Archivo de Autor
By Almudena Calatrava
May 21, 2013
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Three former Ford Motor Co. executives were charged Tuesday with crimes against humanity for allegedly targeting Argentine union workers for kidnapping and torture after the country’s 1976 military coup.
All three men are now in their 80s. Their case is part of a new wave of prosecutions focusing on corporate support for the dictators who ran Argentina in 1976-1983, and the 150-page indictment written by Judge Alicia Vence reads like a history lesson, going to considerable lengths to explain why their actions constitute crimes against humanity and why it has taken nearly four decades to result in criminal charges.
Factory director Pedro Muller, human resources chief Guillermo Galarraga and security manager Hector Francisco Jesus Sibilla are accused of giving names, ID numbers, pictures and home addresses to security forces who hauled two dozen union workers off the floor of Ford’s factory in suburban Buenos Aires to be tortured and interrogated and then sent to military prisons.
All three were ordered to remain under house arrest on bail of about $142,000 each. Galarraga and Sibilla are Argentines and Muller is described in the indictment as a Czech national.
Ford Argentina said in a statement that it was aware of the charges against the men but could not comment because the issue was still under judicial investigation.
“Ford Argentina is not a party to the case but has always kept a collaborative and open attitude with authorities and will provide all available information that may be required to clarify this situation,” it said.
The Associated Press left phone messages and sent emails seeking comment from the offices of lawyers for the three former executives, but there was no response.
The judge said the executives sought to eliminate union resistance at Ford’s Argentina subsidiary and clearly had inside information about the coming “dirty war” in which so-called subversives would be thrown into clandestine detention centers. She described a key meeting the day after the March 24, 1976, coup in which Galarraga told union leaders to “forget any kind of labor complaints” and all their problems would be resolved.
Witnesses recalled that union leader Juan Carlos Amoroso then asked about talks over money that workers said had been systematically removed from their paychecks. The human resources chief laughed and said, “Amoroso, give my greetings to Camps,” the judge wrote, a reference to Gen. Ramon Camps.
At the time, Camps was a little-known figure. Named police chief of Buenos Aires province by the military junta, Camps soon ran a system of clandestine detention centers where thousands of people were taken for torture and summary execution. Camps died in 1994 after being convicted of 73 torture deaths and other crimes so wide-ranging that many of Argentina’s current human rights trials involve a network of prisons known as “the Camps circuit.” About 13,000 people were kidnapped, tortured and disappeared, according to official counts.
“I find it remarkable that the head of human resources at Ford would know information so sensitive such as the function that Camps would develop in the future, something almost impossible to know if the company didn’t have a direct and concrete relationship with the military authorities who had overtaken the state institutions of that era,” the judge wrote.
Two nights after the meeting inside the Ford factory, a heavily armed group kidnapped Amoroso at home and took him to be beaten and interrogated, according to the indictment. Other Ford union workers were bound, with bags over their heads, and beaten inside a dining area next to the factory’s soccer fields, then hauled away to jails for more torture. Some were subjected to electric shocks; others were stripped naked and injured with power tools or made to undergo false executions as interrogators sought information about union leaders’ whereabouts.
The indictment also says that when two of the victims’ spouses went to authorities seeking information on their missing husbands, a colonel showed them a list of workers’ names on a Ford company letterhead and said it was the company, not the military, that wanted the men taken away.
The former president of Ford Motors Argentina, Nicolas Courard, would have been charged as well if he hadn’t died in Chile in 1989, the judge wrote.
About 5,000 workers were employed at the time by the Ford factory in suburban General Pacheco, producing the Falcon, a car that became a symbol of state terror because it was often used by military and police squads to carry off “subversives” and move them between secret detention centers.
The victims in this case include Pedro Troiani, Carlos Gareis, Jorge Constanzo, Marcelino Reposi, Adolfo Sanchez, Francisco Perrotta, Juan Carlos Ballestero, Pastor Murua, Ruben Manzano, Juan Carlos Amoroso, Fernando Groisman, Luciano Bocco, Juan Carlos Conti, Ricardo Avalos, Vicente Portillo, Carlos Propato, Luis Degiusti, Eduardo Pulega, Hugo Nunez, Ruben Traverso, Raimundo Robledo, Carlos Chitarroni, Roberto Cantelo and Hector Subaran.
Their treatment was investigated soon after the return of democracy in 1983, but the crimes later fell under a general amnesty that wasn’t overturned by Argentina’s Supreme Court until a decade ago. The case has developed since then and only now is coming to trial.
By Ken Parks
May 21, 2013
BUENOS AIRES–A federal court in Argentina Tuesday indicted three former executives of Ford Motor Co.’s (F) Argentine subsidiary for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping of 24 workers by a military government in the 1970s.
The three men are charged with helping the military to identify the victims, who were abducted between March and August of 1976, according to a ruling by federal judge Alicia Vence.
The judge also accused the defendants of allowing the military to establish an interrogation center at the Ford factory, where some of the victims were subjected to beatings.
The workers were tortured and briefly imprisoned but eventually freed.
Ford Argentina’s former head of manufacturing, Pedro Muller, former labor relations director, Guillermo Galarraga, and ex-chief of security Hector Jesus Sibilla, were named as defendants in the case. They couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Judge Vence ordered the defendants to post bond of 750,000 pesos ($143,000) each.
Ford Argentina isn’t a party in the case, but is aware of the criminal charges filed against its former executives and is collaborating with Argentine authorities, a company spokesman said.
The violence of the 1970s and early 1980s continues to haunt Argentina three decades after the country’s return to democracy.
The military government that ruled between 1976 and 1983 is thought to have killed at least 10,000 people and tortured many more in its battle with left-wing insurgents and persecution of trade union leaders, political activists and opponents. Insurgents are thought to have killed hundreds of civilians, police officers and members of the armed forces.
Current President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor Nestor Kirchner gained international fame for their attempts to prosecute human rights abuses committed by the military and security forces.
Shortly after taking office in 2003, Mr. Kirchner made convicting the perpetrators of human rights abuses during the so called Dirty War a top priority. In 2006 and 2007, federal courts declared unconstitutional pardons that former President Carlos Menem had granted to the military.
While the courts have ruled that atrocities committed by insurgents were common crimes subject to the statute of limitations, those crimes committed by the armed forces have been declared human rights violations that don’t expire.
More recently, Mrs. Kirchner’s government has sought to bring to trial business leaders who allegedly collaborated with armed forces to persecute union leaders and workers at their companies.
Last year, a federal judge indicted Carlos Blaquier, the president of sugar and paper maker Ledesma SA (LEDE.BA), for his alleged role in the kidnapping of more than two dozen people.
In 2010, the Kirchner administration filed criminal charges against executives at media company Grupo Clarin SA (GCLA.BA) and newspaper publisher La Nacion, which own the country’s two leading newspapers.
The government charged them with human rights violations, saying they colluded with the military to force the Graiver family, who at the time owned newsprint maker Papel Prensa, to sell the company against their will.
The executives vigorously have denied the charges and say that Mrs. Kirchner is trying to pressure media companies that are critical of her administration.
Members of the Graiver family have offered conflicting accounts about the circumstances surrounding the sale of Papel Prensa, with some denying that the company was sold under pressure.
By Eliana Raszewski
May 21, 2013
Argentina’s tax agency sent 50 officials to the local unit of billionaire Kenneth Dart’s Dart Container Corp. as part of an investigation into tax evasion and accused him of financing anti-government protests.
Dart Sudamericana SRL, in the province of Buenos Aires, was raided by tax and customs agents seeking proof of over-billing of imports last year, Customs General Director Siomara Ayeran said outside the Dart plant in Pilar, 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Buenos Aires.
The transactions enabled the company to reduce its tax liabilities and funnel funds to related companies abroad, and also “to finance activities against our government, like the so-called cacerolazos,” Ayeran said, referring to rallies at which protesters bang pots and pans.
Since her re-election in 2011, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has cracked down on capital flight and tax evasion. Last year, tax revenue rose to a record 808 billion pesos ($158 billion), or 37 percent of gross domestic product. The 60-year-old president has also called holdout creditors such as Dart, who are trying to collect in full on their defaulted bonds, “vultures.”
Dart, president of Mason, Michigan-based Dart Container, the world’s largest maker of foam cups, is seeking $700 million from Argentina for the country’s 2001 debt default through his EM Ltd. fund, the tax agency, known as AFIP, said in an e-mailed statement. Dart gave up his U.S. citizenship in the 1990s to avoid taxes and moved to the Cayman Islands.
“Dart Sudamericana is cooperating fully with Argentina’s AFIP in their request for information,” Margo Burrage, a Dart spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “It is our corporate policy to comply with all Argentine laws and regulations.”
EM and NML Capital Ltd., an affiliate of the New York-based hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. run by billionaire investor Paul Singer, are pressing a multi-front case against Argentina. The dispute stems from the South American country’s default on $95 billion of bonds.
The funds have been seeking to enforce $2 billion in judgments they won in U.S. court cases.
AFIP earlier this year accused the local unit of HSBC Holdings Plc. of conspiracy to hide bank accounts, thereby helping private companies evade tax payments and launder money. The tax agency also alleges that grains exporters including Cargill Inc. and Bunge Ltd. (BG) owe the state almost $1 billion in taxes.
Locked out of international credit markets since its default, Argentina depends on tax collection and central bank reserves to finance government spending and pay foreign debt. The tax and customs agency has used dollar-sniffing dogs at ports to detect travelers carrying large amounts of money.
By Shane Romig
21 May 2013
BUENOS AIRES–Argentine tax authorities raided the local offices of styrofoam maker Dart Container Corporation, which is linked to the owner of a hedge fund suing Argentina for the repayment of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of defaulted bonds.
The raid signals an escalation in Argentine President Cristina Kirchner’s long running dispute with creditors that she disparagingly calls “vulture funds.”
More than 50 tax agents acting on a court order swooped on Dart Sudamericana SRL offices Tuesday searching for evidence of alleged tax evasion and irregular transfers of dollars overseas, federal tax agency, Afip, said in a statement.
“Dart Sudamericana is cooperating fully with Argentina’s Afip in their request for information,” Dart Container Corporation spokeswoman Margo Burrage said in an email. “It is our corporate policy to comply with all Argentine laws and regulations.”
Kenneth Dart serves on the Dart Container Corporation’s board of directors and also controls hedgefund EM Ltd.
EM, together with a handful of other hedge funds including U.S. billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management, have relentlessly pursued Argentina in courts across the globe for full payment on Argentina’s defaulted bonds.
A representative for EM declined to comment on Tuesday’s raid.
The funds are commonly referred to as “holdouts” after they snubbed Argentina’s attempts to restructure about $100 billion in bonds dating back to the country’s 2001 default. The government has restructured about 93% of that debt through heavily discounted debt swaps in 2005 and 2010.
EM claims Argentina owes it over $700 million, according to Afip.
Afip says that Dart Sudamericana inflated receipts for imported polystyrene beads totalling $6 million, thus avoiding Argentine income tax and capital controls that limit the hard currency that businesses can send overseas.
Dart “didn’t only try to damage our economy with capital flight and paying less taxes, but also used that money to finance protests against our government,” Argentina’s customs director Siomara Ayeran said in the statement.
Afip said that Dart imported the beads, which aren’t made in Argentina, from it’s Bahama subsidiary Polymers International Limited, at “substantially higher than market price” and then sold them much cheaper than the competition in the local market.
