Archive for 31 octubre 2010

ARGENTINA UPDATE

31 octubre, 2010

1. ARGENTINES CAST EYE ON ROLES OF EX-PRESIDENT’S MEN (The Wall Street Journal.com)

2. MEDIA GROUP, KIRCHNER’S NEMESIS, GETS UNEXPECTED LIFT (The Wall Street Journal.com)

3. ARGENTINA ENTERS NEW POLITICAL ERA (Financial Times)

4. ARGENTINE LEADER PONDERS SOLO POLITICAL FUTURE (The Washington Post)

5. ARGENTINA IN MOURNING AFTER FORMER LEADER DIES KIRCHNER’S SUDDEN DEATH SHOCKS NATION THAT’S NOW BEING LED BY HIS WIFE (Houston Chronicle)

6. NÉSTOR KIRCHNER (1950-2010): HALF OF ARGENTINA’S PRESIDENTIAL DUO (Time.com)

7. EX-ARGENTINE PRESIDENT DIES OF HEART ATTACK (Time.com)

8. THE END OF AN ERA (The Economist)

9. THE PASSING OF KIRCHNERISMO (The Economist)

10. KIRCHNER’S DEATH OPENS POLITICAL VACUUM IN ARGENTINA BEFORE ELECTION (Bloomberg News)

11. CLARIN JUMPS ON SPECULATION KIRCHNER DEATH WILL EASE POLITICAL `CONFLICTS’ (Bloomberg News)

12. ARGENTINA’S STOCKS RISE TO RECORD AFTER FORMER PRESIDENT KIRCHNER’S DEATH (Bloomberg News)

13. TRANSPARENCY, YIELD DROP FORECAST AFTER KIRCHNER’S DEATH (Bloomberg News)

14. ARGENTINA PRESENTS LESSON IN MARKET INTERFERENCE (Penton Insight)

15. ARGENTINE ECONOMIC POLICY UP IN THE AIR AFTER KIRCHNER’S DEATH (Dow Jones International News)

1. ARGENTINES CAST EYE ON ROLES OF EX-PRESIDENT’S MEN (The Wall Street Journal.com)
By Matt Moffett
October 29, 2010

BUENOS AIRES—As thousands of mourners filed past the coffin of former Argentine President Néstor Kirchner, investors and policy analysts were focusing their attention on a tiny group of people—the inner circle of political operators that Mr. Kirchner counted on to help him run the country and who could play a key role going forward.

This coterie served as the power behind Mr. Kirchner, who was himself widely seen as providing the brains and political muscle behind the presidency of his wife, Cristina. Whether Mrs. Kirchner maintains her husband’s kitchen cabinet, or seeks out new blood, will determine whether Argentina continues the contentious brand of populism identified with the late Mr. Kirchner, analysts say.

Financial markets were betting Mrs. Kirchner will incorporate more moderate political actors and more market-friendly policies: Argentine assets surged Thursday, the second day of gains after Mr. Kirchner suffered a fatal heart attack Wednesday.

Most Argentine analysts didn’t see Mrs. Kirchner facing any urgent need to make changes, especially at a time when she was benefiting from an outpouring of public sympathy. The vast crowds of mourners at the Casa Rosada presidential palace—including soccer legend Diego Maradona and other celebrities—were testimony to the political capital Mr. Kirchner had accumulated guiding Argentina’s vigorous recovery from a crushing financial collapse in 2001.

“The economy is strong and sympathy from the death of Néstor Kirchner is another credit in the president’s account,” said pollster and analyst Federico Aurelio. “So I don’t see the need for her to make big changes right away.”

The ex-president’s men themselves were visible, and vowed to continue the agenda of the workaholic Mr. Kirchner, known for railing against Argentina’s powerful farming sector and against what he considered oligarchical financial interests. By contrast, some advisers who had been linked to Mrs. Kirchner sought a more conciliatory approach.

Visibly shaken, cabinet chief Aníbal Fernández said the team would work to ensure “that this death wasn’t in vain. Because in a way, this death was due to [Mr. Kirchner’s] effort to do things for the country.” Mr. Fernández is known for his slashing attacks on the opposition. He has been an outspoken defender of hardball tactics, including locking the then-central bank president out of his office earlier this year after he defied Mrs. Kirchner.

Also prominent at the wake was Planning Minister Julio de Vido, who is part of subgroup of advisers known as Penguins because they had worked with Mr. Kirchner when he was governor of the icy Patagonian state of Santa Cruz and were among his most ardent supporters.

Another key official, Internal Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno, is known as El Loco, the Crazy Man. He got the nickname for the zeal he has demonstrated in enforcing price and export controls that the government has imposed in an attempt to keep a lid on inflation. At a rally a couple of years ago in support of higher taxes on farmers, Mr. Moreno showed up escorted by a kickboxing champion.

Argentina seemed set for an extended period of speculation as analysts try to divine which of these figures, or others, Mrs. Kirchner will count on to help her run the country.

“I was talking to a very important banker today and he also didn’t have any idea about who the key actors will be,” says Alberto Lasmartres Moyano, a prominent farmer and rancher. “But everyone wants to know who will fill the space Kirchner occupied.”

Mr. Moyano said he hopes Daniel Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires province, assumes a larger role, saying Mr. Scioli is one of the few politicians in a highly polarized country who has forged working relationships with both the Kirchners and the opposition.

At the outset of Mrs. Kirchner’s government in December 2007, there were conflicts between her confidants, known as Cristinos, and her husband’s group, known as Nestoristas. Two of the officials most closely identified with Mrs. Kirchner—cabinet chief Alberto Fernández and Economy Minister Martín Lousteau—were forced out and replaced by people more closely linked to Mr. Kirchner. In the current cabinet, officials such as the Economy Minister Amado Boudou and Industry Minister Debora Giorgi are identified with Mrs. Kirchner, though their roles have often been subordinate to those of Mr. Kirchner’s people.

Some activists outside government were also closely linked to Mr. Kirchner. One of these is the powerful trucking-union leader Hugo Moyano, whose rank and file have served as foot soldiers in the government’s demonstrations against farmers and in blockades of printing plants of newspapers the government considers its enemies. Mr. Moyano immediately urged Mrs. Kirchner to seek a second term in October 2011 elections. Mr. Moyano said that “after [Juan] Perón and Eva Perón, no one gave as much to workers as Néstor Kirchner.”

2. MEDIA GROUP, KIRCHNER’S NEMESIS, GETS UNEXPECTED LIFT (The Wall Street Journal.com)
By Taos Turner
October 29, 2010

BUENOS AIRES—Investors are betting that the death of former President Néstor Kirchner of Argentina will prompt his widow’s government to soften its campaign to dismantle multimedia giant Grupo Clarín SA.

But some Argentine political analysts are less confident that President Cristina Kirchner won’t carry the torch of her late husband’s enmity for the press.

Grupo Clarín’s shares jumped almost 22% on the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange Thursday, a day after Mr. Kirchner died of a heart attack. On the London Stock Exchange, its shares rallied 49% Wednesday, then fell about 17% Thursday.

Mr. Kirchner, who preceded his wife as president, was widely viewed as the chief architect of the current administration’s policies. He was fiercely critical of the media in general—saying they were mouthpieces for oligarchs bent on overthrowing his government—and had recently said Grupo Clarín would “meet its end” before next October’s presidential election, in which he or his wife was expected to run.

Last year, Mrs. Kirchner signed a law reorganizing the media industry and requiring Grupo Clarín to sell key assets.

But the effort has become bogged down in Argentina’s courts. Multiple rulings in favor of Grupo Clarín infuriated the Kirchners, who charged the courts with bowing to pressure from the media company. A spokesman for Grupo Clarín didn’t reply to a request for comment.

“Kirchner’s death opens the possibility that the conflict with Grupo Clarín and the government’s aggressive style will die with him,” said Javier Salvucci, chief research analyst at Silver Cloud Advisors.

But political analyst Federico Thomsen suggested that view is premature. “The assumption is that Cristina will be somewhat weaker and will try to establish a truce on at least some of the government’s battle fronts,” said Mr. Thomsen. “It’s too soon to tell what the government will look like without [Néstor] Kirchner.”

In September, Mrs. Kirchner directed the government to file criminal charges against executives of the country’s two leading newspaper companies, La Nación SA and Clarín, part of Grupo Clarín and the widest-read Spanish daily in the Americas. The government charged the executives with breaking a number of laws in 1976 when the companies bought the newsprint company Papel Prensa SA from members of the Graiver family. Mrs. Kirchner accused the executives of human-rights violations, saying they colluded with Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship to force the Graivers to sell the company against their will.

The executives deny the charges and say the government is simply trying to quash independent media.

Graiver family members have given conflicting accounts about the circumstances surrounding the sale; some denied the company was sold under pressure.

3. ARGENTINA ENTERS NEW POLITICAL ERA (Financial Times)
By Jude Webber
October 28, 2010

Thousands of Argentines began filing past the coffin of Néstor Kirchner, the powerful former president who handed power to his wife in 2007, offering an emotional farewell on Thursday to a man feted at home for propelling the country back to growth

Latin American leaders arrived to pay their final respects and offer condolences to Cristina Fernández, the president, who was by his side when her husband of 35 years, the architect of the country’s most powerful political double act since Juan and Evita Perón, died of a heart attack on Wednesday.

The gates of the pink presidential palace were decked with floral tributes, handwritten notes and banners in an outpouring of popular sympathy. One read: “Kirchner with Perón. The people with Cristina.”

Flanked by her two grown-up children, Ms Fernández stood in dark glasses, calm but drawn, at the foot of the flag-draped, closed coffin, touching its polished wood, at times overcome by grief.

Héctor Timerman, foreign minister and close adviser, told local radio: “Cristina is destroyed by this loss, but I know that she is a political leader and is prepared to do what it takes and to govern this country. She is going to continue down the same road.”

After lying in state in the presidential palace, Mr Kirchner will be buried on Friday in his hometown of Río Gallegos in the southern province of Santa Cruz. It was there he served as governor for three terms before being catapulted to the presidency in 2003, the country still reeling from default on almost $100bn of debt in 2001.

Mr Kirchner’s policies – including freezing utilities tariffs to boost domestic demand and keeping the peso weak to make exports competitive – put one of the world’s top commodities producers back on its feet after the default and a devaluation of the currency pushed half the population into poverty.

Mr Kirchner gave short shrift to diplomatic niceties and bulldozed creditors into accepting a three-quarters writedown on the defaulted debt in 2005, before paying Argentina’s $10bn debts to the International Monetary Fund and slamming the door on future contacts with the lender.

He ignited a crusade against Clarín, Argentina’s biggest media group, battled farmers, mircomanaged the economy with unorthodox price controls and export freezes and allowed state statistics to be manipulated, undoing his reputation with investors, in spite of an average 8.8 per cent growth during his term.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF’s managing director, praised Mr Kirchner for leading his country’s “strong economic recovery” after the financial crisis.

Argentine stocks and bonds rose sharply on Thursday, investors betting on a new regime and a change in economic policy.

Analysts agreed that an immediate shift in the government’s populist mix of runaway state spending and loose fiscal and monetary policy was unlikely. It is continuing to deliver strong growth, though with inflation estimated at more than 25 per cent a year.

David Rees at Capital Economics said “just a small shift” in policy or a softening in rhetoric towards foreign investors could pay big dividends and increase inflows.

Ms Fernández’s challenge in what could be a long and volatile year before the elections will be to choose her advisers carefully.

While she is a seasoned politician and a fighter, Ms Fernández left the wheeling and dealing to her husband. “She’s never been the negotiating type. He did everything relating to money, the economy and policymaking,” said Federico Thomsen, a political analyst.

4. ARGENTINE LEADER PONDERS SOLO POLITICAL FUTURE (The Washington Post)
By Almudena Calatrava
October 28, 2010

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Thousands of Argentines filed past the coffin of former leader Nestor Kirchner on Thursday, honoring a man whose unexpected death leaves his widow, President Cristina Fernandez, alone to face a re-election fight and push their leftist political program.

Presidents from Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador stood with Fernandez, who wore sunglasses and sometimes rested her hands on the casket holding her husband’s body lying in state at the presidential palace. Her son and daughter also offered comfort as did soccer legend Diego Maradona.

“Argentina lost a gladiator,” Maradona said. “A man who always fought, who dug us out of a hole and was respectable in all things.”

Bolivia’s socialist leader, Evo Morales, also grieved the death. “Losing him leaves us as orphans.”

Kirchner’s death from a heart attack at age 60 leaves Fernandez without her closest adviser and political ally as she now must ponder whether to see re-election next year.

Many people had expected her to step aside next year for her husband, who was her predecessor in the presidency – a job that won him popularity for guiding Argentina out of a deep economic crisis.

She and her husband also won support by pressing for prosecutions of human rights abuses during Argentina’s military dictatorship and its “dirty war” against dissidents.

But while Fernandez is a powerful figure in her own right, it was Kirchner who Argentines consider the heir to Gen. Juan Domingo Peron, the legendary strongman whose advocacy for workers brought generations of Argentines into the middle class.

Also like Peron, Kirchner tolerated few challenges while governing, keeping in check labor unions, activist groups, governors and mayors. Fernandez, working closely with her husband, followed a similar path during her presidency, battling with various sectors over financial policy, limits on farm exports and other issues.

Kirchner’s admirers who filled the Plaza de Mayo waiting patiently in line to pay respects said they are confident Fernandez can carry on his legacy.

The president “has the capacity to go it alone with all the people’s support,” said Juan Pablo Mazzieri, 39.

The Kirchner tandem has jettisoned free-market policies begun by their predecessors in the final decade of the 20th century, calling for a greater state role in the economy.

When Kirchner took office in May 2003, Argentina was struggling with double-digit unemployment and more than half its people were considered to be poor as the country defaulted on its foreign debt.

Kirchner, who had won office with only 22 percent of the votes, pushed through controls of currency exchanges and the flow of imports and exports. He reinstated government ownership of utilities that had been privatized in the 1990s, launched public works programs and provided credit to encourage consumption.

Argentina’s economy rebounded, with Kirchner and his wife citing their populist policies as the reason. Their opponents dispute that, saying growth in the global economy at the time played a key role.

Fernandez has continued her husband’s foreign policies, an approach that weakened the influence of the International Monetary Fund on Argentina’s economy and pulled away from the United States while building stronger ties with other Latin American nations. Some of those strongest relations are with Venezuela’s socialist leader, Hugo Chavez.

The close ties with Chavez have brought criticism from some segments, as has the Kirchners’ failure to meet his 2003 campaign promise to reform Argentina’s political system. Critics say little has changed from the old patronage practices that have long characterized the Peronist movement.

Kirchner’s admirers say there is still a long way to go to reach the social equality promised by him and his wife.

In his final interview, Kirchner told the newspaper Pagina 12 last January that he was satisfied with what he has done and how he did it.

“All that I tried to do and I decided, I did,” he said.

5. ARGENTINA IN MOURNING AFTER FORMER LEADER DIES KIRCHNER’S SUDDEN DEATH SHOCKS NATION THAT’S NOW BEING LED BY HIS WIFE (Houston Chronicle)
By Alexei Barrionuevo
28 October 2010

Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina who led his country out of a crippling economic crisis before being succeeded by his wife, died unexpectedly early Wednesday, apparently of a heart attack, opening a period of intense political uncertainty in the nation. After complaining of flu symptoms Tuesday night, Kirchner, 60, lost consciousness early Wednesday and was rushed to a hospital in El Calafate, a town in the southern province of Santa Cruz. Doctors there pronounced him dead at 9:15 a.m. local time, according to an official in Kirchner’s inner circle.

Luis Buonomo, the presidential doctor, said Kirchner died from sudden cardiac arrest, according to reports in Argentine newspapers. He had undergone two procedures in the past year to clear arterial blockages, the most recent in September.

The news shocked Argentines, who turned out by the thousands in Kirchner’s honor, filling the Plaza de Mayo outside the presidential palace Wednesday night.

People hung signs on the palace fence. “Thank you, Nestor. You put Argentina on its feet. We’ll miss you,” one read. “Be strong, Cristina,” another said.

A power couple

Kirchner’s death, coming on a national holiday to conduct the census, throws next year’s elections and the presidency of his wife and political partner, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, into a sudden state of flux. Nestor Kirchner and his popularity as president not only helped her be elected, but he also exercised substantial influence behind the scenes of her government. Together they formed one of the world’s most powerful political couples. Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was more often the public face of their partnership, while he was the master political operator, pulling the levers of the Peronist machinery. Nestor Kirchner held the disparate governing coalition intact by inspiring loyalty in lower-level politicians and unions with subsidies and patronage, and by expanding the economy at a swift pace, even at the cost of high inflation.

Many Argentines were also betting that he, not his wife, would run for president next year. Now his unexpected death could either bolster or hurt Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s political prospects, analysts said. Her government was extremely unpopular in her first two years, but it had been rising in popularity in recent months amid an economy the Argentine Central Bank has expected to grow by 9.5 percent this year. Recent approval ratings have hovered above 45 percent, up from the mid-30s last year.

“The reaction at first will be of grief and condolence, but then the vultures will move in,” said Federico Thomsen, a political consultant in Buenos Aires. ‘He took absolute control’

Nestor Kirchner was a fairly obscure local politician from Santa Cruz, where he was governor, before being elected in 2003. He took strong control of the government, standing up to police and military officials, and refusing to bend to – or often pay – debtors, creditors and the International Monetary Fund. He also pressured Supreme Court justices to resign and overturned amnesty laws for military officers who had been accused of assassinations and torture during the military dictatorship.

“In a very unstable situation he took absolute control,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University.

The country rode a global commodities boom that increased exports of its agricultural products, stimulated domestic spending and helped get the country out of its economic crisis.

But once the economy stabilized, Kirchner continued his contentious style, issuing decrees and concentrating power in the executive. Some began to accuse him of authoritarianism.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner won the presidential election in 2007, promising a more consensual approach. But that promise was not kept, Jones argued. With the former president at her side, she nationalized the country’s largest airline, wrested control of billions of dollars in private pension funds and waged a battle with farmers protesting tax increases that paralyzed the country’s agricultural exports for months.

6. NÉSTOR KIRCHNER (1950-2010): HALF OF ARGENTINA’S PRESIDENTIAL DUO (Time.com)
By Uki Goñi
Oct. 27, 2010

When Néstor Kirchner, who died Wednesday morning from a heart attack at age 60, became President of Argentina in May of 2003, one of Latin America’s largest economies was in frightening free fall. During the crisis’ darkest days, in late 2001 and 2002, the peso had lost 75% of its value against the U.S. dollar, the nation had defaulted on almost $100 million of debt and an enraged middle class saw its bank accounts frozen to halt runs on banks. Amidst the often violent chaos, Argentina had tangoed through five presidents in less than 17 months.

Kirchner, an obscure provincial governor from Argentina’s southern Patagonia region, finally restored economic order. His self-described “heterodox” mix of Peronist populism and fiscal discipline baffled international lenders (and infuriated some) but stemmed the crisis and produced some of the region’s highest growth during his four years in the Casa Rosada. In 2007 Kirchner stepped aside so that his wife, Cristina Fernández, could run for President. (Is Cristina Fernández Argentina’s new Evita?)

She won, but Kirchner remained Argentina’s most important politician, widely considered the power behind her throne. He was expected to run again next year as Fernández in turn stepped aside for him — part of what fans and foes alike called the couple’s “shared presidency.” As a result, Kirchner’s sudden death, at their weekend home in the Patagonian town of El Calafate, is almost certain to throw Argentine politics into turmoil. Says Fernández biographer Sylvia Walger, “The most likely scenario is that his death will unleash a battle between heavyweights” in his center-left Peronist party “to gain the kind of influence over her that her husband had.” (See Argentina’s war of words at the top.)

When Kirchner ran for the presidency in 2003 he was a political dark horse, little known outside his province of Santa Cruz, where he’d been a popular governor since 1991. But it was there that he began to define his more centrist populism. Though he was critical of the shift by then President Carlos Menem, also a Peronist, to free-market neoliberalism, Kirchner fostered increased capitalist growth in Santa Cruz while promoting social programs that narrowed the province’s enormous wealth gap.

That experience bore fruit for Kirchner after he defeated Menem for the presidency in 2003. Even though his victory was hardly a mandate — he scored only 22% of the vote in the first round and then won the runoff only because an aging Menem withdrew — a combative and sometimes authoritarian Kirchner strode into Buenos Aires wielding an unorthodox economic plan. He refused to follow International Monetary Fund guidelines, but he succeeded in restructuring Argentina’s debt (though many investors weren’t happy to see their bonds reduced to about a third of their value in the process) and, in a political flourish, paid off its IMF debts in 2005.

To keep Argentina’s crisis-angry population of 40 million governable, Kirchner took populist measures such as renationalizing certain utilities and setting export limits on essential goods. But rather than blow the windfall Argentina was suddenly experiencing from the global price boom for commodities like meat and soybeans, he replenished the country’s foreign reserves and encouraged new industries like biotechnology. Kirchner, a foreign policy leftist who kept the U.S. and George W. Bush at a cool distance — leftwing, anti-U.S. President Hugo Chávez was a key ally — called his middle path “a kind of globalization that works for everyone and not just for a few.” It was a philosophy other Latin leftists, like Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, have also had success with.

By 2007, Fernández, whom Kirchner had met at law school, was a Senator — and was often being compared to another powerful Argentine female, Eva Perón, or “Evita,” the wife of 20th-century strongman president Juan Perón. Riding Kirchner’s popularity, she won the presidency that year in a landslide. But her own presidency has been a rockier outing — in part because her husband’s policies also created a big jump in inflation — evidenced by the beating the Peronists took in the 2009 midterm elections, when they lost their majority in Congress.

Since then, the party has split into pro- and anti-Kirchner factions, and many wonder if Fernández can hold it together. Political columnist Rosendo Fraga even wrote in the Buenos Aires daily La Nación on Wednesday that “the absence of Kirchner feels like the President is missing, and one almost wants to ask how the Vice President will react. Up to the last moment, he made it clear to all that he was the one in charge and not his wife, and she never rejected this notion publicly.”

But even some Fernández opponents call that an exaggerated perspective. Says former Buenos Aires Governor Felipe Sola, a Peronist who may now face Fernández in next year’s presidential election as a breakaway candidate, “Cristina will withstand the shock of her husband’s death. Even though I’m an opponent, I don’t agree with those who believe she can’t chart her own course. She is a strong woman and I believe she will find her own way ahead.”

At age 57, Fernández at least doesn’t have the health issues Kirchner dealt with in recent years. Two artery blockages this year, the latest in September, made his death less than a surprise. Despite his condition, he continued to attend public rallies and accompanied Fernández to the recent U.N. General Assembly in New York. But now the world will watch to see how well Argentina recovers from the end of its “shared presidency.”

7. EX-ARGENTINE PRESIDENT DIES OF HEART ATTACK (Time.com)
By Michael Warren
Oct. 27, 2010

Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner — the husband of current leader Cristina Fernandez — died suddenly Wednesday after suffering from severe heart trouble, the presidency said.

Kirchner, 60, died after he was rushed in grave condition to the Formenti de Calafate hospital while suffering a severe heart attack, the presidency said.

“It was a sudden death,” his personal doctor, Luis Buonomo, told reporters in El Calafate, where Kirchner and his wife had gone to rest and await their turn to be counted in the nation’s census. Buonomo said an official medical report would be released later in the day.

He was accompanied at all times by his wife, the presidency said.

Kirchner, 60, had undergone an angioplasty after a heart attack in September, but was still a likely candidate in next year’s presidential elections. He also served as secretary general of the South American alliance known as Unasur, as a congressman and as leader of the Peronist party.

The news shocked Argentines.

“A great patriot has died,” said Juan Carlos Dante Gullo, a ruling party congressman, to state TV. “This will leave a huge hole in Argentine politics. We will have to follow his example. Argentina has lost one of its greatest men.”

The leader of the human rights group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto, said Kirchner “gave his life for his country.”

“Our country needed this man so much. He was indispensable,” she told radio Continental.

Kirchner served as president from 2003-2007, bringing Argentina out of severe economic crisis and encouraging judicial changes that set in motion dozens of human rights trials involving hundreds of dictatorship-era figures who had previously benefited from an amnesty.

He recently was appointed secretary general of the Union of South American Republics, or Unasur, and was preparing for an intense 2011 election campaign in which either his wife or himself would run again to maintain their hold on power.

Born in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, Kirchner and his wife were active in the Young Peronists party as students in La Plata, where he graduated in 1976. With the military firmly ruling the country, the young couple married and worked as private attorneys in the provincial capital. After democracy returned in 1983, Kirchner entered public service, first as the provincial pensions chief, and then as mayor of Rio Gallegos.

In 1991, he became Santa Cruz’s governor and Fernandez was elected to the provincial legislature, pushing through indefinite re-election and filling the provincial courts with sympathetic judges. In 1995 he was re-elected as governor by an overwhelming margin, laying the groundwork for a jump to politics at the national level.

Associated Press Writers Vicente Panetta and Mayra Pertossi contributed to this report.

8. THE END OF AN ERA (The Economist)
30 October 2010

Argentina after Kirchner

The president is widowed, politically as well as personally. What happens now?

TWICE this year, the second time less than seven weeks ago, Néstor Kirchner had been rushed to hospital for surgery to clear blocked arteries. His doctors urged him to rest. Instead he continued a relentless round of political activity aimed at ensuring he would succeed his wife, Cristina Fernández, in the presidency at an election due in a year’s time, just as she had succeeded him in 2007. As it turned out, one of the few things in Argentina Mr Kirchner could not hope to control was his own health. On October 27th, during a meeting at his country home in El Calafate, a resort in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, he collapsed and died shortly afterwards of a heart attack.

Mr Kirchner’s arrival in the presidency in 2003, after a stint as governor of Santa Cruz during the 1990s, was a product of the political turmoil unleashed by Argentina’s economic collapse of 2001-02, when five presidents came and went in days amid an $80 billion debt default and a traumatic devaluation. Eventually Eduardo Duhalde, a seasoned boss from the dominant Peronist movement, brought stability and called an election. He reluctantly backed Mr Kirchner only after several more senior leaders had declined to run.

Having been deprived of a proper mandate when his opponent, Carlos Menem, withdrew from a run-off election, Mr Kirchner began cautiously. He kept Mr Duhalde’s capable economy minister, Roberto Lavagna, and reformed the Supreme Court, appointing respected figures instead of cronies. With the economy roaring, helped by Mr Lavagna’s policies and the rise in the world price of Argentina’s farm exports, Mr Kirchner felt strong enough to turn on Mr Duhalde. He humiliated him in a legislative election in 2005, dumped Mr Lavagna and revealed himself as ruthless in accumulating power.

He reorganised the tax system to make provincial governors more dependent on the presidency, had frequent recourse to rule by decree, and nationalised some businesses. Many more he harassed into accepting price freezes, while other, favoured, companies prospered. He ruled through a tight-knit group of aides. With power went personal wealth, its source never fully explained.

In 2007 he stepped aside in favour of Ms Fernández. She seemed to offer a more consensual approach. But power remained with Mr Kirchner. He took formal charge of the ruling Peronist movement, routinely gave orders to ministers and oversaw economic policy. Around Buenos Aires posters went up preparing the way for his return in next year’s election, “to deepen the model”.

