Between Polyarchy and Autocracy

The Delegative Democracy of Carlos Menem

By
Hans Blix, Fernando Collor de Mello, Carlos Saul Menem (03410224)
Between Polyarchy and Autocracy : The Delegative Democracy of Carlos Menem - Brittany Williams

Abstract

Seemingly cursed by the legacy of the caudillo, government under a strong executive has come to characterize the structure of the modern Argentine state. Since the administration of Carlos Menem in the 1990s, questions have arisen as to the progress Argentina has made with regard to the consolidation of its democracy. However, while Menem set a precedent for directly challenging democratic institutions during his presidency, has history justified his unilateral decision-making as the only means of overcoming the barriers that obstructed Argentina’s political and economic development?

A "New" Peronism

Aside from abusing the democratic institutions of the state in order to suppress dissention, Menem impeded upon Argentina’s party system, specifically by manipulating the feeble structure of his Partido Justicialista as a means of ensuring unwavering support for his political endeavors. The PJ, also referred to as the Peronist Party, began a considerable transformation shortly after Menem’s first election as president in 1989. Since its conception in 1945, the PJ typically maintained strong connections with the working class of Argentina, allowing its leaders to rely upon a stable base of support in spite of sweeping volatility in times of political crisis. Traditionally a bastion of labor-based politics, the platform of the party significantly conflicted with the neoliberal economic reforms enacted by Menem, a former party president. But as Menem rapidly disassembled the corporatist political and economic state created by Juan Perón in the 1940s, the PJ remained quiet, failing to openly criticize the president as he violated his campaign promises to protect organized labor and workers’ interests. And by the time of Menem’s reelection in 1995, the National Council Executive Board of the PJ had openly pledged their support of his agenda.14

According to Steven Levitsky, this acceptance of a clearly contradictory political program was made possible by the low degree of routinization within the institutional structure of the PJ.15 The party is plagued by the legacy of Perón who, like other populist leaders, utilized it for little more than a personalistic means of amassing popular support. Centralized around the designs of Perón, the PJ was routinely reorganized in accordance to his political needs, preventing the establishment of strong internal mechanisms such as a central bureaucracy and a means of horizontal accountability among party leadership. Even in the years following Perón, this weakness was never fully addressed, making the PJ extremely vulnerable to domination by the interests of a single figure such as Menem.

Without an organized bureaucracy, transfers of power within the PJ are unpredictable and easily manipulated. There are no established career paths or tenure tracks and, in spite of a system for internal elections, PJ leadership has never been selected through institutional means. This lack of a hierarchy has created a general sense of disdain among members of the PJ seeking to advance their political careers as opportunities for advancement provided by the party are severely limited and unreliable.

Many Peronists thus turn to the state to seek positions of authority and status. And Argentine political history has shown a distinct overlap between PJ executive leadership and state leadership, a trend that continues to exist in the modern era. Aware of this correlation, many Peronists seeking positions of higher authority within the state will frequently “[defect] to internal factions [within the PJ] that hold (or are about to hold) state power.”16 This creates a bandwagon effect within the party, as members in search of political advancement will adapt or completely discard their own political beliefs for the chance of securing a position through the patronage-based system.

Menem quickly seized upon this trend as a means of co-opting members of the PJ in order to secure both party and popular support for his neoliberal economic reforms in the 1990s. Throughout his first term, Menem’s deviation from the populist presidential platform of his election brought sharp criticism from many within the Peronist party. However, while surveys demonstrated that less than a quarter of the party agreed with his reform efforts, the PJ never openly condemned Menem or his actions.17 This was due to a wave of “conversion” to Menemism shortly after Menem secured the party’s presidential nomination in 1988. Many leaders of the PJ, such as Chamber of Deputies Majority Leader and future Interior Minister José Luis Manzano and future PJ president Roberto García, joined ranks with Menem, ultimately securing their positions within the government and within the echelon of PJ elite.

