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ARGENTINA | 24-11-2018 08:19

Nov 19th-25th: What We Learned This Week

What has happened the last seven days?

SECURITY TOPS THE AGENDA AS G20 LEADERS SUMMIT DRAWS NEARS

The security preparations for the upcoming G20 Leaders Summit were being finalised last week with ever tighter precautions. Dozens of blocks downtown and in the Costanero riverside, Puerto Madero and Recoleta have been cordoned off as ‘no-go’ areas with no public transport between next Thursday and Saturday, following an extended huddle between G20 co-ordinator Hernán Lombardi with Ministers Patricia Bullrich (Security) and Guillermo Dietrich (Transport). Over 22,000 members of both the Armed and Police forces will be deployed to protect the G20 entourages totalling some 15,000 people. Bullrich invited 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel to mediate with protest groups but the latter replied that he could not guarantee what should be a state responsibility. Also on the security front, there were a number of scares this week, including a scare last weekend when four youths attempted to enter Olivos presidential residence on the pretext that one of them was President Mauricio Macri’s god-daughter. Other concerns emerged from suspicious objects, prompting the evacuation of a branch of Galicia Bank, the US Embassy and the suspension of a train line, after two defunct grenades were discovered.

ANGER FROM TEACHERS AND STUDENTS AS UNICABA WINS APPROVAL

The City Assembly approved on Thursday the creation of the UniCABA teacher training college but there were violent incidents triggered by some of the more violent demonstrators accompanying the teacher unions and student unions protesting the innovation, which will gradually phase out the current 29 teacher training centres.

IT’S HERE: THE FINAL TO END ALL FINALS IS THIS SATURDAY

We may have made this joke before, but we think there’s a football match taking place this weekend... either way, fans of either Boca or River will be celebrating at the Obelisk this Saturday night!

AFA UPSETS THE TAXISTAS

Asponsorship agreement between the Argenthe tine Football Association (AFA) and Uber resulted in a midweek march by taxi-drivers to the doors of AFA this week, who protested that Uber has yet to be legalised in this country. The company denied any illegality, pointing out that no ruling against the app-based car hire system has reached the last instance. A company spokesman said that the agreement only extended to contracting transport services and that no Uber logo would be appearing on the shirts of the team.

AIRLINES, LABOUR TENSIONS AND STRIKES

Five airline unions have announced a strike for next Monday (November 26) to protest the suspension of 376 Aerolíneas Argentinas employees for a November 8 stoppage which caused 258 flights to be cancelled, stranding 30,000 passengers. But the unions denied that the stoppage was a strike, describing it as a prolonged “assembly” to protest delays in updating pay to inflation in accordance with this year’s collective bargaining agreement. The unions also said that they had decided to hold back the strike until Monday in order to allow time for dialogue.

MAGISTRATES COUNCIL

The newfound Peronist unity recently shifting the balance of power within the Magistrates Council made itself felt again in the Senate last week with a new failure to strip Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of her parliamentary immunity in order to face corruption charges. Earlier this month Kirchnerite and anti-Kirchnerite Peronists closed ranks to impose two of the three Lower House representatives on the Magistrates Council – La Cámpora leader Eduardo “Wado” De Pedro and Graciela Camaño from Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front, alongside PRO incumbent Pablo Tonelli. Previously the Cambiemos “Let’s Change” ruling coalition had managed to claim two of the three places on the grounds that they were the largest single party in the Lower House ahead of any Peronist faction.The leaders of President Mauricio Macri’s key coalition ally, the UCR Radical Party, skipped the national Cabinet meeting Tuesday in what was seen as an expression of protest over the coalition’s failure to renew its seat on the Council. The UCR’s Senate leader Luis Naidenoff and its Lower House leader Mario Negri skipped the meeting.

‘HELLO THERE, I’D LIKE TO WITHDRAW US$32 MILLION. IN CASH.’

Federal Judge María Servini de Cubría on Wednesday authorised Santiago del Estero authorities to withdraw provincial Treasury funds both in dollars and in cash to the tune of US$31.9 million. Only the previous week the veteran judge had rejected this seemingly bizarre and unusual request from the aides of provincial Governor Gerardo Zamora on the plea that the money was needed to pay salaries. The withdrawal had earlier been blocked by the Banco Hipotecario on the grounds that salaries are normally not paid either in dollars or in cash, whereupon the provincial government immediately sued the mortgage bank. When a local judge ruled in favour, ordering the bank to pay up within three days, national money-laundering watchdogs quickly sought an injunction against the suspicious operation, which was initially accepted by Servini de Cubría. But Zamora’s officials managed to change her mind on the grounds that the hard currency was needed to protect provincial funds from a crisis caused by the national government. Officials who were sent to the bank to fkrst carry out the transaction reportedly insisted on cash despite advice that the cash withdrawal, unlike an electronic transfer, would incur a US$400,000 fee.

THIS WEEK IN CORRUPTION...

There was a new arrest last Tuesday in the cuadernos (“notebooks”) exposés of Kirchnerite graft when former Santa Cruz provincial economy minister Juan Manuel Cumpillo was arrested in Rosario at the behest of Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio and prosecutor Carlos Stornelli after whistle-blower Elizabeth Ortiz Municoy had testified that Cumpillo had met up in Miami with Carolina Pochetti (widow of Daniel Muñoz, the Kirchner presidential couple’s private secretary) to help her with her bank accounts to the tune of US$74 million. Cumpillo had earlier achieved notoriety in an entirely different context – as the significant other of late fashion designer Carlo Di Doménico, who dressed television entertainment personality Susana Giménez.

ONE YEAR ON, THE WRECKAGE OF ARA SAN JUAN IS FINALLY FOUND

In the first minutes of last weekend the missing submarine ARA San Juan was found on the ocean floor seabed some 600 kilometres east of Comodoro Rivadavia by the search vessel Seabed Constructor, just one day after the first anniversary of its disappearance. (For more, see following page).

THE ‘ANTI-G20’ SUMMIT

The upcoming G20 summit had its opposite number last week – the self-styled World Forum of Critical Thinking,” starring ex-presidents Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Dilma Rousseff from Brazil with warnings against “fascist political processes” as the focus of debate. But former Uruguayan president José “Pepe” Mujica pulled out of the event at the last moment in the interests of being a good neighbour to the G20 hosts while Bolivian President Evo Morales sent his vice-president Alvaro García Linera. The forum is an initiative organised by Latin American Council of Social Sciences, or CLACSO.

NEW FLIGHT TO THE MALVINAS LIKELY TO STOP AT CÓRDOBA

Following negotiations earlier this month, Argentina and Britain have reportedly reached agreement on a new mainland flight to the Malvinas from Córdoba by LATAM Brazil, although there was no confirmation last week – the actual announcement is widely expected to await the presence of British Prime Minister Theresa May for the G20 Leaders Summit next Friday. The bilateral negotiations included delegates from the disputed islands whose intransigence based on fears of “floods of Argentine tourists” was reportedly overcome.

ALL BOYS’ STADIUM CLOSED AFTER VIOLENT CLASHES

Club Atlético All Boys’ stadium has been closed after 16 policemen and three fans were injured in violent clashes during a match hosted by the Primera B Metropolitana side. The decision came Thursday, hours after a 3-2 home defeat against Atlanta sparked violence by the club’s hooligans.

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