Ms Fernández is not just a figurehead. She was a senator for many years. But Mr Kirchner’s death leaves her bereft not just of her lifelong partner but of her chief political adviser. She will receive much public sympathy. How she will react to her bereavement is uncertain. Some political analysts in Buenos Aires believe she may seek to build bridges to the opposition, which deprived the Kirchners of their majority in Congress in an election last year. Others suggest that she may retreat to an inner circle in which Hugo Moyano, a thuggish union leader, is an increasingly prominent figure.

In any event power is likely to start slipping away from her. Argentina has a long tradition of caudillos (political bosses). Peronism, named after Juan Perón, the country’s archetypal caudillo of the 20th century, is an amorphous, corporatist movement that has swung both right (in the 1970s and under Mr Menem in the 1990s) and left (under the Kirchners) according to its leader of the day.

The man to watch now is Daniel Scioli, the governor of Buenos Aires province, home to 40% of the electorate. A minister in Mr Duhalde’s government, he switched his loyalty to Mr Kirchner, becoming his vice-president and then his deputy within the Peronist movement. He was already showing signs of breaking with Mr Kirchner and of running himself next year. He has received overtures from a group of dissident Peronists around Mr Duhalde, who became Mr Kirchner’s most powerful foe.

Mr Kirchner set great store by defying the IMF, which he blamed for the 2001 collapse. His boycott of the Fund made it expensive for Argentina to roll over its remaining debt. Instead, to raise funds, the government nationalised the pension system and siphoned off some of the Central Bank’s reserves.

The economy is now growing fast, but inflation is high and the foundations are fragile. Ms Fernández, or her successor, is likely to lead Argentina back to more normal relations with the outside world. With Mr Kirchner’s death, the political era engendered by the chastening collapse of 2001 is drawing to a close.

9. THE PASSING OF KIRCHNERISMO (The Economist)
30 October 2010

Latin America

The death of Argentina’s power broker

Néstor Kirchner’s sudden death will hasten change in Argentina, and beyond

HE ARRIVED on Argentina’s political stage almost by chance. Néstor Kirchner, the obscure governor of a far-flung Patagonian province, was elected to the presidency in 2003 when few others wanted the top job in a country whose economy had collapsed amid default and devaluation. His departure was equally abrupt, cut down by a heart attack when aged only 60 and seemingly still at the apogee of power. His passing will almost certainly accelerate change in his own country, and gives a sudden twist to the political kaleidoscope in Latin America.

In his time in the spotlight Mr Kirchner became Argentina’s dominant player. He claimed much credit for his country’s vigorous recovery, though in truth he inherited the sound fiscal policy and floating exchange rate that, along with rising commodity prices, were responsible. History has vindicated his bruising treatment of holders of the defaulted bonds; something similar has since been visited by the United States administration on creditors of the American car companies and now, perhaps, on mortgage lenders. He warmed the hearts of Argentines with the comforting notion that it was the evil IMF, rather than their own mistakes, which was responsible for a once-rich country’s penury. In 2007 they elected his wife, Cristina Fernández, in his stead. But Mr Kirchner remained the power behind the throne. Although less popular than in the past, he might well have won a presidential election due next October by exploiting the opposition’s divisions.

He often used his power for shoddy ends. Senior officials doctored economic statistics to mask an inflation rate of over 20%, seized pension and central-bank funds and bullied private companies, especially foreign-owned utilities. When the media turned against him, he harassed them, as he did political opponents. While Brazil, Chile and Uruguay embraced left-of-centre governments that combined progressive social policies with the rule of law, the Kirchners’ Argentina lapsed into rule by populist whim.

Populist regimes depend on individuals—on the human factor—not institutions. So his death is not just a personal tragedy for Ms Fernández, but also a huge political setback. She is an experienced politician in her own right, and not her husband’s puppet, as some opponents claim. But they were a power couple; he was the political operator, she (on a good day) the better communicator. Even if Ms Fernández runs next year, kirchnerismo as a political project almost certainly died this week.

That ought to be good news for Argentina, provided its politicians act responsibly. A power struggle will now break out within Peronism, the country’s dominant political movement which Mr Kirchner had commandeered. Amid that, it is important that Ms Fernández should finish her term—something that not all her recent predecessors have managed. Whoever wins the next election has the chance to harvest Argentina’s considerable economic strengths while uprooting the distortions that have built up since 2003.

The decline of the populist left

Strangely for a man who seemed ill at ease outside Patagonia, let alone Argentina, Mr Kirchner’s demise will also be felt across Latin America. He sought and secured the post of inaugural secretary-general of Unasur, a pan-South American group inspired by Brazil. His death is another in a string of setbacks for Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and his dwindling hopes of broadening his anti-American block in the region. Although more moderate than Mr Chávez, Mr Kirchner was the Venezuelan leader’s most influential regional friend outside Cuba. When Mr Chávez cut off imports from Colombia in a fit of pique, it was to Argentina he turned for substitutes.

The left continues to thrive in some Latin American countries: Dilma Rousseff, the candidate of the ruling Workers’ Party looks very likely to win Brazil’s election on Sunday. But its populist strain is struggling. Mr Kirchner’s passing is an unexpected milestone in that decline.

10. KIRCHNER’S DEATH OPENS POLITICAL VACUUM IN ARGENTINA BEFORE ELECTION (Bloomberg News)
By Eliana Raszewski and Rodrigo Orihuela
October 28, 2010

The death of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner may strengthen the opposition before next year’s presidential elections as his wife and successor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, loses her most powerful ally.

Kirchner, who left office in 2007 after battling investors during the country’s $95 billion debt restructuring, died yesterday of a heart attack at a hospital near the couple’s home in the Patagonian town of El Calafate. He was 60.

His absence creates a power vacuum and political uncertainty before the October 2011 presidential election, said Miguel Kiguel, a former finance under-secretary who runs research company Econviews. Bonds and stocks rose yesterday on speculation the opposition will win the vote and reverse policies that curtailed foreign investment, kept the country out of foreign debt markets and led to the world’s third-highest inflation rate.

“His death raises the great question of how the daily dynamic in the government will work,” Kiguel said in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires. “Until now, she had been overshadowed by her husband.”

Opposition parties stand a better chance in next year’s vote because Kirchner had been the strongest potential candidate, Felipe Noguera, a Buenos Aires-based political analyst and co-founder of the Latin American Association of Political Consultants, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Confrontation

Fernandez, 57, is eligible to run for a second, four-year term and she and her husband had said that one of them would compete in the upcoming election.

After taking office in 2003, Kirchner antagonized creditors by offering them bonds at 30 cents on the dollar in exchange for defaulted debt, the harshest sovereign restructuring terms since World War II. In 2007, he sacked several top officials at the National Statistics Institute, a move investors said allowed the government to underreport inflation.

Fernandez has further riled investors while continuing her husband’s confrontational style. In 2008, she raised export tariffs on grain and soybeans, which led to a four-month protest by farmers that ended when Congress scrapped the increase. The same year, she nationalized $24 billion in pension funds and seized Aerolineas Argentinas SA from Spain’s Grupo Marsans.

To improve the business climate, the next government will need to cut subsidies on energy, lower export taxes on farm goods and reach an accord with the International Monetary Fund and the Paris Club group of creditors, Argentine opposition leader Francisco de Narvaez said last month in an interview.

Market Rally

Yields on dollar bonds due in 2033 fell 50 basis points to 8.96 percent yesterday, the biggest decline since June 18, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Yields extended their declines today, falling 9 more basis points to 8.87 percent as of 1:29 p.m. New York time. Argentina’s Merval stock index rose 1.1 percent to 2,951.66, the highest in almost a week.

Thousands of people gathered last night outside the presidential palace to bid goodbye to Kirchner, who is lying in state at the presidential palace, called the Pink House. Mourners left flowers, chanted “Long Live Peron” and unfurled banners supporting the government. As part of three days of official mourning, the Argentine Soccer Federation canceled weekend matches.

Presidents from Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Ecuador attended today’s wake in Buenos Aires. Argentina’s soccer star Diego Maradona gave his condolences to Fernandez and her two children at the presidential palace.

Possible Competition

If Fernandez seeks re-election next year, she may face competition from fellow Peronists including Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli, who served as Kirchner’s vice president, and former President Eduardo Duhalde.

Mauricio Macri, the capital’s mayor, and Radical party Congressman Ricardo Alfonsin, the son of former President Raul Alfonsin, have said they are considering presidential bids. Vice President Julio Cobos, a Radical who broke with the government, is also a potential contender.

Kirchner had a central role in government decision-making, and his absence means the president will have to take control on her own for the first time, Daniel Kerner, an analyst for the Eurasia Group, said in a telephone interview. She’ll be helped by an outpouring of public sympathy and may see her re-election chances strengthened, he said.

Kirchner’s death doesn’t necessarily mean Fernandez will scale back her government’s ambitions, Carlos Fara, a director of pollster Carlos Fara & Asociados, said in an interview.

Government Ideology

“The fights picked by the government to push forward its policies will continue because it’s part of their ideology,” he said.

Kirchner took office in the wake of Argentina’s 2001 default and a devaluation that forced his elected predecessor, Fernando de la Rua, to resign amid deadly protests. Nicknamed the Penguin, because he hailed from Argentina’s southernmost mainland province, he boosted annual economic growth to an average 8.8 percent during his term.

Fernandez’s popularity has been rising as South America’s second-biggest economy rebounds from the global financial crisis. Her approval rating rose to 36 percent in September from as low as 20 percent in 2008, during the farm protests, according to Buenos Aires-based pollster Poliarquia Consultores. The survey of 1,000 people was conducted from Sept. 1 to Sept. 8 and has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

The central bank expects gross domestic product to expand 9.5 percent this year, the fastest pace since 1992, as a result of record soy crops and higher domestic consumption.

The government says consumer prices rose 11.1 percent in September from a year ago, the third-highest rate in the world after Venezuela and Pakistan. Buenos Aires-based Ecolatina research firm said prices rose 24.7 percent in the same period.

“The opposition will face the challenge of speaking out without attacking the government, because that would not go down well,” Fara said. “Kirchner died at a time when the government’s popularity had been rising for several months.”

11. CLARIN JUMPS ON SPECULATION KIRCHNER DEATH WILL EASE POLITICAL `CONFLICTS’ (Bloomberg News)
By Eduardo Thomson and Eliana Raszewski
October 28, 2010

Grupo Clarin SA rose the most in more than a year in Buenos Aires on speculation that the death of Argentina’s ex-President Nestor Kirchner may signal the end of the media company’s conflicts with the government.

Clarin climbed 22 percent to 17.30 pesos, the biggest gain since June 29, 2009. Argentina’s Merval index rose 1.2 percent to a record 2,954.86.

“Clarin’s stock had become too risky for local and foreign investors due to its conflicts with the government,” Rafael Aldazabal, president of brokerage Aldazabal y Cia. said from Buenos Aires. “Investors are betting that this is changing although the reaction may have been excessive.”

Kirchner, who publicly referred to Clarin as “the monopoly,” died of a heart attack yesterday after handing power to his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in 2007. Clarin, which owns the country’s biggest newspaper, became a vocal critic of Fernandez after a 2008 farmers strike against increased export duties, Aldazabal said. Since then, the government promoted a law that sets limits on media ownership, forcing news companies to sell some assets.

Ordered Closure

Clarin is disputing a portion of the government’s media ownership bill in courts. In August, authorities ordered the closure of Clarin’s Internet company and a week later Fernandez asked courts to investigate the 1976 purchase of newsprint producer Papel Prensa SA by Clarin and two other newspapers. Since taking office in 2007, Fernandez and her late husband accused Clarin of bias in the coverage of their policies.

Stock trading resumed in Argentina today after yesterday’s public holiday when Argentine companies rallied in New York. The MSCI Argentina index retreated as much as 3.6 percent after rising as much as 13 percent yesterday.

“The market is reacting to the behavior of American depositary receipts on Wall Street yesterday after the local holiday,” Mariano Kruskevich, an analyst at SBS Sociedad de Bolsa SA, said by telephone from Buenos Aires. “ADRs did show a pullback yesterday later in the session, and today the local market will show a summarized version of both days.”

12. ARGENTINA’S STOCKS RISE TO RECORD AFTER FORMER PRESIDENT KIRCHNER’S DEATH (Bloomberg News)
By James Attwood and Eduardo Thomson
October 28, 2010

Argentina’s main stock index rose to a record as the death of former President Nestor Kirchner bolstered speculation the opposition may win next year’s election, leading to a more stable economy and reduced government spending.

The Merval index rose 1 percent to 2,949.35 at 11:02 a.m. New York time, after rising as much as 2.4 percent.

“The market is reacting to the behavior of American depositary receipts on Wall Street yesterday after the local holiday,” Mariano Kruskevich, an analyst at SBS Sociedad de Bolsa SA, said in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires. “ADRs did show a pullback yesterday later in the session, and today the local market will show a summarized version of both days.”

Local trading resumed after yesterday’s public holiday when American depositary receipts of Argentine companies rallied. The MSCI Argentina index fell 3.1 percent to 3,266.49, after rising as much as 12.6 percent yesterday.

Kirchner, who carried out the harshest debt restructuring since World War II before handing power to his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, in 2007, died of a heart attack yesterday, according to the presidential website.

Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora Norte SA, or Edenor, a power distributor, led gains on the Merval index, with a 5.3 percent increase to 1.99 pesos, followed by Banco Macro SA, Argentina’s largest lender by market value, gaining 4.6 percent to 19.55 pesos.

13. TRANSPARENCY, YIELD DROP FORECAST AFTER KIRCHNER’S DEATH (Bloomberg News)
By Drew Benson and Ben Bain
October 28, 2010

The death of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner is spurring speculation that the nation’s statistical reporting will become more transparent, helping the country lower its borrowing costs.

Bonds rallied, cutting their yield spread over U.S. Treasuries to the smallest since June 2008, after Kirchner died of a heart attack yesterday. The 60-year-old former lawyer, who underwent heart surgery twice this year, was rushed to the hospital in the company of his wife, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, after falling ill at their home. The government declared three days of mourning, and Kirchner will lie in state at the government palace in Buenos Aires today.

Kirchner’s death makes it more likely that an opposition candidate will win next year’s presidential election, paving the way for an overhaul of the statistics institute, where he replaced key personnel in 2007 before being succeeded by Fernandez, according to Augustus Asset Management Ltd. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc estimate annual inflation is about 25 percent in South America’s second-biggest economy, more than double the 11.1 percent rate reported by the agency.

“One of the key policies with which Kirchner was most closely associated was the manipulation of the inflation data,” said Paul McNamara, who oversees $4.5 billion of emerging-market debt, including inflation-linked peso bonds, at Augustus in London.

‘Sympathy’ Votes

Kirchner said in July that either he or Fernandez, 57, would run for president next year.

The yield on the inflation-linked notes due in 2033 dropped 60 basis points, or 0.6 percentage point, yesterday to 8.21 percent, compared with a 59 basis point drop to 8.94 percent on its dollar bonds due that same year, according to Itau Unibanco Holding SA. The inflation-linked bond yield rose one basis point today, while the dollar bond was unchanged at 9:18 a.m. New York time.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Argentine bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries sank 49 basis points yesterday, the most in a year, to 533, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI+ index. It fell another five basis points today.

The gains are “a vote of no confidence from financial markets” in Kirchner and Fernandez, Siobhan Morden, an analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a phone interview. The rally may be limited should Kirchner’s death create “sympathy” for Fernandez among Argentines, bolstering her chances in next year’s election, Morden said.

Bond Rout

“These recent gains could quickly reverse,” she said.

The yield gap over Treasuries is down from 807 at the end of May and 910 in June 2005, when Kirchner completed the harshest sovereign debt restructuring since World War II, according to Arturo Porzecanski, an international finance professor at American University in Washington. The government defaulted on $95 billion of debt in 2001.

“The normalization of statistics will accelerate” after Kirchner’s death, Miguel Kiguel, a former finance undersecretary who runs research company Econviews in Buenos Aires, said in a telephone interview. “It’s inevitable that Argentina does it, whether this government or the next, but there’s now a possibility that some progress can be made.”

Workers at the statistics institute, including Graciela Bevacqua, the former consumer price index director, said the inflation reports were being manipulated by the government. Kirchner and Fernandez have said the institute’s figures are accurate.

Yields on the government’s inflation-linked bonds due in 2033, one of the securities turned over to creditors in the 2005 restructuring, soared 275 basis points in 2007 as the data- rigging concerns prompted investors to dump the securities.

Defaulted Debt

In the 2005 settlement, Kirchner offered bonds to creditors worth 30 cents on the dollar in exchange for $95 billion of debt the government defaulted on in 2001. That offer was rejected by about 25 percent of investors, prompting Fernandez to settle with holders of $12.2 billion of the securities in June.

Creditors including billionaire investor Kenneth Dart and Elliott Management Corp., a New York-based hedge fund, are still suing the government in international courts for repayment of the debt.

Warrants linked to economic growth rose 0.17 cent to 13.08 cents today after jumping 0.45 cent yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The peso slid 0.1 percent to 3.9612 per dollar today, from 3.9568 on Oct. 26. Local markets were closed yesterday for a nationwide census.

‘Strong, Confrontational’

The cost of protecting Argentine debt against non-payment for five years with credit-default swaps tumbled 52 basis points to 647 yesterday, according to data provider CMA. Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a government or company fail to adhere to debt agreements.

A shift to a more “market-friendly” government may push down Argentina’s five-year default swaps to about 350 basis points after the elections, Royal Bank of Canada’s Eduardo Suarez said.

Argentine dollar bonds have returned 36 percent this year, more than double the 16 percent gain in emerging-market debt, as the June debt restructuring and a quickening economic expansion helped restore investor confidence in the country.

Argentina’s 8.73 percent average dollar bond yield is still more than 300 basis points over the 5.32 percent average yield on emerging-market debt. Only debt issued by Venezuela and Ecuador yields more in JPMorgan’s benchmark EMBI+ index.

Kirchner took office in 2003, in the wake of Argentina’s default and a devaluation that forced his elected predecessor, Fernando de la Rua, to resign amid deadly protests.

Kirchner was “a politician and president with strong, confrontational policies,” Kiguel said. “That has been negative for the country.”

14. ARGENTINA PRESENTS LESSON IN MARKET INTERFERENCE (Penton Insight)
By Steve Kay
28 October 2010

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Sometimes it’s browner. Just ask cattle producers in Argentina and Australia. They’ve endured the worst droughts in their lifetime, and it is one reason why the global cattle herd is shrinking. BEEF readers who have visited Argentina know what a dynamic beef industry it has. Most people come back raving about the great beef and the glorious pampas on which cattle are raised. It’s little wonder that Argentines were the world’s No. 1 beef eaters. Heck, even tennis pro Juan Martin del Potro attributed his winning last year’s U.S. Open to eating beef in his hometown of Tandil. Argentina’s industry, though, has also been hit by pervasive government interference in its cattle and beef markets. Imagine if Washington suddenly decreed a limit on U.S. beef exports in an attempt to keep the price of beef down at home. That’s what occurred in Argentina. Several years of drought forced many producers to sell their herds.

But others have also turned their fields over to more profitable soybeans, blaming the government for eroding ranching profit margins with export curbs and price caps. Some reports say the Argentine herd has declined by 10 million head in the past four years, to 48-49 million head. Beef production is set to fall 24% this year to about 2.6 million metric tons, which continues to restrict Argentina’s beef exports. It was the world’s fourth-largest exporter in 2009, shipping 653,000 metric tons, but is expected to slip to eighth place this year. Not surprisingly, Argentines’ beefy appetites have also taken a beating. Per-capita consumption fell 18% in the first seven months of 2010 vs. last year, and Uruguayans are now the biggest per-capita beef eaters. Australian producers weathered their drought much better. The national herd fell by only 1 million head in two years. Producers have just experienced their wettest winter in years, which has produced near record-high cattle prices. That’s because the prospect of ample green grass is causing producers to hold back cattle. Most Australian producers are much happier than two years ago. But some aren’t, and they’re demanding that Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) – the industry’s main marketing body – be scrapped. The parallels with this move, and producer discontent here in the U.S. over the beef checkoff and support of USDA’s proposed regulation on livestock marketing, are strikingly similar. The fringe group leading the attack against MLA sounds just like certain groups here in the U.S. All these groups have things in common. Their members seem embittered against the rest of the industry. They make wild and erroneous claims against other sectors or entities. They blame others for their supposed woes. And they believe their remedies will cure all their complaints. What a delusion. These folks don’t realize that their actions will only hurt themselves. Supporting more government restrictions on the market, as in the U.S., or MLA’s dissolution isn’t just pitting producer against producer. It’s forcing the beef industries in both countries to waste precious energy to defend themselves when the real focus should be on how to grow demand for beef so that cattle producers can feel confident about expanding their herds. Some producers see other producers, or packers, as the enemy. But the only real enemy to beef is competing proteins, notably chicken. The other lesson for U.S. producers is that government interference in the cattle and beef markets can severely damage an industry. Just think back to the beef price freeze under President Nixon. Argentina’s shrinking herd means fewer producers and packers. Beef plants are currently operating at only 60% of capacity. At least 10 have closed and more are likely to do so. It’s not far-fetched to imagine that kind of scenario here if USDA’s proposed rule takes effect.

15. ARGENTINE ECONOMIC POLICY UP IN THE AIR AFTER KIRCHNER’S DEATH (Dow Jones International News)
By Ken Parks and Taos Turner
28 October 2010

The sudden death of Argentina’s former president Nestor Kirchner has deprived his wife, President Cristina Fernandez, of a key economic policy maker, leaving investors wondering if the administration will ease up on its interventionist agenda or press ahead with the status quo.

“We don’t expect any big change in terms of policy. Maybe some cabinet changes, but nothing structural. The most likely scenario is a ratification of the basic elements of the [economic] model,” said Sergio Berensztein, a political consultant at Poliarquia Consultores, during a conference call Thursday hosted by Standard Chartered Bank. “In the short run we don’t see any change.”

Kirchner, who died of a heart attack in his home province of Santa Cruz at the age of 60, was widely believed to play an active role in crafting his wife’s economic policies, following the end of his four-year term in December 2007.

“Economic policy is headless now. After all, the Economy Minister was Nestor Kirchner. I doubt that Cristina would want to change anything that doesn’t need to be changed. Moreover, I don’t think she disagreed with much of what he did in terms of economic policy,” political analyst and former ING Bank chief economist Federico Thomsen said in a telephone interview.

Investors are clearly betting on a change of course, bidding up local stocks and bonds Thursday. The benchmark Merval stock index closed 1.2% higher at a new record of 2954.86 points.

The Kirchners’ economic program has rested on significant state intervention in the economy aimed at undermining the free market policies in the 1990s which the Kirchners say were responsible for destroying the country’s industrial base and led to the economic chaos and the 2001 default on $100 billion in sovereign debt.

Those measures include a freeze on utility rates, import barriers to protect local industry, periodic export bans on basic foodstuffs like beef, and taxes on grain exports to fund infrastructure and social welfare spending.

The Kirchners have exerted government control over key industries that were privatized during the 1990s, expropriating nearly $30 billion in private pension savings, a shipyard, an aircraft maker, and the country’s flagship airline, Aerolineas Argentinas, among others.

More subtly, the husband-and-wife team prodded foreign investors to take on local partners who critics say are allied with the government. Spanish oil major Repsol YPF SA (REP) sold a minority stake in its Argentine subsidiary to the local Eskenazi family in 2007.

Earlier this year, the Kirchners replaced central bank president Martin Redrado with Mercedes Marco del Pont, a key ally, harnessing $51.5 billion in foreign reserves to fund government spending. Under Marco del Pont, the bank has made billions of pesos available from its reserves for business loans, and the government’s 2011 budget proposal sets aside $7.5 billion in reserves to pay debt.

Fernandez’s policies have paid off so far, with the unemployment rate falling to 7.9% and economic growth on track to reach 9% this year after struggling in 2009. The economy expanded 7% in 2008, and 8.7% in 2007.

However, import barriers have created friction with Argentina’s top trading partners Brazil and China. China blocked soybean imports from Argentina for six months earlier this year in what was seen as retaliation for antidumping duties Argentina had slapped on Chinese goods.

Meanwhile, growth that is the envy of the developing world has come at the price of rampant inflation that private-sector economists say is running between 20% and 30% a year, well above official estimates of about 11%.

The accuracy of Argentina’s economic data has been questioned ever since Kirchner replaced a wide range of officials at the national statistics agency, Indec, in 2007, leading to a sharp divergence between government data and private-sector estimates. Fernandez has staunchly defended Indec’s data.

Eurasia Group analyst Daniel Kerner said in a note Wednesday that Fernandez will probably rely even more on a small cadre of long-serving officials like Planning Minister Julio de Vido and cabinet chief Anibal Fernandez, who were close to her husband.

The government’s ad hoc responses to political and economic problems in the past makes it difficult to predict how decision-making will work in Kirchner’s absence, he wrote.

“This means that it is not very clear how she will respond to events, which could also open room for marginal improvements in policy, especially since a number of members of the government do tend to have more reasonable views on policy than Kirchner. This, however, should not be overestimated since we believe her response will be to reinforce the current direction of policy,” Kerner said.

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ARGENTINE UPDATE

29 octubre, 2010

1. EX-ARGENTINE PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER DIES AT 60 (The Washington Post)

2. NESTOR KIRCHNER DIES: FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT WAS 60 (The Washington Post)

3. ARGENTINA EX-PRESIDENT PASSES, WALL STREET TAKES NOTE (The Wall Street Journal.com)

4. EX-LEADER’S DEATH SHAKES ARGENTINA (The Wall Street Journal(Online and Print))

5. BEHIND THE SCENES OF A POWER COUPLE (The Wall Street Journal)

6. EERIE CALM IN BUENOS AIRES (The Wall Street Journal(Online and Print))

7. FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT KIRCHNER DIES AT 60 HE HAD DESIGNS ON SUCCEEDING HIS WIFE IN 2011 ELECTION (Miami Herald)

8. ARGENTINA’S FORMER PRESIDENT NÉSTOR KIRCHNER DIES; THE SUDDEN DEATH OF FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT AND CURRENT POLITICAL CONTENDER NÉSTOR KIRCHNER CASTS A PALL OVER ARGENTINA’S POLITICAL LANDSCAPE (The Miami Herald)

9. NESTOR KIRCHNER: 1950-2010; Ex-Argentine president (Chicago Tribune)

10. ARGENTINE EX-LEADER DIES; POLITICAL IMPACT IS MURKY (The New York Times)

11. OBITUARIES; NESTOR KIRCHNER, 1950 – 2010; POPULAR FORMER PRESIDENT OF

ARGENTINA (Los Angeles Times)

12. HOW NESTOR KIRCHNER’S PASSING ALTERS ARGENTINE POLITICS (The Christian Science Monitor)

13. NÉSTOR KIRCHNER’S DEATH (FT.com)

14. KIRCHNER’S DEATH LEAVES POLITICAL VACUUM AHEAD OF 2011 ELECTION (Bloomberg

News)

15. TRANSPARENCY, YIELD DROP FORECAST AFTER KIRCHNER’S DEATH (Bloomberg News)

16. BACK TO A VACUUM (The Economist)

17. ARGENTINE BONDS RISE AS MARKETS ANTICIPATE POSSIBLE 2011 REGIME CHANGE; ARGENTINA’S EX-PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER DIES; ARGENTINE BONDS RISE AS MARKETS ANTICIPATE POSSIBLE 2011 REGIME CHANGE (MarketWatch)

18. ARGENTINA’S EX-PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER DIES (Dow Jones News Service)

19. COMBATIVE STYLE PAVED WAY FOR POWERFUL DYNASTY (Financial Times)

20. DEATH LEAVES COUNTRY’S FUTURE WIDE OPEN (Financial Times)

21. KIRCHNER DEATH SPARKS MARKET REACTION (Financial Times)

22. SECRETARY-GENERAL EXTENDS CONDOLENCES ON DEATH OF ARGENTINA’S FORMER PRESIDENT (US Fed News)

23. ARGENTINA ENTERS NEW POLITICAL ERA AS KIRCHNER DIES (Reuters News)

24. ARGENTINA POLITICS: KIRCHNER DEATH CREATES VOID (Economist Intelligence Unit – ViewsWire)

25. SECRETARY’S REMARKS: PASSING OF ARGENTINA’S FORMER PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER (State Department Press Releases and Documents)

26. 78-2010. DEATH OF NESTOR KIRCHNER (States News Service)

27. AJC MOURNS PASSING OF FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER (States News Service)

28. STATEMENT BY IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN ON THE PASSING OF MR. NÉSTOR KIRCHNER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF ARGENTINA (States News Service)

29. FACTBOX-KEY POLITICAL RISKS TO WATCH IN ARGENTINA (Reuters News)

30. KIRCHNER’S DEATH LEAVES VOID AT UNION OF S AMERICAN STATES (Dow Jones International News)

1. EX-ARGENTINE PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER DIES AT 60 (The Washington Post)

By Juan Forero

October 27, 2010

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA – Nestor Kirchner, an Argentine power broker who as president from 2003 to 2007 helped guide his country out of a calamitous economic crisis, died Oct. 27 after an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Kirchner, 60, was at his weekend retreat in El Calafate, a resort city in southern Argentina, when he was stricken and rushed to the hospital.

