State remains the same it is because it does not lay off public employees but those who are losing employees are the blank companies that are going bankrupt. Then there will be a decrease in companies and an increase in unemployment and all those people will have to work for something.And who is hiring? Mafias, drug traffickers, smugglers, secondary markets for stolen goods. All this seems strange in Argentina, the three countries of the Southern Cone are far from this. That is the Latin America to come, unequal as it was, more informal or more criminal and more politically disaggregated. And Argentina points to that.

- How should one read the appearance of presidents like El Salvador's Nayabi Bukele who have an openly undemocratic attitude?

An unconstitutional spirit rather than undemocratic because it has enormous popularity and this is the problem, it is attacking the Constitution with the support of the people.

Here we have that the vertical power of democracy, the popular, is attacking the horizontal power.

And the rest in the region watch, some with envy and others with fear.

The President of El Salvador, Niyabi Bukele.


- El Salvador is not Argentina, but when the Government here ignores and denounces the Supreme Court for a ruling that does not favor it and society gets used to this type of gesture ...

That's how it is.

Before coups were given by the losers, they called in the military.

Now democracy is eroding from the inside.

Winners such as Bukele, Trump or Bolsonaro grind the opposition, capture the control agencies and unlevel the playing field.

It is what we are seeing.

That is why I like to pose Argentina in contrast.

In Argentina there are people who believe that the government of Alberto Fernández is turning into a dictatorship, I see the opposite.

Everything this government does shows its weakness.

In Argentina the risk continues to be anarchy.

It is a worse 2021, not tyranny because Argentine society is very surly.

- Is the government's confrontation with the Court just a warning?

It fits within the fundamental concept of weakness.

The Cristina government lost all its battles, the Alberto Fernández government is not going to win them.

And the judges know it, because they are the ones who make a living by sniffing politics.

If you ask the entrepreneurs, they invest based on the perspectives and sometimes they read the pollsters and end up failing as in the STEP of 2019. The judges are rarely wrong, and that they are ruling against the Government, does not mean that they are with the opposition, means they smell blood.

- How difficult it is to have a perspective in the short and medium term in Argentina and in the region, because there are not even models as many times were Argentina and Brazil ...


There is no model, there is no example.

The closest thing is Uruguay but it has its problems and the most serious is twice as many homicides as Argentina, partly derived from drug problems.

The countries that veered to the right are all detonated with violence, protest, boredom and unclassifiable leaders like Pedro Castillo in Peru.

- And what does the arrival of Joe Biden mean for Latin America?

I love Biden's domestic politics, economic and social politics.

Foreign policy seems more indefinite to me, halfway between Trump and Obama, and Obama's was not good.

Trump with a much worse speech did not make wars and deported less than Obama.

Towards the region, Biden's ideas seem correct to me.

But I don't see the ability to implement them.

The priority of Biden's foreign policy towards Latin America is that no more immigrants reach him.

He will do everything possible so that these immigrants from Mexico and Central America do not pass.

The rest is third or fourth priority.

- Does Biden have no obsession with the Chinese invasion in Latin America?

No, it has China as a geopolitical rival at the same level, no doubt.

But neither Trump nor Biden were so concerned about the landing in Latin America.

It is minor.

China is entering Europe much more aggressively than it is in Latin America.

What it is going to do is enter with technology and China is reducing the level of investment.

- What does this policy of seduction of Kirchnerism suggest to Juan Domingo Biden?

They play for the stands and do well.

They are sympathetic speeches for the home front and in Cristina's case he used it to raise the discussion and frame it when they were fighting to fire an undersecretary.

As foreign policy it is irrelevant, it is pure domestic policy.

But I repeat, it is a sign of weakness.

If they have to discuss Biden's speeches… it's to cover up what they're doing.

Two decades in Portugal, virtually in the country

He has lived in Portugal for almost two decades, despite the fact that his wife believes that he never stopped living, albeit virtually but permanently, in Argentina.

He says that ordinary people, who walk through European streets, have in mind Argentina as a place of wonderful landscapes, great artists and exquisite food.

As if this were enough - will it be enough? - they do not understand, then, when people talk about the Argentine crisis again.

How can something like this happen in a country so rich, so beautiful, with literary heroes like Borges and Cortazar.

Nor is it easy to explain for Andrés Malamud.

“It is that Argentina has no direction.

In truth, it had two directions in its history: the agro-exporter, produce primary goods and sell them to the world until 30 and the industrial substitute until 75. After the “rodrigazo” we were orphans, we are a leaf in the wind.

We were never, ever able to define a model of what to produce and to whom to sell it.

We have niches of excellence, Invap, satellites, radars, nuclear power plants, unicorns, but they are niches.

But Argentina's central productive structure is not going anywhere, ”explains Malamud.

However, she does not lose her hope, perhaps fueled by the distance and the desire to return.

He refuses to believe that we are getting further and further away from the country of his dreams.

“It is more and more difficult but I think it is not impossible. And it is not for two reasons, one internal and the other external: the internal one is that it is a country with potential, it must be specified, and that is manifested in the Argentines who emigrate. The 40 percent of poverty that we have is due to the macroeconomy, due to inflation. If you stabilize the macroeconomy, poverty is reduced by half. And the external one is that we do not know where the world is going. The European Union has been a vaccination fiasco, America is dating Biden, we think, after having gone under with Trump. That is why I am not a fatalist ”.

He has a theory about why Argentines are successful abroad, individually, and not in Argentina, in a collective project. “It's called the prisoner's dilemma. It consists in the fact that people do what is rational individually and the result is a collective suboptimal, they are worse than they could have been if they had done something less good for themselves. Distrust, when you think someone is going to screw you, the rational thing to do is screw him first ”. Just in case, he emphasizes: “That is what we Argentines are, screwing up before they fuck you up, highlighting the price before they tell you about it. What we do is super rational and that is based on experience. We are distrustful towards the future because in the past we have already been screwed. We don't want it to happen to us, this time we want to go first ”.

And remember that with the crisis of 2011 he took all his euros out of the bank.

He believed that everyone was going to do the same and the currency would crash in Portugal.

But no one took their money out and the euro did not collapse.

In Argentina, the country of bullfights, the opposite would have happened.


Andrés Malamud was born on December 12, 1967 in Olavarría, province of Buenos Aires.During the democratic transition he reinstated in the city of Buenos Aires to pursue a degree in Systems, but the fervor for Alfonsinism upset that idea and changed the exact sciences by political science.

It was thus that he received with honors in the career of Political Sciences that he studied at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).

Later he did a doctorate in Social and Political Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence.

He has lived in Portugal since 2002, where he works as a researcher at the University of Lisbon.

He has claimed himself as an orthodox Weberian, albeit a bit Gramscian.

Right now

A BOOK: The Mind of the Righteous by Jonathan Haide or Cognitive Biases by Daniel Kaneman

A MOVIE OR SERIES: Breaking bad

ONE WISH: To return.

A PROJECT: Advise a government that I like.

A MEAL: Roast with friends

ONE DRINK: Scotch smoked whiskey.

A POLITICIAN: Domingo Faustino Sarmiento.

ONE MOMENT: Florence, my doctorate where I met my wife.


Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-05-11

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