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2/23/09

From a Porteño viewpoint: Eduardo Duhalde

This week, El Porteño brings us an inside look at Eduardo Duhalde. Neither a hit-piece or a note from a Duhalde fan club, he brings us some excellent insight on this most important of Argentine political players. It's a pleasure to have such a great voice on Argentina as a regular guest blogger. All yours, Porteño:

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I still recall the year 2002 when Eduardo "The Godfather" Duhalde took over the presidency (after the infamous period of five Presidents in one week). They were Kafkaesque times and it was the worst crisis in our modern history. Somebody was needed to do the dirty work and Duhalde it was who was chosen to "pesificate" debt (ottonote, turn debt held in dollars into Argentine Pesos), especially of the large companies. I myself went out into the streets, banging my casserole and demanding that a delinquent such as he should resign. Later, Duhalde had to call snap elections after the police killed two young protestors in a demonstration and thus Nestor Kirchner arrived on the scene with the support of Duhalde, but later they fell out.

At that time I remember public opinion saying that Duhalde could never return to politics, but he said, "In the next crisis they'll come looking for me. I'm a good fireman and brave enough to make unpopular decisions". He was right.

Today everybody knows that only Duhalde can tame the disparate politics in Buenos Aires Province (ottonote; economic powerhouse region of Argentina and key state for all politicians). He has a close relationship with the five or six big owners of Argentina and with Nestor losing power and influence the opposition is looking to take advantage. Duhalde knows he cannot be a candidate himself but he is gathering all the conservative opposition around him, uniting the right-wing Peronists, the liberals, the oligarchy and the powerful rural landowners. Macri, Solá and Francisco de Narvaez are his candidates.

Obviously none of them can publicly declare they are 'employees' of Duhalde, but we all know that 'The Godfather' is the power behind this alliance. It's difficult to explain to those not versed in Peronist history, but the typical oligarchic power in Argentina needs Duhalde like a mafia capo to manage the common people and make the economic decisions that those powers need.

I only ask that all who vote for Macri realize that in fact they are voting for Eduardo Duhalde.