His death plunged South America’s second-largest country into political uncertainty, because he had been expected to run for the presidency next year, with many political analysts predicting victory.

“Nestor Kirchner was such an obvious choice in the next presidential election that this just throws the deck of cards into the air,” said Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin America program at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “Obviously, there’s now going to be tremendous jockeying, but no one commands the national following that he had.”

Mr. Kirchner had decided not to seek reelection in 2007 for reasons that were never made clear. He successfully pushed the candidacy of his wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who won in a landslide. But Mr. Kirchner was said to wield extraordinary influence on the most important policy decisions. His role in his wife’s government had been so important that the Argentine media referred to the executive branch as a dual presidency, or “Los K.”

The Kirchners were among the most polarizing leaders in South America, where they were part of a group of leftist leaders elected over the last decade. Beloved by poorer Argentines for expanding social programs, Mr. Kirchner was also reviled as an autocrat who would use the power of the government to weaken rivals.

In 2008, he accused farmers of plotting his wife’s overthrow when they protested tax hikes. With his wife, he took on Grupo Clarin, a media company that operates the country’s largest newspaper, which has been critical of the political duo. A media decentralization law approved last year limited the number of broadcast licenses that Clarin could hold.

In Washington, President Obama offered his condolences to Fernandez de Kirchner and said Nestor Kirchner had “played a significant role in the political life of Argentina” and as the current leader of the Union of South American Nations. In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez mourned the death of an ally whom he considered a friend. “Oh, my dear Cristina . . . how sad,” Chavez said via Twitter. “What a huge loss suffered by Argentina and our America! May Kirchner live forever!”

Mr. Kirchner’s death prompted the Argentine cabinet to rush to El Calafate in the mountains of southern Patagonia, where Fernandez de Kirchner had been accompanying her husband. Though he had undergone an angioplasty last month, Mr. Kirchner remained the consummate political operator, meeting with union bosses, foreign leaders and political allies.

A one-time governor from the sparsely populated and resource-rich Santa Cruz province – in the country’s south – Mr. Kirchner was catapulted to the presidency 18 months after Argentina recorded the biggest debt default in history, $95 billion.

In a matter of days, the country was locked out of the international credit market, millions of Argentines were plunged into poverty and a series of governments collapsed.

He won office by default, with only 22 percent of the vote after the front-running candidate, former president Carlos Menem, abandoned his campaign.

Mr. Kirchner inherited an economy that he called “devastated, pressured and extorted” by international creditors, a grinding recession and the collapse of the Argentine currency.

Some in Argentina’s rough-and-tumble political establishment considered him little more than a naive provincial politician without the shrewdness to push through reforms. As he rose to the national stage, the media in Buenos Aires focused on the heavy lisp in his speech and a lazy eye that wandered as he talked.

Mr. Kirchner, though, was a strong-willed president who, in the tradition of other Peronist Party leaders, astutely delivered a populist message that won him support as he guided Argentina out of its economic morass.

He blamed the country’s troubles on the International Monetary Fund and American-style economic reforms advanced by Menem. Mr. Kirchner studiously ignored market orthodoxy, forcing holders of Argentina’s debt to accept far less than what they had invested.

“If they want to squeeze, let them squeeze,” Mr. Kirchner told reporters in 2004, explaining that Argentina had no intention of paying defaulted bonds at their full price. “Here, we have Argentines ready to build a new destiny, a new reality.”

Mr. Kirchner spent generously on social programs and infrastructure. Coupled with a dramatic rise in worldwide demand for Argentine commodities, from soybeans to beef, Argentina’s economy made a fast recovery.

In 2003, the country’s economy grew for the first time in five years, rising 8.7 percent. And throughout Mr. Kirchner’s presidency, growth averaged 8 percent annually.

“Without a doubt, he was the leader who rescued Argentina from its worst economic crisis,” Agustin Rossi, a congressman and close ally of the former president, told Argentine television. “He showed us that we could dream again. He showed that politics could deliver hope.”

Nestor Carlos Kirchner, of Swiss and Croatian descent, was born Feb. 25, 1950, in Rio Gallegos, capital of Santa Cruz province in Patagonia. He was nicknamed “the Penguin,” a reflection as much of his uncharismatic personality as of the frigid region from which he came.

Active in the youth wing of the Peronist Party, the populist movement started by its namesake, the strongman Juan Peron, Mr. Kirchner was jailed briefly during a brutal 1970s-era military dictatorship that targeted university students, leftists and progressive Peronists.

In 1976, he graduated from law school at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, south of Buenos Aires, and returned to his province to practice law.

Besides his wife, whom he married in 1975, survivors include their two children.

Mr. Kirchner was elected mayor of Rio Gallegos in 1987 and later became governor of Santa Cruz.

Using the financial resources generated from the oil-producing province, Mr. Kirchner set up housing and health-care programs that won him strong backing. He went from governing a province of 200,000 inhabitants to trying to lead a country of 40 million buffeted by its worst crises in decades.

As president, he not only took tough steps on the economy, but strongly supported the judiciary in its efforts to resolve unsolved crimes from a military dictatorship accused of killing and causing the disappearances of up to 30,000 people.

With amnesties overturned, prosecutors in recent years have charged hundreds of former military officers. Dozens have been convicted, including generals who led successive military juntas.

Mr. Kirchner and his wife also supported efforts to reunite the babies of suspected subversives who were killed with their biological grandparents. Among them was Alejandro Sandoval, 32, who had been raised by a military intelligence officer and only recently learned that his parents had been slain by the security forces.

“For me, Nestor and Cristina are like my parents because they helped me get back my identity, and now I know who I am,” Sandoval said.

Still, for many Argentines, Mr. Kirchner and his wife were considered imperious in their governing style, particularly with opponents.

That cost them dearly in a 2008 showdown with Argentina’s most powerful sector, the farmers and ranchers who are the backbone of the economy. That, and revelations that the Venezuelan government had allegedly provided money to Fernandez de Kirchner’s presidential campaign, hurt them in the polls.

But by this fall, with Argentina’s economy booming, Mr. Kirchner and his wife had an approval rating that topped that of their better-known opponents, according to Buenos Aires pollster Ricardo Rouvier & Associates.

Fernando de la Rua, a former president and opponent of Mr. Kirchner, told Argentine television Wednesday that he assumed that his former adversary would have played a major role in Argentine politics far into the future.

“You can’t understand how something like this could happen to someone so vigorous, particularly someone who was so combative all of his life,” de la Rua said.

Special correspondent Silvina Frydlewsky in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.

2. NESTOR KIRCHNER DIES: FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT WAS 60 (The Washington Post)

By Mayra Pertossi and Almudena Calatrava

October 27, 2010

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Former President Nestor Kirchner, who steered Argentina out of crisis and political instability with a leftist populism that thrilled the poor and exasperated the wealthy, died suddenly of a heart attack Wednesday with his wife, President Cristina Fernandez, by his side.

His death, at 60, abruptly ends a plan the couple had to keep succeeding each other and holding onto power for many years. With next year’s elections looming, Fernandez will have to run for re-election without her closest adviser, the charismatic party leader who kept a tight lid on the country’s unruly political scene.

Kirchner had a history of heart trouble, undergoing emergency surgery on his carotid artery in February and an angioplasty in September, but refused to slow down, campaigning daily to lay the political groundwork for another run at the presidency by him or his wife.

He suffered another heart attack early Wednesday and was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. after efforts to revive him failed, a presidential spokesman said.

The news shocked Argentines, who turned out by the thousands in Kirchner’s honor, filling the Plaza de Mayo outside the presidential palace Wednesday night.

“He’s someone who for the first time in our democracy, turned his politics toward the workers and the people. That’s why so many are here. The plaza shows that the people will support and deepen his model,” said Juan Pablo Mazzieri, 39. Fernandez, he added, “has the capacity to go it alone with all the people’s support.”

But Kirchner’s death leaves a gaping hole in Argentine politics.

While Fernandez is a powerful figure in her own right, Kirchner was seen as the heir to Argentine Gen. Juan Domingo Peron, the legendary strongman whose advocacy for workers brought generations into the middle class. Also like Peron, he tolerated few challengers, keeping in check the nation’s labor unions, activist groups, governors and mayors – political players who move thousands of voters and whose allegiance is vital to maintaining public order.

One of Kirchner’s latest campaign promises was to support a labor movement effort to require all large businesses to open their books to the unions and turn 10 percent of their profits over to the workers. Giving them half the profits would be better still, he suggested at a political rally.

“After Peron and Eva Peron, nobody has done so much for the workers as Nestor Kirchner,” said Hugo Moyano, Argentina’s most powerful union leader, who now doubles as a Peronist party leader in Buenos Aires province.

Kirchner was governor of a thinly populated southern state when he was pulled from relative obscurity to become a presidential candidate in 2003, a time when Argentina was struggling to emerge from a devastating economic crisis. He captured just 22 percent of a first-round vote despite the outgoing president’s support, and took office after his rival then dropped out.

Within just a few years, he had reestablished Argentina’s all-powerful presidency and become a major figure in Latin American politics, abandoning the “Washington consensus” of tight fiscal policies and free trade, isolating the country from foreign debt markets and imposing stringent controls on the flow of money and goods in and out of the country.

Argentina’s economy grew by more than 8 percent a year during his presidency, enabling him to cancel most of the country’s world-record debt default and pay off $9 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund, whose guidance he blamed for ruining economies around the globe.

Then, at the height of his popularity in 2007, he stepped aside, enabling his wife to succeed him and setting the stage for what many hoped or feared would be a leftist dynasty in which husband and wife would take turns as president on into the future, sidestepping constitutional limits on re-election.

At the time, Kirchner joked that he would do nothing more than hang out in a literary cafe. Instead, he and his wife worked together to increase their hold on Argentine politics. Thanks to their skills, Fernandez has been able to rule by decree for much of her presidency, despite losing majorities in Congress in midterm elections.

Without her husband, Fernandez is likely to face new threats from the left and right.

But Moyano, the nation’s most powerful union leader, quickly fell into step, ordering an emergency meeting of the General Labor Confederation, or CGT, where he said union leaders would “express our total support for the tenure of Cristina Kirchner.”

Leftist activists also fell in behind the president. “We’ll be demonstrating in the streets that we are millions who will replace Kirchner,” said the leader of the Evita Movement, Emilio Persico.

Credit markets were betting that his death will make Argentina more trustworthy. The cost of buying insurance on Argentine debt dropped 0.5 percent Wednesday afternoon, according to CMA Datavision, and shares of Argentine-based companies trading in New York surged despite a broad retreat of U.S. stocks.

“The Kirchner family has been relatively tough for investors,” explained Paul Herber, portfolio manager of the Forward Frontier Market Strat Fund, who said investors hope someone with more favorable policies may be elected next year.

Argentine analysts say that’s a poor bet – that Fernandez’s ability to govern through the Oct. 23 elections is not in doubt, and that at this point, no other candidate has emerged in the country’s fractured politics who might beat her.

“I don’t see any problems with her governability, let alone an institutional crisis,” political analyst Ricardo Rouvier told The Associated Press. “This is an opportunity for her – to turn herself into a true political chief.”

Analyst Rosendo Fraga told AP that Fernandez can now distance herself from Moyano, who is capable of mobilizing thousands of workers in the streets and also holds the strategic position of party chief in Buenos Aires province, where most Argentines live. It also won’t be easy to govern if she keeps openly confronting leading sectors of Argentina’s economy, media companies and Catholic church, Fraga said.

“Cristina isn’t just Kirchner’s widow – she’s a key political leader. She was a senator, has great political experience and this all speaks for continuity,” said Edgardo Mocca, a political scientist at the University of Buenos Aires.

But she’ll need all this and more to confront what’s coming without her husband’s help, he agreed.

“What’s coming is a strong destabilizing pressure from leading media companies and center-right political sectors,” Mocca said.

Kirchner also served as a congressman, leader of the leftist wing of the Peronist party and secretary general of the South American alliance known as Unasur, a role that made him an ideal figure to mediate a recent dispute between Venezuela and Colombia. Both countries’ leaders mourned his loss on Wednesday, as did U.S. President Barack Obama, who praised Kirchner’s significant roles in Argentina and Unasur.

Many fellow leaders praised Kirchner’s advocacy of human rights. He reinvigorated efforts to prosecute crimes against humanity committed during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship. Congress and then the Supreme Court, whose independence he promoted, annulled the previous decades’ amnesty laws. About 20 trials involving hundreds of “Dirty War” figures are now under way.

“Our country needed this man so much. He was indispensable,” the leader of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto, told Radio Continental.

Born in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, Kirchner was active in the Young Peronists party as a student in La Plata, where he graduated in 1976. With the military firmly ruling the country, he and Fernandez worked as private attorneys in the provincial capital, raising two children – Maximo and Florencia. After democracy returned in 1983, Kirchner entered public service, first as the provincial pensions chief, and then as mayor of Rio Gallegos.

In 1991, he became Santa Cruz’s governor and Fernandez was elected to the provincial legislature, pushing through indefinite re-election and filling the provincial courts with sympathetic judges. It was the start of a hegemoniacal style of governing, leaving no room for consensus-building, that remains one of the most controversial aspects of his leadership.

In 1995 he was re-elected as governor by an overwhelming margin. But it was his management of the province’s bank accounts that enabled him to jump to politics at the national level. When Argentina was forced to devalue its currency in 2001, Kirchner had already moved into Swiss bank accounts millions of dollars from the privatization of the national oil company, avoiding a bank crackdown that robbed most Argentines of more than two-thirds of their wealth overnight.

The total amount of this money – and whether all of it was properly returned to Argentina – has been a subject of debate ever since. But Kirchner was seen as a nimble politician who protected his people, unlike the series of presidents who were forced out of office prematurely by pot-banging street protests in the months that followed.

Gustavo Baez, a medical student, said he came to the plaza Wednesday to show respect even though he didn’t agree with many of Kirchner’s decisions. “Kirchner appeared during a very difficult situation for Argentina, and was a good pilot in the storm. He knew how to manage the situation and show his leadership.”

3. ARGENTINA EX-PRESIDENT PASSES, WALL STREET TAKES NOTE (The Wall Street Journal.com)

By Dave Kansas

October 27, 2010

Wall Street is showing its true colors today. The death of Argentina’s ex-President Nestor Kirchner has sparked a flood of….bullish investment notes!

Mr. Kirchner’s wife, Cristina, is the current head of state. Mr. Kirchner, who oversaw tough negotiations on Argentina’s $100 billion sovereign debt default earlier this decade, was expected to run for his old job in the next election, a prospect that, erm, may have concerned global investors.

RBC emerging markets view of Mr. Kirchner’s death? “This news is bullish for Argentine assets.” Perhaps – bonds are indeed rallying. But could we at least wait a modicum of time before saying so? Moreover, RBC isn’t even that sure of itself. “However, we believe it is also worth being cautious as the shifting political power balance is likely to drive elevated levels of political noise and volatility.”

Argentina isn’t a huge market, maybe RBC could have waited. But it’s hard to wait when all your other maudlin buddies are jumping in the pool.

Our colleagues at Dow Jones have a sampling of other pronouncements:

RBS analyst Siobhan Morden: “There is still a lot of potential upside in credit risk perception that would occur with a minimum shift on economic policy in terms of reform, payment of Paris Club arrears, less market intervention/regulations and reversal of capital outflows.” Still, this initial market euphoria [surrounding the ex-President’s passing] should subside, she adds.

Oppenheimer international debt portfolio manager Sara Zervos, commenting on the rally in Argentina bonds: “It’s analogous to a stock rallying 5 percent when a bad CEO leaves/dies.” While his death will surely be mourned, Zervos adds: “Things will be messy as there will be a power struggle. But long run the market (and my analysts and I) see this as the first clear opportunity for significant, positive political change in Argentina.”

Standard Chartered’s head of Latin American Research, Douglas Smith. “The bottom line is near-term volatility, but I would say this is somewhat positive for the bonds and the economic outlook because it boosts the chances of the opposition, which is more fiscally responsible and market friendly,” he said in a note to clients.

Goldman Sachs finds that grasping the obvious is perhaps the most tasteful approach: The death of former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner “introduces significant political uncertainty as the pro-government political forces are likely to realign significantly ahead of next year’s presidential elections.”

Goldman delicately adds: “At face value, President Cristina Kirchner is now more likely to stand for reelection (but without the valuable contribution and political coattails of a seasoned strategist [the late Mr. Kirchner]) and a cabinet reshuffle over the next few months should not be ruled out. In addition, today’s developments increase the probably that Daniel Scioli, current Governor of Buenos Aires Province, launches his own bid for the presidency competing for the same political space occupied by the Kirchners.”

Goldman. That is a masterful note of nothingness, leavened with a little light praise for the former President. Probably about right in the hours after the man’s passing.

4. EX-LEADER’S DEATH SHAKES ARGENTINA (The Wall Street Journal(Online and Print))

By Matt Moffett and John Lyons

28 October 2010

The death of Argentina’s ex-president Néstor Kirchner, seen by many as the power behind his wife’s government, creates vast political uncertainties but also opens the possibility that the country could shift away from its combative populist policies.

Mr. Kirchner, 60, died early Wednesday of a heart attack while visiting the southern city of El Calafate with his wife, President Cristina Kirchner. The fiery former governor served as president between 2003 and 2007, and was widely expected to seek another term in October 2011 in a strategy to alternate presidencies with his wife.

News of the death brought a mixture of sorrow and anxiety to Buenos Aires, unusually quiet as locals awaited the rounds of the official census. “I was shaken up,” said Beatriz Menéndez, a 60-year-old businesswoman who lives in the fashionable Palermo neighborhood. “His death generates instability.”

But Argentine asset prices surged Wednesday on investors’ optimism that Mr. Kirchner’s passing will pave the way for the country to shift to more market-friendly policies.

In the seven years in which one of the Kirchners have governed Argentina, the country emerged from its crushing 2001 financial collapse to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. But in the process, Mr. Kirchner amassed a long list of critics by expanding the state’s role in the economy, running roughshod over institutions, and shifting Argentina from friend of the U.S. to ally of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez.

Argentina, once a leader among emerging nations, turned inward as its ruling couple were consumed by political battles. Relations with neighbors like Uruguay and Brazil were marked by commercial squabbles. Argentina, once the issuer of a quarter of all emerging-market debt, has been essentially shut out of international financial markets since 2001, when it committed the world’s biggest sovereign-debt default, on $95 billion of bonds.

Argentina’s declining global role is a sharp contrast to the rise of Brazil. The Latin giant grabbed a leadership role in the region and, as its economy grew, became a global voice for the developing world in international forums such as the Group of 20.

Mr. Kirchner—a product of the “Peronist” political movement founded by the populist Juan Perón in the 1940s—will be remembered as a shrewd and pragmatic political operator who managed to hold on to power during a tumultuous stretch in Argentine politics.

By many estimates, the lanky politician, who often favored brown leather jackets over business suits, thrived on the tumult. Soon after coming to power in 2003, he expanded his support base and popularity by confronting the military over crimes committed during a dictatorship more than two decades earlier.

He was a harsh critic of the International Monetary Fund, and sealed a reputation as a stubborn negotiator by forcing international investors to take a steep loss in an abrasive 2005 restructuring of much of Argentina’s defaulted bonds.

The Kirchners’ husband-and-wife governance was reminiscent of the way Mr. Perón worked with his second wife, Eva, to build support among the poor.

For the 57-year-old Mrs. Kirchner, her husband’s death creates what Argentine pollster Mariel Fornoni calls a “test of fire.” Though a long-time politician herself, she counted on Mr. Kirchner to handle the day-to-day horse-trading that is vital in Argentina’s patronage-driven Peronist system.

In the short run, Mrs. Kirchner is likely to receive an enormous outpouring of sympathy for her loss. Whether she manages to maintain popularity and launch a presidential run next year is an open question.

“One worry for her is that since Nestor was the political operator, what happens if the Peronists start smelling weakness and indecisiveness?” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones.

Mrs. Kirchner was thought to be more pragmatic than her husband when she took office in December 2007. But Argentina has seen more state intervention and political conflict during her presidency than in her husband’s. There’s plenty of debate about how much of that was due to Mr. Kirchner’s influence and how much—if any—moderation can be expected from Mrs. Kirchner operating solo.

“There is an opportunity to change the politics, but my own sense is that’s unlikely,” said Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington think tank. “It might be wishful thinking to think that that will change now. I am not sure reaching out and engaging more broadly is part of her political makeup.”

Just a few months after she came into office, Mrs. Kirchner became embroiled in a battle with farmers over an export-tax increase, which coupled with the global recession, sapped much of her support. The Kirchners had enjoyed a resurgence of sorts over the past year thanks to the economy’s fast growth and missteps by their political foes.

If Mrs. Kirchner begins to lose control, one name to watch, political analysts say, is Buenos Aires Province governor Daniel Scioli. He has remained loyal to the Kirchners while maintaining ties to farmers and parts of the private sector that the Kirchners have alienated. He could emerge as a consensus candidate to unite pro-Kirchner and dissident Peronist factions, analysts say.

But the demise of Mr. Kirchner could help pragmatic opposition candidates who suffered under his withering attacks. One of these is Julio Cobos, Mrs. Kirchner’s vice president, who broke with the Kirchners two years ago after siding with the farmers in the dispute over raising grain-export taxes. Another politician with his eyes on the presidency is Mauricio Macri, the conservative mayor of Buenos Aires.

Mr. Scioli, Mr. Cobos and Mr. Macri couldn’t be reached for comment. The Kirchners earned reputations as tough customers while restructuring most of the country’s bonds for around 30 cents on the dollar in 2005 and in a smaller round this year.

But controversial policy decisions undermined investor confidence. For example, many investment bank economists believe Argentina began rigging its inflation numbers. Argentina says its inflation rate is around 11%, about half what many international economists say it is.

Taos Turner and Ana Rivas contributed to this article.

5. BEHIND THE SCENES OF A POWER COUPLE (The Wall Street Journal)

By Matt Moffett

28 October 2010

In Argentina, the nation with more psychologists per capita than any other, a favorite parlor game has involved trying to divine the dynamics of the relationship between President Cristina Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor, Nestor.

They redefined the term “power couple” when Mr. Kirchner, as he was finishing his term in 2007, helped get his wife elected, and then, observers say, continued to wield power behind the scenes in her government.

Now, some political observers wonder how Mrs. Kirchner will manage without the man who was her husband and political partner for almost 40 years.

“She’s the president, but she behaves like a queen, whereas the real president was him and he died,” said Alejandro Bonvecchi, a political scientist and professor at Torcuato Di Tella University in Buenos Aires. “For all intents and purposes, this is a country without a government.”

The Kirchners met in law school in the 1970s and bonded as opponents to the brutal military government that then ruled Argentina. The ungainly Mr. Kirchner couldn’t have been more of a contrast to his wife, known among classmates as one of the most beautiful students, as well as one of the brightest.

But they formed an effective political team, as he became governor of the Patagonian state of Santa Cruz and she a prominent legislator. Mrs. Kirchner was often the more visible of the two during the 1990s, when she attacked the market-oriented policies of then-President Carlos Menem. “She was out there and Nestor was more reserved,” said Javier Corrales, a political-science professor at Amherst College. “One interpretation was that he was more low-profile. The other. . . was that he was the brain and she the mouth.”

Mr. Kirchner was elected president in 2003, and moved to concentrate power in the executive branch. When Mrs. Kirchner took office in 2007, some analysts hoped she might steer the government to a more consensus-based approach, but politics have only become more divisive.

In 2008, Mrs. Kirchner got caught up in a fight with farmers over an increase in a grain export tax. Her husband seemed to relish egging on the conflict. Farm leader Hugo Biolcati complained that the government suffered from “schizophrenia,” with more moderate officials linked to Mrs. Kirchner and harder-line officials linked to her husband.

One by one, Mrs. Kirchner’s moderate allies were forced out, leaving the administration dominated by Mr. Kirchner’s loyalists.

Amherst’s Prof. Corrales said the closest thing to the arrangement was the situation in Russia when Vladimir Putin stepped down from the presidency and became prime minister, and his chosen successor, Dmitry Medvedev, took over as president.

Analysts say Mr. Kirchner’s death opens a leadership vacuum that holds out the possibility of more conciliatory politics.

“This does give the democratic opposition an important, historical opening to change the rules of the game,” said Riordan Roett, a Latin America specialist at Johns Hopkins University. Whether “they have the courage to do so remains up in the air.”

6. EERIE CALM IN BUENOS AIRES (The Wall Street Journal(Online and Print))

By Ana Rivas

27 October 2010

News of former President Néstor Kirchner’s death came on an unusual day for Argentina—the country’s official national census, when everybody is required to stay at home to wait for census workers to come by and count them.

Roughly every 10 years since 1869, Argentina has held a national census, and on that day all public gatherings, theater shows, movie theaters, sports events and commercial activities are banned by law. Restaurants and supermarkets are ordered closed between 12 a.m. and 8 p.m. Only essential services are allowed to remain open.

On Wednesday, residents had prepared themselves to stay home for most of the 12 hours of the census, or until one of the more than 600,000 census workers knocked on their door to count every person who had spent the night there, and to gather information about their way of life.

The streets of Buenos Aires were unusually quiet all morning as special TV news about the census was broadcast—and then the public service updates were interrupted with news of the former president’s death. And just like that, the subject changed.

Here are how a few Argentinians reacted to the news, which starting coming out around 10 a.m. local time:

Gabriel Saez 38 years old, political consultant Mataderos, Buenos Aires

“We went to bed quite late last night, because we couldn’t get our four children to fall asleep. So this morning I turned on the radio but was still in bed when I heard the news. At first I couldn’t tell if it wasn’t a dream, and when I realized it wasn’t I turned on the TV, started calling friends. I am still waiting for the census worker so I don’t know what the rest of my day is going to be like. So far the plans are to stay home and keep listening to news.”

