Latin America

New Argentinian president rejects Iran deal

According to Jeremy Corbyn’s favorite newspaper The Morning Star, the victory of Mauricio Macri in the runoff election for president of Argentina over outgoing president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s chosen successor Daniel Scioli is part of a sinister wave of US-backed destabilization against “leftwing” governments in Latin America.

The previous government of Cristina Fernandez was subjected to intense destabilisation, including a grave threat to financial stability through US court rulings in favour of “vulture funds.”

In this area, a verdict stated: “Argentina must pay vulture fund plaintiffs … before it could be allowed to pay the other 93 per cent of its bondholders, who had accepted debt restructuring haircuts in 2005 and 2010.”

Additionally, Fernandez had to face a very murky plot involving accusations from investigating attorney Alberto Nisman who sought to charge the government without grounds of having colluded in covering up the culprits of a terrorist attack against a synagogue in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Argentina’s conservative opposition, with sturdy US support, vigorously campaigned against the government, siding with the “vulture funds” and with Nisman’s false accusations as a means to oust the government.

Of course it wasn’t a synagogue that was the target of the 1994 attack that killed 85 people, but the AMIA Jewish community center building. And The Star manages to avoid mentioning the mysterious death of Nisman by gunshot last January, hours before he was scheduled to testify before an Argentine parliamentary commission about his allegations that Kirchner, Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and others covered up evidence against Iran for its role in the 1994 bombing.

A bit of background: Cristina Kirchner succeeded her husband Nestor Kirchner as president of Argentina. During Nestor Kirchner’s presidency in 2006, Argentine prosecutors charged and called for the arrest of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven other Iranians in connection with the bombing. They accused the Iranians of directing Hezbollah to carry out the attack.

Then in 2013 Cristina Kirchner’s government entered an agreement with the Iranian regime to create a farcical “truth commission” to investigate the bombings– which never met and, even if it had, would never have got to the truth about anything. It was this agreement that led to Nisman’s probe of a cover-up– a probe which probably cost him his life.

So I’m pleased that Macri has vowed to cancel the agreement with Iran as one of his first orders of business. We can only hope that it will be the first step toward obtaining the truth about Nisman’s death and a measure of justice for the victims of the AMIA massacre.

Although Macri is routinely described as “center-right,” it’s hard to imagine him doing a worse job than Kirchner’s government in controlling inflation and helping the poor.

And there’s this:

Macri has also made clear that he’ll break from some of the previous administration’s alliances, such as its close relationship with Venezuela.

On Monday, he reiterated his promise to push to expel Venezuela from the South American trade bloc known as Mercosur because of the jailing of opposition leaders. That would be a huge change for a continent where many countries, including neighbors Chile, Brazil and Bolivia, have left-leaning democratic governments that have maintained close ties with Venezuela.

As if to emphasis his commitment, during his victory celebration Sunday night, Macri took a picture with Lilian Tintori, the wife of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader in Venezuela who has been jailed since early last year.