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After a few weeks of subdued political discussion with the pandemic taking most of the attention, Argentina’s Peronist government’s surprise announcement of the nationalization of a major grain-exporting company shook the scene last Monday, with consequences and ramifications that are still hard to fully process.
The decision to take over Vicentin, a 90-years old agro-industrial firm based in Santa Fe province that competes with international giants ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Dreyfus for Argentina’s massive soy crushing market, came as a surprise not only to its owners, but even to some of President Alberto Fernández’s closest advisors, with even Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero and Economy Minister Martín Guzmán reportedly left out of the loop until shortly before Monday’s press conference.