Beatriz Menendez 60 years old, businesswoman Palermo, Buenos Aires

“At first, the radio wasn’t really giving the news, they waited for a TV channel to confirm, but I knew right away that something really bad had happened. I guess they didn’t want to alarm the people.

“I was shaken up, first because he has a direct participation in government, and secondly because this will have repercussion on a personal level on the woman who is in charge. His death generates instability.

“We are very lonely today, you can’t really visit other people and they aren’t visiting you. A friend called me, and I called my family. Everything has to be over the phone. It’s unlike any other day.”

Lautaro Vieyra 37 years old, composer Nuñez, Buenos Aires

“I am shocked. Truth is we woke up preparing for a census, and we found out Kirchner had died. It is incredible. Even when we knew about the episodes of his weak health, we didn’t imagine something like this was going to happen. We are quite sad, and a bit afraid of what is going to be the continuity of this political project, without a person who was key for it.”

Maria Gracia Andia 35 years old, doctoral candidate, political consultant Palermo, Buenos Aires

“My mother called me and I jumped from the bed, turned on the TV, my laptop and checked Twitter on my blackberry at the same time. I am in shock. I was impressed on a human level. A very different political landscape is ahead of us.

“I am going to stay at home all day to work on my thesis, while checking Facebook, Twitter and calling people on the phone, to stay tuned to the news.”

7. FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT KIRCHNER DIES AT 60 HE HAD DESIGNS ON SUCCEEDING HIS WIFE IN 2011 ELECTION (Miami Herald)

By Angeles Mace; Jim Wyss

28 October 2010

On a day when Argentina was counting its living, the country lost one of its most powerful politicians, former President Nestor Kirchner, who suffered a heart attack.

Mr. Kirchner, the husband of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, died early Wednesday near his home in the Patagonian city of Calafate, where he and his wife were waiting to be counted in the national census.

Mr. Kirchner served as president from 2003-2007 and is credited with leading the nation out of a punishing economic crisis, reopening dictatorship-era human rights cases and bucking the international community, as he built stronger regional ties.

A congressman and leader of the center-left Justicialist Party, either Mr. Kirchner or his wife were expected to run for the presidency in 2011, extending the family legacy. Now, those plans are in doubt, as analysts said Mr. Kirchner’s death could fuel a shake-up in the party.

Mr. Kirchner, 60, had been ailing for months and had been treated twice this year for heart-related issues. He was transported to the hospital early Wednesday and died at 9:15 a.m. local time, the presidency reported.

Despite his medical problems, Mr. Kirchner maintained an active political agenda. He was the head of his powerful Peronist party and was recently appointed the first secretary-general of the Union of South American Republics, or UNASUR. That organization played a leading role in defusing tensions between Colombia and Venezuela earlier this year and rallied the region behind Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa when a police uprising threatened to topple him last month.

But in Argentina, he was seen as the power behind the throne. Buenos Aires-based analyst Carlos Germano said Mr. Kirchner was central to his wife’s presidency — her closest confidant and her most powerful supporter. His death is likely to force her to build new alliances and could spark challenges within her own party, he said.

Wednesday was a holiday in Argentina, and citizens were asked to stay home to be counted in the census. That left the streets eerily barren for most of the morning. But as the news spread, people gathered in front of the presidential palace, where they laid wreaths and hung placards reading “Be strong, Cristina” and “Your country consoles you” — as flags flew at half staff.

Mr. Kirchner came to power in 2003 when the country was in economic and political turmoil. Many Argentines tolerated his left- leaning politics because he managed to tame the chaos, university professor and political analyst Enrique Zuleta Puceiro said.

Mr. Kirchner is also survived by two adult children, Maximo and Florencia.

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8. ARGENTINA’S FORMER PRESIDENT NÉSTOR KIRCHNER DIES; THE SUDDEN DEATH OF FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT AND CURRENT POLITICAL CONTENDER NÉSTOR KIRCHNER CASTS A PALL OVER ARGENTINA’S POLITICAL LANDSCAPE (The Miami Herald)

By Angeles Mace And Jim Wyss

28 October 2010

Thousands of Argentines flocked to the presidential palace late Wednesday to pay homage to former President Néstor Kirchner, hours after the country’s most powerful politician died of a heart attack.

Kirchner, the husband of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, died early Wednesday near his home in the Patagonian city of Calafate, where he and his wife were waiting to be counted in the national census.

Kirchner served as president from 2003-2007 and is credited with leading the nation out of a punishing economic crisis, reopening dictatorship-era human rights cases, and bucking the international community as he built stronger regional ties.

A congressman and leader of the Justicialista Party, either Kirchner or his wife were expected to run for the presidency in 2011, extending the family legacy.

Now those plans are in doubt, as analysts said Kirchner’s death could fuel a shake-up in the party.

Kirchner, 60, had been ailing for months and had been treated twice this year for heart-related issues. He was rushed to the hospital early Wednesday and died at 9:15 a.m., the presidency reported.

Despite his medical problems, Kirchner maintained an active political agenda.

He was the head of his powerful Peronist party and was recently appointed the first secretary general of the Union of South American Republics, or UNASUR. That organization played a leading role in defusing tensions between Colombia and Venezuela earlier this year and rallied the region behind Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa when a police uprising threatened to topple him last month.

But in Argentina, he was seen as the power behind the throne.

Buenos Aires-based analyst Carlos Germano said Kirchner was central to his wife’s presidency — her closest confidant and her most powerful supporter. His death is likely to force her to build new alliances and could spark challenges within her own party, he said.

“The political scene is extremely complicated,” Germano said. “She’s not going to have much time to grieve.”

But on Wednesday, even some of Kirchner’s harshest critics were putting politics on hold.

Julio Cobos, the vice president of Argentina and an opposition member who has had frequent run-ins with the presidential couple, said on local TV, “A good president has gone and we need to face this situation in the best way possible.”

EERILY EMPTY

Wednesday was a holiday in Argentina and citizens were asked to stay home to be counted in the census. That left the streets eerily barren for most of the morning. But as the news spread, people gathered in front of the presidential palace where they laid wreaths and hung placards that read “Be strong Cristina” and “Your country consoles you” — as flags flew at half mast.

Many politicians were caught off guard in their home states, and were rushing back to Buenos Aires for the wake, scheduled to be held at the presidential palace on Thursday.

Kirchner is also survived by two adult children, Maximo and Florencia.

GLOBAL IMPACT

Brazil and Venezuela joined Argentina in declaring three days of national mourning, as condolences poured in from around the globe.

“Néstor Kirchner played a significant role in the political life of Argentina and had embarked upon an important new chapter with UNASUR,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with President Fernández de Kirchner and their children.”

On his Twitter page, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez — a personal friend of the president — expressed his grief.

“Oh my dear Cristina,” he wrote. “How much pain! What a great loss for Argentina and our America! Long live Kirchner forever!!”

The Organization of American States held a minute of silence.

TAMED CHAOS

Kirchner came to power in 2003 when the country was in economic and political turmoil. Many Argentines tolerated his left-leaning politics because he managed to tame the chaos, said Enrique Zuleta Puceiro, a university professor and political analyst.

“He had to govern at a very difficult time and he was able to rebuild everything,” Zuleta Puceiro said. “Although many did not share his ideas, everybody recognizes his commitment, efficiency, heroism, independence and courage.”

Recent polls suggest that both Cristina Fernández and Néstor Kirchner were running ahead of their nearest rivals. Even so, six out of 10 Argentines also say they were looking for a break from the couple, who have held the presidency for a combined eight years.

While it could be days or weeks for the political implications of his death to shake out, Kirchner’s absence will be felt immediately, said Daniel Kerner, an analyst with New York-based Eurasia Group.

“The biggest uncertainty is probably in terms of economic policy. Nestor Kirchner was the country’s main decision-maker, and ministers, secretaries and advisors tend to have a rather marginal role in shaping policy direction,” he wrote.

UNCLEAR FUTURE

“Thus, without him, it’s not very clear how the government will work.”

Even so, Kerner said Fernández will probably see her position strengthened amid a wave of public sympathy.

Zuleta Puceiro, the political analyst, said Fernández has proven to be a resilient politician.

“I don’t think there will be a problem with Fernández de Kirchner after the pain is gone,” he said. “We do not know how the president will react but she is a woman accustomed to using crisis as a virtue. She has the ability to beat the odds.”

Miami Herald Special Correspondent Angeles Mace reported from Buenos Aires, Miami Herald Staff Writer Jim Wyss was in Miami.

9. NESTOR KIRCHNER: 1950-2010; Ex-Argentine president (Chicago Tribune)

By Helen Popper and Nicolas Misculin

28 October 2010

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina

Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, the current president’s husband and a leading contender in next year’s election, died from a heart attack Wednesday.

Mr. Kirchner, 60, was credited by many Argentines with putting the nation’s economy back on its feet after a devastating 2001-02 crisis, but critics reviled his combative style and interventionist economic policies.

His death, in the southern city of El Calafate, raises uncertainty about next year’s election, and it might encourage his wife, Cristina Fernandez, to seek a second term or take a more moderate line.

“The leader of the pack has died. … For better or worse, this was a man who knew how to make decisions,” said psychologist Maria Gutierrez in Buenos Aires.

A lawyer, Mr. Kirchner started his political career in the state of Santa Cruz, where he was governor for many years. He was elected president in 2003 on the ashes of the economic meltdown, which saw history’s largest debt default and riots in the streets.

A member of the dominant Peronist party, he quickly built strong alliances and oversaw an economic recovery that won him solid backing. He almost certainly would have won a second term in 2007 but chose to make way for his wife.

Under his wife’s government, many Argentines continued to see Mr. Kirchner as her main political support, with some critics claiming he was the one who called the shots.

Opponents criticized Mr. Kirchner’s tough political style and outspoken attacks on big business, journalists and political rivals.

Investors disliked Mr. Kirchner’s economic policies, such as price controls and export freezes to curb inflation. Those policies have largely continued under his wife.

Mr. Kirchner won praise for his efforts to bring military leaders to trial for human rights crimes committed during the 1976-83 dictatorship, in which up to 30,000 people were killed in a crackdown on leftists and dissidents.

10. ARGENTINE EX-LEADER DIES; POLITICAL IMPACT IS MURKY (The New York Times)

By Alexei Barrionuevo & Charles Newbery

28 October 2010

Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina who led his country out of a crippling economic crisis before being succeeded by his wife, died unexpectedly early Wednesday, apparently of a heart attack, opening a period of intense political uncertainty in the nation.

After complaining of flu symptoms Tuesday night, Mr. Kirchner, 60, lost consciousness early Wednesday and was rushed to a hospital in El Calafate, a town in the southern Argentine province of Santa Cruz. Doctors there pronounced him dead at 9:15 a.m. local time, according to an official in Mr. Kirchner’s inner circle.

Luis Buonomo, the presidential doctor, said Mr. Kirchner died from sudden cardiac arrest, according to reports in Argentine newspapers. He had undergone two procedures in the past year to clear arterial blockages, the most recent in September.

Mr. Kirchner’s death, coming on a national holiday to conduct the census, throws next year’s elections and the presidency of his wife and political partner, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, into a sudden state of flux. Not only did Mr. Kirchner and his popularity as president help her be elected, but he also exercised substantial influence behind the scenes of her government, playing a hands-on role in the running of the economy and recently serving as the head of their Peronist party.

Together they formed one of the world’s most powerful political couples, dubbed the ”penguins” for Mr. Kirchner’s close association with his Patagonian home province, Santa Cruz. As president, Mrs. Kirchner was more often the public face of their partnership, while he was the master political operator, pulling the levers of the Peronist machinery. Mr. Kirchner held the disparate governing coalition intact by inspiring loyalty in lower-level politicians and unions with subsidies and patronage, and by growing the economy at a swift pace, even at the cost of inflation.

Many Argentines were also betting that he, not his wife, would run for president next year, part of what analysts frequently called the couple’s leap-frog strategy to create a lasting dynasty by passing the presidency between them for multiple terms.

His death could either bolster or hurt Mrs. Kirchner’s political prospects, analysts said. Her government was extremely unpopular in her first two years, but it has been rising in popularity in recent months amid an economy the Argentine Central Bank expects to grow by 9.5 percent this year. Recent approval ratings have hovered above 45 percent, up from the mid-30s last year.

”The reaction at first will be of grief and condolence, but then the vultures will move in,” said Federico Thomsen, a political consultant in Buenos Aires. ”Initially there will be sympathy for her, but that won’t last too long. She will need to captain the ship.”

Argentina has not responded well when presidents or influential spouses have passed away prematurely. After Eva Peron died in 1952, a military coup three years later ousted her husband, Gen. Juan Peron. Two years after Peron died in 1974, a military junta overthrew the government of his third wife, Isabel.

The country is far more stable these days. Mrs. Kirchner ”is smart, and there is a chance that she will play this politically to hold on to power, with the message of keeping the penguins in power,” said Federico Mac Dougall, a political analyst at the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires.

But, analysts said, it is more likely that a group of loyal and dissident Peronists will now scramble for power and influence without Mr. Kirchner’s strong hand to rein them in.

Mr. Kirchner was a fairly obscure local politician from Santa Cruz, where he was governor, before being elected in 2003. He received only 22.2 percent of the vote in the first round.

Once in power he took strong control of the government, standing up to police and military officials, and refusing to bend to — or often pay — debtors, creditors and the International Monetary Fund. He also pressed Supreme Court justices to resign and overturned amnesty laws for military officers who had been accused of assassinations and torture during the military dictatorship.

”In a very unstable situation he took absolute control,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University.

Under Mr. Kirchner, the country rode a global commodities boom that increased exports of its agricultural products, stimulated domestic spending and helped get the country out of its economic crisis.

But once the economy stabilized, Mr. Kirchner continued his contentious style, issuing decrees and concentrating power in the executive. Some began to accuse him of authoritarianism.

”He had a ruthless view of politics,” said Daniel Kerner, a Buenos Aires-based analyst with Eurasia Group, a risk consultancy. ”If you are not the toughest, people will take advantage of you; that’s how he saw politics.”

Mrs. Kirchner won the presidential election in 2007, promising a more consensual approach and more respect for the rule of law. But that promise was not kept, Mr. Jones argued. With the former president at her side, she nationalized the country’s largest airline, wrested control of billions of dollars in private pension funds and waged a battle with farmers protesting big tax increases that paralyzed agricultural exports for months.

11. OBITUARIES; NESTOR KIRCHNER, 1950 – 2010; POPULAR FORMER PRESIDENT OF ARGENTINA (Los Angeles Times)

By Chris Kraul and Andres D’Alessandro

28 October 2010

Former President Nestor Kirchner, the husband of Argentina’s current leader and a frequently mentioned possible candidate to succeed her, died unexpectedly Wednesday of an apparent heart attack. He was 60.

Kirchner, who guided the country from 2003 to 2007, was a sit- ting congressman and leader of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s Justicialist party at the time of his death. He also was secretary-general of the recently formed Union of South American Nations.

Kirchner collapsed in the early hours Wednesday at the family home in El Calafate, about 1,500 miles south of Buenos Aires, and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Fernandez was at his side.

The former president had been hospitalized for heart problems twice this year and had undergone an operation to ease the blockage of his carotid artery and insert an arterial stent.

As of Wednesday afternoon, his wife had not issued a statement on her husband’s death. Funeral services will be held Thursday at Casa Rosada, the presidential palace in Buenos Aires.

Kirchner’s death comes at a difficult time for his wife and poses questions about her ability to lead, because the former president was widely seen as wielding the real power through her, according to Rosendo Fraga, director of the New Majority Union Studies Center think tank based in Buenos Aires.

Kirchner’s death prompted an outpouring of condolences from various heads of state. President Obama noted Kirchner’s role in the Union of South American Nations, which was formed in 2008 and modeled after the European Union. And Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez said via his Twitter social networking account: “Ah Cristina, what sadness. Viva Kirchner forever!”

Then a little-known provincial governor, Kirchner was elected president in 2003 with only 22% of the vote after first-place finisher Carlos Menem withdrew after the first round. Although Kirchner was described by one magazine writer as “the president nobody knows,” he left office immensely popular, smoothing the way for his wife’s election four years later.

Kirchner gained approval during his presidency for stripping former military officers of immunity, allowing them to face prosecution for human rights abuses during the country’s 1976-83 dictatorship. Estela Carlotto of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, an advocacy group of dictatorship victims, said Wednesday that Kirchner “gave his life for his country.”

Many economists said Kirchner helped clean up Argentina’s finances, in disarray from a 2001 bond default and devaluation.

Kirchner was at odds with President George W. Bush, however, for loudly speaking out against the war in Iraq. Bush was reportedly offended by Kirchner’s treatment of him during the Summit of the Americas in the coastal Argentine city of Mar del Plata in 2005 and for having facilitated an alternative “summit” at an outdoor stadium in Buenos Aires at which Chavez criticized U.S. policies.

With the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008 and the controversial taxes she imposed on producers of beef, soy and other commodities, Fernandez has faced greater difficulties in office than her husband, analysts agree.

Nestor Kirchner was born in 1950 of parents who were descendants of German and Croat immigrants in Rio Gallegos, capital of the southern province of Santa Cruz in the Patagonia region. He met Fernandez at law school in La Plata, and both became active in populist politics tied to former leader Juan Peron.

Kirchner was detained twice by the dictatorship for his political activities. His first elective office was mayor of Rio Gallegos in 1987. He was elected governor of Santa Cruz state three times from 1991 to 2003.

His death occurred on a national holiday when most Argentines were at home awaiting the arrival of census takers. A massive demonstration of support for Kirchner was scheduled Wednesday night in front of the presidential palace.

In addition to Fernandez, the former president is survived by their two adult children, Maximo and Florencia.

12. HOW NESTOR KIRCHNER’S PASSING ALTERS ARGENTINE POLITICS (The Christian Science Monitor)

By Sara Miller Llana

27 October 2010

Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner – whose wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is the current president – died of an apparent heart attack today.

The sudden passing of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner today from an apparent heart attack has stunned a nation now mourning a man who will be remembered for adeptly steering Argentina out of its economic meltdown of 2001-2002.

Mr. Kirchner, who ruled the country from 2003 to 2007, is widely credited for bringing a sense of normalcy back to chaotic streets across Argentina, after savings were wiped out and poverty rates soared.

Until today, Kirchner – whose wife, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, currently serves as president – remained one of the most important figures on the political scene.

The power couple, who hail from the famous left-leaning Peronist party and whose political leadership has been divisive, is widely believed to have shared a co-presidency of sorts, with Mr. Kirchner taking on the political role while his wife dealt with policy. His death quiets a prominent and powerful voice within her administration while clearing the way for a wild card in the upcoming 2011 presidential election.

“He was not only the former president but also the strongest political support behind the Cristina presidency now,” says Pablo Ava, an independent political consultant in Buenos Aires. “He was president of the Peronist party, and also he was the main candidate considered by the Peronist party for next year’s election. This has a big impact in current Argentine politics.”

Kirchner’s legacy

While he has his fair share of critics, most agree that the Kirchner legacy is clear. While he alone did not shepherd the country out of economic distress – his predecessor set the course, and high prices of soybeans also helped – he mostly gets the credit for impressive economic growth that saved the country from collapse.

Human rights workers also praise his commitment to their causes, including trials for former dictator-era figures who had previously enjoyed amnesty.

But the Kirchner power couple has also been seen recently as overly divisive, generating conflict whether with farm unions or the media or opposition figures.

It is a style that worked well during his administration in the midst of crisis, but one that has not served his wife well, says Mark Jones, who advises the US government on Argentine affairs and is a professor of political science at Rice University.

His death might force the current president into a more consensual style.

“She will have a more moderate approach,” says Mr. Jones. “And it makes the probability that she will continue for [another] four years greater.”

Power couple

The Peronist couple rose to power from their base in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, and they have long ruled hand in hand. During the last presidential election cycle in 2007, many speculated that Mr. Kirchner, who enjoyed approval ratings of over 65 percent, stepped aside so that his wife could run and he could return to power immediately afterwards.

Under Argentine law, presidents can serve unlimited terms if they are not consecutive. To critics, the two were attempting to form a rotating presidency in which their reign could last permanently. At the very least, the strategy contributed to the perception that the two were never lame-duck presidents.

“This is dramatic. This changes the dynamics of the 2011 election campaign, because the only stable point within the [race] was the fact that Nestor Kirchner, or if not him his wife, would be running for re-election,” says Jones.

Dramatic changes in policy?

His death could also dramatically change the nature of governance and policymaking in her final year in office.

Of the two, Mr. Kirchner was considered the savvy political operator, managing disparate political views and confrontations with mayors, or governors, union members, or leaders of social movements. While he dealt with the nitty-gritty, she took the broader view of the country’s affairs.

“The political leg of the administration will be very stressed these days,” says Mr. Ava. “There will be a very big empty place.”

13. NÉSTOR KIRCHNER’S DEATH (FT.com)

By Jude Webber

October 27, 2010

The title of an unauthorised political biography of Néstor Kirchner published last year summed up the power of late former president, who died suddenly of a heart attack Wednesday. It was called, simply, “The Boss”.

A measure of his influence was the stock market’s reaction to his death: Argentine shares rose to two year highs in New York trading on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports, as investors speculated that Kirchner’s death would lead to a more stable Argentine economy and less government spending.

The book’s thesis was that nothing happened in Argentina without Kirchner’s approval. Indeed, it is hard to overstate the impact on politics of the former president, who was married to Argentina’s current leader, Cristina Fernández.

The big question is what happens now, with presidential elections just a year away.

Kirchner had been considering running – turning the elections into a kind of tag-team pursuit of the political dynasty he established with his wife.

He ruled from 2003-07, then handed over to Fernández, and he had been seen as a key contender for a return in 2011, though episodes of ill health and continued unpopularity for the presidential couple among the middle classes raised the possibility, too, that either Fernández or another proxy would run instead.

The former president was an authoritarian micromanager in office, and apparently unable to withdraw to the sidelines after his wife was elected. He is now likely to be feted as a saint by his followers. The spectacle of his wife soldiering on without her lifelong companion and political mentor could well boost the sympathy vote and increase her chances in 2011, if she stands.

14. KIRCHNER’S DEATH LEAVES POLITICAL VACUUM AHEAD OF 2011 ELECTION (Bloomberg News)

By Eliana Raszewski and Rodrigo Orihuela

October 28, 2010

The death of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner may strengthen the opposition before next year’s presidential elections as his wife and successor, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, loses her most powerful ally.

Kirchner, who left office in 2007 after battling investors during the country’s $95 billion debt restructuring in 2001, died yesterday of a heart attack at a hospital in the Patagonian town of El Calafate. He was 60.

His absence creates a power vacuum and uncertainty before the October 2011 presidential election, said Miguel Kiguel, a former finance under-secretary who runs research company Econviews. Bonds and stocks rose yesterday on speculation the opposition will win the vote and reverse policies that curtailed foreign investment, kept the country out of foreign debt markets and led to the world’s third-highest inflation rate.

“His death raises the great question of how the daily dynamic in the government will work,” Kiguel said in a telephone interview from Buenos Aires. “Until now, she had been overshadowed by her husband.”

Opposition parties stand a better chance in next year’s elections because Kirchner had been the strongest potential candidate, Felipe Noguera, a Buenos Aires-based political analyst and co-founder of the Latin American Association of Political Consultants, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

Fernandez, 57, is eligible to run for a second term in 2011. She and her husband had said that one of them would compete in the upcoming election.

Farm Protests

Kirchner antagonized investors in 2001 by offering creditors bonds at 30 cents on the dollar in exchange for defaulted debt, the harshest sovereign restructuring terms since World War II. In 2007, he sacked several top officials at the National Statistics Institute, a move that led investors to question the accuracy of the agency’s inflation data.

Fernandez’s tenure also included policies that riled investors. In 2008, she raised export tariffs on grain and soybeans, which led to a four-month protest by farmers that ended when Congress scrapped the increase. The same year, the government nationalized $24 billion in pension funds and seized Aerolineas Argentinas SA from Spain’s Grupo Marsans.

To improve the business climate, the next government will need to cut subsidies on energy, lower export taxes on farm goods and reach an accord with the International Monetary Fund and the Paris Club group of creditors, Argentine opposition leader Francisco de Narvaez said last month in an interview.

Yields on dollar bonds due in 2033 fell 15 basis points, or 0.15 percentage point, to 9.28 percent yesterday, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Argentine stocks trading in New York surged the most since 2008. Local markets were closed for national census day.

Inflation-Linked Bonds

Yields on inflation-linked bonds fell almost twice as much as those on the country’s fixed-rate dollar-denominated debt on speculation that Kirchner’s death makes it more likely that an opposition candidate will win next year’s presidential election, paving the way for an overhaul of the statistics institute, according to Augustus Asset Management Ltd.

If Fernandez seeks re-election, she may face competition from fellow Peronists including Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli, who served as Kirchner’s vice president, and former President Eduardo Duhalde.

Mauricio Macri, the capital’s mayor, and Radical party Congressman Ricardo Alfonsin have said they are considering presidential bids, as well as Vice President Julio Cobos, who is also a Radical.

Kirchner’s Role

Kirchner had a central role in government decision-making, and his absence means the president will have to step up and take control, Daniel Kerner, an analyst for the Eurasia Group, said in a telephone interview. Still, public sympathy will be on her side, he said.

“Fernandez de Kirchner will likely receive a boost in public opinion that should strengthen her chances to win the presidency in the 2011 elections,” he said in a separate e- mail.

Kirchner’s death doesn’t necessarily mean Fernandez will scale back her government’s ambitions, Carlos Fara, a director of pollster Carlos Fara & Asociados, said in an interview.

“The fights picked by the government to push forward its policies will continue because it’s part of their ideology,” he said.

Thousands of people gathered last night outside the presidential palace to mourn Kirchner, carrying flowers and banners as they chanted “Long Live Peron.” The government declared three days of mourning.

8.8% Growth

Kirchner took office in 2003, in the wake of Argentina’s default and a devaluation that forced his elected predecessor, Fernando de la Rua, to resign amid deadly protests. He boosted annual economic growth to an average 8.8 percent during his term.

South America’s second-biggest economy may expand 9.5 percent this year, the fastest pace since 1992, according to the central bank. Gross domestic product has benefitted from record soy crops and higher domestic consumption.

At 11.1 percent, Argentina’s inflation rate is the highest in the world after Venezuela and Pakistan.

Fernandez’s popularity rose to 36 percent in September from as low as 20 percent in 2008, during the protest by farmers, according to Buenos Aires-based pollster Poliarquia Consultores. The survey of 1,000 people was conducted from Sept. 1 to Sept. 8 and has a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points.

“The opposition will face the challenge of speaking out without attacking the government, because that would not go down well,” Fara said. “Kirchner died at a time when the government’s popularity had been rising for several months.”

15. TRANSPARENCY, YIELD DROP FORECAST AFTER KIRCHNER’S DEATH (Bloomberg News)

By Drew Benson and Ben Bain

October 27, 2010

The death of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner is spurring speculation that the nation’s statistical reporting will become more transparent, helping the country lower its borrowing costs.

Bonds rallied, cutting their yield spread over U.S. Treasuries to the smallest since June 2008, after Kirchner died of a heart attack yesterday. The 60-year-old former lawyer, who underwent heart surgery twice this year, was rushed to the hospital in the company of his wife, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, after falling ill at their home. The government declared three days of mourning, and Kirchner will lie in state at the government palace in Buenos Aires today.

