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ARGENTINA | 01-06-2019 11:59

May 27th-June 2nd: What we learned this week

The stories that caught our eye from the last seven days.

RADICALS SAY YES (KIND OF)

Monday’s long-awaited national convention of the UCR Radical party voted by a 271-14 margin to remain in the ruling Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition but also to broaden it by incorporating other sectors, including Peronists. Party chairman Alfredo Cornejo, the outgoing Mendoza governor, warned of strong possibilities of defeat in October, thus justifying both the continuation of the coalition and its expansion. The coalition partners also fancy the vice-presidential candidacy but this remains an open question. (See full story on page 6)

MASSA CLOSER TO PJ FOLD

At Thursday’s convention of the Renewal Front, party leader Sergio Massa (a 2015 presidential candidate who finished a strong third) embraced the option of competing in a pan-Peronist primary against the new Alberto Fernández-Cristina Fernández ticket among other hopefuls while yesterday Justicialist Party authorities left the door wide open for him. (See full story on page 6)

YES, IT’S AXEL

Starting as a photo with the Alberto FernándezCristina Fernández ticket in a tweet by the latter at the start of the week, the Buenos Aires gubernatorial candidacy of former Economy minister Axel Kicillof with La Matanza Mayor Verónica Magario seemed to have been confirmed by midweek. even if Kicillof played the report down. (See full story on page 6).

GENERAL STRIKE REVISITED

Thanks to a total transport stoppage, the 5th general strike against the Mauricio Macri administration called by the CGT umbrella labour grouping for last Wednesday was predictably a success, bringing this city to a halt in midweek. But the day was not entirely uneventful with leftist and picket activists blocking roads at various points, resulting in 31 arrests. The government estimated the cost of a lost day of work at 40 billion pesos. (See full story on page 5 and editorial on page 2)

THIS WEEK IN CORRUPTION...

Carlos Stornelli, the main prosecutor in the trials of Kirchnerite graft who has been repeatedly summoned by Dolores federal judge Alejo Ramos Padilla in connection with the espionage ring denounced by Marcelo D’Alessio, went on the counteroffensive last week, following wiretaps in which Kirchnerites Eduardo Valdés, former Federal Planning Ministry official Roberto Baratta and former Transport secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi spoke of a plot to frame the prosecutor.

PAEDOPHILE PAEDIATRICIAN

A new paedophilia scandal erupted last week where it is most dangerous – at Garrahan Children’s Hospital, whose head of its Immunology Department was arrested on Tuesday after over 100 videos of child pornography were found in his computer. The investigation, which involves others in an international paedophile ring, collaborated with police agencies in both the United States and Brazil. There has been at least one other related arrest in Río Tercero, Córdoba. (See page 8 for full story)

THIS WEEKEND’S VOTING

The provinces of San Juan and Misiones vote tomorrow (see full story on page 7).

DOLLAR WATCH

The dollar closed out its stablest month in over a year yesterday when it ended the week on 46.10 pesos, just four cents up from the previous Friday. Yet the apparent lack of movement hid a surge yesterday after the greenback dipped in previous days of the week. Country risk also returned to four digits as edgy money markets closed.

MORE TRIGGER-HAPPY COPS

While the deaths of four youths in San Miguel del Monte following a police chase remain under investigation with 13 Buenos Aires provincial police officers under arrest, another case of trigger-happy law enforcement in the Greater Buenos Aires district of Tres de Febrero around the same time has come to light – a shoplifting suspect, Diego Cagliero (30), was killed by provincial policemen firing at a van in which he and his friends were escaping. Police claimed that the death had resulted from a gunfight but the two firearms found in the van had not been used.

PASEO DEL BAJO A HIGHLIGHT

President Mauricio Macri on Monday inaugurated the Paseo del Bajo, reducing the inner-city connection between major northern and southern highways to several minutes, and took full opportunity of the occasion to bash previous Kirchnerite administrations for squandering public works funds on corr uption instead of such infrastructural priorities.

RECORD LOW INFANT MORTALITY IN BA PROVINCE

On Thursday Buenos Aires Province Governor María Eugenia Vidal was able to announce that child mortality in her jurisdiction had fallen to a record low – from 9.5 per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 8.9 last year, which amounted to 2017 less dead babies. Vidal attributed this progress to intensified obstetric controls although health experts also see child mortality and malnutrition as directly correlated.

BIRTH OF A NATION

Falling on a weekend this year, the festivities for the 209th anniversary of the 1810 May revolution marking the birth of Argentine nationhood were more subdued than usual with even the Te Deum sermon less aggressive – Buenos Aires Cardinal-Archbishop Mario Poli appealed for a “great national agreement.

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