Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Corruption in Argentina

Jennifer said...

I know this comment does not have anything to do with defensive choke moves, but I was wondering your thought on the infrastructure plan just announced by your president Cristina Kirchner?
President Cristina Kirchner on Tuesday unveiled a massive public spending plan to pump more than 21 billion dollars into Argentina's infrastructure and counter effects of the global cash crunch.
Would like to see a blog on that.

Hi Jennifer.
Unfortunately none of that gets to the people, not in any significant ammount.
This isn’t as easy to understand for people that come from places where things do work.
How can I explain this?
It’s all a big fat lie, ok?
This government ( and the ones we had for the last 20 years and beyond, both democratic and dictatorships) are so corrupt, it all disappears in a labyrinth of corruption and bureaucracy.
People in other countries are used to seeing people that don’t work form a line once a month and get paid unemployment or coupons.
That doesn’t happen here.
They talk, do a lot of talking, but the population never sees any of it.
For example, our gov. received 250 MILLION USD by the BID to get the terribly polluted “Riachuelo” river cleaned, a problem that is constantly causing deaths and chronic diseases to those of us that live in the south suburbs of Bs As.
Thank God I’m not that close, but those that live closer to it suffer all kind of problems, specially increased the infant death a lot.
Money disappeared. The population now has to pay for the loan, but the river? Never got cleaned at all.
They announce incentive and support to promote national small and medium industry?
My wife owns one such medium industry.
All they get from the government is corrupt inspectors and tax inspectors that threaten to cause trouble if you don’t pay them bribes.
You have everything in order, pay all your taxes?
Ok, one they you go to the bank and find that a tax inspector froze your account, due to some “suspicious” things he supposedly found.
When you confront such inspector he claims it was all a mistake.. but unfortunately your have to “tip” him a bit, if you want your account released sooner than say … 6 months give or take.
So if your business can survive that long without it’s account, that’s all good.. if not you have to pay this scumbag.
Where do you go? The authorities? They ARE the authorities.
How about real poor people?
Same kind of corruption going on.
The 300 bucks poor unemployed families are supposed to receive. Only get distributed among those that go to the protests, conferences and rallys supporting the current political power.
If not, you don’t get nothing.

Milk for the poor? They are supposed to give humanitarian packager to kids that otherwise starve to death.. but mysteriously only an extremely small of that milk ever falls in the hands of an actual poor mother trying to feed her kids.
The rest gets sold by the political figure in charge, and then gets sold again, showing up in other countries of South America, illegally crossing the border, even gets sold on the internet.

This is what happened when you mix a history of corruption, an authoritarian government, and local media censorship.

I can assure you, no one in this country, at least no one that isn’t mentally challenged OR has his own interests ( lots of corrupt bastards out there, getting rich supporting the political “punteros” ( district political leader), no one believes this woman’s lies.

What I particularly dislike about this government is how it controls the meida, and how it works very much like Chavez in Venezuela, but it’s supposedly a democracy.
In many ways, a false democracy like the one we have now, is worse than the military dictatorships we once had.
This is not me being paranoid. The truth is obvous and out there for anyone to see.
MR. Kirchner handed over the power to his wife, Ms. Kirchner ( shameless fraudulent campaign) .
Once she’s done, Mr . Kirchner is of course going to win the elections for a second ride (already talking about it on the media, preparing the field) , and then hand it over to his wife once more.
What kind of democracy is that?

Edited to add:

Jennifer said...

Interesting blog. The reason that I was curious is that our US elect president wants to help our country in the same way, by dumping lots of money in our infrastructure. Thanks.

Its complicated.
Here’s were our country differences may kick in.
USA is far less corrupt than Argentina. FAR less corrupt.
Specially these days, we are run by thugs.
I mean, it got up to the point were Mr. Kirchner, the ex president and husband of the current president Cristina, went to break a protest in Plaza de Mayo along with some other thugs including a savage character called Luis Delia, another one called Moreno, and a national kick boxer turned body guard ( several time world champ “Acero” Cali ) and they started to beat up middle class folk that were peacefully protesting.
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing live on TV that day. Even Hollywood doesn’t come up with stuff this bizarre.

