Interview Federico G. Polak
- Carolina Rodríguez Hernández: Can you describe to us a childhood experience, which influenced your business career, especially your relation with politics?
Federico G. Polak: During my childhood in Castelar, a town near Buenos Aires, dad often took me to the opposition political rallies, which usually ended with repression. That marked my life. It gave me interest in politics, and I repudiate police brutality.
2. CRH: Could you give us an insight into the creative process behind writing Armando a Macri. Memoria del Interventor and www.eltontoylossabios.com?
FGP: That book is born from my brief past as president of Boca Juniors. It is a story that covers from 1925 to the end of Macri’s presidency in the club in 1995. El Tonto y los Sabios (The Fool and the Wise), on the other hand, arises from the need that I felt like linking politics in 2010 to intellectual thought. Today that blog is somewhat abandoned
This global crisis caused by the coronavirus constitutes an opportunity to design a development strategy FGP
3. CRH: Regarding your book Un Viejo Diccionario Español. La Tontería del Desarrollo Argentino, how Latin American countries must create a inclusive development programs in the 21st Century?
FGP: This global crisis caused by the coronavirus constitutes an opportunity to design a development strategy, as the existence of idle capitals in the post-war world was during the 1950s. Brazil and Argentina had similar experiences with different endings. Brazil with Juscelino Kubitschek and Argentina with Arturo Frondizi.
4. CRH: What was the first steps to take action during your time at Movimiento de Integración y Desarrollo (MID)?
FGP: When I entered the MID, a young lawyer, I was an active member until the arrival of the dictatorship in 1976. Through the party I entered the Asamblea Permanente por los Derechos Humanos (Permanent Assembly for Human Rights), integrating its board of directors. It was a cruel period, in which we took personal and political risks, in defense of human rights.
5. CRH: Which politicians has inspired you throughout your career? Why?
FGP: The first president elected by popular vote in Argentina in 1916, Hipólito Yrigoyen, was the one who first inspired my public career, because he represented the “la chusma” against the conservative regime. From abroad, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the most complete sample of the welfare state.
6. What was a good personal experience when he met Arturo Frondizi and Raúl R. Alfonsín?
FGP: I had excellent personal relationships with Arturo Frondizi and with Raúl Alfonsín. But over time with Alfonsín we reached a sincere, loyal and definitive friendship. He was one of my great friends in life.
7. CRH: Can you tell us more about how do you was interested in writing your PhD. dissertation, La Empresa Extranjera?
FGP: My thesis “The Foreign Company” had an inspirer, Arturo Frondizi. The night I met him, same day I became a lawyer, he asked me if I was going to be a PH Doctor. He advised me to study the problem of monopolies, which at that time was synonymous with foreign capital. I quickly finished my doctoral studies, but it took me 33 years to research foreign capital until I submitted my thesis.
8. CRH: Which was the most difficult process in writing Remember Max Baer?
FGP: The biggest difficulty was that I had never written a novel. Short stories yes, but not a novel. Also, being a researcher, I mixed the product of research with fiction. The product ended up being predictable: it is a very unusual, poor novel.
9. CRH: What role does music play in your creative writing process?
FGP: I have a poor musical ear, but when writing fiction – not legal or political science – I usually accompany myself with background blues. It can be Tom Jones when he sporadically plays blues, any of the great Americans, or Pappo, the iconic exponent of national blues in Argentina.
10. CRH: Was there a particular human exchange you can describe which inspired him towards taking charitable action regarding the causes he love?
FGP: Gandhi, definitely. Of course there are many other examples, but no one like him felt and lived for his cause and his ideals.
11. CRH: You had a healthy relationship with your parents, Carlos Polak and writer Rebeca Mactas Alpersohn.? How they were as a persons, not as a judge and writer?
FGP: I had a greeting, magnificent relationship with my parents. Dad was my guide in life and in the profession. Mom led my readings from my childhood. My sister Julia, seven years older than me, emigrated to England very young, became Dame Commodore of the British Empire and candidate for the Nobel Prize. My brother Miguel died at 32. So the three of us stayed together (me and my parents) until they left.
12. CRH: What advice can you share with the world on the importance of empowering others to reach one’s full potential? How do you empowered others in his daily life?
FGP: One of my biggest shortcomings is my actual inability to give advice. What I am sure to say is that everyone lives their lives according to their ideals and beliefs, act collectively, think of others more than themselves.
13. CRH: Are you a spiritual person? Can you share with us one of his more profound spiritual experiences?
FGP: I am not a spiritual person. Therefore I have not had deep spiritual experiences. But I’m still on time. I don’t believe in God as the religions conceive it, but I suppose that something higher exists, something that is beyond our knowledge.
14. CRH: What is your message to entrepreneurs who struggle to launch their ideas?
FGP: My message to entrepreneurs is to take as a mirror those who show social concerns, in addition to business concerns. For instance, Bill Gates.
15. CRH: What is your greatest hope for the future? What is next for Francisco G. Polak?
FGP: My greatest hope for the future, little less than a utopia, is that inequality, poverty, hunger gradually disappear. What comes to me seems to be is living in Spain for a time, a step that is preventing this pandemic for now. My appointment with the ambassador degree is in process, as Special Representative for the Promotion of Business Activity in the Kingdom of Spain, accompanying the Argentine ambassador in Madrid, Ricardo Alfonsin.
16. CRH: How would you like to be remembered?
FGP: I guess over the years no one will remember me. For now there is my family to do it, my three children and my three grandchildren. Maybe in an uncertain future someone will find a book of mine in a library and read some pages.
I do not imagine, but rather desire, a more integrated, less poor and unequal Latin America. FGP
17. CRH: How do you imagine Latin America in 30 years from now, and particularly Argentina?
FGP: I do not imagine, but rather desire, a more integrated, less poor and unequal Latin America. Let the messianic leadership end and the statesmen prevail. In Argentina, particularly, which is living its saddest hours of economic and social anxiety, there seems to be one in command.
18. CRH: Which were the political positive legacy of President Macri? Do you believe politicians must have entrepreneurship spirit to lead a country like his professional business background?
FGP: Macri absolutely lacks a positive legacy. He had everything in his favor, and he did everything wrong. Thanks to him, Argentina has a brutal public debt, the highest rates of poverty, high inflation and inequality. Entrepreneurs put to direct public affairs end like this, because they do not understand it.
19. CRH: Who are top three thought global leaders (philosophers, politicians, etc.) you admire?
FGP: I have already mentioned Gandhi. Add Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill if you like. All so different from each other, from different ideologies. Mandela should be on the list, of course. And Martin Luther King. From Latin America, Simón Bolivar. Today I am personally moved by the ideas and fighting spirit that Bernie Sanders demonstrates at his age.