Spanish – Violations of the right to property, which is enshrined in the National Constitution and – even a biblical precept if you like-, are not new in the country. In Argentina, “what is yours” can stop being so at any time. It has happened too many times in the past.
Populism, illegality, and erroneous ideas.
After the only period of success in the country, following the implementation of Juan Bautista Alberdi’s model, which enshrined the “inviolability” of private property, the first setback occurred during early Peronism. Hand in hand with “social justice,” if a person had more than one property, he was forced to sell it to his tenant in comfortable installments. It discouraged what became known as the “brick economy” of many immigrants.
More recent history is also plagued by other property rights violations. Already in the 1970s, the last military government, while suppressing guerrilla groups in an irregular and decentralized manner, did not make too much of a fuss if a task force took over some “souvenir” in an operation. Many even claim that having repressed them illegally, they snuck into the lists of subversive individuals who were known to have some savings in the house or who had no heirs to leave their property to.
In recent years, hand in hand with bad ideas in the economy came the worst property violations. Economic obscurantism had much to do with this phenomenon. Although the left emphasized the rights of workers who “recovered” factories and companies, because of the existence of rigid labor legislation that prevented layoffs, many businesses fell into debt and bankruptcy since they could not adjust their business at a time of need.
From location regulation to inflationary tax
Another of the most notorious examples is the hyper-regulated and interventionist real estate market. If a tenant with a family can no longer pay rent, evicting them becomes a long and expensive ordeal. Far from benefiting the most needy, it only distorts the market and puts up barriers that leave out of the picture the people who most need to rent homes. If eviction processes in Argentina were easy, informal workers would be among the first beneficiaries. If they had the necessary resources, they would be able to access decent housing within a day, which they would then maintain without problems.
Since the return of Peronism with the Frente de Todos, Argentina has been experiencing one of the worst moments in terms of respect for property. Firstly, all people are victims of a theft that is not perceived as such. Although the main issue is the rise of the dollar and exchange control, the truth is that, in concrete terms, the inflationary process and the depreciation of the peso are nothing more than a reflection of the state’s plundering of individuals. The difference -what all wage-earners lose month by month- is a theft from the government, although very few understand the situation.
And now the land grabs
But without a doubt, the current problem is most evident in the proliferation of land grabs, episodes that have multiplied since the start of the quarantine. While in the province of Buenos Aires, there are occupations like that of Guernica, the governor, and preferred economist of Cristina Fernández, Axel Kicilloff, who insists on repeating misguided phrases. And so, while the province is on fire, the former minister states that the closed neighborhoods “are also occupations” since he considers that they pay few taxes. Other Kirchnerist figures, such as Juan Grabois, a personal friend of Pope Francis, unabashedly encourage occupations through parastatal organizations.
Meanwhile, with a significant sector of the Argentine government-oriented in this direction, the hard left takes advantage of the situation to openly promote “agrarian reform.” On social media, Alejandro Bodart called for an end to the model where “0.1% of the population owns 35% of the territory.”
Alberto: Whose side are you on?
The former Security Minister of Cambiemos, Patricia Bullrich, questioned the president and asked him to define which side of his government he is on: if he supports those who defend the right to property or if, on the contrary, he supports the officials who relativize it. “He must make a statement and say which side he is on. It deserves to be stated that he intends to respect private property and the constitution. Thereafter, one can sit down and discuss with the executive,” she said.
The journalist and analyst Luis Rosales said on his program, that in Argentina, “Kirchnerism, which adheres to Chavismo, governs in part.” In his opinion, this model uses justice and institutions to disarm and disarticulate the system that guarantees the right to private property gradually and progressively.