When I purchased this little writing I was hoping to get some insight into Argentinian identity, on "argentinity" - which is what the title "argentinidad" would mean in English - only to find myself disappointed and confronted with yet another example of sheep-like condescendence and acceptance of the official "relato": the narrative so vehemently implemented and forced upon its citizens and the media by the presidential Kirchner-couple the author seems to be so infatuated by. I've been living in Buenos Aires for six years now, and mind you, I'm far from being the kind of guy that sees conspiracies everywhere. But what happens in this country as far as lying to the public, out-in-the-open corruption and scheming is something so unbelievably surreal that someone has to live here a while to get an idea of its shameless (dis)proportion.
Kunkel wrote this short panflet (I refuse to call it a book) before Cristina Kirchner got reelected as president of Argentina. Already then, with a tiny bit of reality-based critical thinking and fact checking, it would have been really hard for someone not to see through the self-praising, delirious claims the government loves to shower itself in. From tampering the findings and changing the indexing criteria of the INDEC (the national organism for census and statistics) in order to lower the criteria needed to designate poverty, or pillaging pension funds to finance "social plans" that assure the electoral support of the poor and ignorant lower class without actually helping them at all in the mid and long-term, or claiming absurdities like a minimal inflation when independent research groups (and the supermarket prices) put them at around 25% a year making it the second-highest of Latin America after Chávez's Venezuela, or making a huge propaganda show out of supposed commercial breakthroughs with underdeveloped countries that don't lead to anything at all... and the list, believe me, goes on forever. And let's not even start about the corruption in the highest ranks, the antisemitic characters that have a portrait of the Ayatollah Khomeini hanging in their government office, the shameful censorship of independent press, the persecution and diffamation of opposition, and so on and so forth.
Before Cristina's reelection in 2011 the governmental apparatus was outdoing itself to keep together the "relato" and keep upright a fata morgana-image of a generous, efficient country with all the rights to expect a bright future thanks to the awesome leadership it was under. Of course, as soon as CFK (Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) got her second term mandate, all the clumsy duct-tape fixings and cables used to mend the scenary were let loose, and the whole thing came crumbling down. Coherent with its style so popular among latin-american countries, the government denies reality even more vehemently than before, blames others for whatever problem they can't deny any longer - be it the USA, the UK, the Jews, the opposition, the media... any scapegoat that plays into the pseudo-socialist mindset of the resentful anti-everything and pro-nothing nationalistic leftist factions that appeal to the masses.
But mind you, my criticism of this booklet is not based on a discrepancy on political views, but rather on a much more proposturous absence of reality and common sense in it. There is no depth in it, no proper research, no questioning of anything - just a superficial infatuation with the romanticism of a glass bubble of propaganda and wishful thinking, which has its counterpart in a sad and dramatic reality against which Argentinians slam their heads over and over again on a day to day basis.
In other words: purchase this item if you want to see an example of what the result of a foreigner out of touch with reality, living in a glass bubble in a latin-american country and brainwashed by governmental propaganda, looks like.