You could see it coming, and it seems it’s just coming. Various media assure that the decree that grants the General Administration of Ports (AGP SE) the concession to maintain the dredging and signaling system of the Paraná river for 12 months is being signed or has already been signed. It is finished, It could be said not without some relief, since – if confirmed – it would not be the worst that could happen, although the fundamental question – the reaffirmation of sovereignty over our river – remains unresolved and the winners of the arm wrestling they are, once again and still, the big multinationals and their local supporters.
As is known, the AGP will tender the services between private dredgers and on the basis of what the Jean de Null company did for a quarter of a century. And although it seems that from the new decree the AGP (that is, the State) will charge a toll to the shipping companies for navigating our river, this does not end the film of the surrender of sovereignty. On the contrary, it has just begun because the great pending issue is, on the one hand, the control of foreign trade that is currently uncontrolled (and which – neatly and rigorously – could pay in a few years the total external debt) and on the other, the beginning of a system of national ports, with the flourishing of the old and important shipping industry, and of the national merchant marine.
Another positive aspect is that, in recent years and paradoxically “thanks” to macrismo, the myth of the efficiency of private companies in the face of state inefficiency has been completely dismantled. In its place appeared, and today shines, the mere truth: that the privatist model is based on appearances and not on truths; It is a prebendary of the State it corrupts, and also encourages human exploitation. It is rather a kind of cannibal enterprise that for countries like Argentina, and in general the Third World, it is cruel and generates violence. That is why it is necessary to vindicate public models that, especially if strong controls and penalties are established, are much more efficient than privatized models, as has been proven in many countries.
In any case, it is imperative to be aware that there are several pending issues after verifying that a great opportunity has been lost to let the company Hidrovía SA withdraw at no cost to the State, which would have made it possible to recover not only the full national rights over the river, but also the strengthening of the gigantic economic possibilities that Argentina today has forbidden.
Complete sovereignty over the Paraná will remain pending, while a lot of collateral damage will continue to weigh on the country. For example, the rude and arrogant installation of foreign ports that function as colonial enclaves in our territory. Or the already enormous environmental damage that will be further aggravated by the abusive dredging that is done in these same days given the extraordinary downward flow of the waters. And downturn due to the drought caused by the fierce fires in the Amazon and uncontrolled clearing by agribusinesses, both in Paraguay and throughout northern Argentina. That is now preventing the transit of many large ships and the solution is not, as is practiced in these hours, to deepen the bed by dredging more and more because that damages an already injured river.
It must be said that this is an unfortunately very common defect in the world, due to the lack of sands for more and more gigantic engineering works and for the extraction of oil through so-called “fracking”, which is a way of destroying nature. Many countries steal sands from each other, and some are known to destroy lakes and aquifers in order to extract sand to meet the impressive and growing demand for concrete. This, which has long been a common practice in Asia, is now our turn.
And not to mention the meager and deficient state action on the road. Because If a railway system like the one that all countries with large ports have and decades ago we also had is not urgently reestablished, the already deteriorated highway system, which in Argentina is precarious, insufficient, inefficient and expensive, will collapse. It is enough to see the impressive traffic of thousands of trucks loaded with grain, or sand, that haunts the routes of Córdoba, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires and other provinces, and that is very dangerous. There are millions of trucks that circulate many times exceeded in the allowed tare, causing very high accident rates and increasing damage to the routes that – in case you do not know – we all pay.
According to the decree of marras, not only the dredging and beaconing services would be tendered between private companies, but, while the 12 months of this “short” concession elapse, the Ministry of Transport will face another tender, this one in the background and for the long term , and it seems obvious to presume its possible contents.
Surely for all this, Minister Guerrera went, this week and supposedly “in a reserved way”, to anticipate to the directors of the Rosario Stock Exchange all the changes “for the signature” of the President. And a meeting in which according to Rosario newspapers he was accompanied by the chief of staff of that ministry, the radical lawyer Abel De Manuele, who fulfilled a similar function during the macrismo under the orders of the then minister Dante Sica, and who would have been the drafter of the decree. . In such meeting, the BCR would have stated that the entire bidding process should not affect the “very good service” of dredging that has been provided for them and that in times of a Paraná downspout such as the current one, it is “essential so that they do not the fluvial transport of loads is cut “.
It must also be said, although it might annoy some, that the question of the sovereignty of Paraná reveals in passing the ominous loss of sense of Social Justice and morality that for many years has been winning some political sectors, both from Peronism and from other political affiliations. Menem was lethal in this sense, by solvent and sepoy, and left terrible examples that this nation is still paying for.
Decree 949/2020 has been a stealth process, and the general silence has been solid and constant. And it is curious that there is talk of sovereignty in the Malvinas, but the Paraná is silenced. That is why some groups alerted the Argentine people, which may never be understood by some squires of power who only pretend submission and silence. Of course the largest role corresponds to the macrismo, whose muteness in matters of sovereignty and of Paraná in particular, has been total, massive and shameless. There was not a single statement from JxC. But they also missed – it must be said – pronouncements by the hierarchies of Congress: neither CFK nor Sergio Massa – nor the Foreign Ministry – spoke about the possible, imminent and now rerouted privatization of Paraná.
Always useful some milestones in history, it is impossible to forget that it was Juan Perón who in 1953, when inaugurating the Río Santiago Shipyard, announced: “We will build Argentine ships, in Argentine shipyards and by Argentine workers.” The great popular majorities do not forget it. That is the hope.