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The Populist Myth: Formosa and San Luis in Argentina

Civil Society
Democracy
Government
Human Rights
Populism
Corruption
Sergio Ricardo Quiroga
ICAES - National San Luis, University
Sergio Ricardo Quiroga
ICAES - National San Luis, University

Abstract

This work describes and analyzes the creation and development of the populist myth in two Argentine provinces: Formosa and San Luis. These provinces with hybrid democratic regimes oscillate between democracy and authoritarianism, they are small in Argentina, have between 500,000 and 600,000 inhabitants and have governments that, although they keep democratic forms, are constantly re-elected. In San Luis the same party has governed the province since December 1983 under the leadership of Alberto and Rodríguez Saa, in the case of Formosa, the same Governor Gildo Infran has been reelected from 1995 to the present day. Although San Luis and Formosa meet certain democratic requirements such as the performance of periodic actions or the functioning of their legislative bodies, the power of the governor is so widespread that there is practically no consolidated opposition, there are few critical and independent media and the alternation in power almost zero and nonexistent. Alberto Rodríguez and Adolfo Rodríguez Saa have been re-elected governors of San Luis. The first four times, the second five times. In the case of Formosa, Gildo Insfran has been constantly reelected from 1995 to the present day. For this work, different documentary pieces have been examined (speeches and interventions) that explain to the "people" who the hero is and how he presents himself, who the traitor is, and how is the movement that reveals the understanding how the dynamics is articulated between the leader and people. The governors have a personalist style, an intense caudillismo and regimes in Argentina are the so-called hybrid sub-national regimes. On the other hand, personalism in public organizations constitutes an emerging phenomenon of the social order and is basically characterized by the claim of certain individuals to belong, own and dominate the public scene for a long time. In both provinces there are multiparty elections, with universal votes, but the pro-government candidates massively outnumber the opponents in terms of campaign resources and media coverage and at the same time they harass the political opposition with “soft” repressive measures, in addition to formally subordinating them independent legislative and judicial powers. The governors of San Luis and Formosa shared the same decisions and the same methods to link with society in the emergency. The controversial formulas for the prevention of the Covid 19 Pandemic crossed its borders as a result of complaints made by citizens, due to the authoritarian nature of the measures and the violation of civil and human rights. The populist myth is made up of narratives that explain who is part of the people (of us), who is the villain who has done the damage, justifies why the people need that leader to repair the damage suffered, and face the epic struggle and finally achieve redemption.