21 May 2013
The monthly economic activity index of the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (INDEC, the national statistics agency)-which serves as a proxy for GDP-rose by 0.7% in seasonally adjusted month-on-month terms, bringing first-quarter growth up to 2.7%, the highest rate in a year.
The data are suggestive of continued modest economic recovery, but underlying conditions are decidedly mixed. A few sectors have performed well, including automotive output. Cars are a store of value in a high-inflation environment, but the rise in production and sales is mainly due to a quirk in the controls system, which allows car buyers to purchase luxury models-priced in dollars but bought using pesos at the official rate-at a hefty discount by swapping dollars for pesos at the black market rate, which diverges considerably from the official rate. Construction activity has also shown signs of life after last year’s downturn. Residential construction remains in the doldrums, with building permits still down sharply in the first quarter, but in an election year, the public sector is clearly picking up the slack.
The signals for private consumption are less good. Unemployment rose to 7.9% in the first quarter, up from 7.1% a year earlier and the highest rate in three years. Providing some support to consumption, real wage growth appears to have picked up slightly (albeit temporarily) over the past quarter, owing to high wage deals and a supermarket price freeze that has helped to stabilise inflation in recent months. Nonetheless, the consumer confidence index, produced by the well-respected Universidad Torcuato di Tella, fell fairly sharply in April (probably reflecting a bout of peso volatility in the period), after signs of recovery in the first quarter. At 44.1 in April, the index remains well below the level of 50 considered compatible with positive growth. This suggests continued risks to activity going forward.
By Shane Romig
21 May 2013
–Argentina mining industry on the ropes as costs, regulations bite
–Investors Move to cancel Argentina mining projects
–Miners balk at government limits on profit repatriation
BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s mining sector is on the ropes as soaring costs and government regulations scuttle dreams of a mining boom in a country better known for its grain and beef exports.
Mining exploration as measured by both investment and drilling plunged 50% on the year in 2012 and is likely to slump an additional 20% this year, said Julio Rios Gomez, president of mining exploration chamber Gemera.
Junior mining companies, small firms that explore new deposits and develop mining properties, usually focusing on precious metals such as gold and silver, can’t get financing and there’s no one willing to buy promising discoveries, Mr. Gomez said.
The recent slump in prices for Argentina’s copper, gold and silver exports isn’t the only headwind facing miners. Despite its vast untapped mineral wealth, Argentina has lost its appeal as a place to dig because of costs, capital controls, and legal insecurity.
“Mining isn’t a profitable business the way things are and existing mines are cutting back production,” said Mario Capello, a mining consultant and former congressman.
Inflation and lower metal prices have pressured margins, said Jorge Palmes, general manager of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.’s (AU, ANG.JO) Cerro Vanguardia gold mine in Santa Cruz Province. The next step would be to cut costs, but nobody wants to start laying people off, Mr. Palmes said.
Most economists think annual inflation has been at or above 20% for the past three years as the central bank keeps interest rates low and expands the money supply to finance the government. Wages alone rose almost 25% on the year in March, according to the government.
Salaries aren’t the only source of cost pressure. Miners have to exchange the U.S. dollars they get from exports into pesos on Argentina’s regulated currency market at a rate that is 40% less than what the greenback fetches on the black market.
But many of the services that mining companies use are priced at the black market dollar rate, said Ricardo Alonso, a lawmaker who heads the Mining, Transportation and Communications Committee in Salta Province’s lower house.
Years of high inflation have made Argentina one of the most expensive countries for mining, said Christopher Ecclestone, principal and mining strategist at financial advisors Hallgarten & Co.
Some companies are cancelling projects. In December, Pan American Silver Corp. (PAAS, PAA.T) shelved work on its Navidad silver mine in Chubut Province, saying inflation and proposed tax increases would make the project unviable.
Brazil’s Vale SA (VALE) recently stopped work on its Rio Colorado potash mine in Mendoza Province after already spending $2.23 billion. The Argentine government said the company told it the mine’s $5.9 billion price tag had nearly doubled.
The future of Barrick Gold Corp’s (ABX) massive Pascua Lama gold and silver mine that straddles the Argentina-Chile boarder is also up in the air.
In April, a Chilean court suspended construction due to alleged pollution. Work continues in Argentina, although the Argentine Supreme Court is considering a case on the constitutionality of a glacier-protection law that could derail the mine.
Barrick so far has spent about $4.8 billion on Pascua Lama, which has been plagued by overruns. In February, the company announced a cost increase of $500 million, bringing the total price tag to finish the mine to $8.5 billion.
Barrick said in its first quarter earnings report that it’s evaluating different options for Pascua Lama, including suspending construction. A company spokesman said that Barrick wants to finish Pascua Lama.
Government limits on the repatriation of dividends and profits has sent a shudder through the sector. Canada’s McEwen Mining Inc. (MUX, MUX.T) is considering the sale of its Los Azules copper project to fund construction of the El Gallo gold mine in Mexico due to those restrictions. McEwen had planned to use the profits from its Argentina mine to build El Gallo.
The government has authorized Cerro Vanguardia to remit $1 million dollars a day back, but sometimes that tap is slammed shut, Mr. Palmes said. Cerro Vanguardia has repatriated about $75 million of the $100 million it made in profits in 2011. The company hopes to start sending $100 million in last year’s profits back to headquarters soon, he added.
Legal uncertainty also looms large in investors’ minds. Last year, President Cristina Kirchner nationalized Argentina’s top oil company YPF SA (YPF) without offering compensation to its former controlling shareholder.
More recently, the Kirchner-controlled Congress passed controversial legislation that severely limits the ability of judges to issue injunctions against government acts. Those injunctions are frequently the only legal protection that mining companies have, said Carlos Saravia-Frias, attorney and former mining under secretary.
Meanwhile, cash-strapped provincial governments like Santa Cruz are pushing to increase taxes and expropriate stakes in mining companies.
“The higher taxes will make projects unfeasible,” Mr. Palmes said. “The numbers don’t add up.”
By Nicolás Misculin
21 May 2013
BUENOS AIRES, May 21 (Reuters) – Grains powerhouse Argentina aims to improve its soy and corn output by adopting a law securing the rights of seed companies to protect their genetic modification technology, a government minister said on Tuesday.
The government plans to send a bill to Congress late this year to stop big plantations from using seeds from genetically-modified plants without paying royalties to the companies that designed them, Agriculture Secretary Lorenzo Basso told the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.
Seed companies say Argentina, the world’s third-biggest soybean and corn exporter, risks falling behind competitors such as Brazil because the country’s regulatory framework discourages companies from introducing advanced new seeds.
“The bill is being written with Argentine seed companies in mind,” Basso said.
The majority of Argentina’s grains production comes from large-scale plantations. But Basso said most Argentine farming families, which operate small- to medium-sized farms, will not have to pay royalties under the proposed law.
“From 65 to 70 percent of growers in Argentina will not have to pay any royalties,” Basso said, adding that he expects the bill to be send to Congress after October legislative elections.
Argentina is expected to produce 51 million tonnes of soybeans in the current 2012-13 season and 54.5 million tonnes in the following crop year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The department forecasts Argentina’s 2012-13 corn output of 26.5 million tonnes and 27 million tonnes in 2013-14.
The Argentine government is keen to increase production of both crops as agriculture is a major source of foreign currency for the country, which has been locked out of international capital markets since its 2002 sovereign debt default.
WHEAT PRICES EYED
High wheat prices, a government tax rebate plan and expected good weather will prompt Argentine farmers to expand planting of the grain by 40 percent this season compared with the 2012-13 crop year, Basso said.
“The area will be close to 4.5 million hectares, for sure,” he said.
In the 2012-13 growing season, which ended in February, the Argentine government said farmers sowed wheat on 3.16 million hectares, the smallest area on record.
But other estimates vary. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange forecasts Argentina’s 2013-14 wheat area at 3.9 million hectares, up from its estimate of 3.6 million last season.
Argentine 2013-14 wheat planting has already begun and the country is a key supplier to neighboring Brazil.
Farmers, however, have turned to other crops in recent years due to government export curbs meant to ensure ample domestic food supplies, but that growers say distort prices.
To reverse the trend and spur more wheat sowing, the government is giving tax rebates to farmers to compensate for a 23 percent levy on wheat exports.
“Wheat planting area will increase for several reasons: the rebates, good soil moisture and better market conditions,” Basso said. Benchmark Chicago wheat prices are up 3.8 percent so far this year.
In March, Argentine officials authorized exports of 5 million tonnes of 2013-14 wheat as part of the drive to increase production. In the past, export quotas were announced in small increments, a system farmers disliked because they said it made accurate crop planning impossible.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecasts Argentina’s 2013-14 wheat crop at 13 million tonnes, up from the previous season’s output of 11 million tonnes.
Chiara Stella Cochetti
21 May 2013
Argentina’s pharmaceutical market is forecasted to triple in a decade, with fast growth spurred by domestic manufacturers.
IHS Global Insight perspective
The Argentine domestic market is expected to almost triple in a decade, increasing from a value of USD5.6 billion in 2012 to USD15 billion by 2020.
The fast growth achieved in the sector is expected to be driven by a strong presence of domestic manufacturers, high-quality production capabilities, and positive clinical trial regulations.
With this potential sector boost, Argentina is expected to become one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical markets in Latin America, with a number of local players such as Roemmers and Bago becoming some of the best performing companies in the region.
The size of the Argentine market is expected to almost triple in a decade, increasing from a value of USD5.6 billion in 2012 to USD15 billion by 2020, according to Pharma Times. According to the source, domestic manufacturers currently account for more than 50% of Argentina’s drug market, with key domestic players including Roemmers and Bago, while multinationals such as Bayer (Germany), Novartis (Switzerland), Roche (Switzerland), Abbott (UK), and GlaxoSmithKline (UK) also operating in the country.
The generic drug sector in Argentina has also grown, with sales increasing as a result of legislation included in the Health Emergency Act mandating physicians to include the generic names of prescribed drug products, which allows for generic substitution by pharmacists. According to the source, in the past, Argentina’s regulations governing international property rights have also provided an advantage to domestic companies, which were free to manufacture and market products similar to patented versions. Furthermore, according to the source, Argentina is also regarded as a favourable destination for cost-effective clinical trials within Latin America, and was one of the first countries in the region to implement the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) on good manufacturing practice (GMP) and control standards, endorsing compliance to an international set of quality standards for pharmaceutical production. Clinical trials in the country are compliant to those of the International Conference on Harmonization-Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP).
Outlook and implications
The fast growth achieved in the sector is expected to be driven by a strong presence of domestic manufacturers, high-quality production capabilities and positive clinical trial regulations that are expected to boost the sector.
Unlike other Latin American countries, the trend towards domestic pharmaceutical production has existed for a few decades in Argentina, given the fact that local players are incentivised by the government since they are provided with benefits such as favourable tariff protection while the costs of raw materials imports undercut the transfer pricing which is generally applicable for multinationals.
On the other hand, Argentina’s pharmaceutical sector is also facing a number of barriers, including the fact that they lack the vast production capacities of Chinese and Indian manufacturers, and are unable to compete with the lower process that these foreign firms are able to offer. Argentina is also facing competition from upcoming pharmaceutical markets such as Mexico and Brazil. Furthermore, although investment in research and development has increased in the last few years, local makers have not been able to develop new chemical entities, making it difficult for domestic firms to be competitive with innovative multinational companies.
