Washington, DC’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a roundtable discussion led by Carlos Pirovano, Economic Development Advisor to Mauricio Macri, mayor of the Argentine capital. Throughout the discussion, it was made clear that amidst Argentina’s soaring inflation, high insecurity, and lack of international private investment, insoluble tensions continue to exist between the Peronist federal government and its center-right opponents who govern Buenos Aires.
Pirovano’s frustration with the Kirchner government was evident in his unyielding rhetoric. He lambasted the Argentine head of state for, what he called, her desire to consolidate power at the expense of the country. Inflammatory remarks aside, Pirovano explained the city government’s plans to designate several downtrodden neighborhoods in Buenos Aires as “audiovisual” and “artistic” districts. According to his theory, these districts must be made into attractive targets for private investment and increased economic activity, while lowering the crime rate associated with deserted streets and high levels of hard drug use. Pirovano reiterated that this strategy has yielded promising results in the neighborhood of Parque Patricios, in the south of the city.
While the presentation received little, if any, criticism from the audience, it left much unresolved. The COHA research associates in attendance still wonder whether the same bipolar politics, which have defined disagreements between the governments of the nation and the autonomous capital, will continue to strangle Argentina’s prospects for revitalization, as well as impede any attempts at bilateral cooperation. As the old adage goes, when elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.
William Kinney, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
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