Archive for the ‘Argentina’ Category

Soft coups: A textbook case in Argentina

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

cristina_fernandez_0801[Translation of an article from El Clarín de Chile of Santiago for February 22, 2015. See original here.]

By Guillermo Almeyra

The new kind of coups d’état don’t use armies but are formally institutional. President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was ousted by parliament, as was Bishop Fernando Lugo, the president of Paraguay. Rafael Correa in Ecuador experienced an attempted coup by the police; Evo Morales in Bolivia was subjected to one by the oligarchies that ruled the eastern regions; Hugo Chávez, one by the bureaucrats and technocrats who controlled the petroleum company PDVSA, the country’s source of currency, and his successor, Nicolás Maduro, an attempt by big business, organizers of the hoarding of essential goods and illegal capital flight.

Dilma Rousseff, in turn, is currently facing a campaign for impeachment and Cristina Fernández in Argentina has faced, successively, speculation against the peso to force devaluation, a judicial attack in the United States by the vulture funds to provoke a wave of collections that would force Argentina into bankruptcy and, since January, preparations for a judicial coup based on the dubious suicide of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. In an incoherent proceeding lacking any proof and refuted by Interpol, the latter had charged the president and her foreign affairs minister with covering up for the Iranians, who had supposedly organized the July 18, 1994, attack on the Asociación Israelita Argentina (AMIA – Argentine Jewish Association), which resulted in 85 deaths and 300 injuries. (more…)

Argentina: The Malvinas in memory

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

“The truth about the Malvinas is that they are a major NATO nuclear and military base in the South Atlantic”

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for April 4, 2014. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

During the observation of the Day of the Malvinas Veteran, President Cristina Kirchner reaffirmed Argentina’s sovereignty over the archipelago and declared that the motive for the United Kingdom’s maintaining control of the territory, “one of the most militarized in the world,” is because they “control their entire military deployment” from there, as well as “their system of electronic intelligence.” She revealed further that the government is seeking the identification of “143 unidentified bodies of Argentines who gave their lives for us” and who are in the Darwin cemetery, and she also presented a drawing of the new 50-peso bill, which features an illustration of the islands.

“The truth about the Malvinas is that they are the largest NATO military and nuclear base in the South Atlantic,” declared the president during a ceremony in the Casa de Gobierno to honor the combatants killed in the war by which the last military dictatorship attempted to recuperate the islands in 1982. “History shows that colonial enclaves are always recovered in the end. I have unlimited confidence in history and in the people that they will be recovered,” the president declared to former combatants and national and provincial officials. (more…)

Argentina: Three Ford executives indicted for involvement in kidnapping of 24 workers

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for May 21, 2013. See original here.]

The automobile company executives were indicted by San Martín federal judge Alicia Vence on charges of “having arranged the means necessary to identify and point out” union representatives and employees who were then kidnapped. They are further charged with “having allowed a detention center to be set up inside the factory building.”

Those charged, who are not being held in preventive detention, are Pedro Müller, former production manager, Guillermo Galárraga, former labor relations manager, and Héctor Sibilla, former head of security. The three were summoned for an inquiry in late March but refused to testify. The judge explained that the president of Ford in Argentina, Nicolás Enrique Julián Courard, would also have been cited for indictment but the court received notice of his death in 1989 in Chile. (more…)

Argentina: A change of skin

Monday, March 18th, 2013

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for March 17, 2013.  See original here.]

The first press conference Pope Francis’ spokesman gave was for the purpose of detaching him from Jorge Mario Bergoglio, accused of turning two priests over to the ESMA [Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada]. Since the statements and the documents are incontestable, the method chosen was to discredit those who circulated them, characterizing this newspaper as leftist. The traditions were followed: it is the same thing that Bergoglio said about Jalics and Yorio to those who kidnapped them.

