Festive Left Friday Blogging: Gracias a la vida…

It’s hard for me to feel “festive”, exactly, when Néstor Kirchner is gone. But it’s Friday, and the man’s life deserves a round of applause; he achieved what many thought was impossible. So let’s start with a documentary that shows just what a position Argentina was in when he came to power:

He was in almost a cameo role there. And at the end it appears that he’s just another of the same old political class that screwed Argentina into the mess the workers are trying to pull it out of, one occupied factory at a time.

Happily, this proved not to be the case. Néstor Kirchner was a progressive who helped Argentina get away from its worst oppressor. He was not such a radical as the right-wing media made him out to be, but he made a big difference. And he did it with the help of his friends:


I always liked this cute shot of him with Chavecito. The charm and friendship of the two is very apparent.

And Chavecito was only the first. As the economic and political tides of South America began to shift over the past decade, other progressive leaders came in line: Evo in Bolivia, Lula in Brazil, Correa in Ecuador, Lugo in Paraguay, Pepe Mujica in Uruguay. The continent began to pull together, with democratic self-rule the order of the day and solidarity among nations to give the project a firm economic spine. Today, there are only three conservative governments on the whole continent, and in spite of Washington’s efforts to isolate the progressives in the smaller countries, it is those in the larger ones, including Argentina, who have given notice that this sovereignty-self-rule-solidarity thing isn’t going away. In fact, it’s the conservatives who are becoming isolated. And if the recent Colombia-Venezuela quarrel is anything to go by, the conservatives are losing out by selling out. Their biggest trading partners, it turns out, are local and not in North America or Europe. And if one of them steps out of line, as Colombia did by bombing Ecuador in 2008, the disapproval of the larger fish, most notably Argentina, made it clear that the proxy wars of Washington Consensus days were not going to go the same old way anymore. The gringos and their puppets weren’t going to win this one. And indeed, Chavecito and Correa came out on top. Having the backing of the continent’s economic giants made a difference, just as it made a difference when Chavecito helped Kirchner shake off the IMF.

And now, Argentina needs that solidarity again. And is getting it:


(Tweet-photo of Chavecito and widowed president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, by @mauriciominci.)

Let the ghouls of the markets celebrate Kirchner’s death. They don’t run that country anymore. The people do, and Néstor was on their side. So much so that the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, who are implacable leftists, stopped holding their regular anti-government protests during his reign, declaring that they “no longer had an enemy” in office–an important first, since they have been protesting virtually uninterrupted since the dying days of the Junta. Theirs was a prominent presence at the funeral services today. That is a sign of approval that I think says it all. I’m celebrating his life, always in the hope that others will pick up where he left off and carry the great project forward.

Hasta siempre, Presidente.

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1 Response to Festive Left Friday Blogging: Gracias a la vida…

  1. otto says:

    ay bina, me mataste con eso

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