The U.S. government and legislators from that country demonstrated again this week their concern for the poor business climate in Argentina. They say we close borders, that we do not pay debts and are unreliable. I have a message for the White House and Capitol Hill. Don’t worry. Now everything will change: We just had Chavez join Mercosur!
I am convinced this will provoke a sigh of relief in all of you. Commander Hugo is synonymous with legal certainty, and even if he has expropriated thousands of businesses, properties and independent media, he has has done so up front and usually pays compensation (that’s the part of Bolivarian socialism that Cristina does not like)
We Argentines are also happy. Now, at last, the great natural gas pipeline linking Caracas to Buenos Aires, which was announced during the presidency of Nestor (kirchner) will advance. The work is a bit delayed: let’s say, it has yet to be started. But when they start, hold yourself! They will advance at the same speed as the Banco del Sur, announced in 2007 and conceived as a South American International Monetary Fund. It’s a great idea, spectacular. Basically for now is just that: an idea. It will take shape and brin the Monetary Fund and the World Bank to its knees, even if for the Argentines, and especially for Kirchnerism, it may involve a great sacrifice: we propose that Boudou and Vandenbroele preside it, two entrepreneurs who surely at some point will become known.
It makes me salivate thinking about the momentum that will be gained by other initiatives we have been announcing for years. Do you remember the regional common currency, the Sucre? Of all the projects this is the most advanced, with the only subtlety that for now the common currency is the US dollar. I think if we want to finally make this happen, the right person to handle it is-again-Boudou. I tell him he has to create a new currency, the guy goes and solves everything.
And the Railroad of the South (Tren del Sur)? We announced it with much fanfare on August 20, 2008 at the railway station of La Rinconada, Caracas. What a wonder: a train that was to unite that capital with Buenos Aires. “It’s a realizable utopia,” the then Ambassador of Argentina in Venezuela, Alicia Castro dared to say. Work began and ended on that day. People seem to prefer a different type of adventure tourism. But now that he is unemployed Schiavi could be entrusted to restart it. In any case, with the suggestion that the train arrives station Retiro, rather than station Once.
And the 600 gas stations that were to be installed here jointly by Enarsa and PDVSA? They only built two and I think they have disappeared. Again, the idea was excellent. Perhaps the problem was that financing was from Banco del Sur, the gas was going to come via the Gasoducto del Sur and the materials needed were going to be brought by the utopian train.
Enarsa and PDVSA also did not build a dam, as they had promised, and never finalized the project of creating joint ventures for the enhancement of natural gas for cars. This is fine. If you do everything at once, the people adopt bad habits. With the addition of Chavez to Mercosur other things are guaranteed. Airplanes that come from Venezuelan with dollar for the lady’s campaign will no longer have to undergo custom’s controls. Air Traffic will be more fluid. For example, if the Boca Juniors team took four days to return from Caracas, in the future it will be no more than two or three days.
Another advantage: Chavez a few years ago lent us one billion dollars at a rate of 14%, which was considered abusive. For example, this is much higher than the one charged by the IMF. It was such a scandal that we never went back to ask him for a dollar. He was the last guy that threw some mangoes at us and we treated him like an usurer. Now that he is our partner (and the world continues not to lend us anything) we should apologize and re-finance ourselves with him It would be fair treatment: we tell him how much we want and he tells us at what rate. We should trust him. I don’t think it will be more than 20 percent.
On the other hand, the Lady already said it: Mercosur is now the fifth largest economy in the world. No matter that we live in a constant trade bout with Brazil, or that Uruguay accuses us of corruption in a dredging project in the Rio de La Plata and that we promoted the suspension of Paraguay to manage Venezuela’s entry into Mercosru via the back window. It does not matter if next year in Brazil people will be able to buy dollars even in tire stores, while here we want to turn into rubber those that buy dollars. What matters is what we want. Ti me the picture of Cristina, Dilma, Hugo and el Pepe together joining hands seems super tender. Let businessmen fight, let the people have fears, and let Governments kill each other: The Presidents will eat partridges.
Welcome then Commander Hugo Chavez of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Welcome to the natural gas pipeline, the bank, the train, the Sucre. The gas stations and the refinery. Welcome Antonini Wilson, the planes full of dollar bills and the transparent deals of the socialist Caribbean. And welcome, above all, a more democratic and respectful of human rights Mercosur, in which the assassins and rapists of our prisons could be rehabilitated campaigning for Hugo Chavez in Caracas.
(Note added: And now PDVSA says it will help Argentina exploit gas and oil deposits in the Falklands. Another empty promise)