By Horacio Verbitsky

In his first meeting with the press after the election of the Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church, his spokesman, Federico Lombardi, also a Jesuit, dismissed as old calumnies of the anti-clerical Left, spread by a newspaper characterized by defamatory campaigns, the allegations on the performance of the former provincial of the Company of Jesus during the Argentine dictatorship and, especially, the role he played in the disappearance of two priests under him, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics. Argentine opposition media and politicians at the same time included the article “Un Ersatz,” published in this paper the day after the papal election, among Kirchnerista reactions to Bergoglio’s enthronement.  In addition, a sector of the governing party chose to acclaim him as “Argentine and Peronista,” the same slogan with which José Rucci is remembered every September, and to deny the incontestable facts. (more…)

Argentine justice system puts Videla and Bignone on the dock

Saturday, March 9th, 2013


((Jorge Videla, left, and Reynaldo Bignone))

Both ex-dictators and more than 20 other defendants will be tried for their part in the persecution and detention of opponents under Plan Cóndor

[Translation of an article from El Observador of Montevideo, Uruguay, for March 4, 2013. See original here.]

The Argentine justice system on Tuesday will bring to trial ex-dictators Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone for their alleged responsibility for the persecution and detention of opponents under “Plan Cóndor,” which involved the cooperation of Southern Cone dictatorships in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Among the 25 defendants in the evidentiary hearing for crimes against humanity are also the former minister of the interior of the Argentine dictatorship of 1976 to 1983, Albano Harguindeguy, and ex-Generals Luciano Benjamín Menéndez, Antonio Bussi, Santiago Riveros and Ramón Díaz Bessone. (more…)

Argentina: Petroleum workers speak out on Repsol management and the current outlook

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for June 8, 2012. See original here and related article here.]

by Sebastián Premici

“I never understood why they privatized it. What they did with the oil fields was terrible, we could see that, but we did not know the whole of it. The business had very good economic results, you could see it on the books, but none of it stayed here.” Omar Stocco is a chemical engineer and plant manager of the YPF refinery in Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza. He has worked for the company for 25 years and was a witness to the whole process of privatization. Now, at 52, he will be in charge of security at the refinery, which currently produces 13,000 cubic meters of fuel. But he will also be a witness to the new managerial and political change in the petroleum company. “Everything is in place for things to be done well,” he declared. (more…)

Argentina: Repsol YPF awakens the beast of colonialism

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for April 21, 2012. See original here.]

By Marcos Roitmann Rosenmann

Measures taken to nationalize and to recuperate basic riches in Latin America or Africa or Asia have always suffered the ire of colonial centers and the enterprises affected. There is no shortage of examples: Lázaro Cárdenas, Jacobo Arbenz, Fidel Castro, Omar Torrijos, Velasco Alvarado, Salvador Allende, Evo Morales, Hugo Chávez; the list is long.

Accustomed to ordering and to being in charge, arrogant empires are unfamiliar with the concepts of independence and sovereignty. They are reluctant to deal as equals. Paternalism, based on positions of strength, shapes the discourse of imperial haughtiness. To declare oneself opposed to paternal authority and the established order usually brings on exemplary punishment: blockades, destabilizing processes, economic strangulation, assassinations of leaders or coups d’état. These days, the expropriation of a private company, Repsol YPF, whose interests are those only of their stockholders and whose objective is to obtain profits at the cost of any ethical, judicial or environmental consideration, awakens the ire of the hegemonic powers, their institutions and principal political leaders. (more…)

Argentina: The Malvinas are a white elephant

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

London admits that the conflict is clear-cut

[Translation of a column from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for March 29, 2012. See original here and related articles here and here. April 2 marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the war between Argentina and England over the Malvinas Islands, known in Great Britain as the Falklands. The British won the war but Argentina still claims sovereignty over the islands. And here Atahualpa Yupanqui reads “La Hermanita Perdida.”]

By Martín Granovsky

Unless all its functionaries have a command of the language worthy of Winston Churchill, but not his political acumen, the British foreign service admitted yesterday that the question of the Malvinas is “a white elephant.” In an Asian tradition that the foreign office knows well, a white elephant is something difficult to care for, at a cost disproportionate to the advantages it offers.