Nevertheless, with this potential sector boost, Argentina is expected to become one of the fastest growing markets in Latin America, with local players such as Roemmers and Bago rising to become some of the top companies in the region.
By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
21 May 2013
GWANGJU, South Korea, May 21, 2013 (IPS/GIN) – As news of the death of former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla in a prison cell spread around the world, Julia Parodi, who was in this South Korean city to receive the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights on behalf of HIJOS, said he died in the right place.
HIJOS, the acronym for “Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice Against Oblivion and Silence”, is an Argentine rights group founded in 1995 when children of people “disappeared” by that country’s 1976-1983 military regime came together to hold escraches or outings of human rights violators.
An estimated 30,000 people were forcibly disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship’s systematic suppression of dissent. In 1976, then army chief Videla led the junta made up of the commanders of the three military forces after the coup d’état that overthrew the democratic government of Isabel Perón.
Videla, who died on May 17, may be physically no more, the 25-year-old Parodi told the audience in her acceptance speech, but Argentina is still trying to correct the historical wrongs of the regime he led for most of its seven years in power.
Parodi was with her colleague Marcos Kary in Gwangju to share the human rights experiences of Argentina and South Korea.
The Gwangju Prize is awarded by the May 18 Memorial Foundation in South Korea, which like HIJOS was established by the families of those subjected to the brutal excesses of a dictatorship. Protests against the rule of South Korean military commander and strongman Chun Doo-hwan (1979-1988) had culminated in the May 18-27, 1980 uprising in Gwangju, also known as 518, an allusion to the date the bloody crackdown began.
In spring 1980 there was a wave of demonstrations across South Korea. In Gwangju, in the southwest, the military responded with brute force, firing indiscriminately into crowds. Even passersby were killed. The final death toll is still uncertain, but up to 2,000 people may have died.
The uprising is seen as a pivotal moment in the struggle for South Korean democracy.
The May 18 Memorial Foundation was established in 1994, and the Gwangju Prize was created in 2000. Xanana Gusmao, who fought for the freedom of East Timor in Southeast Asia and was elected as its first president when it became a new country in 2002, was the first recipient of the prize.
The award has since gone to other leaders in South Asia, notably Aung San Suu Kyi, the icon for democracy in Myanmar/Burma, in 2004; Manipur’s Irom Sharmila, fighting the excesses of the military in northeastern India, in 2007; and Dr Binayak Sen, a civil rights activist working for the rights of tribal populations in India, in 2011.
For the first time, however, the prize has gone this year to an organisation so many miles and whole continents away from the parent country. HIJOS was chosen for its dedication to get justice for victims of human rights abuses during Argentina’s dictatorship.
Parodi and Kary, both students who work for and represent HIJOS, are not the children of any of those who fell prey to the atrocities of the regime, but are willing to carry on the job that the daughters and sons of the victims began nearly two decades ago.
Like other human rights groups in their country, their aim is to help restore truth and bring justice to Argentine society. The organisation has helped collect evidence, arranged legal assistance for those wishing to prosecute human rights violators, and offered psychological support.
Videla’s sentencing was a part of this effort. Tried and sentenced to life for human rights abuses soon after democracy was restored, he only served a few years in prison before he was released under a broad presidential pardon from Carlos Menem (1989-1999).
But the sustained efforts of organisations like HIJOS ensured that this impunity would not be permanent.
In the mid-2000s, the Argentine Supreme Court struck down the presidential pardon for the former members of the junta, as well as the two late 1980s amnesty laws, ruling that they were unconstitutional.
“In the period that no trials took place,” Parodi told IPS, “we undertook social action by identifying the perpetrators of atrocities and distributing leaflets to their neighbours indicating that the people next door were responsible for the brutal abuses that happened in the 1970s and 1980s.”
The human rights trials resumed after the pardons and amnesty laws were thrown out. In the central city of Córdoba, where Parodi and Kary work, there have already been four trials involving 400 victims and 43 accused, said Parodi. And a fifth trial began in December 2012 and will last another two years, the two activists told IPS.
However, helping to bring the perpetrators to court is not the end of HIJOS’s job, Parodi said, adding that there is still a lot to be done for human rights in their country.
“Human rights continue to be suppressed in Argentina,” Kary told IPS. “The military may no longer be in power, but the police continue to wield power, and their mindset has never really changed. Torture in jails continues.”
Meanwhile, the Gwangju Prize – and its 50,000 dollar cash award – has given the organisation an opportunity to share its human rights experience with rights groups and democratic movements in Asia. It is the first international recognition that HIJOS has received, and one it hopes to build on in its fight for human rights.
By Elisa Lipsky-Karasz
21 May 2013
The restoration of the businessman’s Argentine estancia is a touchstone for an ambitious new real estate development that he hopes will change Miami.
ONE HUNDRED miles from Buenos Aires, deep in the Argentine pampas, at the end of a dirt road that runs through miles of harvest-ready corn and indigenous ombú trees, stands an incongruously ornate white gate. Behind the gate an elegant allée of trees leads, in turn, to more allées of ancient oaks unfurling in precise diagonals.
And across an expansive lawn a white greyhound bounds behind a Gatsby-like figure clad in white from the top of his feathered hat to the hem of his breeches: Argentine fashion designer–turned–real estate developer Alan Faena.
When Faena bought this historic estancia, known as San Juan de Vasquez, in 2005, along with its 2,500 acres of fertile farmland, the place had fallen into disrepair with the declining fortunes of the large Catholic family that owned it. Faena insisted that its 200-year-old paintings and other family heirlooms be kept intact and then spent two years carefully restoring it to its former grandeur, while also incorporating his own flair for dramatic decorative touches: walls painted a rich red, gold-trimmed velvet curtains and immense gilded sconces. Across the lawn he installed an immense decorative fountain that has the same long footprint as the house.
Reinvention on this scale is Faena’s specialty. The ambitious restoration recalls what he’d done for the Puerto Madero district of Buenos Aires, a project he began 10 years ago. Before Faena—the 49-year-old son of a second-generation Syrian Jewish textile manufacturer—Puerto Madero was just another stretch of urban wasteland. Wedged on a narrow spit of land near the marshy flatlands of the Rio de la Plata, the abandoned docklands had no streets, a few gutted buildings and “chest-high grass,” Austin Hearst, an early investor, remembers. “It looked like a junkyard with wild dogs,” adds Hearst’s then-partner, entrepreneur Christopher Burch. “If you tried to create the worst possible real estate in the world, this was it.”
Faena saw in this impoverished landscape the potential for “a building where music, art, culture, service, flavor, knowledge, love and freedom can all come together.” Aiming to create something that would “expand people’s lives,” he coaxed architect Philippe Starck into designing his first South American project—transforming a 100-year-old grain depository into a hotel. A local group of architects converted an abandoned mill into an arts center. He also invited Lord Norman Foster’s firm, Foster & Partners, to design a residential condominium—also his first in South America. The $200 million project resulted in some of the most expensive real estate in Buenos Aires, and copycat developers quickly followed suit. Today the neighborhood resembles a South American version of Tribeca. “We created a place out of nothing,” says Faena.
Now he hopes to repeat this success in Miami. With his partner, Russian billionaire Leonard Blavatnik, he has bought up four city blocks along South Beach’s Collins Avenue, including the ’40s-era Saxony Hotel, and enlisted a roster of A-list talent to construct another Faena district. Foster is again designing residential condominiums, while Rem Koolhaas’s firm, OMA, will create an arts center, retail spaces and a high-tech parking garage. The renamed Faena Hotel will be refurbished by designers Roman and Williams, whose resumé includes New York City hot spots The Standard and the Ace Hotel.
Although the asking price of the penthouse in the Foster structure is a mind-boggling $50 million—$16 million more than the previous South Beach record—for Faena, the project isn’t merely about developing real estate to sell to the highest bidder. He sees his efforts in more grandiose terms and has taken to calling his creative partners the “Collaboratory, a laboratory of collaborations.” He adds: “It’s the first time that a voice is arriving from the south to North America—and it’s not only my voice, but the voice of the entire region. So we feel responsible for that flag—all the messages, the feelings, our mentality, our music, our dancing, our way of living.”
The way of living he hopes to export isn’t the cultural pastiche of gauchos and asados one might encounter at Epcot (though there will be a version of his Buenos Aires tango show), but instead embraces simple ideas, like the indoor-outdoor living in which he revels. Faena is fiercely proud of the Foster condominium’s balconies, which rival the interior living spaces, which range from 1,307 to 4,730 square feet. These were inspired in part by his estancia, where he surrounded the original house with wide aleros, verandas sheltered by eaves. Designed by Brandon Haw—the architect who oversaw the residential towers in Buenos Aires—the Miami aleros will boast aerodynamic white curves built by the same company that constructed the metal skin on Frank Gehry’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. “It’s a translation of his kind of lifestyle,” says Haw. “He’s a dreamer, and he has a vision of the world he wants to create.” Faena adds: “It’s not about a building, it’s not about making a hotel. The most interesting thing is curating a neighborhood.”
“I thought the development needed to be a premium project with an exciting legacy, and that’s Alan,” says Blavatnik. “Alan thinks big,” says Robin Standefer, cofounder of Roman and Williams. So in addition to the simplicity of generous balconies and a wider-than-usual stretch of gardens (designed by Miami landscape architect Raymond Jungles), Faena would like the new hotel to evoke the resorts of the French Riviera’s golden era. Its eclectic ethos—from a sleek yacht-like restaurant to a formal, palatial living room—will reflect the amalgamation of styles at his estancia. “Everyone who came to Argentina took the best from Italy, France, Spain and made a mixture,” he says. Adds Standefer: “Working with him is very much about the visual effect that a space will have on someone.”
“He has a lot of passion,” says Blavatnik. That dynamism made his unlikely real estate career possible in the first place. “He had enough charisma to get me to invest when investing in an Argentine hotel was the last thing I was thinking of,” says Burch. “He threw his arm around me and said, ‘Chreees, I have a veeeesion.’ ” Hearst adds: “As an entrepreneur, you are looking for a vision, a visionary and an opportunity. And even though Alan had never been in the hotel or real estate business, he had an unbelievable clarity of vision—I’ll never forget, in 2000, he walked me through this gutted brick structure and was describing the color of the curtains, the type of wood floor, the long bench in the entrance.”
This confidence later won over OMA’s New York director Shohei Shigematsu. “He’s not really a developer, an artist or a strategist, but we were very intrigued by his commercial success, even in a shrinking economy like Argentina’s, and his commitment,” he says. Faena’s passionate rhetoric—a homespun philosophy that’s a mix of vaguely New Age ideas, Argentine patriotism, a deep respect for nature and a touch of Scarface drug lord Tony Montana—and his habit of dressing in a uniform of all white, with loosely buttoned shirts and befeathered hats only made him more interesting to Koolhaas’s firm. “We deal with typical developers all the time. But Alan is an ideal figure for an architect to work with—once he buys in, he goes all the way.”
FAENA THRIVES ON the force of his own creativity—a giant billboard outside his Buenos Aires offices reminds visitors of “The Power of Ideas.” An autodidact who never attended university, he launched his fashion company, Via Vai, at age 19, in 1986 with 50 boldly colored T-shirts that he funded himself. They quickly sold, and taking advantage of lenient Argentine credit policies, he was able to expand his collections without asking his family for financial support. Soon, he was designing ready-to-wear collections and a jeans line—both of which proved popular among Argentines reveling in their liberation from a dictatorial military junta. Ever the showman, he staged theatrical fashion shows for audiences of thousands.
