Saturday, April 13, 2024

ARGENTINA | 07-10-2022 21:43

Stories that caught our eye: October 1 to October 6

A selection of the stories that caught our eye this week.



After five years of Mapuche occupation the Villa Mascardi zone near Bariloche was cleared by federal security forces in a 10-hour operation. A dozen people, all women and children, was all that was found there of the Lafken Winkul Mapu community with seven arrests made.



Access to the contents of the mobile telephone of Fernando Sabag Montiel, the would-be assassin who pointed a pistol at Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on the night of September 1, has finally been clinched, the Airport Security Police announced on Thursday after the failure of other security forces. Meanwhile other decoded telephone conversations revealed that Sabag Montiel’s girlfriend Brenda Uliarte has also shared her affections with the famous YouTuber Lo Presto, who has threatened Fernández de Kirchner and harassed First Lady Fabiola Yañez in the past. Two other suspects, copitos candy floss gang leader Nicolás Carrizo and Agustina Díaz were indicted last weekend.



The withdrawal of subsidies from gas and electricity services, which was to have started with September billing, has been delayed a month because the millions of consumers not applying for continued subsidies far exceed the number of upper-income households who are to be denied them under the new segmentation scheme. The corresponding adjustments will now be made with this month’s billing to be paid next month. On Wednesday Transport Minister Alexis Guerrera anticipated that bus and train fares will be hiked a further 40 percent or so as from December.



Economy Minister Sergio Massa and Knowledge Economy Secretary Ariel Sujarchuk on Monday announced the new “tech dollar” to stimulate the growth of the hi tech sector. This permits the sector to exchange freely 30 percent of the dollars accruing from increased exports while throwing in a further 20 percent if there is investment. Massa forecast US$10 billion worth of exports for the sector next year from US$7.4 billion last year and US$6.2 billion in 2020 as a top player abroad alongside Vaca Muerta shale, proteins and lithium, also hoping that the incentives would stop the brain drain. Over 540 companies are registered in the sector, of whom 327 export.



In the first eight months of this year exports to the tune of US$59.108 billion have been cashed and US$48.119 billion worth of imports paid for a trade surplus of US$10.989 billion, the Central Bank reported at the start of the week while Argentine savers have purchased US$2.196 billion at the official exchange rate, 36 percent up on last year. At the same time a total of US$10.46 billion was needed to meet energy needs or 17.7 percent of the hard currency netted by exports, while other sectors demanding hefty payments abroad were chemicals (US$6.9 billion) and the auto industry (US$6.636 billion as against US$5.303 billion worth of exports). At the start of the week the Central Bank was working in conjunction with the Economy Ministry under Sergio Massa on both a “Qatar dollar” for tourism and reworking the SIMI (Sistema Integral de Monitoreo de Importaciones) import permits to give importers both fixed sums and dates for payment to their suppliers abroad.



President Alberto Fernández immediately congratulated his “dear” Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on the Brazilian ex-president’s “first-round triumph” last Sunday even if Lula will have to go to an October 30 runoff against incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro with an unexpectedly slim lead of five percent. Around 12,000 Brazilians were eligible to vote in Argentina.



Radical deputy Facundo Manes caused a ruckus in Juntos por el Cambio opposition ranks last weekend when he criticised the illegal espionage during the Mauricio Macri presidency of being tantamount to “institutional populism” – he further asserted that the “intense minorities” backing Macri and Vice-President Cristina Kirchner were blocking Argentina’s future. Politicians from Macri’s PRO centre-right party were quick to repudiate Manes as harming opposition unity while Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales, the Radical party chairman, also distanced himself from the maverick deputy.



Speaking at a Spanish book forum on Wednesday, ex- president Mauricio Macri recommended being a “swinger” in international relations, which, he claimed, had worked well for him, saying that his administration had maintained close relations with the United States under the presidencies of two different parties and clinched an agreement between Mercosur and the European Union while signing trade agreements with China as Argentina’s biggest food market. Climate Change Secretary Cecilia Nicolini criticised him for treating climate change as a passing fashion.



Libertarian deputy Javier Milei made his first northern foray in Tucumán last weekend, accompanied by far right local politician Ricardo Bussi (son of a former military governor). Addressing a crowd of some 30,000 people and telling them that he was Argentina’s next president, he aimed his usual broadsides against “the entire larcenous, parasite and useless political corporation” and against the government’s model in particular and socialism in general as “based on hatred, envy and resentment,” going on to say: “Nothing more unjust than social justice, which implies robbery and inequality before the law.” At a press conference, he also controversially questioned the number of missing during the last military dictatorship, calling this “a one-sided and slanted view of history” and “a cultural battle of the left” and challenging the journalist posing the question by asking: “Can you show me the complete list of the 30,000 missing?”



César Mascetti, a central presence in television news shows from 1971 to 2003 and continuing on the radio until 2015, always in tandem with Mónica Cahen D’Anvers, died last Tuesday of liver cancer in his native San Pedro at the age of 80. The couple were regular Martín Fierro prize winners.



Two policemen and two policewomen were arrested in the Atlantic resort of Mar del Plata on Tuesday on charges of illegally arresting and torturing two teenagers. The Buenos Aires provincial police’s Internal Affairs department immediately ejected them from the force.



The Córdoba provincial police on Tuesday located the bodies of two missing sisters, aged 39 and 41, who are believed to be the victims of a Satanist ritual. Among the three people arrested for the crime was the 17- year-old daughter of one of the victims. The bodies showed signs of having been both shot and poisoned.



Hollywood actresses Margot Robbie and Cara Delevingne, close friends since 2016, were mixed up in a controversial episode last weekend when their bodyguards beat up a paparazzi photographer at the exclusive La Boca restaurant Patagonia Sur (owned by Francis Mallmann), causing him both “psychological” and physical damage, including a broken elbow and internal bleeding. Pedro “Peter” Alberto Orquera, who was taken to the Argerich Hospital, said that he would sue while the bodyguards, identified as Jac Rhis Hopkins and Josei MacNamara Callum (both British), were arrested.



The British band Coldplay have suspended all their shows in Brazil due to their most famous member Chris Martin suffering “a serious lung infection” and requiring at least three weeks’ rest, thus placing the group’s 10 concerts in River Plate stadium (all sold out in advance) at the end of this month at risk.



Three Argentine watering holes - Florería Atlántico, Tres Monos and Cochinchina – are among the “50 Best Bars” of the world, the corresponding website announced on Wednesday.



Superstar Lionel Messi told a Star+ television interview on Thursday that his fifth World Cup in Qatar next month would also be his last while veteran striker Gonzalo Higuain announced his retirement and the end of a 17-year career from Miami where he now plays.



Journalist Fabián Doman, 57, last Sunday ousted the powerful Moyano teamster clan from the helm of the Avellaneda football club Independiente, sweeping 72 percent of the vote with 11,492 votes as against 2.066 for the Moyanos, who finished third behind another list with 2,330 votes (15 percent). Doman was backed by political heavyweights from the centre-right PRO party, including Lanús Mayor Néstor Grindetti and lower house caucus chief Cristian Ritondo. The Moyanos took over Independiente in 2014 promising to salvage the insolvent club with their financial clout but they leave a debt of 4.5 billion pesos. Last Sunday’s election was nine months overdue. City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, an ardent fan of arch-rivals Racing, commented on Monday: “I never thought I could be happy with anything happening in Independiente but I’m very glad with the results of yesterday’s elections.”

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