Kirchner’s death makes it more likely that an opposition candidate will win next year’s presidential election, paving the way for an overhaul of the statistics institute, where he replaced key personnel in 2007 before being succeeded by Fernandez, according to Augustus Asset Management Ltd. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc estimate annual inflation is about 25 percent in South America’s second-biggest economy, more than double the 11.1 percent rate reported by the agency.

“One of the key policies with which Kirchner was most closely associated was the manipulation of the inflation data,” said Paul McNamara, who oversees $4.5 billion of emerging-market debt, including inflation-linked peso bonds, at Augustus in London.

‘Sympathy’ Votes

Kirchner said in July that either he or Fernandez, 57, would run for president next year.

The yield on the inflation-linked notes due in 2033 dropped 60 basis points, or 0.6 percentage point, yesterday to 8.21 percent, compared with a 59 basis point drop to 8.94 percent on its dollar bonds due that same year, according to Itau Unibanco Holding SA.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Argentine bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries sank 49 basis points, the most in a year, to 533, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI+ index.

The gains are “a vote of no confidence from financial markets” in Kirchner and Fernandez, Siobhan Morden, an analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a phone interview. The rally may be limited should Kirchner’s death create “sympathy” for Fernandez among Argentines, bolstering her chances in next year’s election, Morden said.

Bond Rout

“These recent gains could quickly reverse,” she said.

The yield gap over Treasuries is down from 807 at the end of May and 910 in June 2005, when Kirchner completed the harshest sovereign debt restructuring since World War II, according to Arturo Porzecanski, an international finance professor at American University in Washington. The government defaulted on $95 billion of debt in 2001.

“The normalization of statistics will accelerate” after Kirchner’s death, Miguel Kiguel, a former finance undersecretary who runs research company Econviews in Buenos Aires, said in a telephone interview. “It’s inevitable that Argentina does it, whether this government or the next, but there’s now a possibility that some progress can be made.”

Workers at the statistics institute, including Graciela Bevacqua, the former consumer price index director, said the inflation reports were being manipulated by the government. Kirchner and Fernandez have said the institute’s figures are accurate.

Yields on the government’s inflation-linked bonds due in 2033, one of the securities turned over to creditors in the 2005 restructuring, soared 275 basis points in 2007 as the data- rigging concerns prompted investors to dump the securities.

Defaulted Debt

In the 2005 settlement, Kirchner offered bonds to creditors worth 30 cents on the dollar in exchange for $95 billion of debt the government defaulted on in 2001. That offer was rejected by about 25 percent of investors, prompting Fernandez to settle with holders of $12.2 billion of the securities in June.

Creditors including billionaire investor Kenneth Dart and Elliott Management Corp., a New York-based hedge fund, are still suing the government in international courts for repayment of the debt.

Warrants linked to economic growth jumped 0.45 cent to 12.91 cents yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The peso didn’t trade locally as financial markets were closed for a nationwide census. The currency was little changed at 3.9568 per dollar on Oct. 26.

‘Strong, Confrontational’

The cost of protecting Argentine debt against non-payment for five years with credit-default swaps tumbled 52 basis points to 647 yesterday, according to data provider CMA. Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a government or company fail to adhere to debt agreements.

A shift to a more “market-friendly” government may push down Argentina’s five-year default swaps to about 350 basis points after the elections, Royal Bank of Canada’s Eduardo Suarez said.

Argentine dollar bonds have returned 36 percent this year, more than double the 16 percent gain in emerging-market debt, as the June debt restructuring and a quickening economic expansion helped restore investor confidence in the country.

Argentina’s 8.73 percent average dollar bond yield is still more than 300 basis points over the 5.32 percent average yield on emerging-market debt. Only debt issued by Venezuela and Ecuador yields more in JPMorgan’s benchmark EMBI+ index.

Kirchner took office in 2003, in the wake of Argentina’s default and a devaluation that forced his elected predecessor, Fernando de la Rua, to resign amid deadly protests.

Kirchner was “a politician and president with strong, confrontational policies,” Kiguel said. “That has been negative for the country.”

16. BACK TO A VACUUM (The Economist)

October 27, 2010

ARGENTINE political parties are so weak that most movements are simply named after their leaders. The hegemonic, ideologically amorphous Justicialist Party (PJ) is universally called peronismo after its long-deceased founder, Juan Perón. Since 2003, only one ismo has mattered in Argentina: the kirchnerismo of Néstor Kirchner, a leftist, populist Peronist. Although Mr Kirchner left the presidency in 2007 to his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, kirchnerismo came to a close this morning, when Mr Kirchner died of a heart attack at 60.

Mr Kirchner exemplified the country’s caudillo-centric political culture. In the 1990s, he was the governor of Santa Cruz, a desolate Patagonian province of 230,000 people whose economy depends on public works, oil and gas. He ran it like a personal fiefdom, refusing to delegate even tiny tasks and overseeing every centavo of the budget.

He was barely known outside Patagonia in 2002, when Eduardo Duhalde, a Peronist boss who became president after Argentina’s economic collapse the year before, was looking for a successor to back in the next election. Mr Duhalde reluctantly threw his support to Mr Kirchner after all of his top choices rebuffed him, and the strength of his political machine propelled Mr Kirchner into a second round. Mr Kirchner became president by default after his rival withdrew from the run-off.

Once in office, Mr Kirchner promptly set about ruling Argentina as he had Santa Cruz. He reorganised the tax system to make provincial governors more financially dependent on the federal executive. He got Congress to let him reassign public spending at will, and give him veto power over judicial nominations. He nationalised a handful of strategic businesses. And he circumvented presidential term limits by having Ms Fernández succeed him, with the apparent intention of allowing them to alternate in power indefinitely.

As a candidate, Ms Fernández promised a more consensual and conciliatory style. But it soon became clear that the First Gentleman—who also became president of the PJ and of Unasur, a group of South American countries, as well as a congressman—was still calling the shots. Mr Kirchner routinely gave orders to her ministers, occasionally contradicting Ms Fernández’s own directives. He even found time to ring private businessmen and instruct them to lower their prices or sell their stockpiled dollars. He was widely expected to run for a second term as president—the third for kirchnerismo—next year.

The only thing that could stop Mr Kirchner’s will to power was his health. Micromanaging a country of 40m was a draining task, and Mr Kirchner was notoriously late to bed and early to rise. He had suffered from colon problems during his presidency. This year, his ailments grew worse: he had two operations to unblock arteries in February and September. Nonetheless, he maintained his bruising schedule of public appearances and behind-the-scenes management. This morning, in a meeting at his home near the stark southern Andes, he collapsed, and could not be resuscitated.

In most countries, the death of a presidential spouse would be seen as a national tragedy. In Argentina, it is a political upheaval. Ms Fernández is more than a mere puppet—she was an influential senator when Mr Kirchner was still an enigmatic governor, and was his closest adviser during his presidency. But thanks to her husband’s omnipresence, she has never delegated meaningful authority to her cabinet. In particular, she has never shown much interest in economics, and the government forced out its few independent voices on the subject long ago.

The first couple’s detractors are divided on whether the hard-line Mr Kirchner undermined Ms Fernández’s more sensible instincts, or whether she was never truly her own woman at all. If the former is true, then Mr Kirchner’s passing could lead to a moderation of government policies. Ms Fernández has long promised to improve Argentina’s international standing; stopping the manipulation of official inflation statistics, for example, would be a first step towards restoring the country’s credibility. Presumably, a nationwide outpouring of sympathy for Ms Fernández might give her cover to make much-needed decisions her husband might have vetoed.

On the other hand, if Ms Fernández was really just a figurehead, then the best Argentines can hope for is a year of political paralysis. Even some of the Kirchners’ closest allies seem to doubt her ability to govern by herself. “I don’t know what will happen with Cristina,” said Estela Carlotto, the head of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a widely respected human-rights group. “She’s all alone now in charge of the country.”

Mr Kirchner’s death also makes an already uncertain 2011 presidential race even more difficult to predict. Kirchnerismo always promised two for the price of one. If Ms Fernández does run for re-election, she will have to reassure voters that she can handle her husband’s old tasks of managing the budget and keeping the peace among Peronism’s warring factions. Moreover, many potential Peronist candidates who might have kept their ambitions in check for fear of Mr Kirchner’s wrath may now be emboldened. In particular, Daniel Scioli, who was Mr Kirchner’s vice president and is now the governor of Buenos Aires province, now seems much more likely to run.

Mr Kirchner’s economic legacy is complicated. Despite implementing a series of ill-advised policies that discouraged investment, Argentina’s GDP has grown rapidly since he took office, thanks to a natural recovery from the 2001 crash, surging global demand for the country’s farm exports and the strong performance of neighbouring Brazil.

The political impact of his rule, however, is more straightforward. Mr Kirchner filled a power vacuum not with institution-building but with his own tireless labour. Now that he can give no more, the vacuum will return.

17. ARGENTINE BONDS RISE AS MARKETS ANTICIPATE POSSIBLE 2011 REGIME CHANGE; ARGENTINA’S EX-PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER DIES; ARGENTINE BONDS RISE AS MARKETS ANTICIPATE POSSIBLE 2011 REGIME CHANGE (MarketWatch)

By Carla Mozee

27 October 2010

Argentine bonds and U.S.-listed stocks rallied Wednesday, as analysts said that the sudden death of the country’s former president may pave a shift to a more market-friendly environment

Argentina’s dollar-denominated Par bonds due in 2038 gained 2.5 points to bid 44.75, yielding 8.76%. The five-year credit-default swap spread tightened 35 basis points, according to RBC Capital Markets. A drop in credit-protection costs signals investors are less worried about default risk on Argentine debt.

“There is a very strong bid out there for Argentina,” said Enrique Alvarez, head of Latin American fixed-income research at IDEAglobal in New York.

Argentina’s former president Nestor Kirchner, and husband of Argentina’s current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, died Wednesday, according to a notice on the president’s Web site.

Kirchner, 60, suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead shortly after 9 a.m. local time at a hospital in El Calafate in southern Argentina, according to media reports. His funeral service is scheduled to be held Thursday in Buenos Aires at the government palace.

The Kirchners had been staying at their residence in the Pantagonia-region town when the former president was rushed to the hospital, according to reports. In September, he had undergone surgery to address a blockage near his heart.

Nestor Kirchner served as president of Argentina from 2003 through 2007, and there had been wide speculation that either he or his wife would again seek the presidency in the October 2011 election.

The day’s rise in Argentine debt prices “is essentially a reaction from the political spectrum,” said Alvarez in a telephone interview. “Argentina since the Kirchner era has been known for unorthodox economic policies,” and has carried the reputation of being a “very government-centered type economic environment, and very interventionist in guiding the economy.”

The market is now reflecting hope “that perhaps there will be the opportunity for more orthodox policies or more clarity to come from the economic realm,” he said.

The BNY Mellon Argentina ADR Index (BKAR, US) , which tracks U.S.-listed shares of Argentine stocks, surged 7.9%, pushing its year-to-date gain to 57%. Shares of volume leader Grupo Financiero Galicia (GGAL, US) climbed 8.7% in New York. Electricity distributor Edenor (EDN, US) shares leapt 17% and Telecom Argentina (TEO, US) gained 7.3%.

The U.S.-listed Argentine shares outperformed the broader market. The S&P 500 Index (SPX, US) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA, US) each fell on concerns related to possible quantitative easing measures by the U.S. Federal Reserve. U.S. stocks end lower Thursday on Fed worries.

Trading in Argentina’s equity market was closed Wednesday for the census-taking holiday. The Merval index (MERV, XX) finished Tuesday’s session up 0.1%, enough to close at a fresh record high at 2,920.44. The Merval has jumped 26% this year.

Argentina still remains in legal disputes with some international creditors who had sought to recoup assets stemming from the country’s 2001 default on roughly $100 billion.

The country has settled more than 90% of the defaulted debt with a debt swap in June and a debt-restructuring offer in 2005.

“Even against the recent shift towards normalizing external creditor relations, the legacy of the Kirchner Administration clearly reflects market interventionism and antagonism with the private sector,” wrote Siobhan Morden, who heads Latin American debt strategy at RBS Securities, in a note.

The “first signals” for a weaker mandate and increased prospects for a new administration came from last year’s defeat of the Kirchner administration in the midterm elections, Morden wrote.

However, there’s no guarantee that Fernandez de Kirchner, head of the ruling Peronist party, will lose her re-election bid in 2011, as she “has already undoubtedly been benefiting from the strong economic growth that is on track for 9% this year on the pre-election spending spree,” wrote Morden.

RBC Capital Markets emerging-markets currency strategist Eduardo Suarez said for investors, it’s “worth being cautious” as the shifting balance of political power “is likely to drive elevated levels of political noise and volatility.”

The death of Nestor Kirchner increases the odds that Daniel Scioli, the Buenos Aires provincial governor, will emerge as the presidential candidate for the Peronist party if he obtains the support of various Peronist party factions, wrote Suarez.

Mexico lowers inflation outlook

Elsewhere in Latin American markets, Mexico’s IPC (MEXBOL, XX) fell 0.3% to 35,262.90, pulling back from a record closing high in the previous session.

Mexico’s central bank on Wednesday lowered its inflation forecast for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, and said it expects economic growth of 5% this year.

Agustin Carstens, the head of Mexico’s central bank, citing limited inflationary pressures, said it now expects inflation to reach 4.25% to 4.75% in the fourth quarter. It had previously expected inflation to reach as high as 5.25%.

It now foresees inflation of 3.75% to 4.25% in the first quarter of next year, down from the previous projection of 4.5% to 5%. Headline inflation is projected to reach the 3% target in 2011.

Carstens also said the number of meetings held by monetary policy makers will be reduced to eight from 11, and that minutes from each meeting will be published 10 business days after the release of each decision on monetary policy.

In Santiago, Chile’s IPSA (IPSA, XX) rose 0.9% to 4,877.62 for a fresh record high close. Brazil’s Bovespa equity index (BVSP, XX) finished down 0.2% to 70,568.94.

Argentine bonds and U.S.-listed stocks rally, with analysts saying the death of former president Nestor Kirchner may open the door to a more market-friendly environment.

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18. ARGENTINA’S EX-PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER DIES (Dow Jones News Service)

By Taos Turner

27 October 2010

Nestor Carlos Kirchner, Argentina’s former president and the husband of the country’s current head of state, Cristina Fernandez, died early Wednesday morning of natural causes.

Kirchner was president of Argentina from May 2003 until December 2007, when Fernandez replaced him in office. A populist leader who often gave fiery speeches, he was 60 years old.

Widely thought to have driven the country’s political and economic policies from behind the scenes in recent years, he was also expected to seek the presidency again in the October 2011 elections. His death could make it more likely that his wife will seek reelection.

Kirchner was a long-time politician from the sparsely populated, wind-swept Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, and appeared to enjoy intense confrontation with his political adversaries. He frequently dismissed public advice that he slow down and refrain from what, by all accounts, was a frenetic schedule filled with daily campaign-like events and speeches.

Kirchner died at a hospital in the southern city of El Calafate, with his wife at his side. He had recently suffered a series of health issues and surgical interventions related to cardiac problems.

“We accompany the president and her children in their pain,” Vice President Julio Cobos said in an interview with a local television station. Opposition leaders flooded the social network Twitter with words of sympathy.

Kirchner left office with an approval rating of nearly 80%, according to some polls. But his popularity declined sharply in the years that followed, with recent surveys indicating he was the most disliked politician in Argentina.

His political legacy is highlighted by his push to repeal laws protecting former government officials from charges of human rights violations during the country’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Kirchner is also credited with nominating respected, independent judges to the Supreme Court, restoring prestige to the body.

The former president also garnered international attention for railing against the International Monetary Fund and the so-called “Washington Consensus” that advocated budget cuts and orthodox economic policies. In one fell swoop, he paid off Argentina’s nearly $10 billion debt to the IMF, ending the government’s periodic consultations with the multilateral lender.

In foreign policy, Kirchner often criticized the U.S. while praising the government of Venezuela’s firebrand leftist president, Hugo Chavez. But for the most part, Kirchner didn’t like to travel and focused mainly on domestic issues. He was recently named head of the South American political group, Unasur, and was a member of the Lower House in Congress.

“On behalf of the American people, I offer my sincere condolences to the Argentine people and to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner upon the death of Nestor Kirchner, former president of Argentina and secretary general of the Union of South American Nations [Unasur],” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Nestor Kirchner played a significant role in the political life of Argentina and had embarked upon an important new chapter with UNASUR.”

Kirchner was none-too-appreciated by investors. Negotiations on restructuring Argentina’s world-record breaking $100 billion sovereign bond default in 2001 were overtly hostile, with Kirchner taking a take-it-or-leave-it strategy on a bond exchange offer that finally took place in 2005. Earlier this year, the government reopened the exchange to investors still holding nearly $20 billion in bonds.

The country’s resource-rich economy flourished during his time in office, which coincided with a global boom in commodities prices. But his term was also marked by highly interventionist economic policies at home. Kirchner capped prices on public utilities services and transportation. He also tried to cap beef prices and at one point completely banned beef exports while heavily taxing grains exports.

In the wake of his death, Argentina’s bonds rallied. The country’s risk premium on JPMorgan’s Emerging Markets Bond Index Global tightened 53 basis points tighter to 542 basis points over U.S. Treasurys, lifting it 3.17% and making it by far the index’s top performer.

“It’s analogous to a stock rallying 5% when a bad CEO leaves [or] dies,” said Sara Zervos, an international debt portfolio manager at Oppenheimer.

While his death will surely be mourned, Zervos adds, “Things will be messy as there will be a power struggle. But in the long run, the market…will see this as the first clear opportunity for significant, positive political change in Argentina.”

Douglas Smith, head of Latin America Research at Standard Chartered, agreed. “The bottom line is near-term volatility, but I would say this is somewhat positive for the bonds and the economic outlook because it boosts the chances of the opposition, which is more fiscally responsible and market friendly,” Smith wrote in a note to clients.

Fernandez, who has seen her popularity recover somewhat from rock-bottom levels last year, is likely to receive a boost in her support level amid widespread public sympathy.

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19. COMBATIVE STYLE PAVED WAY FOR POWERFUL DYNASTY (Financial Times)

By John Paul Rathbone

October 28, 2010

Abstract: OBITUARY Néstor Kirchner Argentine statesman 1950-2010

Néstor Kirchner, the former Argentine president who, with his wife, formed what many called the country’s most powerful political dynasty since Juan and Evita Perón, died on Wednesday from a heart attack. He was 60.

The son of a post office official, he first tasted power as mayor and then governor of Santa Cruz, a distant southern province closer to the Antarctic than the capital. Paradoxically, this obscurity served him well. In 2003, shortly after the country defaulted on $100bn of foreign debt, Mr Kirchner ran for the presidency as a fresh face who could promise voters he would “renew the political culture” and cleanse it of corruption.

His inauguration that May gave the nation a taste of Mr Kirchner’s typical aggression. Tall and lanky with a lazy eye, speech impediment and a nose like a hawk’s beak, Mr Kirchner sported a Band-Aid on his face after being cut by a camera while, in typical “K Style”, wading through chaotic crowds.

Mr Kirchner, whose closest supporters, many of whom followed him to Buenos Aires from Santa Cruz and were known as “penguins”, negotiated one of the most punitive debt restructurings in history – offering international creditors about 30 cents on the dollar. He clashed frequently with the International Monetary Fund and foreign companies, exhorting Argentines in one example in 2005 to boycott Shell petrol stations after the oil company raised prices.

After the international humiliation of the debt default, this approach won him popularity at home. Just 100 days into his presidency, he became the most popular president in Argentine history.

But his heterodox economic approach, which included price controls and the “smart populism” of targeted spending at urban classes, and which he continued in 2007 from behind the scenes when his wife Cristina Fernández won the presidency, left a mixed record. In their back-to-back tenures, the Kirchners increased state control of the economy, muzzled the press and intervened in financial and commodity markets, but international investment fell.

High initial growth was followed by high inflation and, in congressional elections in 2009, Mr Kirchner lost office to an opponent from an anti-Kirchner faction of the Peronist party, because of rising crime, corruption and a battle with farmers over export taxes. However, an economic recovery this year, thanks in large part to rising commodity prices and the boom in neighbouring Brazil, saw approval ratings for his wife’s presidency, and his own popularity by association, recover from lows of about 20 per cent.

Alongside his wife, who was expected to try to return the presidential baton to her husband in the 2011 election, he was often associated with the “new left” in Latin America. He was a close ally of Hugo Chávez, the radical president of Venezuela, and once thundered that “no way in hell” would Argentina return to the IMF after the country paid off its $10bn debt in 2006.

Yet, like Ms Fernández, he occupied a hazier middle political ground that was always pragmatic – critics said venal – more than ideological. This year, Argentina made overtures to repair relations with both the IMF and international creditors after negotiating a deal with holdouts who never accepted the original terms of his 30 cents on the dollar restructuring deal.

Mr Kirchner underwent surgery twice this year, treating physical debilities that stood in contrast to his robust attitudes. “What stands out is the solidity of his convictions, which were not always backed by the majority of people but were always firm, clear and at times even aggressive,” commented Antonio Cafiero, a minister under Perón, who added that Mr K’s style “wasn’t always the best”.

“We have lost a good Argentine, a politician to his fingertips; a true, astute, combative politician who never hid his convictions . . . and who has left his mark on national life.”

He is survived by his wife and two children.

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20. DEATH LEAVES COUNTRY’S FUTURE WIDE OPEN (Financial Times)

By Jude Webber

October 28, 2010

Abstract: News analysis Voters appear ready to embrace a more investor friendly type of national politician, writes Jude Webber

The death of Néstor Kirchner, Argentina ‘s most influential politician, leaves a void at the heart of the presidency of his wife, Cristina Fernández, and a big question mark over the country’s direction.

The Kirchners’ unpopularity with middle-class voters made neither of them a sure-fire bet for victory in presidential elections in October 2011. But one or the other of Argentina ‘s most powerful political couple since Juan and Evita Perón had been expected to stand, in hopes that the combination of a weak opposition, booming growth and high public spending would carry them through.

Now, with the death of Mr Kirchner of a heart attack on Wednesday at the age of 60, everything is wide open.

Ms Fernández will receive a massive outpouring of sympathy, but opinion polls showed voters were already weary of the couple’s confrontational style well before Mr Kirchner’s death – which may open the way to a milder candidate like Mr Kirchner’s vice-president, Daniel Scioli, to steer Argentina into a more investor-friendly era.

“This dramatically changes the current political landscape and the outlook for the elections,” said Joaquín Morales Solá, a commentator. “The Kirchner era was over before this . . . I don’t think she can renew a political mandate without her husband. Theirs was a joint project.”

Mr Kirchner’s death offers Ms Fernández an elegant way out if she decides not to stand again in 2011. With no prospect of humiliating defeat, she could wrap up her term as the president who tackled the problem of “holdouts”, creditors still unpaid from Argentina ‘s 2001 default – a key step towards restoring international respectability. And with the economy expected to grow as much as 8 per cent this year and more than 5 per cent in 2011, and record central bank reserves, she could argue she was leaving Argentina in fine shape – vindication for her husband’s political model.

She may, in addition, find that no one would be willing to pursue her for corruption charges during the two Kirchner terms.

Under the polarising presidencies of the Kirchners, Argentina ‘s ruling Peronist party has become bitterly divided. “With Kirchner’s death, the battle for dominance within the Peronist movement will be fierce,” says Irenea Renuncio-Mateos, Latin America analyst at IHS Global Insight.

“Meanwhile, the popularity of Daniel Scioli – governor of Argentina ‘s Buenos Aires province and president of the Justicialist Party – keeps on rising ahead of next year’s general elections,” Ms Renuncio-Mateos added. Mr Scioli is attracting increasing support from both the electorate and business, she said.

Daniel Kerner, analyst at Eurasia, a consultancy, noted that the way the Fernández government has worked until now was for all the decision-making powers to be concentrated in the hands of Mr Kirchner. “This isn’t a government of president and ministers and a team – it was basically him,” he said.

He, however, expected Mr Kirchner’s death to reaffirm Ms Fernández’s candidacy next year, though he acknowledged there was likely to be a battle for control of the government. He expected Ms Fernández to stick firmly to the lines mapped out by her husband, and to trust the same close-knit group of advisers.

In addition, Mr Kerner said it might prove difficult for Mr Scioli – or anyone else from within the Kirchner orbit – from launching his own bid without being seen as a traitor.

“At face value, President Cristina Kirchner is now more likely to stand for re-election (but without the valuable contribution and political coattails of a seasoned strategist) and a cabinet reshuffle over the next few months should not be ruled out,” echoed Alberto Ramos at Goldman Sachs.

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21. KIRCHNER DEATH SPARKS MARKET REACTION (Financial Times)

By Benedict Mander; John Paul Rathbone and Jude Webber

October 28, 2010

Abstract: Rally on prospect of regime change

The sudden death of Néstor Kirchner, Argentina ‘s pugnacious former president, sparked a rally on international financial markets at the prospect of a more investor-friendly regime in one of the world’s top commodities producers. But it threw next year’s presidential elections wide open.

The Buenos Aires stock exchange was closed on Wednesday for a holiday but Argentine stocks saw their biggest rise in two years, with the MSCI Argentina index rising as much as 13 per cent and shares in Galicia, the country’s biggest consumer lender, surging 26 per cent in New York.

The price of dollar-denominated Boden debt due in 2015 gained more than 3 percentage points.

“Investors are expecting regime change,” said Alberto Bernal, head of research at Bulltick Capital Markets in Miami.

Flags in Argentina flew at half-mast for the former president, who died of a heart attack on Wednesday at home in El Calafate, in southern Argentina .

Tributes poured in from across the political spectrum to a man who made many enemies but ruled with passionate conviction.

Barack Obama, US president, led a chorus of tributes from political leaders and Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader who was for a time the main financial backer to a country cut off from international credit since its default on $100bn in 2001, said: “We have lost a bastion, when he had so much to give.”

Supporters congregated outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, placing floral tributes, flags and messages. A mass was held at Buenos Aires cathedral.

Kirchner, who had been considering seeking a comeback in elections next October, was the driving force in what became Argentina ‘s most powerful political partnership since Juan and Evita Perón, and he was widely believed to have called the shots in the administration of Cristina Fernández, his wife. “This isn’t a government of president and ministers and a team – it was basically him,” said Daniel Kerner, a political analyst.

He expected public sympathy to give Ms Fernández a boost in the polls. But though Ms Fernández followed her husband’s economic model, she lacks his clout with power brokers, such as union leaders.

“She doesn’t have political weight on her own, far less within the Peronist party,” noted Joaquín Mor-ales Solá, a commentator.

Nevertheless, Hugo Moyano, the powerful head of Argentina ‘s biggest union confederation, promised to rally support behind the president. “After Perón and Evita, no one did as much for workers,” he said.

“The bottom line is near-term volatility,” said Douglas Smith, head of Latin America research at Standard Chartered. “But I’d say this is somewhat positive for the bonds and the economic outlook because it boosts the chance of the opposition, which is more fiscally responsible and market friendly.”

Kirchner turned Argentina inward during his 2003-07 term. He alienated investors with unorthodox policies, including price controls and export freezes.

Galloping public spending and inflation expected to end the year above 25 per cent has led many to question the sustainability of the economic policies Kirchner bequeathed to his wife.

Ms Fernández, however, says high growth – as much as 8 per cent this year – vindicates her husband’s model. But opinion polls showed voters were already weary of the couple’s confrontational style.

This could open the way for a milder candidate to steer Argentina into a more investor-friendly era.