By the early ’90s, while Faena was becoming a local celebrity, his father’s once-thriving wool textile company crumbled as the Argentine government dramatically reduced import tariffs, creating a sudden influx of cheaper fabrics. Via Vai, however, continued to grow, eventually reaching $30 million in annual revenues, with 80 stores nationwide. In 1996, sensing another downturn in the volatile economy, Faena sold Via Vai. (It soon shuttered.)
At 32, Faena retreated from public life and became an avid gardener, living full time at his beach house in Punta del Este, Uruguay, where he cultivated the Faena rose, the inspiration behind the red found throughout his hotels and the estancia. Faena’s style is apparent in other decorative touches, including a credo of his own invention—LOVE, TRUTH, FREEDOM—etched in the ceiling of the estancia on a gilded molding inspired by Napoleon III’s Parisian apartment. That motto also adorns the gold rings worn by Faena and Ximena Caminos, the mother of his 3-year-old son, Noa. Caminos, who met Faena in 2003 when she was working at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, is the executive director of the Faena Arts Center; the two visited the estancia for a year before beginning the restoration. “The best way to remodel a house is to understand it. There are so many people who just bring in an architect, and then realize that it doesn’t fit the spirit or the soul of the place,” he says. “It’s important to understand the places to then see how to make them grow. I approach the creation of a district the same way.”
Faena and Caminos have carefully preserved the house’s history while unearthing its potential. Where there were once nine cramped bedrooms and two small bathrooms, there are now four generous suites. An interior courtyard that the previous owners had covered with a makeshift roof to create additional living space was opened up to let in sunlight with plantings of lime and orange trees. The couple preserved many of the house’s original details, from the original cedar paneling in the dining room to its ornately tiled floors. Ancestral heirlooms have been carefully preserved and displayed, from family oil portraits to photo books and documents about the estate’s chapel, which was built in the ’50s and blessed by Pope Pius XII. A converted stable now serves as a guesthouse that neighbors a pool and state-of-the-art gym.
Faena is most proud of the land, so rich that black loam is reclaiming the area’s few paved roads. He is also attempting what he says will be the pampas’s first vintage, if it succeeds: a cabernet sauvignon to match the Faena Malbecs he already produces in the nearby Mendoza region. In addition to an aviary of pheasants and peacocks, Faena owns a pack of white greyhounds, many descendants of his first, Prince, now 5 years old. Purchased during a trip to New York, Prince joined the Faena family at their suite in the Carlyle hotel. “We didn’t know they allowed animals,” says Caminos, laughing, “so we were smuggling this puppy in and out of the hotel for three days.” Bred for competitive racing, he has sired many of Faena’s eight other greyhounds, who are exercised twice a day by a caretaker who leads them around the property with a horse-drawn cart.
With the hotel and the Foster condos scheduled for completion in fall 2014, Faena will soon see if his grand vision can succeed in America. “We believe we can have different cities of the world enjoy our way of doing things, with this new way of development that blurs art, culture and music,” says Faena. “This is what drives me—creating your own dreams and ideas, against all odds.” He pauses and looks out at the neighborhood he built. “I think the most interesting thing is how you play with the most fantastic places in the world but not doing what everybody does—doing it your way.”
Cuando se denuncia el delito de asociación ilícita supuestamente cometido por la Presidente y su grupo de funcionarios, en teoría existe un remedio constitucional: la Justicia. En la práctica, estos delitos han sido históricamente cometidos por pocos Presidentes y allegados, y en general suelen quedar impunes porqué el aparato Judicial no tiene suficiente fuerza para llevar a los Amos ante los Tribunales: no son todos iguales los habitantes, el Presidente es el propietario, y el resto obedece, en países autoritarios fascistas. Puede mantenerse esa situación demasiado tiempo, en Cuba la familia Castro sigue siendo propietaria absoluta – dicen – de la Isla y todo lo que en ella se encuentra, gente incluida (aunque oficialmente se lo niegue). Hitler fue peor, hizo falta una derrota derrota militar para terminar con el nazional socialismo criminal y reeducar al pueblo alemán.
La diputada Elisa Carrió ha denunciado años atrás ese delito, y lo sigue haciéndolo con otros nuevos. La Justicia avanza poco y demasiado lentamente. Parece , porque existe temor reverencial por parte de los Jueces argentinos inferiores. Y supongo la mayoría de la actual Corte Suprema designada por Néstor Kirchner, no tiene prisa por acelerar la Justicia en estos temas, máxime cuando solo quedan dos años y medio de Presidencia cristinista. Si tuviesen agalla los 7 Supremos Cortesanos, comprenderían que Argentina se desprestigia interna y externamente, al existir graves hechos penales en investigación, aun sabiendo que la Justicia avanza poco, cuando los denunciados son los que mandan. Así, somos republiqueta bananera, sometida al autoritarismo cristinista inconstitucional. Algo característico del peronismo general, del radicalismo de Alfonsín y de la Rúa , aunque iniciado y seguido por los militares fascistas desde 1930 hasta 1983.
La impunidad desde el Estado provoca inseguridad, que todos sufrimos pero pocos denuncian que la sociedad es educada o deseducada según el ejemplo del gobierno : cuando bandidos, pueblo salvajizado y empobrecido. Con Estadistas serios, Republica democrática civilizada, con gente orgullosa de sentirse copartícipes del proyecto nacional.
PER SALTUM como MEDICINA URGENTE
A medida que el cristinismo continúa avanzando con leyes inconstitucionales, y logra ir frenando el accionar de la justicia penal, a la Corte Suprema se le van acortando los tiempos, en algún momento tendrá que decidir si lo que imputa la diputada Carrió es cierto, o falso. La Presidenta y su circulo quedarían absueltos por la Justicia o habrían condenas. Pero los tiempos de la Justicia son demasiado lentos en estos casos: exceden el plazo de dos años y medio, que resta a la Presidenta. Necesitamos prisa, la Corte puede acortar los plazos, el Per Saltum es el remedio mejor, de los posibles.Y sabremos si la Corte Suprema nos resulta útil a tiempo. O si ante la sospecha de ilegalidad manifiesta que vivimos, prefiere esperar, y quedar bien con la Presidenta dos años y medio mas…
Es la Corte Suprema quien debería ya utilizar el “per saltum” (disponer que las denuncias penales que involucran a la Presidenta sean estudiadas ya mismo por el Supremo Tribual, para que los Jueces inferiores no sientan temor y la Justicia no se siga desprestigiando. No se trata de revolear la moneda ”cara” o “ceca”, sino de acelerar la Justicia cuando todavía se está a tiempo de impedir que delitos graves se sigan cometiendo. La gente lo necesita, la Presidenta también, porque tendría oportunidad de enfrentar a la Corte Suprema y decir su verdad, y esperar que la Justicia resuelva, cosa que ella ha aprendido como abogada y ha jurado respetar porque la Constitución Nacional así lo establece.
Los Supremos son gente añosa, cercanos están a jubilarse, alguno se pasó del límite. Podrían pasar a la historia como una Corte Suprema digna, y dar un ejemplo a toda la sociedad, en el sentido de que cuando el Presidente está acusado, es mas urgente investigarlo, que cuando los acusados son gente del llano. Máxime, sabiendo dos cosas: que la mayoría cristinista en el Congreso impide hacerle juicio político constitucional para desplazarla del Mando. Y que a la vista existen pruebas graves, precisas y concordantes de que las finanzas argentinas no cierran, que la inflación existe pero oficialmente se la niega, y que las reservas del Banco Central pueden haber desaparecido sin que la Presidenta se entere, o porque ella haya sido aconsejada a ocultarnos el hecho. Esto, que se denuncia como asociación ilícita desde el Estado, creo jamas ha prosperado en la Justicia. A Presidentes bandidos se los ha expulsado, o han sido juzgados en el exilio como a Perón pero un país cuya Justicia no se atreve a enjuiciar a un Presidente que está acusado de cometer delitos permanentes en curso de ejecución, entiendo no requiere juicio político Es un bandido “in fraganti” el Presidente que permite que los funcionarios públicos se enriquezcan, y no lo impide. No basta con que el responsable máximo de la Administración Nacional, según la Constitución, sea el Jefe de Gabinete, a partir de 1994.
Peor aún: Cristina teóricamente podría ignorar que debajo de ella funcione una asociación ilícita, y todo debería ser investigado. Hasta sería posible que Ella sea declarada inocente, mientras el resto de ministros y secretarios tengan que sufrir condenas por el motivo que sea. La duda debe disiparse por la Justicia, y en casos graves, urge que el Supremo Tribunal use el per saltum para ahorrarnos tiempo: gobiernos delictivos dañan a 40 millones de habitantes, demorar la investigación es algo demasiado feo y grave, que puede hacer pensar a la gente que la Justicia Suprema está involucrada. Esto no lo merecemos, no lo deseaban Saavedra, Belgrano, San Martín y otros, que permitieron que la Revolución de Mayo tuviese éxito y nos convirtiésemos en país libre del autoritarismo Español. La Justicia no funciona en países autoritarios, sucedió en Alemania, y en Argentina, amen de varios otros. O volvemos a ser civilizados, o seguiremos siendo un país salvajizado, sin ley cierta aplicable. La Corte Suprema decide, si dispone ya el per saltum, todos nos beneficiaríamos, incluso la Presidenta.
Asunto: MAL FIN DE UN HOMBRE MALO
|Got this from Perú. Interesting. “Dar una muerte mala a un hombre malo no es una buena acción de los buenos.”
Moi plus les trois ==s
Estoy suscripto al blog http://www.domingocavallo.com.ar , es muy interesante, somos muchos los interesados en su opinión. Coincido en gran parte lo que él dice, pero parece amnésico, cuando sostiene que la degradación institucional comenzó en el 2002. Para mí, eso sucedió el 1 de diciembre de 2001, un mes antes, cuando el presidente de la Rua por decreto, implantó el Corralito Bancario por 90 días, que impidió a millones de argentinos disponer libremente de sus depósitos bancarios. Ese mes es importante, Cavallo era el Ministro de Economía que no advirtió al enfermo Presidente que legalmente el dinero de la gente no puede ser inmobilizado por el Presidente ni por el Congreso, apenas puede serlo con orden judicial, en casos concretos legalmente autorizados.
Es gracioso como se pasan la pelota los Kirchners y Cavallo: los primeros dicen refundaron Argentina después del caos del 2001/2, y últimamente desde el 2003, ya que antes de ellos Argentina era prácticamente una porquería. Cavallo se hace el Premio Nobel de Economía, cuando dice que todo se pudrió a partir del 2002, y razón en parte tiene, porque allí Duhalde implantó la estafa legalizada (según Steve H. Kanke, el diseñador de la convertibilidad menemista) cuando logró con apoyo de Raúl R. Alfonsín que el Congreso a comienzos de enero de 2002 anulara la ley de convertibilidad que nos había al dolar como patrón monetario, que circulaba como peso convertible uno a uno.
DE LA RUA DIRIGISTA
En su blog, Cavallo me ha negado que el desgobierno sospechoso de bandido de F. de la Rúa haya sido dirigista. Y con eso, omite la parte nazi fascista, que consistió en impedir el uso del dinero de la gente, incluso el de la Provincia de San Luis. Una torpeza delictiva inconstitucional, de la Rúa debía saberlo porque fue abogado medalla de oro, pero su Ministro de Economía, contador publico, no había estudiado suficiente Derecho para aconsejar a su enfermo Presidente que el dinero privado depositado en bancos, en países serios no puede ser tocado, y en países fascistas dirigistas a veces sucede, no siempre.
