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ARGENTINA | 10-08-2019 13:19

August 5th-11th: What We Learned This Week

Stories that grabbed the eye from the last seven days...

IT’S PASO TIME!

To be fair, only one topic has dominated this week: the upcoming “open, simultaneous and obligatory primaries” that are taking place this Sunday. It would seem a bit ridiculous to detail everything that’s been going on, given that nine of our first ten pages of this edition are dedicated to it. So let’s just leave it at that for now – make sure to go and cast your vote this weekend! Polling stations are open from 8am local time until 6pm. (And remember – this is key information, pay attention folks – access to alcohol will be limited across the weekend, so make sure you pick yourself up a bottle of wine before Sunday, to enjoy as you watch the results come in).

 

NOT-SO TIMELY ECONOMIC NEWS

Argentine builders and manufacturers took a step back in June, in poorlytimed news for President Mauricio Macri. Construction activity in Argentina fell 4.2 percent in June compared with May, overshadowing smaller gains in the previous two months. It was down 11.8 percent from a year ago. Industrial production, which rose in April and May, also sunk 1.8 percent in June on a monthly basis and dropped 6.9 percent from a year prior, according to government data published Tuesday. The sectors of industrial activity hit hardest were “other transportation equipment” (32.2 percent), “vehicles, automobiles, bodies, trailers and auto parts” (28.7 percent) and “textile products” (18.5 percent).

 

PRE-PASO TURBULENCE

Pre-PASO turbulence and China’s devaluation of its currency hit the local exchange markets this week, pushing the peso above the 46-mark. By the close of the week, it had settled to 46.20 per greenback. Country risk, which soared above 900 earlier in the week, stood at 872 by Friday evening.

 

ATTACK ON ESPERT

Presidential candidate José Luis Espert was on Tuesday the target of a violent attack as two unidentified assailants threw rocks at the vehicle he was travelling in. Espert was travelling en route to the Crónica TV news station in San Telmo at 10pm when two people allegedly yelled at the vehicle and threw rocks at its windows, damaging the car. The incident occurred at the intersection of Madero and Córdoba avenues in Retiro. Police say they are investigating the matter but Espert played down the attack. Security Minister Patricia Bullrich also offered him protection.

 

ANOTHER SUBTE STRIKE

Lines B, C and D of the capital’s underground Subte system were hit by a brief shutdown on Thursday, as workers protesting ticket staff shortages in recently opened stations.

 

ABORTION VOTE ANNIVESARY DRAWS BOTH SIDES TO STREETS

Activists on both sides of the country’s abortion debate commemorated on Thursday the one-year anniversary of the Senate’s vote to strike down a measure to legalising abortion. Utilising the hashtag “#LaClandestinidadNoSeFesteja” (a reference to clandestine abortions), activists in favour of the legalisation of abortion chastised “pro-life” groups for celebrating the anniversary. The activists reiterated their demand for a law to decriminalise the procedure across the entire country, which they view as a necessity for public health. Meanwhile, a demonstration by anti-abortion groups in front of Congress drew the eye. It included musical acts and speakers with an explicit partisan slant, who criticised politicians known to support abortion reform and called on voters to support candidates who oppose abortion reform.

 

IVANKA TRUMP IS COMING TO ARGENTINA

Ivanka Trump will travel to Argentina in September, it was announced this week. The daughter of US President Donald Trump will focus on issues that make it difficult for women in developing countries to prosper financially on the trip, specifically problems such as a lack of access to credit (most likely a problem she has not experienced...) and limits on employment. During the trip, aides said Ivanka will advocate for laws and other changes that will allow women to access courts and other institutions, build credit, own and inherit property, travel freely and work the same jobs as men.

 

WORRYING BA CITY DATA ON FEMICIDES

Nearly half of the violent homicides committed against women in Buenos Aires City last year involved the characteristics of femicides, according to an official report. In 2018, 47 percent of homicides against women were considered femicides, compared to 52 percent the year before. The report also revealed that 32 percent of the incidents were committed by family members, with 75 percent carried out by men. Some 78 percent took place in private areas, with 44 percent in homes. Regarding means of killing, 44 percent of victims were strangled, 22 percent were shot and a similar percentage were beaten to death. Another worrying reminder of the work that still needs to be done to tackle this issue.

 

BUILDING COLLAPSES

An eight-story building, in the final phase of construction fell early Thursday morning, at around 1am, in Tres de Febrero. The collapse occurred at the corner of Estocolmo and General Paz. Tres de Febrero Mayor Diego Valenzuela pointed his finger at the architect and assured that the investigations would soon be underway to “determine what happened.” Valenzuela claimed in statements to Todo Noticias that the construction plan for the building was approved in 2015 – but alleged that the plans had been altered on many occasions.

 

MILANI CLEARED

Former Army chief César Milani was acquitted on Friday of the kidnapping and torture of a man and his son in 1977 during the last military dictatorship. The court in the northeastern city of La Rioja, which also judged another 10 defendants, ordered his immediate release, according to the sentence read out at the end of the trial. For more see Page 11.

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