By: Carlos Aznárez / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / July, 10, 2016. Every aspect of the celebrations of the Independence Day this year demonstrated that we’re very far from it. In line with the last six months of neoliberal government, Mauricio Macri acted as an obedient and disciplined soldier of the right-wing onslaught in the South American region, and the statements he made would have embarrassed and infuriated the patriots that freed Argentina in 1816.
Macri didn’t come out of the woodwork nor is he just a product of the embassy of the US in Argentina —which worked arduously in the past years to insert several officers of their own in our national government. Macri and his mentors are ideological heirs of the convictions of the sell-out Generation of 1880, which came from aristocratic elites and imposed a political, economic and cultural model, which they called “modernizing”, and that had the ultimate goal of becoming exactly like London or Paris. To this end, they excluded vast sectors of the population from society, namely the poorest and those related to the indigenous peoples. Exactly like Macri is doing nowadays, through massive layoffs, tax increases by 300%, security protocols that increase repression and censorship, and so on.
This July 9th, had clear indications of the nature of the historical moment that Argentina is living. After 16 years of not being seen nor heard the military marched down the streets again, and also Macri marching amidst bishops and priests, an image that reminded of Spanish genocidal dictator Francisco Franco. Macri marched in the company of the great heir of Franco’s dictatorship, former King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Not only did Macri invited the King of Spain to the celebration of the country’s independence from, precisely, Spain; he also expressed pity for our liberators when, in his speech, he hypothesized that “those who declared the independence must have felt anxious, dear King (sic), about separating from Spain”.
King Juan Carlos is linked to the worst sectors of Spanish fascism, in fact, he was the intellectual leader of the 1981 coup known as the “Tejerazo”, which was carried out by right-wing military and Civil Guard troops; but he stepped down when it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be successful.
This King had also condecorated Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla and cooperated with the English when they invaded our Malvinas islands. And he is a symbol of imperialism for thousands of immigrants who came to Argentina from territories that Spain oppresses, like Basque Country, Catalonia or Galicia.
In fact, this King, who was loudly repudiated by social organizations of Buenos Aires [VIDEO], was one of the few “guests of honor” that showed up in the province of Tucuman, the birthplace of the Independency. No Latin American or European President showed up in the celebrations, and those present were low-ranking officers, such as the coupist Brazilian Minister of Defence Raúl Jungmann, or Uruguayan Vice President Raúl Sendic Jr., son of a true revolutionary, who would undoubtedly slap him in the face if he saw him surrounded by this sort of company. The only black sheep in the corral, whose presence was surprising, was Bolivian Vice President Álvaro García Linera.
Discursively, Macri insisted on the clichés with which he communicates, still insisting on the idea that his government has to deal with a country left in shambles by the previous administration (“we received a country severely punished by deceit and corruption”), to justify his policy of eliminating each and every one of the advances of the last couple of decades, tearing down things without building anything in their place, only throwing more Argentinians into misery.
When he addressed the workers (who are the most affected by his neoliberal policies), he patronizingly advised them to distance themselves “from what happened in the past, when there was an increase in absenteeism, licences and reduced working hours”. In other words, he implied they were lazy, which is the main justification for his government’s attacks to the working-class and, above all, to the state workers.
Macri repeated his worn-out slogans: “we’re on the right path”, “let’s assume our protagonism with joy”, and finally, that “given the precariousness of the situation, we had to make many hard decisions that pained me”. By this, he implied that the highly criticized tax increases that crush the people’s economies are irreversible, and he will surely be supported by a favorable ruling of the Supreme Court on this issue. It’s no coincidence that, when he was going down the streets in Tucuman, with few citizens there to see him, but with a populous police and military entourage, someone in the crowd broke the carefully constructed image of peace that the Public TV station tried to show by distinctly shouting “Macri, you son of a bitch!”, thereby contributing another analysis of reality.
Without a doubt, the 200th anniversary of the Independence didn’t invite the masses to the official ceremonies, because the lower layers of society gathered in their neighborhoods to celebrate the day and to think about everything that’s still left to do in order to reach the Second -and definitive- Independence, raising flags and singing songs, eating traditional food and drinking mate. Far from those shameful images that were transmitted from Tucuman, where people held signs that vindicated the 1976 dictatorship: “Human rights for rightful humans”, clearly in reference to the genocidal militaries that are in prison. Must we add any more reason to resist and to struggle?