¿PORQUE CAVALLO NIEGA?
Ninguna persona sensata en el mundo occidental duda en que un Presidente no puede prohibir que la gente use sus dineros bancarios. Cavallo estoy seguro que es sensato, pero me niega en su blog que de la Rúa fue un presidente dirigista, y por eso la gente de indignó, naturalmente surgió una revolución pacifica y la sociedad acudía a los bancos a reclamar que el dinero se les entregara. Pero de la Rúa no reaccionaba, y Cavallo menos. Transcurrieron varios días, los ánimos se fueron caldeando, y hay quienes dicen que entre Duhalde y sus Aliados, quizás Alfonsín mismo, concibieron la idea de echar a patadas a un enfermo autoritario presidente, y reemplazarlo por un peronista duro, de esos que aman la emisión monetaria, como mecanismo para enriquecer al Estado y a sus amigos, a costillas de la gente. Hubo una revuelta en Plaza de Mayo, con muertos y heridos, y en seguida renunció Cavallo (¿sintiéndose culpable de no haber impedido el corralito, o peor aún, quizás, por haberlo propuesto a su adormilado Presidente’?). Al día siguiente, el Presidente . abandonado por Cavallo, que no puso la cara por el siniestro corralito bancario) fue introducido a la fuerza en un helicóptero, y desapareció como Jefe de Estado. Espero jamas otro radical sea Presidente, para muestra bastan dos botones: Alfonsín el hiperinflacionario, y F. de la Rúa, el que ordenó el corralito y con ese dislate institucional, tiró por la borda la precaria democracia que tuvimos desde que Margaret Thatcher derrotó a los militares que nos ocupaban el país, y el poder fascista cambió de manos: lo recibió el presidente Alfonsin, y los que tuvimos hasta hoy. Hay dirigismo cuando el Estado Nacional dispone de todo lo que se puede o no producir en materia económica se había hecho carne en la cultura Argentina, ya que eso sucedía desde el 6 de septiembre de 1930, cuando el bandido general Uriburu derrocó a la Constitución Nacional y al Presidente Yrigoyen, elegido por la gente.
El corralito fue un mecanismo fascista nazi, que pareció algo normal para superar una corrida bancaria contra el sistema financiero Argentino. Y fracaso, porque los autoritarios fascistas fracasan, por brutos. No entienden que la gente, al llegar al tercer milenio, no acepa toda la prepotencia estatal, a menos que manejen el país los militares armados que ya no existen mas. De la Rúa, medalla de oro abogado y recibido en el Liceo Militar como bachiller, debió haberlo sabido, pero estaba enfermo. Quizás por eso, lo designó como ultimo recurso antes de renunciar por incapaz, a Cavallo, quien lo convenció que el mismo había frenado la hiperinflación alfonsinista, con ese mecanismo de la convertibilidad que todos supusimos Cavallo había inventado, y recorría el mundo dictando conferencias sobre las bondades de su sistema, que en cinco meses – abril a agosto de 1971 – terminó con el flagelo hiperinflacionario y dió una década de estabilidad económica, y los bancos volvieron a funcionar como entidades para captar ahorros y otorgar créditos. No fue magia, sino que la economía se polarizó era el dolar – disfrazado de peso convertible – lo que garantizaba que si el Gobierno no robaba, siempre habría un dolar depositado bajo custodia con el Banco Central, para entregar a todo aquel tenedor de un peso convertible que reclamase el dolar, entreando el peso convertible correspondiente.
En mi libro Donde están los Estadistas? legible desde este blog, en 1998 escribía que los abogados habíamos abandonando el estudio de la moneda, como fenómeno jurídico, y ese lugar vacío quedó en manos de economistas, una carrera universitaria nueva, donde ellos confunden cosas que se enseñan en los Estados Unidos como “money” y creen que esas conclusiones pueden ser importadas y tener éxito en Argentina, cuando se habla de moneda, o de dinero o de papel moneda de nuestra peronizada Republica Argentina.
No cualquier país tiene un sistema financiero sensato y confiable. De hecho, son muy pocos, hasta Francia, Italia, España, Grecia y Portugal han sabido engañar desde el Estado incluso teniendo todos al Euro como moneda común. Y en Argentina es mucho mas fácil porque el peronismo fascista ama la posibilidad de emitir moneda, ya que eso fortalece al Presidente de turno, que se vuelve un Zar, que puede obligar a los gobernadores e intendentes a hacer lo que el Amo necesita. Fabricar billetes bancarios “mellizos” (dos con el mismo numero de serie y de billete) no solo es factible, sino que días atrás se corrió la noticia de que había nuevos billetes de cien pesos impresos con una partida de papel diferente, e inmediatamente recordé que en un país peronista, cualquier cosa puede suceder, incluso emitir series duplicadas para que algunos funcionarios se enriquezcan sin que la sociedad lo note. Es muy difícil que alguien llegue a tener dos billetes de cien pesos con exactamente el mismo numero y serie, por un calculo de posibilidades, y además que lo advierta, e incluso, que piense que desde el Estado se lo engaña. Curiosamente, eso fue cuando el dolar luchaba por pasar la marca de los diez pesos, y lo logró, aunque ahora acaba de bajar la marca de nueve pesos, no se por cuanto tiempo. Todo depende de Cristina, y si ella desea realmente terminar bien su mandato, o insiste en su modelo que niega la inflación.
Nuestros economistas están confundidos, nuestros políticos y gobernantes también. Hace años vengo sosteniendo que sin moneda confiable, un país está peor que en Babel, donde la gente perdió el idioma común, y la cultura se deshizo y la Torre se derrumbó.
OJO: no solo hay que tener una moneda creíble, sino un gobierno o Presidente confiable, o bien una Corte Suprema Independiente. Hasta hoy, ¡tenemos alguno de esos elementos? Personalmente, creo nos faltan los tres. Una pena que Cavallo se hace el desentendido, no acepta que el caos comenzó con el corralito, y si alguien lo conoce, por favor preguntarle porque me dijo que el F. de la Rúa no fue un Gobierno dirigista. Con economistas que creen que es el Estado quien debe dirigir, en vez de la sociedad disponer en que invertir o que cosas importar o exportar. La diferencia entre un país totalitario y uno liberal, algo distinto del neoliberalismo, aclaremos. Liberalismo para las izquierdas es posible, de hecho, funciona en países avanzados, muy pocos, que los hay.
NOTA: sospecho que la idea de iniciar mas tarde los partidos de fútbol importantes, no es para quitarle rating al programa de La Nata, el mas interesante en la decadente Argentina cristinista. Sino porque como el fútbol argentino sigue siendo interesante, hay muchos interesados en verlo en directo por T.V. y deben existir canales extranjeros que pagan dinero por esa transmisión. Jorge La Nata podría averiguar si todos los fondos son para el Estado Argentino, o si queda en manos de otros, amigos del cristinismo o no. El mundo redondo tiene 24 husos horarios, que empiecen a jugar Boca y River a las 21,30 hora Argentina, significa que en Calitornia son creo las 17,30, y en México algo parecido. Hora ideal, una tarde de buen fútbol vale mucho. Y que los hinchas se molesten y peligren acudiendo a las canchas tan tarde un domingo, parece un argumento desgarrador. Pero es una mentira: si tuviese yo un hijo de diez años, prefiero ver el partido por T.V. con él en la propia casa, antes de arriesgar nuestras vidas de noche en el Club. Los deportes profesionalizados tienen mas paga por los medios que los televisan, que por la cantidad de gente que visita los estadios deportivos. La final de tenis de Wimbledon no puede ser presenciada en directo por mas de veinte o treinta mil personas, pero cientos de millones la ven por televisión. El caso argentino es siempre sospechoso, porque el Estado destina demasiado dinero para el fútbol para todos, que tiene en Argentina una propaganda cristinista aburrida y mentirosa. Pero quizás en algún otro lugar del mundo, en países no respetuosos de la ley, hay millones de personas que pagan por ver televisión, y quizás hay algunos argentinos piolas y oficialistas (dos requisitos, que cuando juntos, reportan riqueza) que se enriquecen personalmente.Mientas la sociedad argentina paga los gastos, los menos y amigos del Poder aprovechan. Porque en los países fascistas, no hay justicia, no hay ley, salvo la del mas fuerte, el Amo de turno, aunque no asesine ni torture.
Una pena Cristina, una mujer tan linda, tan inteligente, tan votada por la gente…
19 May 2013
Jorge Rafael Videla, the remorseless Argentine army commander who came to power in a coup that launched the most barbaric period of the country’s modern history, including thousands of extrajudicial killings and kidnappings, died Friday at a prison near Buenos Aires. He was 87.
A government spokesman announced the death. A cause was not reported.
Videla, whose family was entrenched in the elite ranks of the country’s military and political life for generations, was the last surviving member of the three-man junta that seized power in Argentina in 1976.
He had spent his final decades consumed by legal battles stemming from the dictatorship and, in recent years, was convicted of human rights abuses such as the systematic abduction of infants from suspected left-wing radicals.
Skeletal in appearance and outwardly colorless except for a prominent mustache, Videla was a central, wily and ruthless player in the military dictatorship’s reign of institutionalized terrorism. He served as president from 1976 to 1981, the worst years of bloodletting before the military stepped down in 1983.
“They wanted to believe they were fighting this Third-World war against communism while the rest of the world was sleeping,” said Robert Cox, the editor of the Buenos Aires Herald who endured constant threats for his coverage of the forced disappearances.
Economic turmoil and extreme violence by left-wing groups in the 1970s gave initial legitimacy to the junta, which overthrew President Isabel Peron. The military government promised to stamp out subversives — who orchestrated hundreds of kidnappings and killings of business leaders and government officials — and return the country to normalcy.
The United States was among the first countries to recognize the new regime, but subsequently became critical of it when President Jimmy Carter declared preservation of human rights a U.S. policy priority.
Even before taking power, Videla had not been averse to airing his unorthodox perspective on killing to achieve stability.
“As many people as necessary must die in Argentina so that the country will again be secure,” he told an audience of military leaders from throughout the Americas in 1975.
In the “dirty war” that followed a military coup led by Videla in 1976, between 13,000 and 30,000 suspected subversives were “disappeared,” tortured and then killed based on the flimsiest of evidence. Suspected leftist guerrillas and their alleged sympathizers were drugged and thrown out of airplanes into the Atlantic Ocean or River Plate. Many were buried in mass graves.
Concentration camps and clandestine torture centers became commonplace horrors, and women who gave birth under those circumstances often were killed. Reputedly hundreds of their children were then stolen and, under false papers, given to childless military families.
Videla expanded the definition of subversives to include members of the political opposition, Jews, authors, intellectuals and journalists such as Jacobo Timerman, who survived torture to write the harrowing account “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number.” A terrorist, Videla said, was “not only someone who plants bombs but a person whose ideas are contrary to Western, Christian civilization.”
With Argentina’s economy faltering and its reputation as an international pariah state growing, the junta ceded power after its disastrous attempt to retake the Falkland Islands from the British in 1982.
In the newly democratic Argentina, the ex-commanders including Videla were placed on trial in 1985. A federal court sentenced Videla to life imprisonment after finding him guilty of homicide, kidnapping, torture and other crimes. He also was stripped of his rank.
