Reuters: Argentina’s defiance on YPF strikes chord at home

April 18, 2012 10:43 am0 commentsViews:

By Helen Popper and Hilary Burke

BUENOS AIRES, April 17 (Reuters) – Argentina’s drive to seize control of leading energy company YPF from Spain’s Repsol may have outraged European trade partners and foreign investors, but many ordinary citizens hailed it as virtually heroic.

The move by combative President Cristina Fernandez appealed to Argentines who are critical about the vagaries of global finance and the controversial privatizations of the 1990s – a decade remembered for rampant corruption and factory closures in Latin America’s No. 3 economy.

Fernandez loyalists pasted “Thank You Cristina” posters on government buildings in the capital Buenos Aires and supporters of the expropriation drive praised the president’s boldness.

“It’s about recovering what’s ours,” said Julio Olaz, a passerby in downtown Buenos Aires. “We need to get together and make sureArgentina belongs to Argentina and not to foreigners.”

The takeover move could help Fernandez regain the political initiative after a series of unpopular policy moves and a corruption probe involving her vice president that have eroded her approval ratings since her landslide re-election in October last year. Continue reading