Carlos Menem, the «loyal» friend of the United States

By: Marina Menéndez Quintero


2013-06-25 | 17:19:16 EST
Some people say that in any case, Carlos Menem will be sentenced to house arrest because Argentina’s laws prescribe such benefit to people over 70 years old. Therefore; when the long judicial process that finally finds him guilty of illicit arms trade comes to an end, he will be 84 years old.

Whether he serves the sentence from home or not – he stills has to be stripped of his priviledge as a senator but it is expected that his defence will file an application for amparo before it happens– the ruling of the court that sentenced him to seven years of imprisonment for illegal arms trade to Croatia and Ecuador was considered as a «new air» in Argentinian justice . He had been acquited in 2011. 

This has been a very difficult case so far. The 18-years-old process that declared him guilty some days ago is at least a relief to those he offended. However; whatever the sentence he is given, it is not enough to make justice for all the things the former head of state wasted and stole to Argentina, not only through the implementation of bad policies; but also by means of shady management for his own gain. Maybe he and his plot friends have already spent the million dollars produced by this trade while it ran from 1991 to 1993. Because this was only one among others.

But it is just a little piece of justice for those who have been asking for it for ages.

The seven-year shut in his house are not enough to pay for the distress Menem inflicted to a country that under his command was thrown to the deepest hole of neoliberalism thanks to the privatization, which removed the State’s power over not only the essential services like electricity and social insurance; but also over cemeteries and parks!

The scandals for political corruption are now at the same level of the many scandals in Menem’s private life which made the front pages of magazines: quarrels with his ex-wife Zulema Yoma; accusations against his brothers-in-law for dirty business, and the belated marriage of the 60 year old Menem with the Chile-born young model Cecilia Bolocco.

But nothing caused a bigger stir and has gone down in history as a phrase that Menem attirbuted to his Foreign Minister at the time, Guido di Tella, which described the sine qua non of his administration: his «carnal relationship» with the United States, a condition that made proud the Argentina of that time. 

The quotation has been brought up because there are annalists who consider Menem was making a favour to Washington by approving the sales by means of deceitful decrees that set the destination of the arms to Panama and Rafael Caldera’s Venezuela. At that time, sending weapons to those countries was banned because Ecuador was at war against Peru, and Croatia was in the middle of a military confrontation with the Serbians.

Now, the courts certification is adding a charge to the moral file of the head of state whose worse fault was his servile attitude towards the country that was strangling Argentina and the entire continent.

Translated by ESTI

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