He was imprisoned for five years until President Carlos Menem pardoned military and left-wing guerrilla leaders in what the president described as a gesture of national healing. The pardon also was seen as a maneuver to prevent another coup.
The decision bitterly divided the country, and efforts continued with minimal success to roll back 1980s-era immunity laws until the election in 2003 of President Nestor Kirchner, a leftist who had been briefly jailed during the junta years for his student activism.
Kirchner and his widow and successor, Cristina, accelerated efforts to prosecute aging junta leaders and functionaries. Old legal immunities gradually were wiped away, and Videla was ordered to stand trial for human rights abuses in 2010.
He was sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of more than 30 prisoners after the 1976 coup. While serving the life sentence at the civilian prison at the barracks at Campo de Mayo, Videla also was tried on charges of stealing babies. In July 2012, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in the abductions of dozens of infants. (Another former junta president, Reynaldo Bignone, received 15 years for the baby seizures in addition to his earlier life term for crimes against humanity.)
In his closing remarks at trial, Videla said, “All those who gave birth, who I respect as mothers, were active militants in the machinery of terror. They used their children as human shields.”
Francisco Madariaga Quintela, who had been taken as a child and was reunited with his birth father only in 2010, told reporters at the time of the sentencing: “It was the worst, the most perverse of the dictatorship, I think, what they did with us. It was a torture prolonged through time, for the grandmothers searching, for family members, everyone.”
Jorge Rafael Videla was born Aug. 2, 1925, in Mercedes, a city in Buenos Aires province. His father was an army colonel.
At 16, he entered the National Military College, considered Argentina’s West Point. He received a commission in 1944 and ascended the military hierarchy. In the early 1970s, he became commandant of the military college, where his wiry physique and reputation for cunning earned him the nickname “Pink Panther.”
In 1948, he married the former Alicia Raquel Hartridge, with whom he had seven children. A son died in 1971.
In 1975, Videla was named general commander of the army by Maria Estela Martinez de Peron (Isabelita). She had served briefly as vice president under her husband, strongman Juan Domingo Peron, before being widowed into the presidency.
The human rights abuses of the Peron years were widely viewed as a precursor to the atrocities committed by the junta led by Gen. Videla.
May 18, 2013
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — It was just about a day after Argentine strongman Jorge Rafael Videla had seized power in March of 1976, and the bloodletting was already beginning.
I had trekked out to isolated Neuquen province looking for Maria Estela Martinez de Peron, the constitutionally elected leader that Videla and his military cohorts had just toppled. Working for The Associated Press, I wanted to talk to her, her captors or anyone else to get the story.
As it turns out, I could have been one of the military junta’s first victims that sunny afternoon.
The waters of the giant Nahuel Huapi lake, protected by the Andean mountain range, were rough and troubled, as I walked along its shores toward El Messidor castle, where de Peron was rumored to be held.
I was literally on top of the world. The sunlight reflected off the eternal snows capping the towering peaks around me.
Then a gruff, martial voice brought me back to earth, piercing me like a frozen blade: “What are you doing here? Who are you?”
An enormous officer headed a patrol of about a dozen angry-looking soldiers, all dressed in olive green, approaching from the castle.
I responded uneasily, “I’m a journalist.”
The officer’s response was quick and menacing: “We don’t want journalists or Peronists; give me your documents.”
On one side were the soldiers, on the other the castle.
Just hours after the coup, an iron lid of silence had already clamped shut on the whereabouts and condition of de Peron, and I knew trying to find her would be risky. Even before the coup, people were being killed or going missing during the back-and-forth between the military and leftist militants.
I was the only reporter anywhere near that lake, and in that era before cellphones, my only defense was my pen and notepad.
About 9,000 people were ultimately killed or disappeared during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship, according to an official accounting after democracy returned. Human rights activists believe the real number was as high as 30,000. The dead were not only those who had been involved in armed conflict, but journalists, dissidents, unionists and citizens caught in the crossfire.
My life during the dictatorship quickly became a surreal and dangerous search for the truth in a country convulsed by violence.
At one point, I had to tour all the public restrooms in central Buenos Aires because the Montoneros and People’s Revolutionary Army urban guerrillas left their communiques behind toilets, mirrors or inside spouts or pipes. A spokesman for the guerrillas would call the office and let us know which bathroom they had written their missive in, and I’d rush there to check.
At the center of it all was the lanky, mustached Videla, whom many dubbed “Panther,” because his gait resembled that of the “Pink Panther” in the popular movies and cartoons. With Videla’s death Friday at age 87, many Argentines are remembering those dark days.
We watched the “panther,” surrounded by his fellow junta leaders, jumping in celebration and shouting “goal!” at River Plate stadium as Argentina beat Holland during the 1978 World Cup final. To improve his image, Videla was portrayed as playing a role in helping Argentina win the title.
Less than a kilometer (about half a mile) away from the stadium was the Navy Mechanics’ School, the largest clandestine detention and torture center during Argentina’s “dirty war.” Thousands of people were taken there, never to be seen again.
I passed the school every time I went to the stadium, which seemed so placid and well-maintained, at least from the outside. I never suspected what was going on inside.
Among the people who were killed or disappeared after entering its doors were French nuns Alice Domon and Leonie Duquet, Argentine journalist and writer Rodolfo Walsh and Azucena Villaflor, one of the founders of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group.
My AP colleague at the time, Oscar J. Serrat, was abducted for a day by soldiers and only released following intense lobbying.
I myself was targeted for sticking to the AP style of using the phrase “alleged guerrillas (or terrorists)” when writing about armed confrontations with soldiers. Videla didn’t like the words “alleged” or “suspected.” To him, they were guerrillas or terrorists, without qualifications.
I received unidentified threats, including once while I was at my mother’s house. I later also learned that that my name had appeared along with those of other journalists considered undesirable in a book edited by the military regime.
All that horror, however, still awaited Argentina that afternoon by the lake and mountains.
My immediate challenge was getting by the soldiers, who were just launching their hunt for political enemies.
The officer had grown impatient with my repeated response to his questions, that I was a journalist and had traveled there to ask about the whereabouts of de Peron, the widow of leader Juan Domingo Peron.
“Weeeeell, weeeeell,” said the officer, menacingly extending his words.
Then, in a slightly friendlier tone, he concluded: “I’m returning your documents and you can go.”
But before I left, he shouted: “Go! Walk with your hands up, but don’t look back. Do you understand me?”
He aimed his gun at me, which looked as big as a cannon.
I didn’t walk, I didn’t raise my hands, I didn’t ask for mercy. I couldn’t move for fear. I cursed my bad luck as my shoes sunk in the muck left by last night’s rain or by floodwaters from the lake.
“I can kill you, throw you in the lake and no one would find you,” he told me.
But then an expression that resembled a smile appeared on his face and he lowered his gun. He ordered me to take the next plane home and he walked away with his patrol.
I stayed two nights longer, though I kept away from the danger zone. I collected information and testimony that allowed me to confirm that de Peron was in the castle, an exclusive that was widely published.
I had survived my first days under Videla’s brutal rule, but the nightmare had only just begun.
May 17, 2013
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Hundreds of passengers remained stranded at Argentina’s airports on Friday after LAN Airlines S.A. temporarily suspended all domestic and international flights over a dispute with a state-owned company that is the country’s sole handler of passenger luggage.
The local branch of LATAM Airlines Group said all its flights in Argentina are suspended at least until Saturday because Intercargo refuses to transfer passengers on buses to and from airplanes, clean the planes and unload cargo and luggage.
“Intercargo is not letting flights leave from any airport in the country,” Agustin Agraz, LAN’s corporate-affairs manager told local television. “We’re negotiating with the company so they allow us to get back in service.”
LAN says Intercargo is breaching its contract and is demanding a payment of $6.6 million. Intercargo says LAN pays 40 percent less than other carriers for the service they provide and is demanding more after a recent order by the civil aviation authority.
“No other company has benefitted as much in recent years,” Intercargo said in a statement.
LATAM was created when Chile’s LAN took over Brazil’s TAM last year.
The carrier reported this week that its first quarter net profit dropped by nearly half from the same period last year on lower cargo revenue, sudden changes in foreign exchange and the grounding since January of three Boeing 787 Dreamliners in LAN’s fleet.
By Ken Parks and Prabha Natarajan
May 17, 2013
The Argentine peso is rallying after the government launched an aggressive intervention to reverse the currency’s slide in the black market, traders say.
The peso firmed 12% in the past week to 8.95 per dollar on the black market Friday, a level not seen since late April, according to the newspaper El Cronista, which publishes an average of underground exchange rates.
Traders said the government began to intervene on May 9, a day after the peso hit a record low of 10.45 pesos to the dollar. State agencies, including Anses, the $50 billion government pension fund, were ordered to sell bonds, according to local media reports.
Meanwhile, authorities allowed a benchmark interbank lending rate to rise almost five percentage points, which put pressure on banks to sell assets.
A spokeswoman for the Economy Ministry didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Both measures are a sign that the government is stepping up its efforts to shore up the peso, amid fears the weak currency could drive inflation, already well above 20%, even higher, analysts and investors say.
The currency’s value has weakened 32% this year in the black market, as inflation drove up demand for dollars.
The government has imposed limits on how much foreign currency Argentines can buy, forcing many individuals and some businesses to seek out dollars in the black market.
Lately, the peso has fallen on the black market relative to the official rate of 5.236 per dollar. That has raised concerns that a weakened currency could reinforce expectations of a future devaluation and drive inflation even higher by raising the cost of imports.
“Intervention by Anses shows the government is willing to go out and do battle with the ‘blue’ dollar and other [parallel exchange] rates,” said Adrian Mayoral, a trader of stocks and bonds at local brokerage Mayoral Bursatil.
Mr. Mayoral said a large volume of stocks and bonds were sold early in this past week and late in the prior week, usually an indication government agencies were in the market. That perception also drove private investors to unload securities.
The authorities appear to have simultaneously attacked the black-market dollar, known locally as the “blue dollar,” as well as a legal mechanism that investors use to get greenbacks, which is known as the “blue chip swap.”
The latter involves the purchase of stocks and bonds traded in Argentina, which are then sold offshore for dollars. When Anses sells, the value of those stocks and bonds drops, reducing the return for other holders who are trading them abroad, which in turn lowers the peso’s blue rate.
Trading in the black-market dollar was virtually frozen between May 10 and May 13 as underground currency dealers closed their doors out of fear they might be raided by government agents. At the same time, a wave of selling on the stock market helped the peso to firm in the blue-chip swap trade to 9.06 per dollar, from 9.55 on May 8.
The weakness of the black-market peso is an unwelcome sign of the deep troubles in Argentina’s economy, and raises the prospect of a devaluation to bring the official rate more closely in line with the market rate.
Earlier this month, President Cristina Kirchner ruled out a devaluation as long as she is president.
Instead, the central bank intervenes in the official exchange market on an almost daily basis as it tries to buy dollars to build its reserves, while gradually weakening the peso to help exporters.
While the government has intervened in the black market before, it is rare for the move to be so large, or to take place over several days, as the most recent measures did, traders say.
“Argentina is trying to manage, though, ineffectively, distortion on its exchange rate,” said Siobhan Morden, head of Latin American strategy at Jefferies LLC. “Clearly, the government can’t control the black-market rate, but they are trying to influence it by coming up with ad-hoc measures.”
