It feels like a good wind is blowing over Argentina. It all started with the celebrations after it was known that Scioli (the pro-K presidential candidate) had about 36% and Macri (the opposition) with his party suitably called ‘Cambiemos’ (let’s change) had 34% of the votes. But don’t get me wrong, the celebrations weren’t because Sciolli had ‘won’, but because -against all expectations- he hadn’t : he didn’t have 40% and 10 points difference to the opposition, which means we are going for a 2nd round, for the first time in Argentine history, on Nov 22.
Even though it is not at all certain that Cambiemos will eventually win the presidency, it is at least clear that the majority wants change. And you don’t have to be an expert to know that change is more than needed.
Inflation is sky-high (over 30%), there is an artificial official dollar rate, and there is the blue dollar worth about double, there is the ‘cepo’ (limit on amount of pesos that can be exchanged into dollars, necessary to pay foreign suppliers/import goods) and there are the import restrictions. Just to name a few.
The K’s moto is ‘après nous, le déluge’. “Let the next government solve the problems (we caused)”. They couldn’t care less about the future of our beloved country. **
But now they have also touched the airlines. Of course it does not come out of the blue, but the big airliners, knowing that they are have more and more trouble to exchange their pesos into dollars due to the cepo***, and fearing a repetition of what happened in Venezuela, have now decided to not offer special prices for the flights booked out of Ezeiza anymore, and it will not be possible to book a flight more then 90 days ahead. Not that it will change a lot, I have been traveling back and forth to Europe this year and never saw any special rate, rates by the way, that start off at 1750 usd, where as a flight with the same company but in the other direction (to and not from BA) is about 1000usd.
But I am claustrophobic. Even in a huge country like Argentina, where you need days to drive to both the south and the north, in order to reach the boarder, a land that is empty, a land that is fertile and rich ; the mere fact that outbound flights might be limited and super expensive touches my feeling of freedom. A change must come. And it must come soon. Let’s cross our fingers for Macri/Cambiemos, that is all I can do, as I can’t vote, being a permanent, non-argentine, resident.
And a tough job will be awaiting him, getting this wonderful place back on track.
* “Après moi, le déluge” is a set phrase used to denigrate the attitude of someone who acts irresponsibly, without worrying on the consequences that his/her acts could have. Something like: “I don’t care what happens next, I’ll be gone”, “The world could collapse after I’m gone, no big deal”
** they literally said :”Vean estos números con el próximo gobierno porque nosotros nos vamos”
*** a good article about dollars and cepo and airlines