Macri’s Feigned Fatherly Feud

                    ON 10TH FEBRUARY 2017, Mauricio Macri, current president of Argentina, wiped off 5-billion pesos of debt (£300 million) his father’s Correo Argentino owed the Argentinian government. In particular, they approved a repayment plan ending in 2033 where the net payment had been whittled down to a trifling £20 million, or less than £10 million in present-value terms.

          The overnight decision flabbergasted most of his supporters, most of whom believed that voting for his party would represent a move away from institutional profiteering – one of the largest perceived problems of the previous 12-year long administration.

          It wasn’t just the sheer scale of the corruption scandal that was hard to believe. As the everyday newsreader thought Macri junior and senior had fallen out long ago, the very fact that the two of them colluded also came as a big surprise. Today’s aim is to expose this brilliant fabrication – the feud between the Macris – that allowed the government to fool the Argentine people out of a sum that, by the end of the new repayment scheme, would have amounted to 13% of the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

          In 1997, Correo Argentino, ex-national postal service company, was leased out on a concession basis to Franco Macri’s Sociedad Macri (SOCMA). The terms of the concession were that SOCMA would manage the company for a 30-year term, making biannual payments of 51.6 million pesos to the government. The conglomerate made payments for one year, and then stopped. By 2001, SOCMA’s debt to the state and private creditors had ballooned to USD 900 million, which forced the government to initiate legal proceedings. They culminated in the cancellation of practically all government debt. Nevertheless, Mauricio Macri has been purportedly at odds with his father from the early stages of his political career.

          Ahead of the 2009 mid-term election in which Mauricio Macri’s party would come out victorious for the first time, his father stated to the press that “this time around, I’m casting my vote for Mauricio with my heart, while my brain tells me to go for Néstor [Kirchner]”[1]. Around the same time, Mauricio told the media his dad was rather senile and he should not be listened to. Franco Macri’s negative thoughts towards his son’s political aspirations became more nuanced when Mauricio became a serious presidential candidate[2]. In 2014, Franco said “I don’t want my son to be President, I fear for his and his family’s lives”. However, when Mauricio got elected he reverted into more aggressiveness, making such remarks as “I rate my son’s job as President a 5/10”[3]. Some time before, Mauricio Macri had been asked about his views on a number of politicians and then about his father, he said “well… my dad’s an altogether different story”, putting a swift end to that line of questioning[4].

          In essence, the ordinary newspaper reader was led to believe father and son would never, ever co-operate. They were completely oblivious to their complicity.

          It is crystal-clear that Mauricio Macri employs a numerous team of spin-doctors advising him on what to say and how to say it. The name of the person who’s pulling the strings for him is Jaime Durán-Barba, whose recommendations for politicians include “not proposing anything” and “not explaining anything”[5].  It was pointed out that the second time he ran for Mayor of Buenos Aires, his advertisements were a carbon-copy of the ones a Portuguese politician had recently used for his own publicity campaign – further proof that he is being advised by a team of international experts.

          Thus, the evidence he has been strategically advised to feign a fight with his father is overwhelming. As Mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri had already been devious-enough to choose his father’s construction company for the undertaking of a large scale bike-path building project that cost USD 15,000 a block (while cost-estimates that circulated in the media did not exceed USD 1,000 a block, given the shoddy quality of the paths) – clearly a case of bid-rigging.

          Can businessmen get away with milking ex-state-owned enterprises, not paying a penny for it and, on top of that, duping everybody into thinking they’ve chosen the government that allowed for that to take place only with their heart?  There is a country in the world where it can happen.

Carlos Crítico – Voice of the Left 

[1]Irretrievable, paper edition of La Nación newspaper in 2008. A similar, though later remark can be found here: http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1656621-franco-macri-el-proximo-presidente-tiene-que-salir-de-la- campora

[2]http://noticias.perfil.com/2014/01/22/franco-macri-se-retracta-temo-que-sea-presidente-por-miedo-a-que-sufra/

[3]http://www.infobae.com/politica/2017/01/15/franco-macri-elogio-a-su-hijo-pero-califico-su-gobierno-con-un-5/

[4]https://www.pagina12.com.ar/20594-volvamos-a-foja-cero

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrypDqCHfBs, source in English.

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