But the government’s measures may offer only a temporary reprieve for the currency, analysts said.
Alberto Bernal, head of research and strategy at Bulltick Capital Markets, expects the Argentine currency to remain under pressure in coming months as the government struggles with its debt and has difficultly borrowing abroad.
“The reality is that unless Argentina fixes its fiscal accounts or regains access to markets, the shadow exchange rate will be pressured,” Mr. Bernal said.
By Jude Webber in Buenos Aires
May 17, 2013
Jorge Videla, the military dictator who led Argentina during the “Dirty War” – in which the state tortured thousands of suspected leftists, dumped victims’ bodies at sea and stole babies – has died in jail where he was serving life sentences for human rights crimes. He was 87.
The moustachioed former coup leader, who never repented for the abuses of the 1976-83 “National Reorganisation Process” in which some 30,000 people were killed, was found dead of natural causes on Friday morning in his cell in a common prison outside Buenos Aires.
“He will be remembered as a dictator who sowed death in Argentina and produced the bloodiest and most terrible dictatorship the Argentine Republic has suffered,” said Ricardo Gil Lavedra, an opposition politician and former judge in the historic trial of junta leaders in 1985 – a kind of Argentine Nuremberg Trial.
As commander-in-chief of the army, Videla took power in 1976 in the coup that overthrew the government of Isabel Martínez de Peron. He ruled the country until 1981, when he handed power to another senior officer. The dictatorship crumbled after the 1982 Falklands war and democracy was restored in 1983.
During the Dirty War, suspected leftists were rounded up, held in clandestine detention centres where they were tortured and victims were “disappeared” after being drugged and dropped from aeroplanes. Babies born to detained parents were given to military or pro-dictatorship families under new identities.
Mothers of the terror victims, clad in white headscarves, mounted an incessant campaign to discover the whereabouts of their children and grandchildren. Their weekly marches around the square in front of the government Pink House earned them the name Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and have turned them, and the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo who have searched for their grandchildren, into human rights icons.
“A contemptible being has left this world,” said Estela de Carlotto, head of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, which has so far identified 108 grandchildren. “This was an evil man.”
In 1979, in response to a question about the whereabouts of the disappeared, Videla, gesticulating wildly, thundered: “They are not alive or dead, they are disappeared.” In a trial in 2012, he slammed as a “fallacy” the notion of a systematic plan to steal babies.
In 1985, Videla was jailed along with other military leaders. His latest conviction came in 2010 and he was still on trial at the time of his death for his alleged part in the Plan Condor, a co-ordinated plan of political repression among South American dictatorships in the 1970s.
Earlier this week, in that trial, the former dictator said the military had been engaged “in the fight against subversion in the framework of an internal war”.
He added: “I assume in full my military responsibility for what happened in the war against terrorists.” In 2010, in an unwavering voice, he had told a court that his subordinates were “just following my orders”.
“I’m sorry he didn’t live to face more trials,” said Miriam Lewin, a survivor of a clandestine detention and torture centre set up in the navy mechanics’ school, called Esma, in Buenos Aires.
Graciela Fernandez Meijide, a member of the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP), which investigated the disappearances and collated the searing testimonies of Dirty War survivors in a report entitled “Nunca Más” (Never Again), called him “a perverse dictator”.
For Victoria Donda, a politician who was born in the Esma, there was some satisfaction. “I am happy he died condemned by a court and all of society,” she said.
By Eliana Raszewski
May 17, 2013
Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentina’s former dictator who led the country’s military junta from 1976 to 1981, has died. He was 87.
Videla died today in a Buenos Aires prison from natural causes, the government reported on the presidential website.
Videla was serving life imprisonment for human rights violations, including kidnap, torture and murder, during what the dictatorship called “the Dirty War” against opponents.
As an army general, Videla led the March 1976 coup that toppled the government of Maria Estela Martinez de Peron. Under the regime, an estimated 30,000 people disappeared, presumed dead, and thousands of others were tortured, according to human rights groups. Some were thrown out of airplanes over the Rio de la Plata estuary.
“Unfortunately, he died without confessing,” Estela Carlotto, president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group, told CN23 television channel today. “He never allowed us to recover the corpses of our sons that they killed, nor our grandsons that are alive.”
Videla, backed by navy commander Emilio Massera and air-force chief Orlando Agosti, ordered a campaign against opponents that involved systematic kidnap, torture and murder, according to a government commission that investigated the regime 28 years ago. Children born in captivity were often stolen from their mothers and given to regime members and allies for adoption, the commission said in its report.
Argentina returned to democracy in 1983 with the government of Raul Alfonsin of the Radical Civic Union party. Five days after taking office, Alfonsin ordered the trial of military officers and guerrilla leaders for crimes committed during the dictatorship.
In 1985, Videla, Massera and Agosti were sentenced to life in prison. Along with others sentenced during the trials, the three were pardoned by former President Carlos Menem in 1989 and 1990. In 2007, under the government of then-President Nestor Kirchner, the late husband and predecessor of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a federal court annulled the pardons.
During a trial in 2010, at which he was found guilty of being responsible for the death of 29 prisoners, Videla said he didn’t regret his actions.
“I haven’t come to defend myself or argue in my defense,” Videla told the court. “I’ll accept under protest the unfair sentence that I may be given.”
Ricardo Gil Lavedra, one of the judges who passed the sentences in 1985, said that Videla was backed by high-level officials who approved the “genocide plan.”
“Videla will be remembered as a dictator who planted death in Argentina,” Gil Lavedra, now an opposition lawmaker, told Todo Noticias television channel today. “He led the most bloody dictatorship that we have ever had.”
Military rule continued until 1983, when Alfonsin was elected and took power from the junta’s last leader, Reynaldo Bignone.
In April 1982, Bignone’s predecessor Leopoldo Galtieri ordered the invasion of the U.K.-controlled Falkland Islands. A British task force recovered control of the South Atlantic archipelago, over which Argentina still claims sovereignty, after a two-month conflict in which 255 British and 649 Argentine servicemen died.
“The Argentine state, in its 30 years of democracy, will never celebrate the death of anybody,” the country’s Human Rights Secretary Martin Fresneda said in a statement posted on the presidential website. “It’s important that he died by natural causes in a common jail.”
Cuentos de la cripta
Maquinaria. Las denuncias sobre bóvedas, bolsos y supuesta plata negra amasada por su esposo impacta en la imagen de la Presidenta.
POR JAMES NEILSON
Chris Huhne, ex ministro de Energía del gobierno de David Cameron y ex líder en potencia del Partido Liberal Demócrata, está entre rejas por “obstrucción de Justicia”: hace diez años, al tipo se le ocurrió mentir a la policía porque no quería perder el carné de conducir luego de manejar su coche a una velocidad excesiva. Por fortuna, la Justicia argentina es menos severa que la británica; caso contrario, sería necesario invertir miles de millones de dólares blue en cárceles VIP para albergar a aquellos miembros de la nutrida clase política que, en el transcurso de su vida, han violado alguna que otra ley.
Felizmente para ellos, aquí las normas son muy distintas de las imperantes en los países puritanos del norte de Europa. A diferencia de sus humildes homólogos británicos, alemanes, holandeses y escandinavos, los políticos locales no tienen por qué preocuparse por reglas que acaso sean apropiadas para la gente común pero que no lo son para quienes están cambiando la historia, luchando heroicamente contra corporaciones malignas con ramificaciones en el exterior y creando un “modelo” socioeconómico virtuoso que ya motiva la envidia del mundo entero.
En países de tradiciones populistas y caudillistas como la Argentina, la relación de los poderosos de turno con una parte sustancial de la población se basa en el respeto mutuo por el principio resumido por la alegre consigna: “Roban pero hacen”. Por razones comprensibles, lo que quiere el pueblo verdadero son resultados, es decir, dinero; lo demás es solo verso. Si un gobierno populista logra convencer a la gente de que, gracias a la generosidad de su jefe, la economía anda viento en popa y siempre habrá plata suficiente como para mantener funcionando como es debido las redes clientelares, solo los integrantes de una minoría reaccionaria de ideas anticuadas tomará en serio las denuncias acerca del enriquecimiento de los salvadores de la Patria. A la mayoría –el 54%, digamos– le parece justo que los responsables de llevar a cabo una obra tan monumental se vean premiados así por su contribución al bienestar del pueblo.
Aunque en su programa televisivo dominical Jorge Lanata está aportando muchos datos interesantes y difundiendo testimonios valiosos que sirven para confirmar las sospechas más rocambolescas planteadas por la evolución vertiginosa del patrimonio de los Kirchner y sus allegados, ha sido cuestión de temas que ya fueron aireados docenas de veces por esta misma revista, Noticias, por Perfil y por periodistas como el propio Lanata y Luis Majul. Sin embargo, mientras que en la Argentina de ayer pocos se dejaban influir por tales “anécdotas”, en la de hoy están teniendo un impacto muy fuerte.
Es lógico; se ha difundido la impresión de que el gobierno de Cristina ha traicionado el pacto tácito, que roba, eso sí, pero ya no hace nada a cambio de la impunidad con la que la sociedad estaba dispuesta a retribuir los servicios prestados. A menos que la economía se recupere muy pronto, pues, los kirchneristas compartirán el destino triste de otros salvadores fracasados, los “amigos del proceso” y los menemistas.
Desgraciadamente para los emotivamente comprometidos con el “proyecto” que está por cumplir diez años, las denuncias han dejado de ser meramente genéricas. Es una cosa hablar del crecimiento exponencial del patrimonio K y especular acerca del destino de “los fondos de Santa Cruz”, y otra muy distinta aludir a “bolsos de dinero” y “bóvedas” especialmente construidas en la casa patagónica de Cristina. Aun cuando los ya célebres “bolsos” solo hayan contenido monedas y “la bóveda” más famosa de América del Sur haya permanecido vacía, tales pormenores concretos, como entenderá todo narrador de relatos, parecerán mucho más significantes que las acusaciones de quienes han atribuido al Gobierno y sus cómplices el robo, para la corona o, por si acaso, de vaya a saber cuántos miles de millones de dólares públicos. Así las cosas, el mausoleo de Néstor, el que según la leyenda urbana está lleno de bóvedas, podría ser la tumba del movimiento que se aglutinó alrededor de la imagen que el patagónico supo darse.
El viejo relato K, el en que revolucionarios patrióticos están rescatando al país de las garras de los neoliberales, oligarcas y milicos desalmados que lo habían secuestrado, ya solo convence a los irremediablemente jugados. Lo está reemplazando otro, uno en que los presuntos salvadores son ladrones a un tiempo insaciables y cómicamente ineptos, que ya han adquirido riquezas fabulosas y que no vacilan en proclamarse resueltos a conseguir mucho más, yendo por todo. Por mucho que los voceros gubernamentales procuren amortiguar el impacto de las denuncias con ataques ad hóminen a quienes las formulan, comenzando con Lanata, sus esfuerzos en tal sentido parecen destinados a resultar contraproducentes. Mal que les pese a los abnegados, pero cada vez más histéricos, comunicadores K, veteranos incombustibles ellos de un sinnúmero de lides políticas como Aníbal Fernández y Oscar Parrilli, a esta altura la mayoría prefiere los canales opositores a los apadrinados por el oficialismo.
