Last Friday Latin America analyst Geoffrey Ramsey over at The Pan-American Post called attention to a new bill that could potentially limit the rights of protesters in Argentina:
In reality the bill cannot be easily pigeonholed as an uncompromising attack on freedom of speech. Like similar U.S. laws, it would prevent demonstrators from blocking vehicular traffic. Specifically, it would require that protests allow at least one lane open, and — most controversially — to register with authorities at least 48 hours prior to the event. But still, as La Nacion notes, the [ruling Front for Victory party’s] sponsorship of the law demonstrates a ‘profound change’ for a government that has striven to be seen as an ally of mass mobilizations.
For critics of the Fernandez administration, the timing of the bill is no coincidence. As both El Pais and the Associated Press point out, the bill comes amid growing discontent with inflation and economic stagnation, and may be an attempt to brace for potentially escalating protests in the coming months.
Perhaps Pres. Fernández senses a storm coming and wants to make sure she doesn’t wet.