"Ellos ganaron perdiendo y nosotros perdimos ganando", declaró este lunes la futura diputada nacional del Frente de Todos, Victoria Tolosa Paz, sobre los resultados electorales que el oficialismo recolectó el domingo.
In last Sunday’s midterm elections the ruling party Frente de Todos suffered some severe losses to the opposition Juntos por el Cambio.
"They won by losing and we lost by winning,” is what on Monday the elected deputy of the Frente de Todos, Victoria Paz said about the results on Sunday’s election.
As an Argentine-born Canadian I am always astounded on how Argentines can do George Orwell’s 1984 one better with a peculiar regularity.
Some years ago a prosecutor Alberto Nisman, on the eve of declaring information that would have confirmed a suspicion that the then President of Argentina Cristina Kirchner had colluded with Iran on the car bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish cultural centre, was found mysteriously dead. An investigation by the ruling party (Kirchner’s) determined it was suicide. Years later with more investigation and independent ruling of murder was declared.
It was here where the Argentine press invented the curious term “lo suicidaron” or he was suicided.
Not too many months ago when President Alberto Fernández had a few missteps, the serious newspaper La Nación stated that Fernández had “auto Talibaned himself”.
Since the late 60s the de facto currency of Argentina has been the US Dollar and not the Argentine Peso. In my subsequent visits to Buenos Aires, with Rosemary we would take a generous supply of fifty US Dollar bills. On the main downtown street mall of Calle Florida you will find unmoving men (and more recently women) who will whisper (and sometimes loudly as what they do is not illegal), “dólares.” These men because they do not move are called arbolitos or little trees. And they work out of offices called cuevas or caves.
While in other countries this would be deemed a black market, in Argentina it is called “el dollar blue”. There is a story that may be apocryphal that when Maradona was asked as to the why of this name he answered, “I don’t care if its green or blue I know what a dollar looks like.”
The government tries to manage inflation and the country’s finances by imposing cepos which are controls on how many dollars one can buy at the official rate (always below the Blue) or limit how many dollars one can take out from a bank account.
My family does not store US cash in the bank or under the mattress. They store it in safety deposit boxes at those banks. My nephew tells me that the money in the box makes more interest than if the cash were deposited in an account.
In my frequent visits to my native Buenos Aires there is one element of stability that for me is comforting. I will go to La Plaza de Mayo and into La Catedral Metropolitana. There on one of the side altars there will allways be two tall Granaderos de San Martín in their splendid Napoleonic uniform standing guard by the mausoleum of General Don José de San Martín.
To me he has always been similar to George Washington. After liberation Argentina, helping in Chile and then liberating Peru he went to live in Boulogne-sur-Mer in France and did not return until he was dead. He never did take advantage of his power. Washington faded by his own will in a similar way.
Now while I can name the horses of Alexander, Wellington, Lee, Don Quijote and Grant, nobody in Argentina has ever been able to find out the name of José de San Martín's white horse.