November 8, 2019
1. Alberto Fernández travels to Mexico
Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernández met last Monday with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, where the two leaders discussed trade relations between their countries, regional integration and the future of investments. Fernández was accompanied by key members of his team, including economist Cecilia Todesca and Felipe Solá while President López Obrador was joined by his Chief of Staff Alfonso Romo and Chancellor Marcelo Ebrard Casaubón. That same afternoon, the president-elect met with billionaire business leader Carlos Slim, who has significant investments in Argentina. To end the day, he had dinner with executives from Mexico’s ten most important companies. On Tuesday, he held a meeting with former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, followed by a talk at the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM), where he discussed the challenges facing Latin America. “The biggest challenge we have is to leave behind the stigma of being the most unequal continent. Nobody can be happy or calm with this reality. When I assume the presidency, 40% of Argentines will be below the poverty line – something that happens across the continent. The time has come to achieve equality,” Fernández stated. He also had lunch with Mauricio Claver, Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council, one of the architects of the White House regarding the rapid departure of Nicolas Maduro from Venezuela. His presence in Mexico and his off-agenda meeting with the president-elect show how Fernandez advanced in his political relationship with Trump.
2. Macri announces desire to lead opposition
In President Mauricio Macri’s first meeting with his cabinet following his electoral defeat on October 27th, he took advantage of the opportunity to clarify his intention to continue as a central figure in Argentine politics and lead the opposition beginning December 10th, when Alberto Fernández is sworn in. “To all those who asked whether or not I will retire from politics, I’d like to tell you that I’m here and will not be going anywhere,” he stated. “We have all done our part and that is very important. We will all go home with a clear conscience and our hands clean,” he stated in relation to the accusations of corruption made during the previous government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. President Macri is not without some competition for the spot, as the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR), a traditional party and key member of the president’s coalition, will attempt to take the reins of the opposition regardless of Macri’s intentions. On the other hand, the administration released a report developed by cabinet chief Marcos Peña and Finance Minister Hernán Lacunza. The official text states that the country is “ready to grow” since over the previous four years they “reversed what was inherited in 2015,” a point not shared by the president-elect. Fernández argues that the socioeconomic situation in Argentina is worse than when Macri took office, since inflation and debt levels are substantially higher.
El Cronista: Macri aspira a ser líder de la oposición
3. Bolsonaro continues to crticize Alberto Fernández
Tensions between Argentina and Brazil increased after general elections showed Alberto Fernández as the victor. First, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro heavily criticized Argentina’s decision at the polls and railed against the president-elect. He then took to social media to announce that three multinational corporations would be abandoning Argentina to set up in Brazil, but hours later deleted his tweet after two of these companies, L’Oréal and Honda, confirmed they would continue to operate out of Argentina. That same day, the president declared he would not send Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourão to Fernández’s inauguration. Finally, he published a video on social media comparing the Argentine and Brazilian economy. With all this in mind, it is likely that relations between the two countries will prove to be a challenge for the incoming government, given that healthy trade is key to both economies. From the Fernández camp, they believe Bolsonaro understands that the Argentine economy must improve in order to indirectly help out Brazil.
4. Alberto Fernández to meet with Grupo de Puebla in Buenos Aires
President-elect Alberto Fernández will host the second meeting of the “Grupo de Puebla” – the regional alliance created to counter the right-leaning “Grupo de Lima” – in Buenos Aires from today until Sunday. The meeting titled “Change is Progressivism” will include key left-leaning Latin American leaders such as Dilma Rousseff (former president – Brazil), José “Pepe” Mujica (former president – Uruguay), Fernando Lugo (former president – Paraguay), Ernesto Samper (former president – Colombia), Álvaro García Linera (vice president – Bolivia), José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (former prime minister – Spain) and Daniel Martínez (candidate in second round of Uruguayan elections). “In the Grupo de Puebla, we aren’t taking an ideological stand against anybody, it’s simply a meeting of all Latin American leaders who respect institutions and democracy,” stated Fernández during his Mexico trip. Moreover, the president-elect was open to serving as a bridge between the Grupo de Lima and the Grupo de Puebla, that hold different perspectives with respect to the Venezuela crisis. It is worth noting that Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro will not participate in either of the two groups.
5. IDB agrees to loan USD $6 billion to government of Alberto Fernández
President-elect Fernández reached an agreement with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) President Luis Alberto Moreno, to provide loans in areas deemed as priority by the multinational lender. The IDB’s active portfolio in the Argentine public sector consists of 65 operations for a total of USD $10 billion with an account balance to expend of USD $6 billion. These funds are earmarked for transportation and infrastructure, water and sanitation, health and social protection, urban development, competition and innovation, environment and rural development, education, energy, trade, financial and municipal management, institutional capacity and financial institutions. Moreover, IDB Invest will support and attend to the needs and demands of the Argentine private sector. IDB Invest is the IDB’s branch that promotes the development of member countries through private sector financing.