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Radical Leftism Fails in Argentina

9:05 AM, Nov 19, 2012 • By JAIME DAREMBLUM
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Not only has the Kirchner government attacked Grupo Clarín and other media companies, it has also attacked independent statisticians. On September 7, the American Statistical Association sent a letter to the U.S. State Department complaining about a “continuing pattern of harassment and human rights violations, including the repeated imposition of confiscatory fines and threats of criminal sanctions, carried out by the Government of Argentina against a group of statisticians and allied professionals for compiling and disseminating price statistics using methods not approved of by that government.”

This is happening in a country with Latin America’s fourth-largest population and its third-largest economy; a country with great potential but a seemingly endless capacity for self-destruction. Kirchner is certainly not the first Argentine leader to pursue a disastrous form of left-wing populism. But her radical, 21st-century Peronism has squandered a commodity boom, destroyed an economy, and made Argentina a global pariah. Indeed, her stubborn refusal to honor debt obligations stemming from the 2001 default recently prompted Ghanaian authorities to detain an Argentine navy ship as collateral. Such are the humiliations that Argentines are now forced to endure.

Back in May, shortly after Kirchner nationalized YPF, Nobel Prize–winning Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa called the decision “totally demagogic and senseless.” Those four words sum up her entire presidency.

Jaime Daremblum, who served as Costa Rica’s ambassador to the United States from 1998 to 2004, is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute.

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