I don’t picture Obama making such a blunt, 3rd worldly demonstration of power.

What I fear the most about Obama is the control the guy will have.
People got scared due to the economic USA crisis, when people are scared they are willing to trade freedom for security and peace of mind.
You all saw that with the bailout. Doing the incorrect thing, because supposedly, the alternative was worse.
That’s a dangerous path to travel.
We went through that path ourselves, and now we have people running the country that are best buds with the likes of Chavez and Fidel, something completely unimaginable 10 years ago.
10 years ago, the overall public would not have accepted it. A few years of brainwashing and people now applaud these petty dictators.

Who would have imagined nationalized banks in USA?
Almost 7 years ago when I first stared getting online people said that what now happens in USA could never happen.
They said that what I had to tell about our crisis was interesting, but the thought of that happening in USA was laughable.

I’m not going to take credit on anything because I told these people that most probably they were right, I said it wasn’t likely, but I also told them we thought it would never happen here too.

Never say never, and prepare for the worst. And I’m not talking about nuclear war or zombies attacking if you know what I mean.




Anonymous said...

Interesting blog. The reason that I was curious is that our US elect president wants to help our country in the same way, by dumping lots of money in our infrastructure. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

As ever, fascinating post...perhaps you should consider a deal with some American publishing house to put together a story and/or a practical guide. I'd wager it would sell if the price was right.

On an aside, is your foxy dictator typical of B.A. women?

FerFAL said...

JAJAJA! No, she's the ugliest pile of old flesh and botox you can find.:)

The vice president's wife Karina Rabolini used to be hot when she was younger ( ex fashion model).


FerFAL said...

The book/practical guide is under development. Once I'm done I'll probably publish it through Lulu.


Clay said...

You have an interesting point about the things people will give up when they perceive that they are in a crisis. Is that the same way it happened there?

Good luck with getting published! I've read your words for many years now, I saw the people saying you were crazy for comparing the US and Argentina. Lucky for me I heard what you had to say and am much better off now, because of it. Thank you.

kpocaB4er said...

Hi FerFal

Nice blog, really. I'm from country which (from my point of view) is near crisis too (Ukraine). Can you please bit more describe what happened with bank system after crisis, most of all I'm interesting what was with people who had long-term credits for real estate, f.e. ? What banks made to get their downpayments ?

Anonymous said...


I just read your blog back about 3 months. Thanks so much for the firsthand account of Argentina and contratulations on your new baby!

Question: What happen to electronic payment systems in 2001 in Argentina? Were ordinary paper checks processed? I ask these questions because I am trying to decide how much cash I need to have on hand.

Stuki said...

Though obviously far less blatantly corrupt than Argentina, I think you are being too sanguine about the prospects for 'Infrastructure Investments' to do much good even here.

We already have a long history of ever increasing public investments in so called 'education' to use as a predictor for the efficacy of Obama's promised investments. In their own way, the recent bank bailouts were sold as 'investments in a collapsing financial infrastructure' as well. So much for either of these benefiting the public at large.

Just like in Argentina, by far most of the money will simply end up in the coffers and pockets of those in a position to skim it off.

What we do have much less of here, is the low level graft that seem so prevalent in poorer countries. There are generally enough checks and balances to prevent the kinds of bribery culture you speak of from taking hold. At least for now, with public coffers not completely dry, and public official salaries at least above subsistence.

Seeing how blatant and unapologetic some police departments are getting about writing traffic tickets specifically for revenue collection, makes me wonder if we're not moving in that direction as well. If police officers are increasingly supposed to provide for their own upkeep to lessen budgetary pressures, how long before other official gatekeepers are tacitly asked to follow suit?