Additional reporting by Benedict Mander in Caracas

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22. SECRETARY-GENERAL EXTENDS CONDOLENCES ON DEATH OF ARGENTINA’S FORMER PRESIDENT (US Fed News)

28 October 2010

The United Nations Office of the Secretary General issued the text of the following statement:

The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General learned with great sadness of the untimely and sudden passing of Nestor Kirchner, Executive Secretary of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), former President of Argentina and current Deputy in the Argentinean Congress, and husband of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

A friend of the United Nations, Mr. Kirchner was a national and international leader who believed in multilateralism. The Secretary-General wishes to extend his sincere condolences and respect to President Cristina Fernandez, her family and to the Government and people of Argentina.

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23. ARGENTINA ENTERS NEW POLITICAL ERA AS KIRCHNER DIES (Reuters News)

By Maximilian Heath

28 October 2010

* Kirchner was contender for 2011 presidential race

* Oversaw Argentina’s recovery from economic crash

* Critics saw him as divisive, confrontational figure

* Argentina asset prices gain, but uncertainty deepens

Tens of thousands of Argentines paid tribute on Thursday to Nestor Kirchner, the powerful former leader whose death robbed President Cristina Fernandez of her husband and most trusted ally.

Kirchner, 60, was widely seen as the most influential figure in his wife’s government, which has maintained the same statist economic measures that supporters say helped lift the country out of the doldrums after a 2001-2002 crisis.

The combative Kirchner was widely expected to run for a second term in a presidential election next October. His death increases the possibility that Fernandez, who has higher approval ratings than her late husband, will seek re-election.

Financial markets rallied on news of Kirchner’s death from a heart attack on Wednesday. Investors had seen Kirchner as unfriendly to business. But his departure from Argentina’s polarized political scene heightens uncertainties before the 2011 vote.

Analysts say Fernandez — who, like her husband is known for antagonizing business leaders and pushing policies that frustrate investors — could change tack and adopt a more conciliatory approach in a bid to garner broader support.

But she will likely maintain the couple’s intimate circle of advisers and Kirchner’s death could boost her approval ratings as voters recall the boom years of his 2003-2007 presidency when South America’s No. 2 economy expanded rapidly.

Long into the night, supporters waving the blue-and-white national flag and banners carrying messages of support gathered in front of the presidential palace, where regional leaders and political figures were due to attend a wake on Thursday.

“We must show solidarity in the coming days so that the opposition doesn’t take advantage of this moment,” said Roberto Picozze, 25, one of thousands of people who turned out to express support for the powerful couple after staying home all day as a national census was carried out.

Although local financial markets were closed for the national census holiday on Wednesday, prices for Argentine bonds and stocks traded overseas firmed on bets Fernandez would take a more moderate line in her dealings with local companies and foreign investors.

Argentina, a leading agricultural exporter, has benefited from a boom in commodities prices since the economic debacle nine years ago, but critics reviled Kirchner’s interventionist economic policies and said he failed to put Argentine on a path toward sustainable growth or tackle high inflation.

Opponents of the presidential couple bristled at their outspoken attacks on big business, journalists and political rivals.

When farmers rebelled over a tax hike on soy exports in 2008, the center-left Kirchner accused them of plotting a coup, and he increased state control over the economy, nationalizing several companies.

Financial markets never forgave him for the tough 2005 renegotiation of some $100 billion in defaulted bonds, which stuck creditors with a steep discount. He was also an outspoken critic of the International Monetary Fund.

A member of the dominant Peronist party, Kirchner built strong alliances as president that won him solid backing while also steering the party to the left and courting regional leftists like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez will attend his funeral, along with regional leaders such as Chile’s conservative president, Sebastian Pinera, and Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

At the presidential palace, the national flag flew at half-staff and supporters tied roses and messages to the railings, some reading: “Thank you Nestor.” Graffiti on the wall of a bank read: “Hang in there Cristina.”

Fernandez’s approval ratings hover at about 35 percent, too low to suggest she could win a first-round victory in the next presidential vote.

Opposition leaders paid tribute to Kirchner’s political savvy but could feel emboldened by the departure of the influential political power broker and likely 2011 presidential candidate. (Additional reporting by Magdalena Morales; Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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24. ARGENTINA POLITICS: KIRCHNER DEATH CREATES VOID (Economist Intelligence Unit – ViewsWire)

27 October 2010

FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT

Former President Néstor Kirchner, considered the strongman behind current President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, died on the morning of October 27th of a sudden heart attack. This will shake up the country’s political scene and create new uncertainties ahead of next year’s presidential elections. Mr Kirchner was the leader of his party and was expected to run for president again in October 2011. It is not yet clear how the political void left by his death will be filled, but the government’s economic policies are not likely to shift.

Mr Kirchner (60) served as president from 2003 to 2007 and was succeeded by his wife, Ms Fernández, in a strategy that was designed by the “presidential couple” to allow them to alternate in power. He headed the governing Partido Justicialista (PV), and heavily influenced the policies of the Fernández administration. He was also the head of a regional grouping, the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).

Although there had been growing concerns about Mr Kirchner’s death in recent months (he had had two cardiac procedures earlier this year), the shock of his death will reverberate strongly in the days and weeks ahead. He was undoubtedly the most powerful political figure in Argentina during the last seven years—having taken office after the massive financial and economic crisis of 2001-02, and overseen two debt restructurings and, together with his wife, an impressive economic rebound.

However, the Kirchners have faced major criticism over their heavy-handed economic policies and confrontational style of government, and Ms Fernández’s approval ratings plummeted at one point into the 20s (they have since recovered into the 30s, thanks to strong economic growth). Among the policies that have been attacked have been increased state control of the economy, interventions in the financial and agricultural markets, and maintenance of price freezes in various sectors. The government has also been criticised for taking over private pension funds and using Central Bank reserves for debt repayment. Most recently, the Fernández government has been engaged in a high-profile conflict with several media groups.

Among the population, there has been growing dissatisfaction with rising crime and corruption, as well as the re-emergence of food price inflation, which is eroding real incomes and hitting the poor hard. Inflation in Argentina is among the highest in the world, and has been stoked mostly by the government’s loose monetary and fiscal policies.

At the same time, however, Argentina has been posting brisk economic growth rates, thanks to government policies, high commodity prices and strong demand in major exports markets, such as China and Brazil.

Elections wide open

Mr Kirchner’s death will produce an initial outpouring of support for Ms Fernández, but this might not translate into a permanent increase in her government’s popularity. Though Mr Kirchner was expected to make a run for the presidency next year—and the government has been pump-priming economic growth to improve his chances—he was probably not headed for any easy victory. His chances would have been undermined by rising discontent with inflation, crime, corruption and clientelism, and a desire for change after more than eight years of Kirchner rule. Other figures within the PJ now will scramble for leadership of the party to fill the void. A battle for the presidential candidacy will also ensue, but it is too early to predict its outcome.

Various opposition figures already have emerged as possible front-runners in the upcoming presidential contest. Among these is Mauricio Macri, mayor of the city of Buenos Aires and leader of the Propuesta Republicana (Pro) party; the current vice-president, Julio Cobos (who broke with the government in 2008); and Congressman Ricardo Alfonsín (son of a former president, Raúl Alfonsín). However, the opposition’s chances hinge on whether they can maintain an electoral alliance behind one candidate, which is not yet clear.

With Mr Kirchner gone, the electoral outlook has been shaken up completely, and will now depend on the leadership battle within the PV and the emergence of an alternate candidate. That could take weeks if not months to become clear.

On the economic policy front, however, there is little reason to believe things will change until after the October 2011 elections are passed. Meanwhile, official inflation statistics will remain discredited, reflecting political meddling. The risk of nationalisations persists following the takeover of private pension funds in 2008, and the independence of the Central Bank is being steadily eroded. Combined with the new political uncertainties, along with concerns over the maintenance of strong fiscal and monetary stimulus measures—which are boosting inflationary pressures and raising further questions about the health of the public finances—this will sustain the risk of potentially destabilising increases in capital flight in the run-up to the 2011 polls.

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25. SECRETARY’S REMARKS: PASSING OF ARGENTINA’S FORMER PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER (State Department Press Releases and Documents)

27 October 2010

State Department Press Release

Secretary’s Remarks: Passing of Argentina’s Former President Nestor Kirchner

Wed, 27 Oct 2010

Passing of Argentina’s Former President Nestor Kirchner

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

October 27, 2010

I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Argentina and President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on the passing of former President Nestor Kirchner. As President of Argentina and Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations, Nestor Kirchner was an advocate for the citizens of Argentina and a leading voice for South American integration.

During my visit to Buenos Aires earlier this year, President Fernandez de Kirchner and I reaffirmed the deep friendship between our countries, and as friends, the United States mourns with all Argentines. They have lost a leader and the Kirchner family has lost a beloved husband and father. Today our thoughts and prayers are with the President and her children.

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26. 78-2010. DEATH OF NESTOR KIRCHNER (States News Service)

27 October 2010

The following information was released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain:

The Directorate General for Foreign Communications of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation hereby publishes the following communique:

The Government of Spain wishes to express to the Government and people of Argentina its condolences and sorrow for the death of the former President of the Argentine Republic and the current Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations, Nestor Kirchner. It also wishes to convey to his wife and President of the Republic, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, its most sincere condolences at this time of sadness for the sister nation of Argentina.

President Kirchner will be remembered with affection and recognition for his hard work and dedication in restoring Argentina from the serious crisis it was suffering when he took over as Head of State. During his mandate, the Governments of Spain and Argentina worked hard to strengthen their bilateral relations and the deep friendship that links the two countries.

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27. AJC MOURNS PASSING OF FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT NESTOR KIRCHNER (States News Service)

27 October 2010

The following information was released by the American Jewish Committee (AJC):

AJC mourns the passing of Nestor Kirchner, who served as president of Argentina from 2001-2007.

“Together with the people of Argentina, we are profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of President Kirchner,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “We extend our deepest condolences to his widow, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and to the nation he loved so profoundly. For AJC, we always valued his leadership and dedication. He was a good friend of our organization and of the Jewish people.”

In his moving address to AJC’s 2004 Annual Meeting in Washington, President Kirchner reaffirmed his personal commitment to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. He also pledged to renew efforts to investigate Nazi war criminals residing in Argentina.

“We had the pleasure of meeting with President Nestor Kirchner on our regular visits to Buenos Aires, as well as during his trips to New York,” said Harris.

“We valued his efforts to combat anti-Semitism in Argentina and to establish a credible process for investigating the terrorist attacks against his country. These laudable efforts will not fade with his passing – indeed, they continue under the leadership of President Fernandez de Kirchner – and will long be part of the proud legacy he leaves behind,” said Harris.

“In that spirit, those of us from AJC who were present will long remember the image of this husband-and-wife team in the large crowd near the AMIA building to mark the tenth anniversary of the AMIA bombing. They chose not to go on stage and be in the limelight, but rather to stand quietly with the people as mourners among mourners.”

In addition to helping to guide Argentina through an economic crisis, Kirchner enacted judicial measures which led to the trials of hundreds of dictatorship-era figures who previously had enjoyed political amnesty from their connection to the deaths of thousands of Argentine citizens.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and compatriots,” said Harris. “As we say in the Jewish tradition, may Nestor Kirchner’s memory forever be for a blessing.”

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28. STATEMENT BY IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN ON THE PASSING OF MR. NÉSTOR KIRCHNER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF ARGENTINA (States News Service)

27 October 2010

The following information was released by the International Monetary Fund:

Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today:

“It is with great shock and sadness that I have learned of the sudden death of former President Néstor Kirchner.

“During his tenure as president, President Kirchner led Argentina through a period of a strong economic recovery in the aftermath of Argentina’s 2001 financial crisis. In recent years, he had remained very active in the political life of Argentina and also served the region as Secretary-General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). He will be greatly missed.

“On behalf of the IMF, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, her family, and the people of Argentina.”

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29. FACTBOX-KEY POLITICAL RISKS TO WATCH IN ARGENTINA (Reuters News)

By Helen Popper

27 October 2010

The death of former President Nestor Kirchner, the current president’s husband and a strong contender to succeed her in the 2011 presidential race, has shaken Argentina’s political landscape.

President Cristina Fernandez, whose approval ratings have risen this year in tandem with brisk economic growth, may now adopt more moderate, consensus-building policies as she seeks to shore up her administration without the support of her powerful husband.

Kirchner was widely seen as the architect of Fernandez’s interventionist economic policies and some of her more controversial measures, including her fights with farmers’ groups and media companies.

Without her closest ally and behind-the scenes power broker husband, the center-leftist president could now change tack.

The center-leftist Fernandez will likely maintain the couple’s intimate circle of close advisers, although she may also seek to cement ties with more moderate Peronist figures such as Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Daniel Scioli.

Here are some of the issues investors are watching:

ELECTION BUILD-UP

The Peronist faction that Kirchner led will still likely field Fernandez as its presidential candidate for 2011, but she may look for a running mate acceptable to other factions of the fragmented party, such as Scioli.

Both Kirchner and Fernandez had governed with a combative approach, clashing with powerful farmers’ groups, the Roman Catholic church, media companies and the armed forces.

Kirchner’s death could see dissident members of the party opposed to the government gain influence and prompt more moderate policy in South America’s No. 2 economy. That prospect drove Argentine financial asset prices higher on Wednesday.

Argentina’s splintered opposition has failed so far to form a united front against the government despite winning control of Congress in last year’s mid-term elections, but Kirchner’s death could boost their confidence as campaigning heats up.

There had already been some signs the opposition is getting organized, such as blocking the government’s 2011 budget bill and passing a law to hike pensions, which Fernandez swiftly vetoed saying it would have bankrupted the state.

Vice President Julio Cobos, who has broken with Fernandez and is among the emerging field of opposition presidential candidates, cast the deciding Senate vote against the government on the pensions bill — apparently keen to emphasize his place in the rival camp.

Cobos was among those who paid tribute to Kirchner on Wednesday, but after the period of mourning is finished, the opposition is likely to go on the offensive.

Fernandez’s popularity hovered around 20 percent after last year’s mid-term elections, but the economic rebound has lifted it to about 35 percent, a level it has maintained for several months, pollsters say.

What to watch for:

— Signs of political alliances between Fernandez and possible running mates, or a more conciliatory approach on policy.

— Signs that Fernandez’s approval ratings get a boost following Kirchner’s death.

— Any signs of strong opposition challengers emerging to challenge her.

— Any fresh political tensions, which bubbled up following the Oct. 20 murder of a leftist activist who was shot dead during clashes with members of a railway workers’ union.

INFLATION

Doubts over state finances have eased due to the sizzling economic recovery in Argentina, a bumper soy harvest and the completion of a $12.3 billion bond restructuring to clean up the damage from a massive 2002 debt default.

But while the financing outlook has brightened, analysts say steeper social spending ahead of the election could stoke annual inflation running at about 25 percent, far above official estimates and fueling pay demands.

Political analysts say inflation remains the government’s Achilles heel as it tries to shore up backing among the urban poor, its key support base.

Public spending is not expected to slow and this, combined with an expansive monetary policy, is seen stoking inflation to between 25 percent and 30 percent by year-end, forcing the central bank to step up short-term debt sales.

What to watch:

— Any sign opposition senators might be able to muster enough votes to approve a bill to reform the questioned INDEC national statistics agency.

— Fresh government income-boosting measures that could prove inflationary, such as tapping credit markets to allow higher social spending as the election nears.

— Further loosening of the central bank’s money supply targets.

STATE FINANCES

Tax revenue is picking up quickly following last year’s slowdown, growing at rates of above 35 percent in recent months year-on-year, but public spending is also growing rapidly and is unlikely to ease as the election draws closer.

After her veto of the opposition-led pensions hike law, Fernandez may want to raise pensions and other welfare benefits herself, partly to avoid being punished by voters.

Argentina’s completion of the long-awaited debt swap has boosted investor appetite for sovereign bonds, although the government has not yet issued a $1 billion bond as originally planned.

Economy ministry officials have said repeatedly the government will wait until market conditions are right, stressing that there is no need to sell debt.

Opposition lawmakers are pushing several measures that would hit state finances, such as a pensions hike, but so far they have failed to push them through the upper house.

Opposition legislators also want to cut grains export levies, which account for about 10 percent of state revenue, but they have not yet put a bill to the vote.

What to watch:

— Global risk appetite and whether yields fall low enough to encourage a new bond sale.

— Creative accounting to maintain primary budget surpluses, such as increased use of central bank profits.

— Any sign that pre-electoral public spending is accelerating faster than tax revenue.

CONFLICT WITH BUSINESS

Business leaders have increasingly spoken out against Fernandez’s administration in recent months as her escalating row with Argentina’s top media group Clarin sharpens political divisions, although Kirchner’s death could ease tensions in the short term.

Relations with the business elite could be further strained over a union-led bill that would make companies share 10 percent of their net profits among employees. The government has not expressed support for the bill so far.

What to watch for:

— Any sign Fernandez will urge her congressional allies to back the bill in Congress.

— Any signs of Fernandez reaching out to big business as she seeks to consolidate her position following Kirchner’s death.

— Involvement of any pro-government trade unions, such as the truck drivers, in strikes or protests, which might end up testing Fernandez’s ties with powerful union leader Hugo Moyano or irking business leaders. (Editing by Simon Gardner and Kieran Murray)

30. KIRCHNER’S DEATH LEAVES VOID AT UNION OF S AMERICAN STATES (Dow Jones International News)

By Mercedes Alvaro and Ken Parks

27 October 2010

The death of Argentina’s former president, Nestor Kirchner, early Wednesday has left the Union of South American States without a secretary general.

Ecuador’s deputy foreign minister, Kinto Lucas, said the 12-nation regional block could name a new secretary general at a scheduled meeting of member country heads of state next month.

“An opportunity to do this could be the [Nov. 26] meeting, when the presidency passes to Guyana. But nothing has been discussed because this isn’t the right moment. We are all taken back by Kirchner’s death,” Lucas told Dow Jones Newswires in a telephone interview.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is currently the acting president of Unasur, as the organization is known by its Spanish acronym.

Kirchner, who passed away in his home province of Santa Cruz at the age of 60, was named secretary general of Unasur in May.

He enjoyed warm relations with most of the presidents of Unasur nations. In addition to his Unasur duties, Kirchner remained politically active at home, where at the time of his death he was a congressman and a key policy maker in the government of his wife, President Cristina Fernandez.

Unasur was created in 2004 and includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The organization has tried to cast itself as an alternative to the U.S.-dominated Organization of American States as a forum to resolve disputes within Latin America as well as between member nations and countries outside the region.

Earlier this month, Unasur condemned military exercises by the U.K. in the Falkland Islands, whose sovereignty is claimed by Argentina, and called an emergency meeting of its heads of state when an uprising by police officers in Ecuador nearly toppled the Correa government.

The political unrest in Ecuador was the biggest crisis Unasur had faced since Colombia and Venezuela broke diplomatic ties earlier this year after Columbia’s then-President Alvaro Uribe accused Venezuela of harboring leftist Colombian rebels in its territory, a charge the Venezuelan government strongly denied.

“Nestor Kirchner participated in decisive moments in the region, such as the reconciliation between the brother countries of Colombia and Venezuela, the defense of democracy during the attempted coup in Ecuador, and the implementation of the ‘democratic clause’ for South America,” Unasur said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

ARGENTINE UP DATES

26 octubre, 2010

1. SKYTEAM TO ADD AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS (USAtoday.com)

2. BANKS THWARTING STICKUPS IN ARGENTINA BY OFFERING CUSTOMERS FREE ACCOUNTS (Bloomberg News)

3. BONDS SURGE AS FERNANDEZ TAPS SOY REVENUE TO REPAY DEBT: ARGENTINA CREDIT (Bloomberg News)

4. ARGENTINA LAUNCHES FREE DIGITAL TV PLATFORM (Variety.com)

5. INTERVIEW – ARGENTINE MEDIA GROUP SAYS STRONG DESPITE GOVERNMENT ROW (Reuters News)

6. ARGENTINA’S SEPTEMBER PRIMARY BUDGET SURPLUS SURGES (Reuters News)

7. SURVEY: ARGENTINA’S ECONOMY LIKELY EXTENDED BOOM IN AUGUST (Dow Jones International News)

8. SURVEY: ARGENTINA SEPTEMBER TRADE SURPLUS SEEN SLIPPING ON IMPORTS (Dow Jones International News)

9. ARGENTINA SEPTEMBER INDUSTRY OUTPUT SEEN UP 9.5 PCT YR/YR (Reuters News)

10. ARGENTINA BONDS RALLY AS ECONOMY GROWS, DEFAULT FEARS SINK (Market News International)

11. CHINA BUYS 70,000 T ARGENTINE SOYOIL (Reuters News)

12. POPULARITY OF ARGENTINE CAPITAL’S GOVERNOR INCREASES AHEAD OF 2011 ELECTIONS (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

13. DESIRE DRILLS DRY WELL IN WATERS OFF FALKLAND ISLANDS (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

14. 3 QUESTIONS: THE BATTLE OVER THE FALKLANDS (Voice of America Press Releases and Documents)

1. SKYTEAM TO ADD AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS (USAtoday.com)

By Ben Mutzabaugh

October 19, 2010

Aerolineas Argentinas will become the newest member of the SkyTeam frequent-flier alliance. SkyTeam says in a press release that Argentina’s top carrier “will sign an agreement by the end of October to officially start the process of joining SkyTeam as the first South American member of the airline alliance.”

SkyTeam adds it “is actively working to strengthen its presence in Latin America, a region with strong growth figures and a positive outlook for the future. Aerolineas Argentinas, which is expected to join SkyTeam in 2012, fits perfectly in SkyTeam’s growth strategy as an airline with a long-term plan to expand and revitalize its business.”

The Buenos Aires Herald notes “Aerolineas last year began a five-year restructuring plan, under which it plans to renew its fleet and improve and expand its operations.”

As for SkyTeam, it used the Aerolineas Argentinas announcement to highlight what it calls “significant progress in attracting new members in its 10th anniversary year [2010].” SkyTeam notes “Vietnam Airlines and [Romania’s] TAROM joined as new members this year and adds that China Eastern and China Airlines are expected to enter in 2011 … .”

SkyTeam goes on to say that “is actively working on further extending its global network by looking for additional members from regions such as Southeast Asia, India and Latin America.”

The addition of Aerolineas Argentinas to SkyTeam comes as the world’s three big frequent-flier alliances scramble to gain a foothold in South America.

The continent’s alliance makeup faces a shakeup once Brazil’s TAM and Chile’s LAN complete their merger. TAM recently agreed to join the Star Alliance while LAN is a member of the oneworld alliance. Executives at the new company have not yet said which alliance they’ll pick for the post-merger airline.

Delta is the U.S. anchor of SkyTeam, while American is the U.S. member airline of oneworld. Star is represented in the U.S. by United and US Airways.

2. BANKS THWARTING STICKUPS IN ARGENTINA BY OFFERING CUSTOMERS FREE ACCOUNTS (Bloomberg News)

By Rodrigo Orihuela and Eliana Raszewski

October 20, 2010

Carolina Piparo, an eight-months pregnant Argentine state worker, was shot by robbers who stole the $20,000 she had just withdrawn from a bank to buy a house. Her baby died because of the wounds.

The July 20 attack in the city of La Plata spurred the central bank to introduce regulations that take effect this week to encourage Argentines to use the financial system instead of paying cash for real estate, cars and other big-ticket items. Banks must now offer free accounts and, from Nov. 1, charge no more than 5 pesos ($1.27) on transfers of up to 50,000 pesos.

“This requirement is going to help us protect our clients,” said Juan Carlos Nougues, president of Banco Supervielle SA. While he was meeting with a Bloomberg reporter in his downtown Buenos Aires office on Sept. 28, Nougues was informed that a branch in the capital’s suburbs had just been robbed. “We have to encourage people to be aware of all the tools available” in the financial system to reduce crime, he said.

Robberies of people leaving banks, known as “salideras,” rose to 4,998 in the first half of this year, 24 percent more than the 4,012 that took place in the whole of 2009, according to the office of Francisco De Narvaez, a congressman for the Peronismo Federal party that opposes President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s Victory Front alliance.

Armed robberies in the country of 42 million totaled 398,361 in 2008, according to the Justice Ministry, which doesn’t offer comparative data for earlier years.

‘Crime Map’

De Narvaez’s office maintains an online “Crime Map” that enables citizens to report robberies, suspected drug sales and rape.

The new measures may not be enough to convince Argentines to drop their mistrust of banks and overcome their reluctance to make personal finance information available to tax authorities, said Federico Rey-Marino, a bank analyst at Raymond James in Buenos Aires.

“Argentines are notoriously adverse to bank transactions,” Rey-Marino said in a Sept. 22 phone interview. “About 80 percent of all savings are in dollars in Argentina, some in local banks, some in foreign banks and a lot ‘under the mattress.’”

About 39 percent of adults in Argentina use banks, compared with 45 percent in Brazil and 90 percent in European countries, said Federico Juan, an analyst at Banca & Riesgo, a Buenos Aires research company. Bank lending in relation to the size of the economy is 14 percent in Argentina compared with more than 50 percent in neighboring Brazil, Juan said.

Bank Deposits

Bank deposits in Argentina are equivalent to 23 percent of gross domestic product compared with 40 percent in Brazil, Juan said.

Argentines have a “cultural” mistrust of banks thanks to a history of losing bank savings, said Emilio Lanza, general manager of the Banco de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires.

In late 1989, the government of President Carlos Menem forced savers to exchange certificates of deposit for 10-year bonds. Twelve years later, then-Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo restricted withdrawals from accounts to avoid a run on banks as the nation defaulted on a record $95 billion of debt.

In January 2002, with Cavallo’s restrictions still in force, President Eduardo Duhalde’s government forced banks to convert dollar-denominated deposits into pesos at a rate of 1.4 pesos per dollar. Within six months the U.S. currency traded as high as 3.86 pesos.

‘Fresh’ Memories

“The memories are still fresh,” said Nestor Walenten, president of the Buenos Aires-based Argentine Real Estate Chamber, who estimates 99 percent of home purchases are paid for in cash.

Taxes are another deterrent to using the financial system, said Banco Supervielle’s Nougues, who is also president of Banco Regional de Cuyo SA. Both banks are owned by closely held Grupo Supervielle. Banco Supervielle is Argentina’s 16th bank in terms of deposits and Banco Regional de Cuyo 35th, according to central bank data.

Most electronic transfers and check payments are subject to a financial transactions tax of 0.6 percent for both payer and payee. In addition, an underground economy that facilitates evasion of taxes on income and personal wealth leads to large amounts of capital being kept away from the financial system and out of sight of revenue officials, said Nougues.

The surge in salideras and the availability of free accounts and debit cards has led to some increase in applications to open accounts, said Banco de la Ciudad’s Lanza.

Prevent Robberies

“We believe free accounts will increase the use of banks in Argentina,” and help prevent robberies outside banks, Lanza said in an Oct. 13 telephone interview.

The bank, which is owned by the city of Buenos Aires, started offering charge-free accounts Sept. 15, before the central bank resolution took effect. In the first few days, requests for new accounts rose 50 percent, though the rate has since dropped off, Lanza said.

Diego Muniz, a spokesman for the Association of Private Argentine Banks, didn’t return two requests for comment left by Bloomberg News. Ruben Mattone, a spokesman for the Argentine Banks Association, declined to comment.

In addition to requiring free accounts, the attack on Piparo, 34, and the death of her unborn child, who would have been named Isidro, prompted Congress to enact rules to reduce crime inside and outside banks. Banks must set up screens that give more privacy to cashiers and customers, install equipment that blocks mobile phones and are now legally responsible for robberies committed outside branches with the connivance of employees.

