After a long period of stubbornness, unwise behaviors, and huge acts of arrogance by a government who believed that populism could provide them with a way of securing eternal stability in power, the leader of the main opposition alliance, Mauricio Macri, was elected president of Argentina against all predictions.
A True Miracle
Therefore, this put an end to a disgraceful 12-year project which, in the interest of transformation, was prepared to do anything to keep power and privileges and to pull the strings to prevent shedding light on the masquerade of the country’s rebuilding tale.
The results of the elections were 51.3% for Macri against 48.7% for Daniel Scioli, Argentina’s ruling party presidential candidate.
A bit less than 3% difference between the two. This narrow margin has been used as a battering ram to say that “Kirchnerism” still represents half the country. Another version of the tale they attempted to create without taking into account the characteristics of a runoff and, especially, paying no heed to opinion polls that show that 76.3% of Argentines support the new president’s administration.
Regardless of this (and assuming that as the old saying goes “a new broom sweeps clean”), the fact is that day after day Macri’s administration keeps surprising us. For instance, he has resumed dialogue that had been interrupted for the last twelve years; met with all the other presidential candidates; invited all the provincial governors to a joint meeting; resumed cabinet meetings and press conferences. In addition, he has unified the currency market with no stress or bank run. At the same time, he has cancelled the Pact with Iran that paralyzed the trial for those accused of the attack on the AMIA Jewish Center.
Concurrently, on occasion of his first meeting with his peers during a plenary session at the Mercosur Summit (Southern Common Market), he appealed for the freedom of jailed opposition leaders in Venezuela, thus confirming that the ignominious alignment with the Venezuelan axis was over.
But there are more examples. He has begun to provide actual evidence of his battle to control public expenditure; he has clearly shown his commitment to combat all forms of corruption. He has sent out a very clear message regarding the fight against drug trafficking by starting a major purge in the top security agencies.
Finally, on the eve of the first anniversary of the tragic death of Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was in charge of the AMIA bombing investigation and of the accusation against former President Cristina Kirchner and her Foreign Minister for covering up the Iranians accused of the attack, Macri held a meeting with Nisman’s daughters at his home and promised to deliver them “justice”.
Argentina has started on a new road. It is a road that takes the country away from Apocalypse and paves the way for its reintegration in today’s world and, basically, into tomorrow’s world.
It will be a tough road, fraught with danger, with good and bad times. But the signals look most promising.
The government is clear about “the mountains it has to climb.»
Resolving the conflict with the holdout lenders (bondholders who rejected the swap led by former President Néstor Kirchner) is a matter that needs to be settled right away as it is critical for the country to re-enter capital markets, without which it will be impossible to climb some of the mountains lying ahead. The government is aware of this and the holdouts know that this is a new administration willing to solve the issue. It will not be at any price, as has been clearly shown by Argentina. It will be materialized by reaching an agreement in broad daylight and with no secret clauses.
It is remarkable how the new government sticks to its principles and commitments.
There are glimpses that Argentina has started on a clear recovery process. A process that will comprise all of society’s layers and aspects.
Argentina is a country richly endowed with both natural and human resources, and an immense cultural heritage.
Argentina is a dormant giant that had fallen into a shameful lethargic state on account of a system that challenged individual liberties, eliminated all kinds of dialogue, and set up a regime of privileges that has numbed many individual capacities and has silenced any attempt to disclose crimes involving government officials. However, Argentina is a giant that is starting to stretch out and is willing to set into motion the energy accumulated during this protracted impasse.
Argentina will have ups and downs in 2016, but in 2017 it will indeed show it has awakened as a stronger country, ready to become a new benchmark among the world’s most important nations.
It is time to set eyes on Argentina again, where tourism and the hospitality business will see huge opportunities in forthcoming years. It will be the start of a path that will lead the country to become one of the major players in the industry.
One example is the decision to unify the currency market to get rid of the vicious muddle created by the previous administration.
President Macri explained it during his presidential campaign and promised to do so on day one. Sticking to his word, he lifted controls on the fourth business day he was in office, and against all assumptions about the exchange rate, the dollar was left free to be determined solely by market forces. The market reacted as it does when it feels confident, knowing that it is heading for a more certain and transparent future. Everything went smoothly and the exchange rate was lower than on the days prior to its unification.
“Confidence” is what best defines what has happened.
Of course, no one can get away from the fight against one of the worst scourges inherited from the previous administration, i.e. the battle against inflation. It will be a huge challenge and it will take some time to curb it. This first year will be rather tough in this sense and will need the market forces to support the government’s efforts.
“Sacrifice” is a word the Argentines will have to recall as it is also needed to forge a bright future.
For the first time in years, an Argentine president will rule without holding a majority in either house of Congress. This will be another major challenge that will be faced with the resumption of sessions on March 1.
“Dialogue”, dialogue and more dialogue will be the motto if politicians understand society’s claim to make up for the lost time.
Domestic and incoming tourism have the capacity to double the impact they currently have on the country’s economy. As regards the latter, a short-term objective is to get to 12 million arrivals and an annual revenue of USD15 billion, which in turn will fuel new investments on the order of USD20 billion in the next ten years.
It is time to see where to get positioned so as to keep growing and access a market that will soon become quite strong for a very long time.