Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spain's conservative government - and the Socialist opposition! - loyally defend the Spanish One Percent in the YPF takeover

This is a mostly Spanish-language report from TV Pública Argentina about the object from the government of Spain to Argentine President Cristina Fernández' move to compel the sale of a 51% stake in the Argentine oil company YPF. The entire 51% will be taken from Repsol, a Spanish multinational who currently holds around 57% of the shares. None of the other investors will be required to sell their shares.

I have zero sympathy for conservative Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in this. He's aggressively implementing Angela Merkel's austerity policies, damaging the lives and well-being of his own people but he leaps to the defense of the Spanish-based multinational Repsol in the controversy. The fact that the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) is supporting Repsol as well is almost too pitiful for words. Though it's not really surprising. I am surprised at the PSOE leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba grovelling shamelessly to the president of Repsol, Antonio Brufau, who is also seen in the news report.

Rajoy: "Rompe el buen entendimiento en la relación entre ambos países" 04/17/2012:

EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso is seen in the report giving a statement in English defending Repsol's position. However, he uses the word "bilateral", which is a hopeful diplomatic sign from Argentina's point of view. The EU Commission would take a very limited role in a dispute they define as a bilateral dispute between Spain and Argentina.

Here is an English-language report from Euronews from a few days ago, before Cristina's formal proposal, Spain warns Argentina over energy nationalisation 04/13/2012:

Here are a couple of other important Argentine players in the current move to nationalize YPF. Julio De Vido, Minister of Planning and as of Monday acting head of YPF, and Axel Kicillof, Cristina's Vice-Minister of Economics and one of her closest advisers, who is acting as a leading advocate for the nationalization proposal.

La Nación is traditionally the paper of the Argentine "oligarchy", as the Peronists call them, the oligarchy being the traditional enemies of Peronism; in fact, their enmity to the Peronist Partido Justicialista (PJ) has been one of the defining characteristics of Peronist politics from the beginning to this day. Kicillof was the target of a hit piece in the paper last month by columnist Carlos Pagni: Axel Kicillof, el marxista que desplazó a Boudou 12.03.2012. It's really a pretty nasty piece. Kicillof does not describe himself as a Marxist, though it's pretty clear Pagni knows that. Kicillof was a professor of economics who, according to Pagni, approved of Nobel Prize winning economists Paul Krugman and Joe Stiglitz, and read some of Karl Marx' work in German. No doubt all very sinister signs for a economist who Pagni notes specialized in the history of economic theory. He throws in that his mother was a psychoanalyst and his great-grandfather was a famous rabbi in Odessa, Russia. (In other words, he's Jewww-wwwish!) What a sleazy piece. You would hope that even the oligarchy's paper wouldn't want to run trash like that. But apparently you would be wrong.

Gee, the Argentine One Percent and their spokespeople hate Cristina and her policies! Of course, we didn't need a sleazy column from this fool Carlos Pagni in La Nación to know that.

(Full disclosure: I also admire Stiglitz' and Krugman's work and I've also read some of Karl Marx in German. And I'll say to Carlos Pagni in German, lech mich doch. (You could translate it as "bite me" or "kiss my ***".)

Kicillof is also a bogeyman for Ezequiel Burgo in the anti-Cristina Clarín, Los secretos del gurú económico que logró hipnotizar a Cristina 15.04.2012. Despite the FOXist headline - "The Secrets of the Economics Guru Who Succeeded in Hypnotizing Cristina" - they only find him guilty of the economics-theory sin of specializing in the "heterodox" John Maynard Keynes. Yeah, he was "heterodox" in, oh, 1935. Even though macroeconomics has forgotten a lot of what he taught the profession that the current depression has shown to be extremely valid and durable. Maybe his psychoanalyst mama taught him hypnosis. But Cristina Fernández doesn't strike me as the type for fall under the spell of a Svengali. (Although there may be a nudge-nudge wink-wink sexual insinuation in the tone of the article.) They also noted his background as a "militant" in the Peronist youth organization La Cámpora, which for La Nación and presumably for many Clarín fans would be a negative thing. Though for a Peronist adviser in an activist left-leaning Peronist government, it's a plus. Burgo's article takes a critical, even unfriendly, attitude toward Kicillof. But he didn't seem to have found the kind of nonsense Pagni was slinging in La Nación.

Francisco Peregil also looks at Cristina's current circle of advisors, Kicillof included, in Fernández estrecha su círculo de poder El País 31.03.2012.

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