According to diplomats in the region consulted by this newspaper, the expression was used by Jeremy Browne, Foreign Office Minister, a position equivalent to that of vice-chancellor, representing in this case several areas, one of them Latin America. Browne, a member of the administration of the conservative David Cameron, spoke during a working breakfast with all the Latin American diplomats only five days before April 2, the 30th anniversary of a maneuver by the Argentine dictatorship that consolidated the power of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party. (more…)

Argentina: Indigenous peoples of the northwest reject lithium mining

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for July 22, 2011. See original here.]

By Darío Aranda

“The gold of the future” the mining companies call it. It’s “a strategic resource” for government authorities. But it’s “our life” for the 86 indigenous communities who yesterday blocked National Highway 52 to oppose the lithium mining now spreading across their ancestral lands despite being covered by national and international laws that spell out indigenous peoples’ rights to the land. Lithium is a coveted mineral, used in batteries for cell phones and computers and needed by the automobile industry, which is experiencing the gradual replacement of hydorcarbons with electric vehicles. “We are expressing our rejection of lithium mining projects and we demand the titles to the commuity lands that belong to us,” the community members declared. Last November the spread of lithium mining reached the supreme court of the nation and arrived last week at the United Nations.

Argentina: Rightist incumbent Mauricio Macri leads in Buenos Aires elections

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Voters also chose members of newly formed communal councils

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for July 11, 2011. See original here. Buenos Aires is an autonomous city ruled by a Chief of Government, a Deputy Chief of Government and a 60-member Legislature. All elected official serve four-year terms. The Communal Councils, discussed in the article, are a new feature.]

By Stella Calloni

Buenos Aires – As predicted in the polls, the current head of government of this city, Mauricio Macri, of the rightist Propuesta Republicana (PRO) party, won the election tonight but is to stand in a runoff on July 31 in which he will compete with former Education Minister Daniel Filmus, candidate of the country’s ruling Frente para la Victoria (FPV), as occurred in 2007 but with a stronger challenge by the latter this time. Most important was the election of comuneros to the communal councils in Buenos Aires.

Initial data from the 26 percent of polling places counted show more than 45 percent for Macri, 30 percent for Filmus and, in third place, Fernando Pino Solana of Proyecto Sur, who received 13 percent of the vote, half of what he received in 2007. (more…)

Arms, drugs and intervention

Friday, February 25th, 2011

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for February 24, 2011. See original article here and the Página/12 article quoted below, in English translation, here.  See US embassy cables on Argentina as released by Wikileaks here.]

by John Saxe-Fernández

An enormous C17 (Globemaster III) belonging to the United States air force, with equipment for police “training,” tried to bring into Buenos Aires an undeclared cargo of powerful long weapons, equipment for encrypted communications, secret information programs and narcotic and stupefacient drugs, “with no satisfactory explanation of what it would be used for” (Página 12, 13-II-2011). In view of the regime change operations against Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador and the Honduran putsch, the resumption of this type of operation with United States personnel, halted by Néstor Kirchner, is surprising; the secret cargo on the C-17 demonstrates the serious risk of these schemes in view of a diplomacy of power that is growing more intense: were they going to teach a course or stage a coup? (more…)

Malnutrition is killing Argentine children

Monday, February 21st, 2011

[Translation of a BBC World article from El Mostrador of Santiago, Chile, for February 19, 2011. See original here.]

In the past few weeks, the deaths of at least eight children in northern Argentina from serious malnutrition problems has again focussed attention on a problem that baffles many: why do children die of hunger in a country that is one of the world’s main producers of food?

According to the Cooperadora para la Nutrición Infantil (CONIN – Cooperating Agency for Childhood Nutrition), 260,000 children under the age of five suffer some degree of malnutrition, while 2,100,000 people do not have assured daily access to food.

Among the most vulnerable groups are the indigenous communities, especially those living in the northeast of the country, in the area known as Gran Chaco or Chaco Salteño, which includes the provinces of Salta, Formosa, Chaco, Santiago del Estero and Santa Fe. (more…)