Argentina, the Dysfunctional Nation

Twenty years ago, a horrible terrorist act killed 87 and injured over 100 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  It was the worst terrorist in this hemisphere before 9-11. It targeted Jews at a major Jewish Center.

Sadly, we are still waiting for a formal explanation of what happened. How does the murder of 87 people remained unsolved for 20 years? It is a scandal of hemispheric proportions!  

The story has hit the international pages after the murder of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who was investigating the case and focusing on President Cristina Fernandez.

The investigation speaks volumes about Argentina, or what I call the dysfunctional nation. No one has done a better job of explaining Argentina today than Professor Jeremy Adelman (via Fausta's Blog):

"You know there’s trouble when a country has to sign deals with rogue states to prevent economic Armageddon. 

You know there’s serious trouble when a government parlays its investigation into a lucrative plan to botch it up.
The saga ravels together two longstanding problems.

The first is the vulnerability of Argentine institutions to manipulation and the weakness of the rule of law. After the AMIA bomb went off, then-President Carlos Menem promised justice. What followed was a sham. Corrupt police officers were arrested. Extraditions were deliberately bungled.  One Iranian spy, Abolghasem Mesbahi, reported that Menem received $10 million in his Swiss bank account from Tehran to thwart investigators. The federal judge overseeing the case, Juan José Galeano, was finally impeached more than 10 years later. One of the leading voices in the campaign for greater transparency in the investigations was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. In 2006, Nisman accused Tehran of abetting the Lebanese militants, Hezbollah, in the bombing.   

To cap things off, in 2013 the Argentine government signed an agreement with Iran to form a “Truth Commission” to investigate the AMIA bombing. A year later, an Argentine court ruled the agreement to be unconstitutional. A stacked Congress is appealing the decision. 

The Nisman affair is a saga that braids together incompetence, corruption, and murder on a global scale."

Argentina has sadly turned into a country where no one trusts the government and everone knows that justice is for sale. It seems that everyone in the street suspects that Mr Nisman was murdered by those who did not want to hear what he had to say before Congress. Not a soul in Argentina believes that it was a suicide or accidental death. Yet, everything continues and the man and woman in the street grows more cynical by the second.

Of course, this latest episode is not without consequences. The government's populist policies have scared international investors. It has created domestic havoc and put Argentina as #4 on Professo+r Hanke's misery index. It has also exposed Argentina's corruption and ties to rogue states.

Argentina is well known for "tangos", often passionate songs about tragic love stories.  

I don't believe that any "tango", past or yet to be written, can match the tragic reality of what we are seeing in Argentina today.  

As a great friend from Argentina said: "Great country but always a tango"!

P.S. You can hear my discussion with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz about Argentina here or follow me on Twitter.

Twenty years ago, a horrible terrorist act killed 87 and injured over 100 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  It was the worst terrorist in this hemisphere before 9-11. It targeted Jews at a major Jewish Center.

Sadly, we are still waiting for a formal explanation of what happened. How does the murder of 87 people remained unsolved for 20 years? It is a scandal of hemispheric proportions!  

The story has hit the international pages after the murder of Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who was investigating the case and focusing on President Cristina Fernandez.

The investigation speaks volumes about Argentina, or what I call the dysfunctional nation. No one has done a better job of explaining Argentina today than Professor Jeremy Adelman (via Fausta's Blog):

"You know there’s trouble when a country has to sign deals with rogue states to prevent economic Armageddon. 

You know there’s serious trouble when a government parlays its investigation into a lucrative plan to botch it up.
The saga ravels together two longstanding problems.

The first is the vulnerability of Argentine institutions to manipulation and the weakness of the rule of law. After the AMIA bomb went off, then-President Carlos Menem promised justice. What followed was a sham. Corrupt police officers were arrested. Extraditions were deliberately bungled.  One Iranian spy, Abolghasem Mesbahi, reported that Menem received $10 million in his Swiss bank account from Tehran to thwart investigators. The federal judge overseeing the case, Juan José Galeano, was finally impeached more than 10 years later. One of the leading voices in the campaign for greater transparency in the investigations was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis. In 2006, Nisman accused Tehran of abetting the Lebanese militants, Hezbollah, in the bombing.   

To cap things off, in 2013 the Argentine government signed an agreement with Iran to form a “Truth Commission” to investigate the AMIA bombing. A year later, an Argentine court ruled the agreement to be unconstitutional. A stacked Congress is appealing the decision. 

The Nisman affair is a saga that braids together incompetence, corruption, and murder on a global scale."

Argentina has sadly turned into a country where no one trusts the government and everone knows that justice is for sale. It seems that everyone in the street suspects that Mr Nisman was murdered by those who did not want to hear what he had to say before Congress. Not a soul in Argentina believes that it was a suicide or accidental death. Yet, everything continues and the man and woman in the street grows more cynical by the second.

Of course, this latest episode is not without consequences. The government's populist policies have scared international investors. It has created domestic havoc and put Argentina as #4 on Professo+r Hanke's misery index. It has also exposed Argentina's corruption and ties to rogue states.

Argentina is well known for "tangos", often passionate songs about tragic love stories.  

I don't believe that any "tango", past or yet to be written, can match the tragic reality of what we are seeing in Argentina today.  

As a great friend from Argentina said: "Great country but always a tango"!

P.S. You can hear my discussion with Fausta Rodriguez Wertz about Argentina here or follow me on Twitter.