Argentina has been plunged into a new wave of despair and self-loathing by its latest corruption scandal, according to a British newspaper report.
The Sunday Telegraph says "President Fernando de la Rua came to office last year pledging a clean-up. So the discovery that his government is merrily bribing senators has plunged the country into a new wave of despair and loathing... The country is experiencing its biggest corruption scandal with the revelation last week that senators were being bribed with millions of dollars by the government to vote in labour legislation.
"Corruption, of course, is nothing new in South America, particularly Argentina where investigations by government, World Bank and UN into the regime of former President Carlos Menem have uncovered government servants helping themselves to Treasury money to an astonishing extent.
"It was a way of life set by the (former) president himself with his love of champagne and Ferraris and his presidential jet, Tango One, complete with gold fittings and bar. But those days, referred to as ?the last days of El Dorado' were supposed to be over".
The newspaper says "the timing (of the corruption scandal) is unfortunate as the government recently substantially raised people's tax burden". The Sunday Telegraph, a serious broadsheet newspaper with a big circulation, declares: "It's not a good time to be Argentine. The country has been in recession for the past two years, and the pegging of the highly overvalued peso to the dollar has made everything enormously expensive".
The journalist who wrote the report, date-lined "Letter from Buenos Aires", Christina Lamb, quotes a lawyer as telling her "about the misery of being Argentine". "The problem is", he said, "we think we are Europeans and cannot understand what we are doing stuck here in South America". Another Argentine told her: "Things look like they work but you don't have to scratch far below the surface to find they do not...Recently one part of Buenos Aires had a power cut and it took seven days to get it back"....
"The country's prized beef industry is in crisis. The US has banned imports because of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and even Argentines are eating far less beef than they used". "Sad land of Psycho-analysis and Tango"
"Sad land of Psycho-analysis and Tango"
Last month, Dr Rene Favaloro, described by the Telegraph as "Argentina's most e