The formation of a coalition of loyal Menemists throughout the PJ not only meant that Menem could rely on allies scattered throughout the government to support his reforms, but it also granted Menem the ability to quell the voices of minority dissent in the PJ. Outnumbered and marginalized, Antonio Francisco Cafiero remained a staunch anti-Menemist throughout his term as president of the PJ, but he rapidly recognized that any effort to censure Menem would be fruitless, ultimately resigning from the post in 1990. In an interview with Levitsky, Cafiero stated, “We produced reports and declarations… [that] contradicted what the government was doing. So we were ignored… There was no way to make [Menem] understand that there was another authority at his side.”18 García echoed this sentiment after becoming PJ president in 1993. “In the first phase of my presidency,” García commented, “I drew up the party communiqués and got them approved by the government… In the second phase, the government sent me the communiqués… In the third phase, I read about the communiqués in the newspapers.”19

Debate continues to rage between theorists seeking to characterize the nature of the democracy established in Argentina following the collapse of the bureaucratic authoritarian state in 1983. According to the principles established by Robert Dahl, Argentina fulfills the basic conditions necessary to be classified as a polyarchy. Officials are chosen by the populace in free and open elections. The public possesses access to independent sources of information, and the people retain the freedom of expression as well as the right to associational autonomy.1

Controversy arises, however, concerning the extent to which the democracy in Argentina is consolidated and representative, as multiple grievances attest to the illiberal nature of the state in spite of the presence of democratic institutions. Guillermo O’Donnell has attempted to clarify the inconsistencies in the process of Argentine democratization through his model of delegative democracy. In such a system, a stable democracy exists, but it is neither consolidated nor institutionalized, often forgoing a final effort to create a truly representative government.

O’Donnell argues that delegative democracies are typically led by legitimately elected presidents that perceive themselves as “the custodian of the national interest,” using their popular election as a mandate “to govern as [they see] fit.” In the absence of institutionalized horizontal accountability between the branches of government, the executive is able to exert considerable influence over the affairs of the state. The prevalence of unilateral action in delegative democracies alienates the legislature and the judiciary, ultimately undermining the legitimacy and the representative nature of the state. The executive seemingly assumes full responsibility for policy decisions in the eyes of the citizenry, typically leading to open public disillusionment with the government and the political process in general as it is perceived that the state is only representative of the will of the executive, not the interests of the populace.2

In Argentina, the model of delegative democracy can clearly be applied to the regime of Carlos Saúl Menem, who served as president of Argentina from 1989 to 1999. Throughout the 10 years of his presidency, Menem exploited the weaknesses of the Argentine democracy to establish a personalistic system that bent to his will. Through the use of decree powers, he marginalized Congress (Congreso de la Nación Argentina), suppressing its constitutional powers to exert accountability over the actions of the executive. Menem compromised the integrity of the judiciary, successfully “packing” the Supreme Court (Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación) in order to exercise control over legal affairs. And he manipulated the party system, exploiting the feeble institutions of the Partido Justicialista (PJ) to eliminate dissention to his political agenda and to ensure the continuing support of the party and masses. But while the divisive nature of Menem’s actions has become infamous, was the establishment of a delegative democracy in Argentina a gross abuse of power or a necessary evil ?

Executive Decision

Perhaps Menem’s most flagrant application of delegative democracy was his frequent use of executive decrees in the place of legislative action for the realization of policy. According to Argentine law, the president was granted the power to enact executive orders, or decretos, in “states of emergency marked by events out of the ordinary, exceptional situations, unpredictable circumstances, or predictable but unavoidable circumstances.”3 These decrees were binding until repealed by Congress or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Typically utilized with extreme caution, only 20 of these orders were enacted by constitutional governments in Argentina from 1853 to 1983.4

However, during Menem’s first administration alone, over 336 executive decrees were proclaimed,5 addressing issues ranging from the prohibition of mass strikes by labor unions to the donation of cement to Bolivia.6 He argued that the need to enact multiple decrees of “urgency and necessity” was due to the “glacial pace of legislative activity” which resulted from high levels of absenteeism experienced within Congress. The failure to reach a quorum on multiple occasions had created an accumulation of pending legislation which complicated Menem’s efforts to promptly address the troubles facing the nation. While lawmakers in the Chamber of Deputies focused upon drafting proposals to fine truant representatives, Menem bypassed the legislature completely, enacting his economic and political agenda by utilizing executive decrees.7

Menem also displayed a proclivity for attempting to manipulate electoral rules, though many of his efforts were soundly defeated. Seeking to secure a party majority in the Chamber of Deputies for the Partido Justicialista, he proposed altering the system of representation in Congress in 1992, shifting from a multi-member proportional system to a single-member plurality system. When this was rejected by the legislature, Menem declared that census results reported that 23 additional seats were required in the Chamber of Deputies, of which eleven would be allocated to the province of Buenos Aires, a PJ stronghold. This effort was also defeated. Finally, in 1993, Menem announced that the government was investigating the logistics of lowering the voting age to 16, allowing voters from all parties to vote in primary elections, and replacing the closed-list ballot system with one in which voters would simply cross out the names of candidates for whom they did not want to vote. Considered by many to be yet another attempt to empower the PJ, the proposal was largely ignored.8