“We must ask ourselves why we’ve gotten used to taking care of ourselves where there are people who should be dedicated to taking care of us,” Piparo’s brother, Matias, told reporters on Aug. 5. “If we don’t change anything, Isidro’s death will have been in vain.”

3. BONDS SURGE AS FERNANDEZ TAPS SOY REVENUE TO REPAY DEBT: ARGENTINA CREDIT (Bloomberg News)

By Rodrigo Orihuela and Drew Benson

October 20, 2010

Argentine bonds are posting the second-biggest monthly gain in emerging markets after Ecuador as surging soy exports bolster the central bank reserves President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner uses to repay debt.

The South American country’s dollar bonds returned 7 percent this month, the biggest advance after Ecuador’s 15 percent gain, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s benchmark EMBI+ index.

A record 55-million metric ton soybean harvest helped push reserves up 8 percent this year to $51.7 billion, an all-time high. Soy exports, the largest source of dollar inflows, may rise $700 million this year to $8.4 billion, said Gustavo Lopez, a former director of the government’s agricultural markets office who is now an analyst at Agritrend SA. Fernandez took $5 billion of reserves this year to pay bondholders and plans to use another $7.5 billion in 2011.

“Higher exports due to larger harvests and higher prices extend the horizon of the current account and allow you to continue to tap reserves,” said Marina Dal Poggetto, a partner at Estudio Bein & Asociados, a Buenos Aires research company founded by former Deputy Economy Minister Miguel Bein.

Revenue from Argentine commodity exports, including soybeans, corn, wheat and sunflower seeds, will increase 8 percent to $28 billion during the 2011 harvest, Agritrend’s Lopez said in an interview in Buenos Aires.

Corn prices rose to a two-year high last week of $5.88 a bushel, while soybeans climbed to $12.145, a 16-month high, on the Chicago Board of Trade. Argentina is the world’s second- biggest corn exporter after the U.S. and the third-largest soy exporter.

‘Constructive Elements’

The 2010-2011 corn harvest, which is being planted in Argentina, will reach a record 26 million tons, Agricultural Undersecretary Oscar Solis said Oct. 4.

“Good harvest and high prices are constructive elements as never seen before,” said Guillermo Nielsen, a former finance secretary who oversaw Argentina’s defaulted debt exchange in 2005 and is now a consultant in Buenos Aires.

Policy makers finance these reserve purchases by issuing local debt paying about 12 percent to 14 percent, above the official inflation rate of 11.1 percent, according to Miguel Kiguel, the 56-year-old former finance undersecretary who runs research company Econviews, said in a phone interview from Buenos Aires.

Paying debt with reserves also fuels inflation by freeing up budget money for other uses, said Claudio Loser, a former International Monetary Fund official, in a Sept. 22 interview.

GDP Warrants

Warrants linked to growth in South America’s second-biggest economy fell 0.35 cent yesterday to 12.43 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Argentina’s economy will expand 9.5 percent this year, the most since 1992, according to the central bank.

The peso dropped 0.1 percent to 3.9571 per U.S. dollar.

The cost of protecting Argentine debt against non-payment for five years with credit-default swaps climbed 16 basis points to 748, according to data provider CMA. Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a government or company fail to adhere to debt agreements.

Arcor SAIC, the country’s biggest candy maker, plans to sell $200 million of overseas bonds due in 2017, Fitch Ratings Inc. said Oct. 18.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Argentine dollar bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries widened 18 basis points to 602 yesterday, according to JPMorgan. It is down from 846 on July 1. Argentine debt is the highest yielding in JPMorgan’s EMBI+ index after Venezuela and Ecuador.

Argentine bonds will extend their rally after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled more so-called quantitative easing is likely, boosting demand for higher- yielding emerging-market assets, Nielsen said.

“Global liquidity lowers the yields on bonds, which means your capacity to fund yourself extends over time,” said Estudio Bein’s Dal Poggetto.

4. ARGENTINA LAUNCHES FREE DIGITAL TV PLATFORM (Variety.com)

By Charles Newbery

October 19, 2010

*Effort includes entertainment, film, kiddie and news content

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina has launched a digital TV feed for state and private feevees delivered for free via satellite connections, a $2 billion effort aimed at widening access to information.

“We’re democratizing the access to technology for all sectors of our society,” Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said late Monday.

The content will be transmitted via state satellites and a system of 47 antennas, beginning with five this year.

The service will reach 75% of the 40.1 billion populace, offering an initial seven feevees including pubcaster Canal 7, education net Canal Encuentro, kiddie channel Paka Paka and the news feevees C5N, CN23 and Telesur. Later, the private broadcasters Canal 9 and Telefe as well as film net INCAA TV will enter the fold.

The roster will expand to 16 channels, with most content developed locally.

Fernandez de Kirchner said the effort is in part a response to rising pay TV costs, which she said have gone up 300% over the past few years without improvements in the content.

5. INTERVIEW – ARGENTINE MEDIA GROUP SAYS STRONG DESPITE GOVERNMENT ROW (Reuters News)

By Karina Grazina

19 October 2010

* Clarin at odds with government since 2008

* Media group accuses President Fernandez of harassment

* Fernandez says Clarin’s news coverage biased against her

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Argentine media conglomerate Grupo Clarin is fighting government efforts to dismantle its most lucrative businesses, the chief executive said, calling the president’s anti-monopoly drive arbitrary and politically motivated.

President Cristina Fernandez, who frequently lambastes journalists and big business, fell out with Grupo Clarin when its news outlets criticized her handling of a chaotic farmers’ tax rebellion in 2008.

The row quickly escalated into mud-slinging and a series of legal battles, sharpening Fernandez’s differences with business leaders a year ahead of the next presidential election.

Tensions have battered shares in the group, which owns Argentina’s leading daily newspaper and cable television news channel. And a new broadcast reform law could force Grupo Clarin to sell off parts of its empire.

Clarin Chief Executive Hector Magnetto, Fernandez’s favorite target for tongue-lashing, told Reuters the media group was withstanding “a coordinated state campaign of administrative harassment.”

“Up until now, we’ve managed to withstand the pressure despite the flagrantly arbitrary nature of the government measures being launched against us,” Magnetto, who seldom grants interviews, told Reuters via email.

Officials from the center-left administration of Fernandez, who includes sharp-worded criticism of Clarin in her frequent Twitter postings, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Magnetto’s accusations.

Two months ago, the government stripped the operating license from Clarin-controlled Internet provider Fibertel, a move that is being challenged in the courts.

Local judges have temporarily suspended an article of the new broadcast law that would have forced companies to sell key assets within a year, a measure the government says is needed to fight monopolies and open up the airwaves.

Clarin editors and executives say they feel intimidated and harassed, accusing officials of seeking to stifle criticism, and the company has filed a series of lawsuits to try to halt the media law and the closure of Fibertel.

“(Grupo Clarin is studying) all the necessary alternatives in the legal and administrative sphere to continue providing the service,” Magnetto said, referring to the group’s lucrative cable television and Internet operations, which account for about 65 percent of revenue.

INCREASINGLY CRITICAL

Magnetto rarely speaks out against the government, but in recent weeks local media have publicized his meetings with increasingly critical business leaders and opposition figures who aim to rally support ahead of the October 2011 election.

Some commentators in Latin America’s No. 3 economy see his more assertive line as marking a change in tactics as the dispute grows ever nastier.

Clarin says the crackdown on Fibertel is aimed at favoring leading telephone companies Telefonica de Argentina — the local unit of Spain’s Telefonica — and Telecom Argentina , controlled by Telecom Italia.

These companies offer high-speed Internet and are seen as being in the best position to absorb Fibertel’s clients.

“From one day to the next, they tell us Fibertel doesn’t exist anymore as the result of a political decision, even though it has operated in an absolutely legal fashion for years,” Magnetto wrote.

The government gave Fibertel’s approximately 1 million customers 90 days to switch companies.

“They try to divest us of a million customers to benefit two foreign telephone companies, holding the customers hostage in the process,” he said, adding that Grupo Clarin continued to invest.

Grupo Clarin’s net sales rose 9 percent in the first half of the year to some $878 million, boosted by an increase in Internet and cable television subscriptions.

6. ARGENTINA’S SEPTEMBER PRIMARY BUDGET SURPLUS SURGES (Reuters News)

19 October 2010

* Fiscal deficit 80.6 million pesos during September

* Nine-month primary budget surplus reaches 20.92 billion

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Argentina’s primary budget surplus soared more than 14 times in September from the same month a year ago to 3.22 billion pesos ($799 million), the government said on Tuesday.

However, after making debt payments, the country registered a slim fiscal deficit of 80.6 million pesos for the month, Treasury Secretary Juan Carlos Pezoa told a news conference.

“The growth (in the primary surplus) is in large part due to the increased tax revenue as well as social security contributions,” he said.

Robust economic growth is helping Argentina’s center-left government to clock healthy primary budget surpluses as tax revenues surge. Revenue rose 35.9 percent to 35.65 billion pesos last month.

September’s figure brings the primary budget surplus accumulated since January to 20.92 billion pesos. The nine-month accumulated fiscal surplus stands at 5.05 billion pesos, Pezoa said.

The primary budget figure is used to gauge a country’s ability to service its debt and is a particularly important sign of fiscal health in Latin America’s No. 3 economy.

Argentina has been virtually shut out of global credit markets since a massive 2002 default, and the government has so far decided not to try to sell a new bond since concluding a swap of $12.2 billion in untendered bonds in June.

Local daily El Cronista said the Central Bank had transferred about 3.0 billion pesos in profits to the Treasury last month, boosting the primary budget surplus.

The size of the primary budget surplus has drawn controversy in recent days after President Cristina Fernandez vetoed a law to hike pensions, saying it would bankrupt the state.

Argentina’s primary budget surplus was 223 million pesos in September 2009, when the impact of the global crisis hit tax revenues, and 2.72 billion pesos in August 2010.

7. SURVEY: ARGENTINA’S ECONOMY LIKELY EXTENDED BOOM IN AUGUST (Dow Jones International News)

By Taos Turner

19 October 2010

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)–Argentina’s economy likely roared ahead in August as the country continued to rebound from what many economists say was a deep recession a year earlier.

Economic activity in August probably rose 8.5% from the year-ago period, according to the median estimate of 12 economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires. Estimates ranged from 4.8% to 10.2%.

The national statistics agency, Indec, is scheduled to publish its monthly economic activity indicator–which comprises most components of gross domestic product–at 3 p.m. EDT Friday. Local economists that participated in the survey believe Indec will overstate economic activity in August by at least one percentage point.

“The growth data are not as exaggerated as the consumer price data are, but growth is overstated,” said Eric Ritondale, an economist at EconViews.

The veracity of Indec’s economic data, especially inflation, has been questioned ever since former President Nestor Kirchner made personnel changes at the agency in 2007. The government of President Cristina Fernandez, Kirchner’s wife, regularly denies charges that it manipulates Indec data.

Despite the controversy, economists agree that Argentina’s GDP is expanding at a fast clip, thanks in part to easy comparisons with last year, when the economy probably contracted amid the global financial crisis.

Locally, a major drought slashed crop production and a flu epidemic led to lower sales at restaurants, movie theaters and shopping centers across the country.

GDP is widely believed to have contracted by as much as 4.5% last year, which stands in sharp contrast to official data showing an expansion of 0.9%.

“Until now things have been very easy,” said Fausto Spotorno, chief economist at Orlando J Ferreres & Asociados. “From here on out it’s going to be harder to get this level of growth because we won’t be comparing it with such a bad period a year ago.”

Global demand for Argentine goods was weak in 2009, while this year it has been on a tear. Automobile exports to Brazil have risen sharply, which has proven to be a boon for Argentina’s manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, the year’s soybean harvest soared to a record 55 million tons from about 32 million tons a year ago. Economists say this accounts for several percentage points of economic growth this year.

“What Indec has been doing is indefensible,” said Gabriel Camano Gomez, an economist at Joaquin Ledesma & Asociados. “According to Indec, the economy didn’t shrink last year, which makes their growth data for this year even less believable.”

Gomez said the economy is starting to face some capacity restraints because investment hasn’t kept up with growth.

“This is another reason why growth will decelerate next year,” he said.

President Fernandez’s administration expects GDP to expand about 9% this year, with growth slowing to 4.5% in 2011.

Inflation, which private-sector economists put at about 25%, is a problem, but it alone won’t prevent the economy from expanding through the end of next year, economists said.

“The biggest risk we have is that there will be a major political conflict” ahead of general elections in 2011, said Spotorno. “The probability is low but the possibility exists.”

8. SURVEY: ARGENTINA SEPTEMBER TRADE SURPLUS SEEN SLIPPING ON IMPORTS (Dow Jones International News)

By Shane Romig

19 October 2010

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)–Argentina’s trade surplus probably narrowed in September from the previous month, as imports grew at a faster clip than exports amid a broad recovery in commerce and economic activity.

According to the median of eight economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires, the government is expected to report a trade surplus of about $945 million in September, up slightly from a year earlier, but down from about $1 billion in August.

The national statistics agency Indec is set to release the data on Friday at 4:00 p.m. local time (3:00 p.m. EDT).

Exports rose 22% on the year to $44.7 billion during the January-August period, while imports jumped 46% to $35.2 billion. Even so, Argentina is still expected to end the year with a hefty surplus.

Goldman Sachs analyst Alberto Ramos forecasts a $13 billion surplus for the year thanks to “the positive impact of stronger terms of trade and a bumper harvest.”

While still hefty, that would be down significantly from the $17 billion surplus seen last year, when the government threw up a host of trade barriers to protect local industry from imports.

Argentina is one of the world’s top grain exporters, and high commodity prices in addition to record crops last season have fueled much of the sharp gain in exports.

Argentina’s exports have also received a lift from booming car sales to Brazil, which were up almost two thirds in terms of value during the first eight months of the year, according to local think tank IES Consultores.

Rising imports were led by auto parts and chemicals as demand outstripped local production capacity, IES said in a report. Car imports from Brazil also jumped sharply.

Brazil and China are the largest buyers of Argentine goods, while the bulk of Argentina’s imports are sourced from Brazil, China and the U.S.

9. ARGENTINA SEPTEMBER INDUSTRY OUTPUT SEEN UP 9.5 PCT YR/YR (Reuters News)

19 October 2010

WHAT: Argentina industrial output in September WHEN: Friday, Oct 22, at 4 p.m. local time (1900 GMT)

REUTERS FORECAST: +9.5 pct yr/yr growth, according to the median view. The seven analysts surveyed gave non-seasonally adjusted forecasts ranging from +7.0 pct to +10.4 pct.

FACTORS TO WATCH: Argentina’s industrial output is seen growing briskly in September, driven again by the steel, and automobile sectors, analysts said. Auto production grew 37.8 percent in September from the same month last year and could reach record levels by year-end.

Analysts say, however, some sectors are showing signs of a slowdown.

“The chemical, agrochemical, paper and refinery sectors, as well as manufacturers of plastic, beverage and cigarettes produced less than (in September) last year,” said Buenos Aires-based consultancy Orlando Ferreres and Associates.

Analysts say further investments are needed to maintain strong industrial output growth in the medium term because some sectors are working at maximum production capacity.

The figure will get a boost from the low base of comparison registered in September 2009, when industrial activity shrank 0.2 percent year-on-year amid the global economic crisis.

Industrial production rose 10.1 percent in August 2010.

MARKET IMPACT: Investors will want to see whether industrial production growth slows slightly or if it remains a key driver to economic growth in Latin America’s No. 3 economy. This would mean higher payouts on Argentina’s GDP-linked warrants.

The government forecasts the economy will expand around 9 percent this year.

Longer-term prospects for local industry are clouded by high inflation. Analysts forecast annual inflation at over 25 percent this year. Such a result would fuel wage demands by trade unions, eating into the country’s competitive edge over key trade partners such as Brazil.

Business leaders have also complained about the strength of the local peso currency , which they say hurts Argentina’s competitiveness, and could drive foreign companies to invest elsewhere.

10. ARGENTINA BONDS RALLY AS ECONOMY GROWS, DEFAULT FEARS SINK (Market News International)

By Charles Newbery

19 October 2010

BUENOS AIRES (MNI) – Argentine bond yields are poised to drop as investors bet that an accelerating economy, stable currency and strong central bank reserves will reduce the risk of default, analysts said

Yields on the benchmark Global 2017 bond have dropped to an annual yield of 8% from nearly 12% in June, when the government restructured $12.2 billion in defaulted bonds.

The yield could decline to as low as 7.5% by the end of the year, said Javier Salvucci, head of fixed-income research at Silver Cloud Advisors in Buenos Aires.

“The expectation for higher returns is more than positive for the medium term,” he said. “The risk of default is very low.”

Argentina’s economy is gaining speed, with the central bank expecting 9.5% expansion this year, up from an initial forecast of 2.5%.

A record soybean crop and rising prices for the oilseed and derivatives is underpinning the expansion and feeding the government with record tax revenue.

Meanwhile, the central bank is buying incoming dollars from export sales to keep the exchange rate at a steady 3.95 pesos per dollar.

The government plans to earmark $7.5 billion in reserves to pay the national debt next year, according to the draft budget for 2011.

“The government basically sent a message to the market that it has the money to pay debt,” while the high soy price “means income for the government will be high and there will be funds for its financing needs,” Salvucci said. “This is very positive.”

He expects the rally to run into next year, driving down yields as low interest rates in the U.S. and other developed markets lead investors to snap up some of the highest yielding bonds in Latin America.

Argentine government bonds are yielding an average of 9% to 9.5% in dollars and 16-17% in pesos, more than the 4% of comparable securities in Brazil, he said.

The rally comes after years of financial disarray in Argentina, which defaulted on $95 billion in bonds during a 2001-02 economic crisis, cutting it off from global capital markets. It was forced to pay up to 15% to borrow from Venezuela and relied heavily on state agencies like the central bank, social welfare agency and the national lottery for funds.

The government has settled most of the debt but still is hesitating to return to the markets. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner last month turned down an offer to sell a bond at a price to yield of 8%.

In the meantime, cities, provinces and companies are successfully selling bonds, buoyed by demand, liquidity and rising confidence. Buenos Aires City recently hit the market with a sale of $250 million in 5-year bonds.

The economy is booming and consumer spending is on the rise. Bars and restaurants are bustling, and the real estate market is on the up, for prices and sales.

In part this is because annual inflation is expected to accelerate to 30% next year from 25% this year, so consumers are spending now to buy goods that will be more expensive. Car sales shot up 50% in September compared with the year-earlier period, according to the latest industry data.

While inflation could slow the economy, the bond rally is expected to last at least through the end of the year, said Jorge Alberti, a trader at Elaccionista.com in Buenos Aires.

He said the October 2011 presidential election could prompt profit taking as investors reduce risk.

Yet it may not be as volatile as in previous elections. Investors, in fact, may hold stronger positions, betting that a new government could take office because they already know the policies of the current administration, said Esteban Fernandez Medrano, an economist at MacroVision Consulting in Buenos Aires.

“Elections always bring a factor of volatility, but today the market is more anxious for a change in the government so the noise of uncertainty won’t be so loud,” he said. “There won’t be a wait and see posture because investors know what to expect from the current government.”

At the same time, the liquidity in the global market will continue to drive investors to Argentine bonds for the high yields, on the expectation the central bank will cover debt service payments.

“There is an appetite for higher yields and in this scenario Argentina is attractive,” Medrano said. “There is a lot of liquidity and there are no domestic signs of a debt crisis.

Of course, Argentina is still a risk because of its history of financial problems and the 2001 default.

“There are always yellow lights with Argentina,” Alberti said. “But the yields are so high that this doesn’t really weigh on investment decisions.”

11. CHINA BUYS 70,000 T ARGENTINE SOYOIL (Reuters News)

19 October 2010

* Heavy sales made after China ends import ban

* Some U.S. soyoil sales to China could be cancelled

HAMBURG, Oct 19 (Reuters) – China has bought at least 70,000 tonnes of Argentine soyoil after Beijing lifted a de-facto six-month ban on soyoil imports from the South American country last week, Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World said on Tuesday.

“There are rumours that actual purchases (by China from Argentina) have been somewhat higher,” Oil World said. “We understand that only government-linked companies are allowed to purchase Argentine soyoil.”

China effectively barred imports from Argentina, the world’s top soyoil supplier, in late March amid a wider trade dispute but the Argentine government suddenly announced on Oct. 12 that shipments could resume.

Oil World said it believed China ended the ban because of concern about rising domestic edible oil prices and China will make more heavy soyoil purchases from Argentina in coming weeks.

“In our preliminary estimate we expect 80,000 tonnes of Argentine soyoil exports to China in November and 100,000 tonnes in December,” Oil World said.

“China will become more dependent on Argentine soyoil because Brazilian export supplies will decline in Oct./Sept. 2010/11 owing to higher domestic requirements for biodiesel.”

Brazil has been raising use of biodiesel output using soyoil as feedstock.

U.S. soyoil sales to China have also been strong recently but it is possible that some U.S. deals might be cancelled and switched to cheaper Argentine supplies if such options were included in contracts, Oil World said.

Renewed Chinese demand could also push Argentine soyoil prices up.

“Argentine soyoil should strengthen relative to Brazilian and U.S. soyoil,” it said.

Argentine soyoil could also replace Chinese imports of Canadian canola (rapeseed) oil, it said. It also expects smaller Chinese imports of sunflower oil.

12. POPULARITY OF ARGENTINE CAPITAL’S GOVERNOR INCREASES AHEAD OF 2011 ELECTIONS (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Irenea Renuncio Mateos

19 October 2010

The popularity of Daniel Scioli, governor of Argentina’s Buenos Aires province, keeps on rising ahead of next year’s general elections, local daily La Nación reports. Scioli, Argentina’s Vice-President from 2003 to 2007 and current President of the ruling Justicialist Party, the largest component of the Peronist movement, is attracting both the support of the Argentinean population and local entrepreneurs, at odds with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. According to local press reports, Scioli seems to be the favourite to take over the Justicialist Party in the next presidential election, although Cristina’s husband, former President Néstor Kirchner (2003–07) seems determined to fight for the candidature.

Significance: Scioli has started to step up his public appearances ahead of next year’s polls, while the rest of Argentina’s political actors are starting to plan their strategies.

Scioli was elected governor of the Buenos Aires province in 2007, when Kirchner finished his mandate as President and Kirchner’s wife, Cristina, was voted in. The governorship of the country’s capital province is considered one of the most influential political jobs in Argentina, and has often served as a springboard for future presidential candidates. Following the poor results of the Justicialist Party in the 2009 mid-term elections, Scioli replaced Kichner as president of the party and now seems poised to take over as a presidential candidate. It is yet to be seen, however, if Kirchner will allow this to happen. Meanwhile, Kirchner is currently the Secretary-General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a regional political group. All attention will be focused on whether Kirchner will give up this position to launch his presidential candidature and try to perpetuate the rule of the so-called ruling “Kirchnerism”.

13. DESIRE DRILLS DRY WELL IN WATERS OFF FALKLAND ISLANDS (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Juliette Kerr

19 October 2010

The U.K. independent Desire Petroleum Plc has announced that a well drilled on the Rachel prospect in the North Falklands basin has failed to find hydrocarbons after having reached a total depth of 2,877 metres. However the company said that a substantial thickness of sandstone was encountered in the upper part of the target zone, comprising 103 metres of gross sandstone, of which 81 metres is net reservoir with an average porosity of 23%. It also said that based on the information from the 14/15-1 well, potential sandstones have been identified closer to the mature oil source rock and that as a result the well will be sidetracked to this location to evaluate its prospectivity. It plans to drill a sidetrack around 1.2 km from the original vertical well which it hopes to complete in 20 days. Desire is planning to drill up to three new wells including a well on the Dawn/Jacinta prospect in the Tranche I licence.

An earlier well drilled by Desire Petroleum using the Ocean Guardian rig was also unsuccessful. Indeed the only company to have had any success so far during this year’s exploratory campaign has been Rockhopper Exploration (see United Kingdom – Argentina: 7 May 2010: and United Kingdom – Argentina: 23 September 2010: ). Rockhopper announced today that it has raised £206.3 million through a share sale. The proceeds of the sale will be used in order to fund further exploration work to better understand its Sea Lion discovery, according to a report in Upstream.

Significance: The current exploratory campaign in waters off the Falkland Islands is the first since the 1990s, and has already resulted in an increase in diplomatic tensions between the United Kingdom and Argentina, which continue to contest the sovereignty of the islands. In protest at the resumption of drilling, Argentina has banned vessels that stop in the Falklands from loading cargo at its ports for the 8,000-mile (13,000-km) return journey to Europe (decree 256/2010), whilst deputies approved a bill in June that threatens to remove licences from any companies that exploit oil in waters off the Falkland Islands.

14. 3 QUESTIONS: THE BATTLE OVER THE FALKLANDS (Voice of America Press Releases and Documents)

19 October 2010

VOA English Service

The decades-long stalemate between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands is heating up again.

British military officials say they intend to complete an ongoing series of military maneuvers — which include missile tests — on and near the island chain soon. Those tests have been criticized as “acts of aggression” by Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Hector Timmerman.

Known as “Las Malvinas” in Argentina, the archipelago has been under British control since 1833, and prompted a short but deadly war in 1982 between Argentina and the U.K.

Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, calls the current situation “very grave,” while Britain’s Secretary of State for Defense, Dr. Liam Fox, tells the BBC, “If anyone thinks that the Falklands Islands defense is weak, they should think again.”

Hugh Bicheno is a Briton who knows Argentina from the inside – he’s a former foreign service officer there.

These days he writes histories from his home in Britain. One of them is “Razor’s Edge: The Unofficial History of the Falklands War.” VOA talked with Mr. Bicheno about the Falklands situation.

Why are these islands so important for both of these nations?

In the case of the Argentines, it’s an “irredemptor,” it’s an unclaimed piece of “Fatherland,” which is always very important to fascistic regimes. Peron would never have been so stupid as to invade them; they’re much more useful as something they can point to and rouse their followers to beat their drums and say “Las Malvinas son Argentinas.” As to the British, they’re important because the British had to fight a war over them.

Don’t forget: Argentina is probably the only place in the entire continent where nationalism is defined against some country other than the United States. It also gives the U.S. a little diplomatic wiggle room on a continent where you’ve got your Chavezs and all these other people who are anti-U.S., it’s kind of a relief to have someone who’s anti-Brit.

Given that, what kind of pressure is the U.S. under right now, in that both Argentina and Britain are turning to the U.S. for support?

The U.S. is in the cat bird seat. Britain could not possibly have retaken the islands back in 1982 without the whole-hearted assistance of Sir “Cap” Weinberger — please note he got a knighthood out of it — and ultimately of President Reagan. Right now, basically all the Brits don’t want Washington to do is let the Argentines think that they can do it again.

The (Argentine) military situation is incomparably weaker. They have, for what it’s worth, the full support of all of Spanish-America, and a little word from Secretary of State Clinton that she does wish both sides could get down and talk about it. Well, unfortunately she can wish that all she likes, but you can’t have negotiations when the minimum demand of one side is greater than the maximum concession the other side can make.

What is life like on the Falklands?

Bleak. There’s not a tree on all of the islands. The wind blows perpetually — you’re talking about a 30 mile-an-hour (48km/hour) wind that’s standard. It’s wet — the geology is such that you hit ground water at about six inches (15cm), so anywhere you go you get wet feet. It’s good for penguins and albatrosses and seals and killer whales. But I was brought up in the tropics; as far as I’m concerned it’s pretty close to Hell.

