Friday, May 27, 2022

ARGENTINA | 08-12-2018 13:39

Mon 3rd-Sun 9th: What We Learned This Week

What has happened the last seven days?


Security Minister Patricia Bullrich continues to dominate the headlines in the aftermath of the G20 summit, this time for implementing new rules of engagement for federal security forces, allowing them to use firearms without previous verbal communication. The outrage was immediate, with even Civic Coaltion leader Elisa “Lilita” Carrió calling it “fascist” and “a violation of human rights.” Another key member of the ruling Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition, Buenos Aires Province Governor María Eugenia Vidal sought to lower the tone of the dispute, indicating the Province already has a similar protocol in place. “I don’t agree with Lilita Carrió,” Vidal said in a TV interview on Thursday night, “yet I celebrate, even if it scares some, the internal democracy of the president’s political space.”


Emilio Monzó was re-elected for a final term as the president of the Chamber of Deputies this week. The former Peronist is a key component in the ruling Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition, securing the necessary votes to pass legislation in the historically complicated Lower House. Monzó, who at times has been ignored by President Macri and left outside the closest circle of advisors, gave a rousing speech that generated the applause from most political parties. “I value threading (“la rosca”),” he told the chamber, highlighting the importance of politics. “This is not done virtually, not through social media but in person,” Monzó added, in an allusion to Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña’s powerful social media strategy.


Mauricio Macri wrapped up a successful G20 Leaders Summit in Buenos Aires last weekend, which included not only an initial truce in the escalating trade war between Beijing and Washington DC, but also an emotionally charged evening at the Teatro Colón that saw the president break into tears. Buenos Aires played host to the world’s leaders last Friday and Saturday under an intense security operation that included the deployment of over 20,000 officers. Macri held bilaterals with Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, Theresa May, Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe and several of the leaders of the G20. While the meeting between Trump and Xi was the most relevant from a global perspective, Macri continued to work on Argentine-UK relations, and signed over 30 commercial and strategic agreements with China. After a well-deserved break with First Lady Juliana Awada in the Patagonia region this weekend, the president will have to focus on recession, inflation, and falling economic output in order to dream of re-election in 2019. (Editor: We’re sorry for the headline, we really are).


On the campaign trail, Mauricio Macri had promised to eliminate income tax, yet on Thursday the AFIP tax authority updated their scale and broadened the base. Next year, individuals who are single and in full-time employment will pay income tax if they make a net salary of 38,301 pesos or more, with that number rising to 50,668 pesos in the case of a married individual with two children.


To a certain extent, as the Central Bank decided to eliminate the lower-bound limit on interest rates, which stood at 60 percent until Wednesday, in an attempt to revitalise a stalled economy. The institution led by Guido Sandleris managed to tame a wild dollar-peso exchange rate through a so-called “monetary tourniquet” that effectively vacuumed pesos out of the system, which, coupled with interest rates that exceeded 70 percent, pushed investors out of dollar-denominated assets. With the peso relatively stable hovering around 38 per dollar, and inflation expectations falling sharply — despite remaining elevated — the Central Bank let interest rates on Leliq paper fall to 59 percent this week.


Remains of the 106th fallen Argentine soldier buried on the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands has been fully identified, Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj said Thursday. He said the name of the newly identified soldier would be released in due course, after the family of the late combatant asked for privacy in wake of the news.


Under this slogan, thousands of women took to the streets on Wednesday to protest the continued wave of femicides, exemplified by the case of Lucía Pérez, who was found dead in Mar del Plata coastal city in 2016, and whose accusers were recently acquitted of sexual abuse and femicide. Two of the three men were convicted of supplying drugs to a minor.


Rodrigo Eguillor, the 24-year old son of a Lomas de Zamora prosecutor, went on a TV interview binge this week after being arrested on allegations of sexual abuse. Eguillor, whose long-hair and eccentric mannerisms made him an instant media star, was filmed pulling a young woman from his balcony in San Telmo in November. This week, he went on a social media tirade infused with misogyny and self-righteousness to defend himself. Eguillor, who comes from a well-off family in the southern part of Buenos Aires, was later taken into custody in Ezeiza airport, but released after a psychiatric evaluation indicated he was aware of his surroundings and totally capable of understanding the seriousness of the situatio... after which he went straight to TV channel America to defend himself on live television, claiming he “saved” the young woman from jumping off the balcony. The case is under investigation.


We’ve done this joke to death haven’t we? River v Boca is this Sunday (in Madrid.)

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