El Financial Times habla de Cristina Fernández

Otro prestigioso medio internacional publica una nota sobre la candidata de la Concertación Plural.


Fernández looks abroad for victory in Argentina poll
Financial Times
By Jude Webber in Buenos Aires
Published: October 4 2007 03:00 | Last updated: October 4 2007 03:00
Cristina Fernández has devoted so much time to foreign travel during her election campaign that it almost looks as though she is running for a job at the United Nations, not the presidency of Argentina.
The senator, who spent last week courting financiers, business leaders and diplomats on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, is virtually certain to glide to victory on October 28 in a seamless succession to her husband, President Néstor Kirchner.
But in foreign policy at least, she has promised a more open style than her husband and if she wins, as polls predict, she will have several pressing overseas as well as domestic issues on her desk when she takes office on December 10.
She said little new in New York and failed to address key economic concerns such as Argentina’s mounting inflation, which private economists estimate to be running at up to double the official estimate of 9.6 per cent, but it was a highprofile public relations blitz. The intent was to show a candidate committed to putting Argentina back on the map six years after its debt default cut it adrift from the international financial community and someone with whom world leaders can do business.
“The fundamental challenge facing the next government is how to attract investment,” said Luis Tonelli, a former director-general of strategic planning.
Despite sustained growth of more than 8 per cent a year, Argentina needs more spending in sectors such as energy, infrastructure and transport, which rely heavily on foreign investment.
Ms Fernández has gone out of her way to visit foreign companies and presidents to urge them to invest and assure them that their commitments to Argentina will be safe.
She is likely to face questions in Brazil this week over the closure of an energy storage plant run by Brazil’s Petrobras last month. The closure was ordered on environmental grounds but was seen by many in Argentina as politically motivated.
The government is scurrying to wrap up a long overdue deal with the Paris Club of creditor nations to reschedule Argentina’s $6bn (€4.2bn, £3bn) debt, enabling Ms Fernández to kick off her prospective presidency with a powerful overture to western governments that would also unblock several billion dollars of frozen loans.
But Ms Fernández has made no signal that she would seek a deal with the holders of $20bn of bonds – many in Italy, Germany, the US and Japan – who refused a 2005 restructuring. Their litigation weighs on international relations and dampens Argentina’s image abroad.
“The first thing she should be looking at is relations with her neighbours,” said Celia Szusterman of the University of Westminster in London.
Argentina has cultivated ties with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who has bought its debt and launched a joint bond but does not share his fondness for Iran. Argentina blames former Iranian leaders for ordering the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires.
Ms Fernández says Argentina doesn’t have to be friends with “our friends’ friends” and is likely to want to put her own, perhaps more selective, stamp on relations with Venezuela – though she would have little room for manoeuvre given Argentina’s financial dependence.
At the same time she is expected to be warmer towards Washington, which is critical of Mr Chávez, especially if Hillary Clinton is elected president next year.
But as in most foreign policy challenges, including how she sees the future of the Falkland Islands, she has not yet spelled out her position.
Whatever her policies, Ms Fernández is likely to continue her foreign travel to sell her can-do image. And that could yield one of the biggest changes of all compared with Mr Kirchner’s ultra hands-on style: cabinet ministers with real autonomy? “If she doesn’t delegate, she can’t travel much,” noted one senior western diplomat.