Combinado con una economía que está atrapada en el pantano de la estanflación del que le costará muchísimo salir sin sufrir una convulsión empobrecedora, el que en la mente colectiva esté consolidándose con rapidez un nuevo relato que, como el anterior, brinda una explicación sencilla del desastre nacional más reciente, hace pensar que el país está experimentando otro de sus periódicos cambios de clima. Para complicar todavía más la situación en que se encuentran Cristina y su tropa, las medidas desesperadas que están tomando a fin de corregir las distorsiones que se las han arreglado para provocar en la economía encajan decididamente mejor en el relato anti-K que en el confeccionado por los narradores gubernamentales.
De acuerdo común, la ofensiva furibunda contra del Grupo Clarín, con su CEO Héctor Magnetto en el papel de la encarnación del mal, una versión criolla de Goebbels o, quizás, del Guasón de las películas de Batman, se debe a la voluntad de Cristina de defender sus negocios amordazando a sus críticos. El Gobierno ha tratado de comprarlos, subsidiando a los medios que lo apoyan con dinero suministrado por los contribuyentes y privando de publicidad a los considerados enemigos. También ha intentado intimidar a los periodistas irrespetuosos. Si bien ha logrado mucho, todavía existen algunos focos de rebelión. ¿Está preparándose para asestarles el golpe final? Los hay que, como el jefe del gobierno porteño Mauricio Macri, creen que la facción más totalitaria del kirchnerismo se ha propuesto apoderarse de Clarín, lo que supondría despedirse definitivamente de la democracia para ingresar en el territorio peligroso de la arbitrariedad bolivariana, alternativa esta que desde el punto de vista de Cristina y ciertos funcionarios podría parecer más atractiva que la de dejar su destino personal en manos de un electorado veleidoso.
Asimismo, el blanqueo se ha visto condenado con vehemencia por los convencidos de que, además de servir para lavar los bienes mal habidos de los amigos del poder y de los evasores de siempre, abrirá las puertas del país para que entren hordas de narcotraficantes y otros delincuentes, transformando de este modo a la Argentina en un paraíso fiscal capaz de competir con las islas Caimán, lo que traería beneficios para los acostumbrados a operar en el submundo del crimen organizado pero que, desde luego, le ocasionaría algunas dificultades diplomáticas, ya que en el resto del planeta está cobrando fuerza una campaña encaminada a eliminar tales reductos. Últimamente, se han multiplicado las advertencias procedentes de entidades como la Organización de Estados Americanos que miran con preocupación indisimulada la aparente voluntad oficial de convivir con la corrupción no solo autóctona sino también internacional.
El intento de la Presidenta de avasallar la Justicia, en buena medida porque no la ha acompañado con el entusiasmo indicado en la guerra santa que está librando contra los medios que se resisten a rendirle pleitesía, también cabe cómodamente en el relato que están escribiendo los persuadidos de que estamos asistiendo a la agonía, con toda seguridad convulsiva, del kirchnerismo.
Para impedir que la realidad se imponga, el Gobierno se siente constreñido a controlar zonas cada vez más extensas de la vida nacional. No le resultó difícil dominar el mundillo político, ya que en él abundan los que entienden que en última instancia dependen de la caja. El mediático resultó ser menos dócil, aunque se las ingenió para rodearse de intelectuales progres dispuestos a apoyarlo con tal que siguiera golpeando a los militares, los burgueses, los neoliberales, los chacareros terratenientes y otros símbolos del mal. Pues bien, ha llegado el turno de la Justicia que, como todos saben, es reaccionaria, cuando no liberal y, para colmo, suele seguir los pasos de los juristas del imperio norteamericano. Una vez desmanteladas aquellas reliquias de un pasado capitalista y extranjerizante, los kirchneristas buscarán otras ya que la extraña “revolución” que creen estar protagonizando no culminará hasta que el país se haya convertido en una bóveda blindada colosal.
* PERIODISTA y analista político, ex director de “The Buenos Aires Herald”.
Desde http://www.perfil.com/internacional/Francisco-La-tragedia-no-son-los-bancos-son-las-familias-20130519-0093.html salta a mi vista la demagogia vaticana, dice Bergoglio que nos ocupamos de los bancos mientras la gente se muerte de hambre. Es falso, no porque el Papa quiera fortalecer las finanzas de los bancos que posee la Iglesia, sino porque predica en nombre de Dios algo que no cumple. La Iglesia tradicionalmente vendió indulgencias plenarias, recibía dinero cash, a devolver a los aportantes en forma de indulgencias en el “otro mundo”, del cual hasta ahora nadie volvió. Comercialmente, la Iglesia – de no existir el cielo como lo enseñan desde Roma – estaría actuando como banco timador serial: muchisima gente, con la esperanza de ir al Cielo, ha hecho donaciones o legados post mortem a esa Iglesia que hoy sigue siendo una corporación mundana poderosisima. Dicen que tiene mas capital que la Unión Norteamericana, algo muy probable: la Unión no es tan rica, Obama debe pedir al Congreso dinero cada vez que lo necesita, y eso demuestra signos de endeblez financiera.
Entiendo el Papa finge ignorar que los bancos son elementos inteligentes para lograr el bienestar material a través de la solidaridad social “por interés recíproco”. Quien ha trabajado mucho y ahorrado, puede esconder su dinero bajo tierra, o depositarlo en un banco, que funciona como un fondo de dinero de muchos depositantes. Si es administrado por un banquero serio, presta a quien necesita fondos, y tiene mas capacidad de devolverlo. Cobra un alquiler o interés por ese servicio de intermediación del dinero. Los países con mayor desarrollo bancario son aquellos que tienen mayor riqueza, porque el ahorro y el crédito contribuyen a que exista mayor empleo y producción. Donde no existen bancos, la gente vive peor, y donde los bancos están altamente dirigidos por un Estado ladrón – caso de Argentina – el volumen de los depósitos bancarios es bajo, en proporción a los países con gobiernos honestos y sensatos.
Por esa mismísima razón obvia (que Bergogoglio finge desconocer), a los bancos corresponde cuidarlos, el sistema capitalista moderno y sensato permite que enormes masas de capitales se vuelquen hacia actividades productivas de bienes de primera necesidad, que requieren para un individuo normal, quizás el ahorro de toda su vida. En Suiza, se financiaban viviendas a treinta años de plazo, y los suizos no tienen indigencia, pero si techo para todos. En Argentina peronista, Bergoglio aprendió la campanada fascista demagógica: los banqueros son malos, porque son capitalistas y ricos, y entonces el capital enorme que administran es producto de Satanás Torpeza económica, o demagogia tratando de recuperar fieles perdidos por demasiados actos sospechosos del Vaticano, que ha tenido que desembolsar miles de millones de dolares – se dice – para ocultar escándalos de pedofilia cometidos en los lugares que tienen bancos altamente capitalizados, porque son sensatos, caso USA, UK y otros pocos. La pedofilia eventual que se produzca por parte de eclesiásticos católicos en países pobres tercermundistas – ¿alguien duda existe? – no se conoce, porque no suelen existir Tribunales civilizados capaces de condenar al Obispo de Roma y sus empleados al pago de cantidades significativas. Porque no hay Justicia moderna, o porque la pedofilia es aceptada en forma resignada por no haber Justicia capaz de castigarla, ni gente que se atreva a desafiar a la Iglesia en una contienda judicial por delito infamante escandaloso asqueroso aberrante.
Me repugna que Bergoglio, que predica demagógicamente la pobreza, se haya mostrado ante los medios televisivos mundiales, pagando a posteriori – ya electo papa Papa – en forma personal la cuenta del hotel donde se había hospedado, y que supo era Propiedad de la Iglesia. Pagarse a si mismo – el Papa dispone de Todo en el Vaticano – no es prueba de humildad, sino demagogia innecesaria, que muestra el perfil del jesuita. Soldados de la Iglesia duros, que hicieron cosas buenas, pero también fuertes a la hora de eliminar enemigos de su Corporación Vaticana.
Ojo: también hay gobernantes argentinos que fingen despreciar a los banqueros, mas no nos engañan: el Estado Ladrón ama a los bancos,sea para quitarles su oro, o para emitir papel moneda inflacionario, y eso lo hemos vito con Perón, los militares y Raúl R. Alfonsín, y también con Duhalde (amigo de los Obispos) y con el kirchnerismo. Hasta el Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires fue saqueado en forma recurrente, y su “capital” tuvo que ser repuesto por el Estado, a costa de los estafados habitantes provinciales.
Ergo: demagogia no sirve, ni por parte del Vaticano ni del gobierno cristinista. País sin moneda ni bancos revierte al salvajismo. Época donde la gente se comía entre si, o era devorada por las fieras o las enfermedades, porque los humanos no se habían desarrollado culturalmente lo suficiente para evitar ser comida de los depredadores. El fascismo a partir de 1|930 nos hizo descender culturalmente. Pero nos habíamos levantado cuando se reinventó la moneda peso convertible, aunque culturalmente no habíamos aprendido que el peso convertible en realidad era un dolar disfrazado de dinero argentino, y por eso aceptamos pagar tasas ridículamente altas, del 20 % anual o mas, olvidando que los pesos convertibles eran en realidad dólares. Eso fue sobreendeudando a muchos tomadores de crédito. El gobierno no fue suficientemente claro, pero Menem no hubiera conseguido que nuestra moneda fuese el dolar, los nazionalistas y los opositores bandidos, tipo los radicales, se hubiesen opuesto y la dolarizacion hubiera sido rechazada en el Congreso por “antinacional y antipopular”. Algo falso, los peronistas y radicales también aman al dolar, y hoy – cuando la desconfianza en el cristinismo hace desaparecer los dólares de los bancos, los economistas argentinos – todos acostumbrados al dirigismo incompetente – están dudando sobre si polarizar o usar el mismo método fracasado de reducir todos los gastos del Estado, despidiendo empleados públicos o quizás obligando a la Iglesia a pagar muchos impuestos, atento a que son la Corporación mas rica de Sudamérica, y quizás del mundo.
OLVIDO DEL AHORRO NACIONAL
Lo que Bergoglio, Cristina y otros fascistas olvidan es que el ahorro nacional debe ser incentivado a quedarse en Argentina, en dolares preferentemente, para que de allí, en forma seria,los banqueros privados puedan decidir si prestarlos a corto, mediano o largo plazo. El problema parece ser Cristina, la gente desconfía de su seriedad, máxime cuando en teoría le quedan solo dos años y medio en el cargo. Eso demuestra la falta de Estadistas desde hace demasiado tiempo: si se trata de hacer cañerías para suministrar agua potable a mas gente, nadie se pregunta cuanto tiempo durará el mandato Presidencial. Lo que define la situación es la forma de utilizar los recursos provinciales, y también el porcentaje de coimas que los adjudicatarios aceptan pagar. En modelos altamente corruptos – como se dice es el kirchnerismo – es mas fácil fingir que se hace obra publica, y no hacerla, pero quedando enormes cantidades de dineros que se convierten en billetes de 500 euros y se los envía al exterior, en aviones privados no vigilados.
Ojo: la corrupción no es solo cristinista. Se dice que la Corte Suprema de Justicia Nacional delegó en un Juez Federal el control y pago de una serie de obras destinadas a la limpieza del Riachuelo, y que en vez de ser bien administrados los fondos, aparecieron como contratistas los parientes cercanos del Juez, y eso devino en una estafa judicial a nivel cuasi Supremo (no creo los Jueces de la Corte hayan estado “prendidos” en este caso vergonzoso, que todavía no ha tenido suficiente repercusión ni avances suficientes en la Justicia penal).