06/21/2007versione stampabileprintinvia paginasend

Buenos Aires Goes to the Polls: the King of Boca against Kirchner’s Man
A sign of change. Right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri, well-known owner of the Boca Juniors soccer team, is the recognized favorite in the Buenos Aires mayoral elections coming up Sunday. The 48-year-old Macri, son of Franco Macri, chief of a financial empire, is running against the current Minister of Education in the Kirchner government, Daniel Filmus, who began the campaign with a twenty-point advantage. Analysts say Macri’s success in running Argentina’s most beloved team for twelve years has convinced the public that he’s a trustworthy administrator, as well as a symbol of change after a decade of progressive governments who have left behind widespread discontent in the capital. But who is Mauricio Macri, now only one step away from the nation’s second most important elected office? A long email detailing his and his family’s history is currently circulating throughout the city in an effort to draw votes away from him.

Macri abbraccia MaradonaHow’d They Build The Empire? “The Macri group has been operating since before the military dictatorship, and as part of that kleptocracy they have carried on up to the recent Duhalde presidency. The family that controlled seven companies in 1975, came to control 46 by the end of the military dictatorship.” Thus begins the email. “Macri is part of the “contractor’s nation” that has sucked benefits from the Argentine state to the detriment of its people. Among other things, he is the boss of the highway system that charges the highest tolls in the world, and the beneficiary of the nationalization of the foreign debt imposed by Cavallo when he took over the Central Bank (Banca Centrale). Through his companies, he participated in the takeover of the Mercantile Exchange (Borsa del Commercio) in 1992. He was tried for contraband and acquitted by a tainted Supreme Court. Today, through the more than 40 companies in his family’s corporation, he does business with the Buenos Aires government for an annual value of over, far over, 100 million argentine pesos.”

Mauricio MacriIncompatibility. Current business relations between SOCMA (Società Macri, of which the candidate is Vice-President) and the city government reveal, on one hand, the incompatibility between Macri’s private and potential public responsibilities, and on the other, the motives that drive him to want to run the city. Through INTRON (controlled 60% by Siemens, 40% by SOCMA), since the 1990s his firms have run the administration of Buenos Aires’ resources, using UTE-RENTAS. This company distributes electricity, trash collection, and street cleaning bills, and collects automobile taxes. The contract amounts to 10 million argentine pesos per year, the equivalent of nearly 2,400,000 euros. Also through INTRON, Macri has a five-year contract to run the city’s speed traps and traffic ticket collection, at a value of 5 million pesos, or 1,200,000 euros. INTRON is a sort of sub holding company within SOCMA, together with the firms SEPSA and Sistemas Catastrales; the last of these handles oversight of the construction industry, with a 20-year contract for inspecting building permits and construction standards. SEPSA, better known as Pago Fácil, was used by Banca Ciudad to collect its bills, a contract worth 4 million pesos, or 900,000 euros. Banca Ciudad pays Macri one peso per bill. Macri also owns Correo Argentino S.A., which currently owes 205 million euros to banks in Galicia, CITI, BID, Banca Mondiale, and Nación. It has not paid accumulated interest of 191 million euros, which it has passed on to the state, claiming instead to be the creditor in the matter. Correo Argentino S.A. participates in all bidding for contracts in Buenos Aires. It was leading a competition for distributing income declarations to all homes, but the contest was finally won by its primary competitor, OCA. The two-year contract is worth over 7 million euro each year. Who will win the next bid competition if Mauricio Macri is mayor?

Filmus, rivale di Macri al ballottaggioRhetorical Questions. “Who was president of SEVEL when it was caught cheating on its taxes in 1993? Who was tried in 2003 for contraband? And who dreamed up the tax on teachers (the famous “ostia docente”) and skimmed off 10% of the amount collected? Who was Vice-President of Correo Argetino S.A. management just months before its collapse and the discovery of its huge debt to the State (a debt later nationalized)? Who built the stands at the Bombonera without a bid competition, through its own firms? Whose soccer team runs a debt of 75 million pesos and has to invent imaginary income so as not to reveal its deficit? Who doesn’t meet the requirements established by the Constitution for separating private business from public office? You guessed right: it’s Mauricio."