Argentina 1989-1991: Full Privatization, Limited Liberalization
The first part of this chapter examines ENTel's privatization during the Menem administration. It pays special attention to political and economic conditions during the transition from Alfonsín to Menem and to the means by which these historical factors affected privatization politics. The government's renewed attempt to sell Empresa Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ENTel) and restructure the Argentine telecom sector is placed in context by examining the support and resistance to the project as well as the economic and political factors that limited and enhanced the power of each group. The impact of the variables highlighted in this work--state autonomy and centralization of power in the state apparatus--are tested throughout the historical account of the process.
The second part of the chapter lays out the politics of telecom liberalization in Argentina. This section critiques the generalizability of a political approach to the whole reform process, and it highlights the fact that liberalization of the telecom market is better explained by economic factors. I argue that liberalization, when attempted with privatization, is affected more by the attractiveness of the domestic telecom market to private investors than by political factors such as the autonomy of the state and the cohesiveness of the government. Lucrative telecom markets give governments leverage to impose