Argentina, Hard

Señora Presidente

Thursday, November 8, 2007  

In a country where a steak is cheaper than a tomato, a new president was just elected who happens to be the wife of the current president. She is also a prominent senator in her own right. The centrist Christina Fernendez Kirchner won with 45% of the national vote. And the price of the tomato is finally settling back down to earth.

Labios de Christina sobre PutiFor the election, I was in El Bolsón, in the mountains of Patagonia. Nothing special for the election except it was raining that day so instead of hiking we went to a microbrewery there and couldn’t drink beer cause they don’t sell on election day. Guillermo, my boyfriend who is Argentine, went to the Police station there to get a certificate to prove he was more than 500 km from his voting place and was exempt from voting. Back in Buenos Aires he has to do one more errand here to get a stamp on his ID in place of his vote so he doesn’t have problems with the law in the future.

Everyone expected Christina and her collagen engorged lips to win (I found a torn-out piece of her campaign poster of just her lips placed on my wall, and also made this collage of Puti, the cat on the right.). Though that she avoided a runoff was the only question. Elisa Carrí­o who won Buenos Aires on the Socialist ticket is a fat woman (who used to be much fatter) who Guille describes as an opportunist who aligns herself with whoever. My friend Patricio says he always votes for her even though she loses. Roberto Lavagna, who was the minister of the economy during the financial crash here and obviously had a hand in selling off the assets of the country to foreign corporations, for some reason got many votes in 3rd place with 17%. And Pino Solana, a popular film director here, made a decent showing.

Political PostersEveryone here is just as cynical of the elections as in the US, if not more so considering this history of murderous military dictatorships and other forms of extreme corruption, and there is even more “chamuyo” (bullshit) in the campaigns, but at least it is much shorter and with fewer TV commercials than in the US. This entire election commenced and finished in the same time that passed just a single stage of fund raising in the US presidential presidential campaign, and that election is still a year away.

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