Anonymous said...

One thing I've noticed in USA is the ever-increasing change of police into more militaristic units. 50 years ago Officer Friendly the beat cop had a smile on his face and was a helpful guy. These days cops are armed to the teeth, wearing tactical vests and have no regard for the people they come in contact with. Everyone without a badge is a target to them. These days, every single little thing you say to a cop can only be used against you, never for you. That is why I say only bad things can come from a police encounter.

We don't have cops committing crimes and taking bribes yet(or at least very a minuscule amount) but I fear this will change for the worse soon, and I'm probably afraid of this more than anything else in our coming SHTF situation.

Stuki said...


Interestingly enough, a lot of the ‘depersonalization’ of the police force came about specifically to prevent cops from forming friendly bonds with those they policed, in order to prevent corruption. The LAPD was for a long time (may still be) barred from working anywhere near their own communities, to ensure their ‘impartiality.’

The problems that were supposed to be solved by this, were those of the kid growing up in a neighborhood and becoming a local cop, while his/her relatives still have close ties to people he/she may have to investigate. In some ways, and especially in light of the corruption that used to be present in East Coast cities, this was a noble goal. But it was, I believe, found to be a contributing reason to the unusual brutality and lack of concern LAPD officers were becoming known for around the time of the LA riots. And to the resentment at the cops felt by the local population, as well. So it certainly swings both ways.

In a SHTF scenario, this ‘police as an exurban militia driving into the city to work every day’, will also likely lead to most of them staying home should things get bad enough, another prominent ‘feature’ of the LA Riots. As professional as some of them may be, if it comes to protecting their own families in a meltdown or going to work fifty miles away, I bet many will call in sick until the worst is over.

Anonymous said...

FerFal... I am interested in what you carry everyday in Argentina. Would you be able to post a picture of that?

Anonymous said...

Hola Ferfal

Hey you may have thievery over there, here we just have bureaucratic paralysis and incompetence. The kicker is that any economic stimulus here is either financed or monetized (just printed) either way is just debasement or the currency. Argentina doesn't have these deep systemic problems believe it or not because your economy doesn't have the over extension we have in the credit market bubble, nobody will lend Argentina the money. We've gotten a free ride due to the international acceptance of our currency. Had we been on a "pay go system" we would have never gotten so emasculated, out industry would still be here instead of somewhere in China.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm from Odessa, Ukraine.
And now we're heading to what Your country had in 2001. It's just the beginning now...
I've read Your post ar Frugal's(it's about 2005|Oct)... Any way THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll read THIS blog later, and I think there would be questions and some more comments..Anyway - thank You wery much again.
Best Regards,
mailto: galkevich@i.ua

FerFAL said...

Clay, yes, people voted for teh first Kirchenr becuase, in hteir minds, even if corrupt, it seemed like the best alternative ( at least to them)
I dont vote for corrupt politicians, I've impugnated my vote many times so far.

kpocaB4er, at least here, those that got a loan in dollars and bought real estate did a good deal, since then they only had to return a smaller percentage of what they got, while retainin a brick and mortar investment.

"Question: What happen to electronic payment systems in 2001 in Argentina? Were ordinary paper checks processed?"

For a long time, it was cash only.
Till this day, many dont accept credit card, debit is more widely accepted.

"FerFal... I am interested in what you carry everyday in Argentina. Would you be able to post a picture of that?"

that's probably teh next post or so, I'll do it as soon as I have time to take some pics ;)

Thanks everyone :)

Weaseldog said...

FerFAL, the USA will continue to follow your country's lead.

Once the government wages are no longer enough to get by on, we'll see the same sort of corruption.

With the US Gov wishing $Trillions out of thin air to give away to wealthy foreign institutions, we're going to see hyperinflation coming in hard, in six months or so.

Wages will not keep up. Gasoline will pass $6/gal, kicking off a new wave of business bankruptcies.

