Monday, July 15, 2024

ARGENTINA | 27-05-2022 08:58

News that caught our eye: May 20 to 27

A selection of the stories that caught our eye over the last seven days in Argentina.



Domestic Trade Secretary Roberto Feletti resigned last Monday after having been transferred from the Productive Development to the Economy Ministry at the end of the previous week. Differences with his new boss, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán, who opposes Feletti’s insistent proposal to increase grain export duties and thus lower food prices on the domestic market, were cited as the reason for his exit but it was also seen as a withdrawal of all Kirchnerite responsibility for inflation. Feletti was replaced by Central Bank director Guillermo Hang, 39.



San Isidro federal judge Lino Mirabelli on Monday accepted the offer of President Alberto Fernández and First Lady Fabiola Yáñez to pay 1.6 million and 1.4 million pesos respectively to close the case against them for violating pandemic quarantine by staging a party for the latter’s 39th birthday at the Olivos presidential residence in mid-2020. The offer to pay a total of three million pesos to the Malbrán Institute in the next 10 days had already been approved by San Isidro prosecutor Fernando Domínguez in the previous week. 



The official celebrations of last Wednesday’s public holiday marking the 1810 birth of Argentine nationhood ended up being routine enough with President Alberto Fernández not only attending the Te Deum in the downtown cathedral but also expressing his agreement with the “thoughtful” words of Buenos Aires Cardinal-Archbishop Mario Poli, who deplored so many people lacking not only bread but also such basic needs as healthcare and education. Yet that had not been the original plan – until almost the eve of the public holiday President Fernández had intended to take his entire Cabinet down to the Antarctic to mark the occasion, presumably as a South Atlantic sovereignty statement, but major logistical obstacles eventually dissuaded him.   



With Argentina a G20 member, President Alberto Fernández is an automatic participant at any G20 meeting but on Tuesday evening  he went one better when he was invited to join the next G7 summit in Bavaria by the summit host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (whom Fernández visited earlier this month in Berlin) as the only Latin American presence. Also invited to the summit of the G7 (Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as Germany) under the heading “Progress towards an equal world" are India, Indonesia (the current pro tem G20 head), Senegal and South Africa.



A quarter of Argentine youth in the 18-24 age group neither study nor work , a study by the UCA Argentine Catholic g has revealed, a situation aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic which halted education at all levels. In gender terms the category covers 30 percent of the women in that age-group as opposed to 20 percent of males while idle youth in low-income households double other classes.



Libertarian deputy Victoria Villarruel, who sits alongside Javier Milei representing La Libertad Avanza for the Federal Capital, has come under fire for making maximum use during the first quarter of this year for her monthly 10 free flights to various provinces, none of which she represents. Milei himself has only used two flights in that period. Only four other deputies in the 257-seat house, all from inland provinces, have made full use of their flights, making their constituencies their destination in almost all cases.



All the big guns of PRO – ex-president Mauricio Macri, City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and the centre-right party’s chair Patricia Bullrich - have joined forces to present a new guru, Guillermo Raffo, at a huddle in the Peronist stronghold of La Matanza. The move fills a vacuum since late 2019 when the previous spin doctor Jaime Duran Barba and the former Cabinet chief Marcos Peña rapidly vanished in the wake of Macri’s electoral defeat. Raffo has extensive experience as a political consultant both at home and abroad (for example, in Brazil where he advised two former presidents on opposite sides of the political divide, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Lula da Silva). PRO has been jumpy in recent weeks due to the opinion poll advances of the libertarían deputy Javier Milei. Various non-PRO members of the Juntos por el Cambio opposition coalition including such Radicals as Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales and Senator Alfredo Cornejo (Mendoza) also attended the latest political baptism of Raffo.



PRO chair Patricia Bullrich last weekend attended the show of pop star Tini Stoessel, making sure to publicise the experience in her social networks via a video with images to the rhythm of “Triple T,” entitled “La fuerza del cambio (the force of change)” in an apparent bid to woo the youth vote for next year’s elections.



Actress Thelma Fardín announced on Monday that she would be denouncing the stagnation of her rape case against Juan Darthés to the United Nations with the support of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, headed by Estela Barnes de Carlotto, accusing the defence of Darthés of stalling the trial in Brazil (which began in late 2018) in a bid to benefit from the statute of limitations. The sexual abuse denounced by Fardin dates back to 2007 and 2008 when she was filming a soap opera in Nicaragua with Darthés.

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