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Argentina: Observing the Ballotage

Posted on the 10 December 2015 by Center For International Private Enterprise @CIPEglobal

Mauricio Macri, nuevo presidente de Argentina (Foto EFE)

By Mario Felix Lleonart

Originally published on his blog Cubano Confesante.

Con curiosidad asisto de observador a elecciones #Argentina. 1er experiencia de mi vida de elecciones democraticas

— Mario Felix Lleonart (@maritovoz) November 22, 2015

I was brought by God’s winds to the epicenter of a democratic battle: the Argentina ballotage (runoff), the second round of an election for the presidency of the Republic between two candidates.

I landed on Sunday, November 15 in Buenos Aires, exactly at the moment of the first presidential debate in the history of Argentina. During an incredibly intense week, for the first time in my forty years I observed the effervescent passion of a nation that today can settle the future of their country through ballot boxes.

Beyond the two competing sides, beyond who the winner may be, the value of my experience of being a witness to the possibility of a country that values Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the right to Democracy! The right of the whole world to participate in the government of their country, directly, or through representatives freely chosen!

I was able to be in a nation who manifests and values its will as the basis of the government’s power expressed through genuine elections with universal suffrage and secret ballot. Not only did I have the opportunity to contemplate its significance, but I served as an observer, accompanying several officials at high schools in the city of Rosario.

It’s as if I was a child–and I am in many senses–I was moved by an immense curiosity about the first democratic elections that I have attended in my forty years. Never in all of my life have we had such a thing in Cuba. But I hope that we see them shortly. I am in agreement with many political scientists that affirm that the results of the elections today in Argentina will have repercussions in all of Latin America.

If a butterfly’s fluttering in Hong Kong can cause a storm in New York, what can we say about the effects of today’s election in Argentina on the Venezuelan elections held on December 6, and next year in Cuba. The effects are already happening. They’re happening in me!

Read an analysis of the significance of the presidential debates in Argentina by John Zemko, CIPE Regional Director for Latin America & the Caribbean, here.

Mario Felix Lleonart is an evangelical Baptist pastor from Villa Clara, Cuba. He recently completed a fellowship in Rosario, Argentina, with CIPE partner Fundación Libertad. You can read his blog, Cubano Confesant here: He’s a regular contributor to The second part of his two-part series on the Argentine elections can be read in Spanish here and in English here.

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