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Argentines prepare for huge anti-government protest

By Reporter

Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Nov. 8 2012 7:27 p.m. MST

Sen. Anibal Fernandez, who was the president's Cabinet chief and now leads the governing party's legislators, called the idea of general discontent "an invention of one faction of the ultra-right." He accused organizers of being funded by wealthy landowners and supporters of the 1976-1983 dictatorship.

Pro-government voices say what's really at stake is the model of social inclusion that the Kirchners pursued, such as providing cash payments to the poor and unemployed, and directing billions of dollars from the nationalized pension fund to social welfare projects.

The model puts Argentina's development needs ahead of international commitments, and has made sure that the country's state-controlled oil company and airline respond first to the needs of its citizens, government supporters say.

President Fernandez called for an honest debate about her policies rather than protests.

"The only thing I ask of each one of the Argentines, and mostly of political class, is that each one says what they really think and want for this country, with sincerity, and that no one will be offended," she said.

But the president also issued a warning to those gathering Thursday night: "Don't anyone think that I'm going to go against my own politics, those that I've defended since I was 15 years old. These are the politics I believe in and this is the country I believe in."

Argentina's opposition parties remain weak and balkanized and face a credibility crisis, having lost control of Congress and nearly every other institution capable of restraining the government. Instead, much of the opposition has coalesced around social media sites created by Torres and attorney Marcelo Moran, who insist they aren't affiliated with any political organization. The eight sites and accounts they manage claim more than 200,000 followers.

Torres dismissed most opposition politicians as having lost touch with Argentines, and said she expected some of them to try to piggyback on the marches.

March organizers aren't the only ones spreading their opinions through social networks.

Writer Ivy Cangaro and business consultant Juan Carlos Romero launched a counter-campaign, "8-N I won't go," which has more than 27,000 followers. They too say they don't belong to any particular political platform, but support Fernandez.

Cangaro said the march is misguided. "The premises are false and have been imposed by the media through fear. The people assume it's real and so feel the need to go out and protest against it, but it has nothing to do with what's real and tangible."

Associated Press writer Michael Warren contributed to this report.

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