Friday, June 21, 2024

ARGENTINA | 17-02-2018 10:13

What we learned this week: February 12-18

From next Wednesday protest to this week's protest in Santa Fe against Carlos Monzon.


In the countdown to next Wednesday’s labour protest march, which will be headed by former CGT chief Hugo Moyano, potential support seems to have dwindled while the judicial pressures on the teamster mounted as a federal judge ordered his family’s banking secrecy to be lifted. Luis Barrionuevo, head of the Blue and White CGT (the smallest of Argentina’s three labour umbrella groupings), confirmed on Wednesday that he would not be joining the march since he felt that it had been diverted from its original aims into the defence of a rival leader. But rather more damaging to the protest’s success is the lack of support from transport workers – their main union UTA was the first to confirm that they would not be bringing the country to a halt and last week railwaymen also ratified, while reaching a wage agreement with the government, that they would be backing away from the protest. Moyano was harshly critical of the absences in advance as “traitors.” The Moyano family’s banking secrecy meanwhile was lifted by Morón Federal Judge Néstor Barral in the framework of a case concerning irregular real estate purchases but the main accusations centre on alleged money-laundering via massive cash flows between the teamsters union, OCA courier company and Independiente football club, all controlled directly or indirectly by Moyano. The protest has split the main CGT down the middle with only one of its three secretaries-general (Juan Carlos Schmid) backing the march but despite the open divisions the labour umbrella is not proposing to discuss a new leadership before May.


Norwegian Airlines opened a new chapter of low-cost air travel in Argentinawhen its maiden flight to Ezeiza arrived from Gatwick on Thursday morning. The reception committee included Ministers Guillermo Dietrich (Transport) and Gustavo Santos (Tourism), British Ambassador Mark Kent and Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 President Martín Eurnekian. In other aviation news, the government has cancelled the Arbus service connecting Ezeiza and Aeroparque airports, thus making the international airport bus connection the most expensive in the world at 260 pesos according to the Ámbito Financiero newspaper. The government justified closure of the service (created in 2014) by pointing to an annual loss of 20 million pesos.


City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta reached agreement with municipal employees on a 2018 pay increase of 12 percent (below the national government’s wage cap of 15 percent). The pact does not include any clause automatically triggering compensation for inflation but does allow for collective bargaining to be renewed before the end of the year if real wages suffer. This agreement comes with the spotlight on pay talks with teachers, which have yet to begin in earnest in most provinces (only Misiones has already settled). Many eyes are watching the negotiations in Buenos Aires province closely, where temperatures are running high, with public statements between Governor María Eugenia Vidal’s administration and CTERA leader Roberto Baradel staking out positions.


Eugenio Raúl Zaffaroni, the former Supreme Court justice who now sits on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR, CIDH in its Spanish acronym), reiterated his wish this week that the Mauricio Macri presidency should end as soon as possible, thus prompting Justice Minister Germán Garavano to retort that Zaffaroni should leave the CIDH as soon as possible due to his “anti-democratic vision” which ends up discrediting the regional court. Yet there is no chance of removing Zaffaroni from the CIDH short of his voluntary resignation.


Inspired by the London Eye, City Hall is reportedly moving ahead with its own giant Ferris wheel in Puerto Madero. The firm RDBA (linked to show business personality Marcelo Tinelli) has already won the tender for the future tourist attraction, which is to be 80 metres high and is expected to net US$5 million a year.


Members of the Ni Una Menos movement held a protest this week in Santa Fe at the foot of a statue commemorating Carlos Monzón, the Argentine boxer who held the ‘Undisputed World Middleweight Championship’ for seven years in the 1970s. Monzón, who died in 1995, had a history of domestic violence and in 1988, while vacationing in Mar del Plata, he beat and killed his wife, Uruguayan model Alicia Muñiz, throwing her from the balcony of a secondfloor apartment. The protesters in Santa Fe this week were marking the 30th anniversary of the femicide, for which Monzón was found guilty of homicide in court.


There has been uproar in the province of La Rioja all week following the death of a police cadet last weekend. Emmanuel Garay, 19, died of dehydration after an excessively harsh drill in which trainees were denied water for five hours in extreme temperatures. A massive protest took place the provincial capital on Thursday demanding justice. Apart from the police academy authorities, six of Garay’s fellowcadets are also in the firing-line – their arrest has been sought for torturing colleagues.


President Mauricio Macri on Thursday dumped Lieutenant-General Diego Suñer as Army chief-of-staff. BrigadierGeneral Claudio Pasqualini will replace him, according to reports that emerged in the following hours after the news broke.


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