Sunday, April 5, 2020

ARGENTINA | 13-04-2019 12:07

Apr 8th-14th: What We Learned This Week

What has happened the last seven days?

NIETA #129

The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo announced their 129th recovered grandchild last Monday although her full identity is being kept private for now. Her story goes back 42 years when she was born in captivity in 1977 (presumably at the maternity ward in the Campo de Mayo detention centre although that cannot be confirmed). But what has been confirmed is her real parentage after genetic testing on her father and brother Carlos and Marcos Sonsona, both present at Tuesday’s press conference alongside Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo President Estela Barnes de Carlotto. But her mother Norma Sintora has been missing ever since her abduction on May 21, 1977 when eight months pregnant with her family long unsure whether the baby had ever been born and if so, what was the gender. Both parents were electronic engineering students and both were members of the People’s Revolutionary Army (ERP). The new family member also has a stepbrother Martín.


Last Sunday Río Negro elected its first woman governor with an absolute majority – Arabela Carreras, previously provincial Tourism minister – while Chubut’s PASO primary the same day leaves its June 9 provincial elections wide open (See Page 6 for full story).


National team coach Lionel Scaloni was hit by a car while cycling in Majorca Tuesday and was rushed to hospital but rapidly discharged after suffering only minor injuries.)


Commercial Court Judge Roberto Gallardo on Wednesday ordered the “immediate” suspension and seizure of fast-food delivery services using bicycle couriers and taking orders through mobile applications, demanding that they demonstrate their compliance with safety, insurance and sanitation laws. The move hits a huge and growing sector headed by such well-known companies as Rappi (Colombia), Glovo (Spain) and the local Pedidos Ya and directly employing around 5,000 people. City Hall immediately reacted not only by confirming that it would appeal the ruling but also seek to remove Gallardo from the bench. Meanwhile an even bigger mobile apps-based service (Uber car transport) triggered two consecutive days of taxi protests clogging downtown traffic Thursday and yesterday.


Idle capacity in manufacturing industry shot up to 43.4 percent at the close of last year, INDEC statistics bureau reported on Wednesday, the highest level since the meltdown year of 2002. INDEC simultaneously posted a 14.7 percent plunge in industrial output for December, 2018. Despite sharp falls in both production and demand, idle capacity had always remained below 40 percent until then. The auto industry, heavy engineering, textiles, tobacco, printing, rubber and plastics are among the sectors hardest-hit. Steep interest rates crippling credit on the supply side and falling real wages on the demand side are widely blamed for the downturn.


The dollar completed a weeklong retreat yesterday when it closed at 43.29 pesos after starting the week at 44.50 pesos, a decline coming in the wake of International Monetary Fund approval of a disbursement of almost US$11 billion at the end of the previous week while export dollars are reportedly starting to be cashed finally.


Meat tycoon Alberto Samid, who absconded to Belize to dodge facing tax evasion charges, only to be extradited from there last Monday, remained in jail as the week ended after the courts refused to release him on the grounds that he might flee the country again. But his judges also ordered “urgent” health tests on Samid, who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, to see if he requires medical attention in jail. The businessman’s defence lawyers are requesting house arrest. Samid was sent to prison immediately on his arrival here early Tuesday.


Federal prosecutor Diego Luciani yesterday recommended that Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner not be allowed to go through with her plans to visit her daughter Florencia (undergoing medical treatment in Cuba) between April 20 and 30 on the grounds of the proximity of her May 21 trial for public works corruption. The court must now resolve the issue. The ex-president has already visited her daughter in Cuba between March 14 and 22 with Luciani’s approval.


In reaction to a transport strike announced for May Day (a public holiday) which they dismissed as toothless, two generations of the Moyano family (father Hugo and son Pablo) called a general strike for April 30. Their call was immediately echoed by both CTA labour umbrellas as well as trade unions representing auto workers, bank clerks and teachers but the CGT was slow to follow suit in the light of the government’s recent 13-billionpeso transfusion for union-run health care schemes.


Retired Army general Alfredo Arrillaga, 85, was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for the summary execution of guerrillas surrendering after the recapture of the La Tablada Army barracks in early 1989. He was found guilty in the specific case of José Diaz, 29, who was photographed at the time with his hands up and showing a white flag, although at least three similar cases of shooting prisoners are suspected. The far left Movimiento Todos por la Patria grouping overran the La Tablada barracks on January 23, 1989, on the pretext that they were heading off a military coup against then Radical President Raúl Alfonsín. Arrillaga is already serving five other life sentences under house arrest for human rights violations during the 1976- 83 military dictatorship.


The day before a key meeting with ministers and Cambiemos governors centring on possible price controls, Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña denied that such controls were in the offing in a fiery Congress session.

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