Menem did succeed, however, in obtaining a significant constitutional reform during his administration that allowed him to pursue a second consecutive term as president. Capitalizing on a weakened Radical party, Menem began pressuring Congress for the reform in 1993, unabashedly insisting that his Radical presidential predecessor, Raúl Alfonsín, and other party leaders collude with PJ members in order to amend the Constitution. By forging the controversial Olivos Pact (Pacto de Olivos) between the PJ and the Radical Party, Menem secured his reform in 1994 and announced his candidacy for the 1995 presidential election.

Waking a Sleeping Giant

While Menem clearly undermined the democratic institutions established within Argentina during his presidency, it is arguable that his actions were indeed justified. When first elected as president of Argentina in 1989, Menem faced a nation in chaos. His predecessor Alfonsín was the first democratically elected president since the disintegration of the bureaucratic authoritarian state. However, during his administration, he had faced a wave of obstacles that prevented him from establishing order and stability in Argentina, from the continued threat of military intervention to an economy that was in shambles. Resigning before the end of his term, Alfonsín handed the reins to Menem, who now faced a more desperate situation. But by crafting a delegative democracy, he was unhindered by the institutional impediments that had thwarted Alfonsín and others. Before the end of his first term, Menem had successfully enacted a comprehensive and controversial program of economic restructuring and political transformation, that halted Argentina’s descent into absolute disorder.

What is most striking about Argentina’s economic transformation under Menem is the manner in which reform was enacted in comparison to that in other Latin American nations. Radical economic transition was accomplished without extreme repression, such as in Bolivia, or without the establishment of a truly authoritarian regime, as was the situation in Chile under General Augusto Pinochet and in Peru under Alberto Fujimori. And, unlike the sluggish economic transitions that occurred in Costa Rica, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Brazil, where reform was inextricably tied to the maintenance of democracy, Argentine economic restructuring was sweeping and complete, enacted in less than one presidential term.20

According to Menem’s Minister of Economics (Ministro de Economía de la Nación) Domingo Cavallo, only 20 percent of Argentina’s economic reforms would have been realized without Menem’s combined use of legislative approval and executive decrees.21 Menem marked his first administration with a comprehensive series of neoliberal economic policies, intent on stabilizing the financial crisis while also integrating Argentina into the world economy. The staunch Peronist seemingly reversed his political platform, calling for the immediate privatization of nearly all nationalized firms, such as the railroad and subway systems as well as the oil, coal, and electricity industries. By 1994, nearly $24 billion worth of government controlled firms had been sold or converted into private ventures.22

Menem’s fiscal policy included overhauling the tax system in Argentina, eliminating Alfonsín’s export and energy taxes and replacing them with a series of value-added taxes and income taxes. The new system increased yearly government revenue by more than $10.7 billion and, from 1991 to 1993, the state ran a small budget surplus. With regard to trade and economic integration, Menem reduced nominal tariffs on imported goods and, in 1991, he enacted a “mega decree” that abolished import quotas and regulatory boards for assorted goods, deregulated price restrictions, simplified customs regulations, and removed limitations on business hours. Finally, in 1992, he signed the MERCOSUR free trade agreement with Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, directly binding Argentina’s economy to others in Latin America.23

Possibly the most notorious of Menem’s economic reforms was the introduction of the “convertibility law” in 1991 which instituted a one-to-one exchange rate between the Argentine peso and the American dollar. In combination with the additionally imposed reforms, the currency board program caused inflation to plummet from 1,832 percent in 1990 to 4 percent by 1994. The nation experienced an increase in gross national product of approximately 8 percent annually. Foreign investment in Argentina was renewed, with direct investment from the United States rising to $2 billion in 1994. And the resulting economic boom from 1989 to 1993 resulted in an overall reduction in poverty for the Argentine population.24

Politically, Menem’s practice of delegative democracy and unilateral decision making allowed him to swiftly and efficiently address threats to Argentine democratization. In response to the instability plaguing the nation upon his election, Menem acknowledged the valid threat of military intervention in government affairs. Realizing that direct attacks upon the military elite would provoke further volatility, he sought to weaken the organization’s political power while still allowing its institutional existence, a different approach than that of Alfonsín, whose platform included the open destabilization of the military as punishment for its crimes. Discreetly, Menem limited the operational budget of the military, cutting defense expenditures in his initial plan to reduce the deficit in 1989. Unable to financially maintain a force of 200,000 soldiers, the draft was eliminated and enrollment in the armed services dropped to 100,000 by 1990, with the army standing at only 30,000 men. Subsequent internal reorganization of personnel was thus necessary, and many officers were demoted to fill vacant low-level positions.25

