Great news from Latin America, for a change. It appears that the center-right candidate Mauricio Macri has won the presidential elections yesterday in Argentina. The pro-free markets and pro-life Macri ran a campaign promising economic reform and cleaning up corrupt Argentine politics. A rather tall order. For more than a decade the socialists, not surprisingly, have managed to destroy Argentina (be sure to read Mary O’Grady’s op-ed, Argentina’s Political Earthquake).
It will take a whole lot of time to clean up that mess; however, Macri’s win is a welcome change that could impact well beyond Buenos Aires. Marci has a great deal of work to do in his own country, however, during the campaign he made it clear that the foreign policy would also change. And, granted, he is not perfect. But Macri is a lot better than what we had there for decades.
The socialists in Latin America are apoplectic as well as concerned. Macri, for example, is no fan of Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and he said as much during the campaign. While I doubt Macri will publicly chastise the left in the region, nor do I expect an immediate break, it will not be business as usual.
Socialist regimes in Brazil, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and a few other Western Hemisphere left-wing outpost will surely need to re-adjust their foreign policy toward Argentina. Maybe, just maybe, Macri and his policy advisors will slowly tear to shreds the ALBA, CELAC, and other cockamamie regional economic and political schemes that have set back several nations in the region.
The Obama Administration also has some repairing to do. They’ve lost the cozy relationship with the Kirchner regime. Despite this, the Obama Administration should put aside its ideologically driven foreign policy and focus on assisting the Macri team fix the Argentine economy with trade incentives and other measures designed to pull Argentina away from time wasters such as CELAC.
The United States should also support Macri’s expected request to have Venezuela suspended from Mercosur or, better yet, maybe it is time to there region to explore another vehicle to expand free trade in the Americas. We should also recruit Macri to help build a coalition at the Organization of American States (OAS) to have rogue regimes shape up or ship out until they do.
Macri’s win could also serve as a message to other center-right and opposition groups in the Americas battling socialists governments. The left can be defeated. I’m certain the Venezuelan opposition leaders are studying the matter closely.