ARGENTINA JOINS WORLDWIDE CONDOLENCES
The government sent Britain its condolences to Britain shortly after receiving news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II in Balmoral Castle on Thursday at the age of 96, thus ending a reign of seven decades. "The Argentine government greets and accompanies the people and government of Britain in the face of the death of their head of state, Queen Elizabeth II,” read the Casa Rosada message while the Foreign Ministry published: "Isabel Alejandra María Windsor (1926-2022), Queen of the United Kingdom under the name of Elizabeth II since 1952. The government of the Argentine Republic expresses its grief over her death and accompanies the British people and their family in their moment of mourning." British Ambassador Kirsty Hayes also issued a statement reading: “The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II represents a moment of profound sadness for my country, the United Kingdom, and millions of people throughout the world. Her life has been an example of dedication to public service and her incomparable legacy will last forever. We are extremely grateful for the numerous expressions of condolences and solidarity which we are receiving from the people and authorities of Argentina.”
AFTERMATH OF ATTACK
Investigations into the assassination attempt against Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner by Fernando Sabag Montiel at the start of this month continued throughout the week with the police dragnet now including his girl-friend Brenda Uliarte. Senate Majority Leader José Mayans (Frente de Todos-Formosa) stirred controversy when he suggested that all corruption trials against the vice-president be suspended in the interests of social peace.
MIXED MESSAGES ON HATE SPEECH LAW
The Frente de Todos government spoke with a forked tongue last week on proposed legislation against hate speech in the light of the assassination attempt against Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner early this month, legislation which the opposition openly fears will be twisted to curb criticism. INADI anti-discrimination director Victoria Donda pushed the idea in an Infobae newspaper article but presidential spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti denied that these proposals were on the government’s agenda. In a related development, libertarian deputy Javier Milei disowned his ultra-right supporter José Derman, 38, who was arrested last Monday for celebrating the attack on the Vice-President in the social networks when he praised assailant Fernando Sabag Montiel as “the Brazilian hero who tried to do justice for all Argentines,” also lamenting the failure of his attempt.
HOLIDAY IN DISPUTE
There was pushback from City Hall against the public holiday called “in solidarity” by President Alberto Fernández for the day after the assassination attempt against Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner at the start of the month with City Education Minister Soledad Acuña announcing on Tuesday that the lost day of classes would be recovered on October 31 since the school system was still recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
MR MASSA GOES TO WASHINGTON
Economy Minister Sergio Massa arrived last Monday in Washington, spending the entire week in the United States in a quest for dollar funding and business investment. The first two days were productive enough with a Tuesday meeting with Inter-American Development Bank (BID in its Spanish acronym) governor Mauricio Claver-Carone not only unblocking a BID loan of US$800 million but pumping it up to US$1.2 billion with no strings attached while Wednesday saw a further US$900 million from the Wolrd Bank.
MAGDALENA RUIZ GUIÑAZU, 1931-2022
Magdalena Ruiz Guiñazú, the iconic journalist whose 6am-9am radio programmes set the day’s agenda for millions of Argentines for decades, died last Tuesday at the age of 91. Amid numerous awards both at home and abroad (including 14 Martín Fierro prizes and 33 nominations), her finest moment perhaps came in 1984 with her membership in CONADEP (Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas) to investigate the missing of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship under the chairmanship of the writer Ernesto Sábato, a recognition for having been the first journalist to place her microphone at the disposal of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Her colleagues all flocked to pay her the warmest tributes, joined by President Alberto Fernández even if Magdalena’s constant tension with Kirchnerism became complete rupture in 2013 when she rejected the “democratisation” of justice.
Rosario’s endemic violence between drug gangs has now become a daily scourge with 31 murders last month, one for each day of August. Six of the dead are women and four are children (usually in a crossfire but deliberate in at least one case), the newspaper El Litoral has revealed in an article including a crime map of the city.
The actors Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani are tipped for 2023 Oscar nominations as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively by the website Variety for the film Argentina, 1985, directed by Santiago Mitre. At its première projection at the Venice Film Festival last weekend, the picture, which describes the trial of the juntas of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship, received a nine-minute ovation, more than any other film. The picture will be shown in Argentine cinemas as from September 29 and will eventually be streamed on the Amazon Prime Video platform.
San Juan has become the first province in Argentina to use temperature sensors for the rapid diagnosis of breast cancer, provincial governor Sergio Uñac and his health minister Alejandro Venerando announced on Monday. Representatives of the healthcare firm Welwaze, based in the United States, confirmed their choice of the western province for the worldwide launch of their equipment for mass usage. In the case of San Juan some 60,000 women registered with public and private health systems will be administered in the first instance with the self-adhering sensors for early detection, increasing the chances of survival to over 90 percent according to Uñac, Venerando said that there had already been a pilot test of 308 women aged between 25 and 79 with “anomalies” detected in 11 cases. Approximately 5,400 women die annually from breast cancer in Argentina with over 21,000 cases diagnosed and as the coronavirus pandemic recedes, more importance is being given to this threat.
WORLD CUP UPSET
Denmark the surprise World Cup winner with Argentina not finishing in the top half – no, not a preview of Qatar but the World Barbecue Championship in Belgium earlier this month. While the Danes cleaned up the trophy, a gold medal and the prize of 4,000 euros, the kings of asado finished in 51st place among the 80 countries competing. The Argentine team complained that the use of different grilling techniques and smoked meats in the competition worked to their disadvantage within the six categories: beef, chicken, two pork dishes, fish and plato criollo with dessert. In 2015 Argentina fared even worse – last of the 53 contestants because they broke the rules by using chimichurri instead of barbecue sauce.