On the security front, the event passed off without incident, with peaceful protests and assured protection for world leaders going some way toward erasing memories of the recent chaos delivered by hooligans before the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, proving that, yes, Argentina, could handle a summit of such magnitude. On the diplomatic front, an endless stream of bilateral meetings showed off the president’s tact and ability to tread a fine line between Beijing and Washington, while the success of delivering a joint communiqué (even if they tend to err on the side of boring rather than beguiling) illustrated the importance of the work of the sherpas, diplomats, ministers and industry experts who over the past year, behind closed doors, really brought the G20 nations together. Meanwhile, those bilaterals opened doors for exports and energy, with a number of deals signed that should pave the way for growth and development. The success of the summit even left the opposition silent for the most part – when the only ammunition the critics have against you is mockery for shedding tears at the Teatro Colón, you know things have gone well.
Moving to an international outlook, the commercial truce agreed at the G20 summit (more than either the G7 or APEC could achieve in recent conclaves, no matter how brief this respite might prove) may seem technically a draw but in real terms China’s Xi Jinping – the only G20 leader to combine the occasion with a state visit – finished well on top of a relatively tame Donald Trump (disruptive only when it came to climate change and to journalists when cancelling press conferences). The moment of Xi’s arrival already carried a subliminal message when he was received by Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales – for the chief of a superpower to be met by somebody so low down the government totem pole might seem almost a snub but the Chinese were apparently delighted because Jujuy is rich in lithium, thus showing the value they give to identifying targets. Xi’s triumphs were achieved almost by default because he was working in a vacuum. Handicapped by his protectionist and isolationist record, Trump’s one big trophy (signature of a revamped NAFTA) only seemed to underline his indifference to the Southern Cone and indeed this achievement was not given the importance it deserved by the local press due to its geographical distance. Nothing was ever going to happen between the European Union and Mercosur, not even an unambitious framework agreement. Whereas Brazilian lame duck Michel Temer was the only other Mercosur president attending, the EU’s complications with Brexit were only compounded by French President Emmanuel Macron’s distractions with unrest at home and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s delayed arrival.
The other winners last weekend seem to be Argentina’s cultural exports, which the government was rightly keen to push – journalists were treated to free wine in their compound, while parrillas across town welcomed world leaders (and most likely a renewed bounce in customers). Meanwhile, the nation’s performers (and the show’s oft-forgotten producers) also shone on stage at the Colón, prompting Mauricio Macri’s tears and endless applause. Despite the mocking online, the president was certainly entitled to his cathartic emotions. After eight months of interminable crisis he can claim at least some success. But as he retires for the weekend to Neuquén for a well-deserved rest, to cheer on his beloved Boca in tomorrow’s Copa Libertadores final, he should steel himself for what lies ahead. Last weekend may have been a victory, the road ahead shows us there is still much to do.
KIDDIES' XMAS FUND
Since the Buenos Aires Herald handed the Kiddies Fund over to the Argentine British Community Council (ABCC), it has been our honour to keep the tradition alive. This year, the ABCC is launching the 2018 Kiddies’ Fund, and the Buenos Aires Times is doing its part too.
All Kiddies Xmas Fund proceeds go to five charities – Hogar El Alba (Buenos Aires Province, Southern districts, home for children from broken families), Fundación Vitra (CABA, but having handicapped children from all over the country), Hogar Amparo Maternal Sarah Hernández de Cilley (Nuñez, Bs. As., helping young mothers), Salvation Army (no explanation needed) and A.P.A.E.R. (providing schooling assistance to children in the interior to avoid their migration to large cities). Those who donate may earmark your gift for just one or more of the above if you wish.
The ABCC’s main office is located downtown at Esmeralda 634 2ºD and is open from Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm. Phone (+54 11) 5254-8064/5.
While good old-fashioned cash has not entirely disappeared from Argentine life, the ABCC also accept sdonations via credit or debit card. You can also send a cheque to the ABCC made out to “British Community Welfare Fund – no a la orden.” Deposit or Transfer to: BANCO PATAGONIA, name: BRITISH COMMUNITY WELFARE FUND, Sucursal Nº10, Cuenta Corriente Nº 0831-5051, Alias SUMA. SALSA.PUEBLO, CBU 0340010400008315051005, CUIT 30-52566392-9.
Further options can be obtained by consulting: http://www.abcc.org.ar/donar.
Thank you for your Generosity!
Everyone at the ABCC