Most noted, however, was Menem’s controversial decision in 1990 to pardon military officers accused of crimes committed under the dictatorships, including human rights abuses associated with the “Dirty War” as well as crimes stemming from the ill-fated Malvinas War. In spite of popular opinion polls stating that 60 percent of the nation was against such a measure, Menem had pardoned more than 280 officers, including former military president Jorge Videla, and fully assumed control over judicial proceedings against the military. While this caused national and international outrage and divided the government, Menem understood that it was a step toward creating an environment in which the government would possess the advantage over the military. The effects of this measure were almost immediate. In December 1990, an armed rebellion of noncommissioned officers seized army headquarters in Buenos Aires, demanding an increase in the military’s budget and the resignation of the army chief of staff. Menem grasped the opportunity to exert executive power, publicly ordering the military elite to immediately restrain and discipline the defiant subordinates. Within hours, the army responded with tanks, suppressing their own rebellion.26 And Colonel Mohammed Ali Seineldín, the chief conspirator behind the insurgence, was sentenced to life in prison.27

From that moment forward, Menem implemented a final attack on military authority in Argentina. He further reduced the military’s budget, from 18.2 percent of government expenditure in 1989 to less than 10.6 percent by 1993, and privatized military-owned enterprises, requiring that all armaments manufacturing firms be liquidated immediately. It was decreed that the Ministry of Economy and Production (Ministerio de Economía y Producción) be granted sole authority over matters of military spending and that the power to deploy the military was now the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio Internacional, y Culto). Military officers were expunged from the cabinet and autonomous proclamations from the armed forces were forbidden. Menem had accomplished what Alfonsín could not. He had defeated the military in Argentina.28

With regard to his impact upon the political institutions of Argentina, Menem arguably consolidated some aspects of Argentine democracy through his practice of delegative politics. Though criticized for pressuring Congress to adopt the constitutional amendment to ensure his chance for re-election, the additional reforms passed in conjunction with the presidential term extension advanced the state of Argentine democracy. Under the 1994 Constitution, senators would now be elected through a direct popular vote instead of through appointment by provincial legislatures, increasing accountability between the upper house of Congress and the general public. The reforms also instituted a dual ballot system for presidential elections in which plurality winners from the preliminary round would advance to a runoff election that would ultimately decide the presidency. This would provide the victor with greater legitimacy as the mandate would now reflect a solid majority of popular vote instead of a marginalized portion obtained in a race against multiple candidates.29

While he transformed the composition of the judiciary, Menem surprisingly did not seek to curb its constitutional authority as it was in his best interests to respect the actions of the Supreme Court. Menem allowed the justices to maintain and even expand upon the Court’s judicial sphere, especially in cases which upheld the power of the executive. One such example of judicial expansion arose in 1990 concerning a case involving the privatization of Aerolíneas Argentinas. With the approval of the Menem administration, the nationalized airline was to be sold to a group of investors associated with Iberia Airlines, but an injunction was filed to prevent the sale of the firm to a foreign company. Knowing that the delay could jeopardize the deal, the Supreme Court voted to grant itself per saltum in the case, a power not constitutionally granted to the Argentine Court. Under per saltum, jurisdiction was immediately seized from the lower courts on the grounds that the issue required urgent attention and, within a day, the matter was resolved and the transaction finalized.30

By seeking to preserve his “mandate” from the public, Menem also contributed to the stability of democratic governance in Argentina, inspiring a desire for continuity and a sense of commitment among the electorate. Through the Partido Justicialista, he was able to provide direct economic support to the poor, establishing territorial outposts of the party in Argentina’s provinces. By creating soup kitchens, distributing consumer goods, and organizing social and cultural events, the urban and rural PJ networks immediately helped to suppress social volatility, specifically the mass looting and rioting that marked the latter days of the Alfonsín administration. In the long-term, this aid renewed a sense of loyalty to Menem and the PJ, drawing lower-class voters away from the radical and far-left movements that were calling for an end to his reform agenda. By co-opting a larger portion of the electorate, Menem was able to ensure continued PJ dominance in Congress and, consequently, the legislative approval of his programs. The legions of loyal Peronists had become indistinguishable from the Menemists, voting in 1991 and 1993 to protect the president’s majority in the legislature and, inherently, the democratic legitimacy of his administration.31

