Argentina's upcoming presidential election should be cause for celebration. For a record eighth-straight time, citizens will have a chance to choose their leader democratically rather than have the decision made for them by the military, which last held power between 1976 and 1983.
And yet, as the Oct. 25 vote approaches, the atmosphere in Argentina is anything but jubilant. Why? Because the radicalized right, the de facto powers, and the major media outlets, which, since 2008, have led an opposition front that has used more than just words to attack President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK), have become so extreme that they are now essentially holding the government and the country's sovereign institutions hostage (NotiSur, May 8, 2015).
So argued journalist Roberto Caballero, one of Argentina's most respected political analysts, during a program aired by the state radio station and widely disseminated through social-media networks. The dangerous phenomenon taking place (32 years after Argentina suffered through the worst civic-military dictatorship in its history) follows the pattern of what a number of Latin American observers call neogolpismo (new-coupism), a form of political action that challenges the legitimacy of a given government--the CFK administration in this case--not by questioning its democratic origins but by lamenting its supposedly authoritarian practices.
This year alone, Argentina has been shaken by a spate of accusations, all coming from the same rumor mills: the right-wing press, certain major political-party leaders, social networks, judges and prosecutors, and business associations. In early January, a prosecutor accused CFK of helping cover up the worst terrorist attack in Argentine history: the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires where 85 people died (NotiSur, July 29, 1994). When the prosecutor turned up dead, apparently by his own hand, critics accused the president of plotting his "murder," according to the tabloid Clarin, and committing "institutional magnicide," according to the daily La Nacion (NotiSur, Feb. 6, 2015). A series of courts, including the Corte Suprema de Justicia (CSJ), later dismissed the claims.
In the following weeks, the same two newspapers suggested that CFK's son may have laundered several million dollars stashed away in secret Swiss bank accounts. Argentina's Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS) Nilda Garre was also named in the scandal. At...