National MP (PRO) - former FAES scholarship holder
There's an image of May 25, 2003 that's engraved in my memory: Néstor Kirchner assumed the Presidency of the Nation and as he genuinely celebrated his moment of triumph, he juggled with the Presidential Staff, whirling it around, pretending to drop it.
The lack of interest toward the symbol which represents the power and responsibility received by the president on behalf of all the people (not only of those who voted for him), was a sign of the times to come.
The institutional background of the newcomer to the Federal Capital were not good. The Kirchners were born to political life in Santa Cruz, where they forged a considerable fortune. First, under of the military dictatorship (or at least tolerating it) and then, under democracy, climbing up the hierarchy of provincial state power. They led a term in regional office plagued by allegations of corruption and where the basic principles of institutional life were not respected. Attacks against judicial independence and freedom of press took then their first steps.
The 2001 crisis made society ask for a second term, and the political sector was ready to accept any option, without even wondering if this would mean jumping back 30 years. Thus the Staff was received by the unknown Patagonian governor, and four years later, it passed into the hands of his wife.
During the first four years of their marriage, society was forced to open a door to the past that most thought finally closed, and the divisions that everyone thought had been left behind, again started to flourish. The new (old) paradigms, the narrative, the abuses and many other issues, showed that the defects had travelled from the far South, getting stronger with their national ascent.
Suspicions of corruption in public works, money that flourished in the bathroom of a minister, violent groups taking the streets, and sexual relations along with regimes loosely attached to democratic principles were just some of the alarms going off.
Given the lack of opposition leaders with proposals, values and an alternative narrative, Cristina Fernández won the elections of 2007 and those that followed in 2011.
Locks and controls to the most productive sectors of the economy, constant attacks on journalism, co-optation of media and journalists, creation of a great propaganda machine, design of a tailor-made justice, widespread corruption in the ruling leadership, restrictions on freedom and international isolation are the legacy that Mrs. Kirchner's second mandate will leave a battered society.
A decade has passed since that fiddling with the Presidential Staff and in that time we have had many chances to see the Kirchners in their own mirror: the one which reflects the distant image of their beginnings in Santa Cruz and the most recent one, the image of authoritarianism, greed and impunity.
I am convinced that today society is asking for a change of direction, of style, mood, values and vision. The work of those of us who have the will and political responsibility of representing that society is making this claim become a real political alternative, leaving behind, once and for all, a decade that divided the Argentinian people and endangered the democratic bases which were only recovered after much hardship in 1983.
Argentina has the possibility of starting over right at its fingertips. Of turning the page and not looking back ever again. Democracy provides a new opportunity. The change is to begin this year with the mid-term elections and will consolidate itself in 2015 with the change of government. It is time that Argentina finally decides to grow up and begin a time of progress, equality of opportunities and honesty. No doubt the coming decade is much more important than the decade we have left behind.