Lasting Legacy

By the time Menem began his second term in 1995, Argentina was already suffering from the fallout of his unilateral management, specifically with regard to his overly ambitious neoliberal economic agenda. Unemployment rates soared due to the initial push towards privatization and budget reduction. More than 85,000 of the approximately 246,000 workers within public industries were dismissed. And they joined the 217,000 unemployed civil servants that were fired by Menem between 1989 and 1992 in an attempt to curtail the expanding budget.32 The trend only worsened, as, by 1995, the unemployment rate had reached 18.6 percent and the underemployment rate was at 11.3 percent. Argentina possessed the second-highest unemployment rate in all of Latin America, barely trailing behind Nicaragua.33 The public debt doubled and economic inequality consequently worsened, as a population of “new poor” began to grow in Argentina. This group was mainly made up of members of the middle class that had lost their economic status as the overall standard of living rapidly declined. By 1996, 20 percent of households in Greater Buenos Aires fell below the poverty line34 and nearly half of all Argentina’s children were living in poverty by 1998.35

Although Menem had combated hyperinflation through a currency board with the American dollar, his plan marked a severe overvaluation of the Argentine peso, leading to a trade deficit of more than $6 billion in 1994.36 Dollarization prevented the Menem administration from adjusting its monetary policy to compensate for the downturn. Unable to devalue the peso, the government was unable to further stimulate growth. In combination with a deepening fiscal crisis due to a mounting debt, which comprised 41 percent of gross domestic product by 1998,37 and decreasing tax revenues, Argentina slid into a recession in 1999 which ultimately served as a precursor for its economic collapse in 2001.

Institutionally, Menem’s penchant for issuing decrees and bending rules set a precedent for his presidential successors, essentially demonstrating that it was possible to shape the Argentine government to reflect the will of the executive. The mere premise under which the constitutional restructuring of 1994 occurred clearly demonstrated the power Menem held over Congress and his opposition. Whatever positive reforms were made, the fundamental reasoning behind amending the constitution was to ensure Menem’s personal political gain by granting him the ability to be re-elected for a second term. And though the reforms of 1994 intended to curb executive authority by, for example, systematically defining what constitutes a “public emergency” when issuing decrees, the damage had been done as Menem had already established a precedent of executive contempt for constitutional boundaries and the separation of powers.

Menem’s politics also destroyed public confidence in the Argentine democratic system. The lack of accountability created a system based upon unparalleled levels of corruption as the Menem administration begged, bribed, and threatened government officials, the media, and the public in order to garner support for its agenda. Frustrated with the overt manipulation and the strong degree of presidential power, public opinion surveys reflected a sense of disillusionment with democracy, with a Latinobarómetro poll indicating that, by 2001, only 58 percent of Argentines surveyed agreed that, “democracy is preferable to any other kind of government,” plummeting from 71 percent in 1996.38 This disenchantment paved the way for the collapse of the following administration of Fernando de la Rúa (1999 – 2001) during which public anguish materialized in rioting and rebellion against the government under the slogan “¡que se vayan todos!” (“They all must go!”)

While Menem’s practice of delegative democracy brought about positive change in Argentina by temporarily stabilizing the economy, eradicating the threat of a military coup d’état, and institutionalizing fundamental principles of democracy, the long-term negative consequences of his presidentialism considerably outweigh the immediate constructive outcomes of his administration. Ultimately, Menem’s presidency joins the regimes of Fernando Collor de Mello in Brazil and Fujimori in Peru as a historical illustration of the eventual consequences that delegative democracy will inflict upon a state. The paradox of delegative democracy is that, though it allows the executive to implement often vital changes to a nation’s policy, these decisions are often made in great haste, forgoing the natural revision and analysis process that would occur were the decisions approved through the legislature and the judiciary or subject to public opinion. Unfortunately, it is only in retrospect that the flaws of delegative democracies are identified. By then, the future is already paying the price of the transgressions of the past.