It's too bad I didn't run into you on the internet earlier. I've been making similar arguments, after doing a bit of self study of the IMF.

In 2000, it became clear that Argentina was in the IMF's sights. And I wondered then, when the USA would be taken down. I argued at the time that it would occur after the World Oil Peak. I figured that would signal the end of the petro dollar.

Almost everyone I know, told me that the USA was an economic powerhouse that would carry the day, and we in the USA would never have a worry in the world. Our economy is too big to fail you see.

Anonymous said...

We have public corruption in the US but the material wealth is so great that enough filters to the lower classes that many don't notice it. Unless you live out in the street, most poor here have air conditioning, TV, a video game system, potable water, electricity and enough food even if they live in what passes for a shack by our standards in the US.

At the federal level, the feds can't account for over a trillion at the Pentagon and $400 billion is still unaccounted for the TSA. Never mind the millions lost in Medicare and Mediaid and HUD over the years.

Luckily, on the average, I don't have to pay a bribe to register the car or file for a permit at the city office. I'll grumble about it, but at this point, I don't have to pay this guy and this guy and so on. But I imagine that could change if things got bad enough.

Anonymous said...

FerFal, I am so happy to read your blog. I am sad for the people of Argentina, but I am so happy that you are smart enough to put this into perspective for the rest of the world. Gracias.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how similar is your situation with ours in Russia and even more in Ukraine. ineffective government, omnipresent corruption and nepotism. really, you could just change the names in the text and nobody would know the difference. For example, only recently our State Duma (lower chamber of our parliament) postponed the introduction of anti-corruptional measures, such as obliging civil servants to declare their incomes, because (a literal quote) "in the face of current crisis it's too dangerous to undertake measures which could jeopardize the normal functioning of the state apparatus". Can you believe it? the whole state apparatus now officially depends on fucking bribes for normal functioning!!

just look at these two "democratically elected" bastards

but then again, we must be really close, Russians and Argentines, if we have so similarly fucked up governments :) so hola brother )

Anonymous said...

also, is it just me, or your president is too much into Botox and breast/lip implants?

Anonymous said...

The United States Government is corrupt. Chase Manhatten, the IMF, DouchaBank, Bank of America; these would be the shareholders of our beloved Federal Reserve.

These are the institution who use paper money supply to cause booms and busts within and economic system. Low interest rates encourage borrowing and the economy is evigorated with jobs, agriculure and infristrucute. Raise the rate and constrict money supply - economic upheaval and the infristructure and resources are bought up by international interests for pennys on the dollar.

The International Banking Cartel are professional economic hit men. How else can so many countries have the exact same crisis and resort to identical solutions.

Our government doesn't represent us (maybe 1 or 2) and our media is State run 5 massive Corporations (Military Contract) own all of it. I'm 35 years old and until 5 years ago, all I knew was, communism - bad. Why, who knows? Liberty, to choose where you want to work and live..... That is ignorrance and I'm afraid it offers fresh and furtial ground for the closing of our free society under tyrannical rule.

We are being propigandized with potential terrorist attacks and economic melt down.. You won't catch me saying "it can't happen here".

Anonymous said...


Great information! I am a U.S. citizen, and I would like practical insights on surviving hyperinflation if it occurs here. I am a single mom of 2 young children, and I have a good amount of savings. We have been stocking up on food (the Mormons have a great website on food that lasts over 20 years) Can anyone give advice on how to "navigate" the economic crisis that the U.S. is deepening into, and possibly the world? Thanks. (We have purchased some gold and silver coins, and we are going to get fishing poles.)

Anonymous said...

FerFal: Thank you so much for all your hard work here. We are headed to the same soup pot here in the US, I was wondering, looking back, (and I did go back and read your old posts) if any one thing stood out in your mind as the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" moment? Was there any kind of definitive action on the part of your government where everyone said"aha!"