However, the lessons of Menem’s administration are seemingly forgotten in Latin America as democratically elected leaders continue to accelerate the consolidation of power around their executive authority. Hugo Chávez’s “Bolivarian Revolution” continues to undermine the balance of power within Venezuela’s democracy. In 1999, Chávez sought to revise the constitution as part of his promise to transform the Venezuelan state. But the reforms served mainly to empower the executive branch over the legislature, granting the president the power to dissolve Congress, eliminating congressional oversight in military promotions and limiting its role in the appointment of judicial officials, and creating the office of a vice-president to be selected by the president.39 And in Argentina, Néstor Kirchner’s “K Style” politics, described as a “volatile, unpredictable approach that blends the moral fervor of a crusader with the irascible tough-mindedness of an old-fashioned political boss,” characterize government action.40 Recent shuffling of cabinet personnel has seen the curious replacement of competent ministers with outspoken supporters of Kirchner, most conspicuously noted in the ousting of Minister of Economics Roberto Lavagna, coordinator of Argentina’s astounding post-debt crisis economic recovery, and the subsequent appointment of Felisa Miceli, a lesser-known economist but self-described “Kirchnerite soldier.”41

As the struggle for liberal democracy in Latin America continues, it appears that the region simply cannot escape the legacy of government under strong executive leadership. And while delegative democracy is ostensibly a positive alternative to the authoritarian dictatorships that mark Latin America’s past, it is still, according to O’Donnell, “far from the boring beauty of consolidated democrac[y].” Ultimately, only time will show the true nature of these regimes and the intentions of the presidents at their helms. But if current trends are accurate indicators of future direction, these leaders would do well to note that history has failed to vindicate their predecessors.

Notes

1 Robert Dahl, Democracy and its Critics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991).

2 Guillermo O’Donnell, “Delegative Democracy,” in Counterpoints: Selected Essays on Authoritarianism and Democratization (South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1999).

3 James McGuire, Peronism Without Perón: Unions, Parties, and Democracy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).

4 Peter Smith, Democracy in Latin America: Political Change in Comparative Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005)

5 Ibid., p. 164.

6 McGuire, p. 255.

7 Ibid., p. 255.

8 Ibid., p. 256.

9 Christopher Larkins, “The Judiciary and Delegative Democracy in Argentina,” Comparative Politics (July 1998): pp. 428 – 432.

10 Ibid., pp. 428 – 432.

11 Ibid., pp. 428 – 432.

12 Constitución Política de la Republica Argentina de 1853, Capitulo III, Articulo 99.

13 Rolón Zappa v. Estado Nacional.

14 Steven Levitsky, “Organization and Labor-Based Party Adaptation: The Transformation of Argentine Peronism in Comparative Perspective,” World Politics 54, pp. 27 – 56.

15 Ibid., pp. 27 – 56.

16 Ibid., pp. 27 – 56.

17 Ibid., pp. 27 – 56.

18 Ibid., pp. 27 – 56.

19 Steven Levitsky, Interview with Roberto García, Buenos Aires, June 23, 1997.

20 Steven Levitsky, “Argentina: From Crisis to Consolidation (and Back),” in Jorge I. Domínguez and Michael Shifter, Constructing Democratic Governance in Latin America, 2nd Ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

21 Smith, p. 164.

22 McGuire, p. 218.

23 Ibid., p. 218.

24 Ibid., pp. 218 – 220.

25 Gary Wynia, Argentina: Illusions and Realities, 2nd Ed. (New York: Homes & Meyer, 1992).

26 Ibid., p. 216.

27 McGuire, p. 253.

28 Levitsky, p. 250.

29 McGuire, p. 253.

30 Larkins, p. 432.

31 Levitsky, p. 252.

32 McGuire, p. 218.

33 Ibid., p. 222.

34 Smith, p. 101.

35 Peter Winn, Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

36 Thomas Skidmore, Modern Latin America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

37 “Survey of Argentina: Becoming a Serious Country,” The Economist (June 5 2004).

38 “Democracy’s ten-year rut.” The Economist (October 29 2005): p. 60.

39 Steve Ellner, “The Radical Potential of Chavismo in Venezuela: The First Year and a Half in Power,” Latin American Perspectives 28 (2001): pp. 5-32.

40 Larry Rohter, “Cautiously, Argentines Warm to the ‘K Style,” The New York Times June 29 2003.

41 Larry Rohter, “As Argentina’s Debt Dwindles, President’s Power Steadily Grows,” The New York Times January 3 2006.

Brittany Williams is an M.A. candidate at the Bologna Center, pursuing a degree in Western Hemisphere/Latin American studies and international economics. She graduated in 2005 from Case Western Reserve University with a B.A. in political science, international studies and Spanish. Brittany has conducted independent research on the 2003 Argentine presidential election.