¿INFLACION?

26 octubre, 2010

Cuando en un país las cosas no son creíbles (la Presidenta descree del Presidente del Senado y nuestro blog de la imparcialidad de la Korte Suprema en realidad al Gobierno), en materia de inflación hay que distinguir entre la que se percibe y la que se oculta. Porque cuando el propio INDEC no sirve para medir, y el dinero tampoco (el local), todo es incierto en inseguro (sensación de inseguridad, de estar gobernados por una manga de irresponsables o por genios que han inventado un sistema económico sorpresivamente bueno y novedoso que terminará con la pobreza en poco tiempo).

El problema de la inflación lo hemos tratado a lo largo de este blog,y si hoy no tenemos hiperinflación con la politica de keynesianismo de Nestor, es por el sencillo motivo que los bienes exportables producidos en Argentina se revaluaron en relación a ellos mismos, en lo concerniente a granos y otros productos alimentarios, porque no solo China sino India han entrado a comprar soja y otros productos cuyo precio se multiplicó en terminos de dólares frente a si mismos.

Como además la deuda de Argentina proporcionalmente bajó (recordemos las quitas enormes que consiguió arrancar Nestor a quienes confiaron en Argentina y compraron nuestros bonos y fueron estafados porque no cumplido) a costa del desprestigio nacional, por un lado y por otro porque el enorme impuesto que se cobra a los exportadores de soja, en particular, permite conseguir fondos de la sociedad que pasan inconstitucionalmente en parte a manos de nuestro Estado Ladron, que los usa a veces en forma correcta pero la mayoría de las veces en forma sospechosa. Porque se dice que cuando invierte el Estado en obras publicas, paga precios exagerados, que supuestamente segun los medios, encierran los retornos, es decir, el porcentaje de coima que los amigos y algunos funcionarios del Gobierno nacional o los gobiernos provinciales han previsto para que esas operaciones clandestinas puedan llevarse a cabo, especialmente cuando las licitaciones importantes se hacen para que un solo candidato amigo las gane.

Y si a la incertidumbre económica le agregamos que el Estado puede emitir dinero y usarlo para comprar divisas y esterilizar el nuevo dinero, ya que hace operaciones contables sucias para ocultar la realidad del Banco Central o del propio Estado (motivo por el cual se resiste el gobierno a que el fondo monetario inspeccione las cuentas del banco central, como debe hacerse en calidad de pais miembro y copropietario de ese Banco, todo hace pensar que hay dos tipos de inflacion, ambas reales, en Argentina. La primera es la que hoy vemos y seguiremos viendo mientras el kirchnerismo gobierne, que en lo posible será contenida para parecer menor (algo similar a lo que hizo Videla con su socio Martinez de Hoz cuando nos engañaban con la tablita cambiaria) y muy distinta sera la inflacion real luego de los kirchners (no son inmortales y no estarán para siempre en el poder) y quien les suceda en el gobierno deberá comenzar de fojas cero, echando la culpa a sus antecesores, y obviamente, intentando crear un sistema en el cual el Estado no siga robando a los argentinos, con impuestos inconstitucionales y engaños contables y tampoco vuelva a robar el poco dinero que los argentinos depositan en el sistema bancario nacional). Cuanto mayor sea el engaño que hipotéticamente nos hacen los gobernantes K, mayor será lo que llamaremos altisima inflación o hiperinflación al producirse el cambio de mando político, porque nadie quiere pagar la factura de los errores y horrores de sus antecesores. Excepto Nestor que disimuló y ocultó mientras fue Presidente el desastre económico causado por Duhalde cuando destruyó innecesariamente la moneda argentina, el peso convertible, y se hizo nombrar Presidente sin ser votado, y a los escasos meses su fracaso fue tan grande que debió pedir auxilio a Lavagna y al mismo tiempo comprendió que debia llamar a elecciones porque nadie le creía al ex intendente y gobernador de Buenos Aires.

                                                                          LA REGLA DE LAS CUATRO “C”

En países normales, la hiperinflación es evitable, cuando hay gobernantes sensatos. Cuando hay gobiernos ladrones y se roba hasta ultimo momento, como sucedió con Videla y Martinez de Hoz, la hiper inflación explota al irse los fracasados gobernantes. Como no tenemos datos ciettos, pensamos que es inutil calcular el monto de la inflacion argentina mientras los Kirchners tengan a sus gentes controlando  todo, desde el banco Central al ministerio de Economia y otras instituciones.

Pero en el incluido en este blog librito ¿Donde estan los Estadistas? figura la regla de las cuatro C, que explica los cuatro estadíos o etapas por los que puede pasar el dinero de cualquier pais, y las medidas simples que conviene tomar para lograr que el dinero mantenta su valor, es decir, que no enferme (como sucede con la inflación) o que no muera la moneda nacional (como sucede cada vez que hay inflación.

Para no intentar que los lectores busquen en dicho librito, aclaremos que dichas reglas funcionan cuando el gobernante de buena fe quiere arreglar el problema, pero no funcionan si los gobernantes son los que buscan una politica economica equivocada y la aplican, porque de esa forma se benefician ganando Poder o Dinero, como hacen los gobernantes fascistas que gobiernan para sí mismos, y luego de ellos, el Diluvio, como sucedió con un pesimo gobernante y politico argentino, Raul Alfonsin, generador de la hiperinflacion=hipercorrupcion, aunque tambien hicieron igual en el proceso militar primero Videla y luego Galtieri (que agregó nuestro incendio en Malvinas). Otro horrible gobernante fue Duhalde, que llevo el dolar a cuatro pesos en el mercado libre a mediados de 2002, y el precio de la desconfianza que el generaba logro que fuese tanta la inflacion que el pueblo argentino sentia, que basto que renunciara y apareciera un gobernante menos malo,  como Nestor,  para que el dolar “bajara” en funcion del dinero argentino.

Pero cuando en un pais normal (no el actual argentino) la inflación supera el 20/22 anual, la moneda ha muerto yhay que reinventarla.

Cuando los kirchners se retiren, el Congreso debera cumplir con la constitucion y crear una moneda creible, ya que la ultima que creó, el peso convertible a dolar, se anuló y no se fijó otro valor para nuestra  moneda. Mientras siga la doctora Marco del Pont en el banco Central, dicha institucion seguira dependiente de las ordenes de los Kirchners, asi que no servira para tener una moneda seria y creible, ya que los peronistas siempre se manejan en funcion de su propio movimiento politico y la persona de sus lideres, y son incapaces de gobernar en forma de economia creible y previsible. Pero los radicales son iguales o quizas peores, asi que el panorama de tener una moneda creible con la cual podamos saber cual es la inflacion, no existiran hasta que los actuales gobernantes se vayan y ademas, aparezcan otros confiables, que por el momento no figuran como presidenciables. Recordemos que seguimos siendo un pais con un sistema fascista peronista sindicalista vigente, y que eso significa inseguridad permanente, porque no somos ciudadanos sino subditos del lider de turno, incluso lo fuimos cuando mandaba Alfonsin, que no entendia nada de economia y delegaba eso en el Ministerio de Economia, porque se dedicaba a la politica ya que creia que el Presidene debe ser un reditribuidor de la riqueza que naturalmente aparece en el pais, como si fuese un pais de cazadores y agricultores, ya que el radicalismo es demasiado inutil o demasiado ladron, porque se peronizó a lo largo de los años, y desde el Pacto de Olivos, la casta politica nos domina totalmente, ocupando los tres Poderes del Estado, desde donde fingen gobernarnos para bien nuestro, pero sospechamos que se enriquecen los gobernantes y nos hacen un corte de manga siempre a los gobernados.

ERGO, no vale la pena intentar saber cual es la inflacion argentina, porque no hay forma de medirla, por falta de datos y de confiabilidad de parte de los gobernantes, que no  parecen gobernanr para todos sino para si mismos y sus amigos.

No ob

FASCISMO K TERMINA?

21 octubre, 2010

El asesinato del joven manifestante Ferreyra y el atentado que dejó otros heridos de bala, pone a la Presidenta en la posición de poder elegir si cambia su politica autoritaria dirigista sospechada de ayudar a sus amigos bandidos o pretende que la Justicia no avance en las investigaciones que segun los medios acusar a sindicalistas oficialistas que ademas son beneficiarios de planes economEn icos disfazados por parte de este gobierno K.

En teoría, una Presidenta tiene que elegir respetar la constitucion y colaborar con la justicia, y ademas impedir que el sindicalismo siga actuando en forma gangsteril y patotera, con sindicalistas ricos y trabajadores pobres, amen de los millones de desocupados. En la realidad, el gobierno de Cristina esta sujeto a sospechas de todo tipo, incluso se cuestiona porqué el enriquecimiento ilicito del matrimonio fue desestimado por un juez sospechado de oficialista en primera instancia y no fue apelado por el representante del ministerio publico, como corresoonde.

                                                                                   EL PACTO DEL OLVIDO

Preferimos que Cristina muestre que ella realmente no es fascista ni autoritaria ni nos entaña, y que para demostrarlo, actue como si creyera que ella debe acatar la constitucion y hacerla complir, como primer mandataria democratica, y en tal caso, podria despedir del gobierno a todos los bandidos sospechados de estar robando desde el Estado, entre los que se encuentran socios empresarios y gremialistas, ademas de otros funcionarios K.

El dirigismo fascista no deberia continuar despues de los K, de modo que si ellos por las buenas lo logran, habran sido grandes presidentes, pero si insisten con sus teorias de que este es un pais presidencialista, donde el congreso y la corte suprema estan al servicio de la AMA, que hoy es ella, la cosa no funcionara bien, ni para la gente (the people of argentina) ni para los K, porque el diritismo ya no sirve en el tercer milenio y hay que hacer lugar a sistemas que incluyan a los desocupados y los pohres, y abandonar el modelo sindicalista veriticalista corrupto que se autodengeomina la columna vertebral del sistema justicialista, el modelo generador de pocos archimillonarios amigos del Poder y demasiados pobres habitantes que han perdido por culpa de ese fascismo, el carácter de ciudadanos, y somos meros súbditos salvajizados sin una Corte Suprema que se ocupe de que el Presidente y el congreso cumplan la Constitución, y que si no lo hacen, la propia Corte los constiñe a hacerlo (cosa que hasta hoy, y desde 1930, no sucede.

Le quedan horas, no días,  a Cristina Kirchner para demostrar que no es mas fascista el movimiento kirchnerista, y eso se demuestra cambiando el rumbo equivocado y VIRANDO hacia el lado bueno, el de la Constitucion y las leyes. Una pena si no lo hace, teniendo la posibilidad de lograrlo y terminar con una situación que a ella no le conviene, y a los argentinos tampoco, exceptuando al puñado de bandidos, que son menos del uno por mil de la población, aunque esten encabezando gobiernos  provinciales y municipales, amen de ministerios nacionales y las  empresas estatales.

PARA QUIÉNES GOBIERNAN?

21 octubre, 2010

Desde hace ochenta años Argentina viene siendo gobernada para los gobernantes, y no para la sociedad. Con eso se terminó un período corto de crecimiento y bienestar (extranjeros venian a trabajar e invertir en estas lejanas comarcas) desde después de la Constitución reformada en 1860 y aquella euforia la terminaron los militaristas ultracatólicos en 1930, con lo cual se perdió mas que todo la libre iniciativa de la sociedad al momento de decidir trabajar e invertir. Nació la hoy maquina de impedir todo, excepto cuando se la aceita pagando distintas coimas o retornos a los distintos niveles de gobernantes municipales, provinciales o municipales. Pero eso no fue lo peor.
EL DIRIGISMO ECONÓMICO
La libre iniciativa de la sociedad es lo que se fue perdiendo en forma creciente, ya que el dirigismo exige que los distintos Estados y autoridades de todo el pais reglamenten y autoricen todo. Ademas, hoy tenemos nuevos y mayores controles que antes no existian. Un crescendo demoníaco, que cada vez ocupa mas gente para los puestos de controlar y vigilar, y cada vez menor porcentaje de la sociedad trabaja productivamente. Olvidamos la sencilla metodología explicada en los cuatro párrafos iniciales del capitulo introductorio de La Riqueza de las Naciones, de Adam Smith, que es el A B C de la economía política sensata para el bienestar de la gente, y lo opuesto a la politica estatista para la minoría de los gobernantes que hoy nos aprieta, esclaviza económicamente y nos ordeña y esquila en su propio beneficio. O sea, la que nos salvajizó y es la responsable de que cada vez la inseguridad siga aumentando, hasta que el sistema explote por su propia incapacidad. Sea por las urnas (esperemos) o por rencillas que causarían daño, tipo las revueltas populares, para no llegar a pensar en una guerra civil.
LA SIMPLE RECETA
Según Adam Smith, lo que marca la diferencia en la riqueza de las naciones son dos cosas: a) todas las caracteristicas de un pais en comparación con los demas, sería la primera, lo que marcaría la riqueza “relativa” en el ranking de las naciones, y b) si analizamos a cada país respecto de sí mismo, lo que interesa es el porcentaje de los miembros de la sociedad que trabajan productivamentee, porque de esa forma surge (restando) cual es el porcentaje de población que debe ser mantenida por el trabajo de los que trabajan productivamente (los gobernantes producen cero, aunque si dictan leyes sensatas, pueden lograr que la sociedad produzca mas, y si hacen lo contrario, sucede lo que nos pasó en Argentina: el porcentaje de gente productiva real es cada vez menor, muchísimo menos que la mitad o la tercera parte de la población, suponemos, y es fácil calcularlo a ojo, pero cuesta mucho dinero a la sociedad hacer un calculo estimativo porque debe trabajar gente numerosa y eso es perder el tiempo, porque es obvio que en cualquier equipo de cualquier cosa, cuantos mas sean los que se esfuercen, mayor es el rendimiento.
¿HACE FALTA MENCIONAR A LOS QUE VIVEN SIN PRODUCIR?
Nos sentimos perezosos e incapaces de hacer la lista, y les sugerimos tomen un papel y un lápiz, anoten y nos la mandan por e-mail para que la publiquemos. Entre los vagos innecesarios, queremos mencionar a los 60 improductivos legisladores porteños, que son demasiados, y seguramente tienen personal a su cargo, como si fuesen diputados o senadores nacionales, que son otro grupo vergonzoso que dilapida el dinero social y ni acuden a veces a votar, pero se dice que cobran en algunos casos por NO votar ciertos proyectos, o se enferman en la fecha adecuada.
Todos mamamos de la gran vaca lechera que es Argentina, pero algunos mas y por eso otros se quedan casi o totalmente afuera, en la miseria y pobreza. Y el problema de la pobreza es la falta de trabajo.
IMPEDIR EL TRABAJO
Las leyes demagógicas lograron asustar tanto a los empresarios, que existe desempleo en un país donde todo se hizo (en los años de bonanza terminados por el fascista Uriburi en 1930) que hoy existen dos sectores de gente improductiva: uno, los que no consiguen trabajo, y otro, el formado por los que cobran sueldos como si produjeran y no lo hacen, y estos revistan mayoritariamente en la funcion publica, porque son nombrados por sus parientes y amantes que están en posición de designarlos, con el dinero de la sociedad (como si no existiera la gente que trabaja para pagar impuestos).
No han sabido los inutiles legisladores dictar legislaciones de emergencia, o sugerir que las Provincias dicten las propias, para alentar empleo privado para el grupo mas necesitado, que se conforma con el minimo o muy poco mas del salario, con tal de tener el orgullo de trabajar e ir aprendiendo a hacerlo mejor, en vez de vivir del trabajo ajeno (mantenidos o ladrones, igual da, desde el punto de vista del producto bruto nacional). Hemos sugerido que el inutil del intendente porteño de turno dicte legislaciones para este fin, sin ser oidos. Tambien lo sugerimos al Gobernador de LA PROVINCIA, y jamas lo hace, o si lo hace, no se nota, seguramente porque los sindicalistas se oponen si se hace un proyecto de trabajo para jovenes que no estudian y aprendan a trabajar trabajando, sin aportes jubilatorios ni sindicales, POR DOS AÑOS, parecido al Contrato de Aprendizaje que extá en vigor desde algo menos de una década en la republica de Colombia (buscar en google).
INDEPENDIENTE DE LOS RETORNOS Y LAS COIMAS
Esto de aumentar el porcentaje de gente que produzca en serio es independiente de que existan gobiernos coimeros, como suponemos de hecho lo han sido todos en estos ultimos ochenta años, excepto que pereciera la corrupción aumenta en volúmen, y hoy se habla de miles de millones de dólares. Pero está comprobado que la Justicia siempre llega tarde, casi como en el caso de las drogas, y que en las propias narices de una Corte Suprema los presidentes de turno puedan estar permitiendo robar (o haciéndolo ellos mismos) cifras enormes, pero la sensación es que la Justicia no quiere intervenir, para no tener roces, ni siquiera para controlar al Banco Central.
Obviamente, para nosotros la actual Corte sigue siendo kirchnerista aunque la gente quiera creer que es independiente. Porque si fuese independiebnte, ya hubiera hace rato procesado a varios personajes de altísimo nivel, y hubiera nombrado INTERVENTORES JUDICIALES en los sitios desde donde desaparede normalmente el dinero de la sociedad, que es una cifra tan grande (debido a que el estado nacional cada vez gasta mas) que ni siguiera los ministros o los secretarios de la Presidenta – si quisieran – podrian controlar.
La corrupcóon es estructural, en parte por el desejemplo de los gobernantes, y sobre todo, por OMISION DE LA CORTE SUPREMA durante ochenta años. Pero eso abarca todos los ordenes, inclusive la provincia de Buenos Aires.
Como ejemplo, puede servir el siguiente: en Perfil de ayer una señora cuyo hijo fue secuestrado, escapo, lo recaptuaron y ejecutaron alevosamente con un balazo por la espalda, narra con tristeza la incapacidad de los inexpertos policias bonaerenses que actuaron y demostraron que son improvisados e inexpertos, cuando no tambien sus jefes. Para aquellos que suponen que la BONAERENSE hace caso a los llamados al 911 sobre la comision de delitos, les recuerdo que hace mas de dos años que hice una denuncia por ese medio, y el bandido sigue sin ser molestado. DOS AÑOS parecen mucho tiempo, pero no lo es cuando eo delito es de usurpar una propiedad ajena, y el autor un OFICIAL de la bonaerense que ocupa la casa junto con su familia y es protegido por un patrullero de la misma bonaerense, por si alguien quisiera molestar o interrumpir la siesta del policia infiel. Por eso, la maquinaria de impedir aumenta, pero se extiede al aumento de la inseguridad, ya que si los misos jefes de la policia que reciben denuncias por el famoso telefono 911 no actuan, cabe inferior que todo es trucho, un show para engañar a la gilada. En mi caso, DOS AÑOS parece un poco mucho incluso si se trata de un policia bandido usurpador. Si alguien lo conoce al Jefe de Seguridaisd de la Provincia, que le avise que ELLOS NO PUEDEN FRENAR LA INSEGURIDAD, PORQUE FORMAN PARTE DEL SISTEMA

SANGRE SINDICALISTA

20 octubre, 2010

Los incidentes de hoy, que arrojaron un muerto y dos, todos heridos de bala, por una lucha entre grupos sindicalistas, muestra el fracaso del sistema fascista que está cayendo a pedazos. El sindicalismo se convirtió en un negocio apoyado por los gobiernos de turno, según denuncian los partidarios de las nebcuibadas víctimas, y la cosa se les complica mas al gobierno Nacional y al Provincial, porque se dice que la policia bonaefrense permitió la agresión, al dejar el campo libre a los bandidos armados con armas de fuego.

Lo peor es que la discusión entre gremios es porque los del bando baleado reclaman tener los mismos derechos y haberes sindicales de los protegidos por la C.G.T., ya que no se permite a los que reclaman su ingreso a la normalización laboral, porque están trabajando en empresas que en realidad pertenecen a los propios sindicalistas oficialistas (versión de los agredidos). Ahora se está comentando que Cristina es la responsable, y que ahora tiene un muerto (como minimo) en su haber, por ser incapaz de permitir que la patota sindical tenga la libertad y el apoyo de la policia bonaerense para reprimir a los gremialistas no oficialistas.

Si fuesemos un país con Estado de Derecho y justicia independiente, el asunto podría resolverse (en el plano de la investigación del hecho delictivo criminal)  citando de urgencia a las autoridades sindicalistas y a las del gobierno nacional, mediante un Juez o un Fiscal con fuerza y decisión, y a partir de allí, empezarían a caer cabezas en el gobierno y en la C.G.T., ya que se está reavivando la vieja lucha entre sindicalistas de derecha oficialistas y los de izquierda que acusan a los primeros de burocracia sindical y socios de funcionarios del Estado.

Esto sucede en medio de una etapa donde los reclamos y quejas contra el gobierno son fogonedados por los medios. Parece imposible qucie los Kirchners se hagan los distraidos, y que el Gobernador Scioli se calle, porque ahora entramos en etapas de definición del futuro candidato a Presidente para el año próximo.

Lo malo del fascismo argentino es que no termina, porque hoy los politicos son mayoritariamente fascistas, via el Pacto de Olivos, donde todos son socios en ordeñar a la sociedad argentina, como sucede en todos los movimientos fascistas nazis, donde un uno por mil (la elite desgobernante) se enriquece sistemáticamente a costa del resto.

Pero por otro lado vemos que la violencia también comienza en Europa, donde las clases trabajadoras no quieren renunciar a ciertos privilegios que consiguieron en las épocas de riqueza, ahora que algunos países quieren mantener un nivel de vida que no les corresponde, por haber perdido posiciones relativas en el mundo global. Nos referimos basicamente a España, Francia e incluso a Alemania, donde pareciera que hay que apretar el cinturón y trabajar mas, pero los sindicalistas se resisten.

Las cifras de Argentina, con un enorme porcentaje de gente que no trabaja en forma registada, y ademas existe demasiada gente que no trabaja o cobra sueldo pero nada produce. De modo que si el sistema fascista argentino no se desmantela pronto, seguiremos teniendo períodos tumultuosos, y a la masa de desocupados disconformes no la podrán contener estos Kirchners y mucho menos los radicales y socialistas. Es el resultado de dos o tres generaciones de argentinos acostumbrados a reclamar nuestros derechos, pero los bandidos gobernantes de los ultimos ochenta años olvidaron recordarnos que la obligación de trabajar es la contrapartida del Derecho Humano a vivir, excepto para niños, ancianos y enfermos. Ojo, el propio general Peron  lo decia, pero el sindicalismo argentino mayoritariamente no lo entendió y los gobernantes fascistas que tenemos desde 1930 son los responsables.

Pero ¿existe forma de terminar con el fascismo si no se pierde una guerra y el país es ocupado por los no fascistas, como sucedió con Japón y Alemania Occidental? Por el momento parece difícil terminar el fascismo, necesitaríamos un par de recambios presidenciales, o quizás mas.

Existe una posibilidad: si los Kirchners no son reelectos Presidentes, la Corte Suprema de Justicia no tendrá obligaciones algunas hacia el futuro Gobierno, y la Justicia podría ser independiente. Y hasta brillante, si fuese cierto eso de que los actuales kortesanos son tan buenos juristas, cosa que nuestro blog no ha notado, porque hasta ahora parecen oficialistas que no se juegan contra la Presidenta para permitir que la constitución sea cumplida en el caso del ex Procurador de la Provincia de Santa Cruz, que sigue sin ser repuesto en su cargo porque, a nuestro gusto, a la Korte le faltan agallas para designar un interventor judicial que haga cumplir su propia sentencia suprema.

ARGENTINE UPDATE

14 octubre, 2010

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EARNINGS: CARGILL TO FIGHT CHARGES ON TAXES (The Wall Street Journal)

By Shane Romig and Ian Berry

13 October 2010

 

 

Cargill Inc. said Tuesday that its fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 68%, and the agribusiness company vowed to fight Argentine charges of tax evasion against two of its executives.

 

The Minneapolis-based company vigorously denied the accusations facing Cargill Argentina Chairman Hector Orlando Marsili and Cargill Uruguay executive Javier Gustavo Fernandez. “We believe the allegations have no substance, and we provided extensive factual evidence demonstrating so to the court,” a Cargill spokesman, Mark Klein, said in an email.

 

Argentina’s tax agency, AFIP, said late Friday that a federal court has indicted Messrs. Marsili and Fernandez, and has frozen 100 million pesos ($25 million) of their assets each.

 

AFIP said the executives conspired to defraud the government of millions of pesos in taxes from 2000 to 2003 through a scheme in which Cargill Argentina on paper sold grains to a related company in Uruguay for re-export, when in fact the merchandise was exported directly from Argentina, one of the world’s top grain and oilseed producers.

 

Argentina’s tax law provides for prison terms of 3 1/2 to nine years in cases of premeditated tax evasion involving amounts in excess of one million pesos.

 

“We believe the judge did not take into account all of the evidence provided over the course of the last year,” said Mr. Klein, the Cargill spokesman. He added that the company stands by Messrs. Marsili and Fernandez.

 

Meanwhile, Cargill said Tuesday that it benefited from volatile commodity markets in the three months ended Aug. 31. The company reported a profit of $883 million in the quarter, up from $525 million a year earlier. Excluding Mosaic Co., a fertilizer producer in which Cargill owns a two-thirds stake, the company’s earnings rose 51% to $693 million from $458 million. Revenue rose 6% to $27.8 billion.

 

Chairman and Chief Executive Greg Page said the most recent results were led by Cargill’s food-ingredients and commodity trading and processing segments, which were helped by volatility across the agricultural-commodity sector.

 

Grain prices surged during summer as a severe drought in Russia decimated the wheat crop there and prompted an export ban. Analysts say the export ban has provided a boost to international grain traders and merchandisers, because customers have to look elsewhere to source supplies.

 

Concern about a disappointing U.S. corn crop has added to the volatility in global grain markets.

 

In times of volatility, large grain merchandisers such as Cargill, with a global presence and ample supplies in storage, are able to increase sales by serving buyers who are looking globally for the best deal on grain prices and transportation costs.

 

Cargill, the largest private U.S. company by sales, is one of the world’s largest commodity processors and traders, with other activities that include food ingredients, financial services and steelmaking.

 

The company said its origination, or grain-sourcing, as well as its processing results “rose significantly” in the latest quarter. Cargill processes grain into ethanol as well as products used in food and livestock feed. Its industrial segment was boosted by increased earnings from Cargill’s investment in Mosaic, which is benefiting from rising grain demand and an expected jump in fertilizer applications. The fertilizer company said last week that earnings nearly tripled in the first quarter amid strong potash and phosphate sales.

 

 ECONOMY MINISTER: ARGENTINA OPPOSES IMF ROLE IN PARIS CLUB SETTLEMENT (Dow Jones International News)

By Ken Parks and Alberto Messer

12 October 2010

 

 

Argentina Economy Minister Amado Boudou on Tuesday said the government continues to oppose the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in settling its outstanding debts with Paris Club nations.

 

“This is a problem that we inherited and to solve the Paris Club [debt] we don’t need the Fund. We want the Fund to stay away,” Boudou told reporters at the sidelines of an event.

 

“There is no reason for the Fund to participate in this issue. We don’t owe the Fund anything,” he said.

 

Argentina owes about $7.5 billion to developed countries grouped together in the so-called Paris Club of creditor nations, which includes Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.S. and the Netherlands.

 

Argentina’s government can make a one-time payment to the Paris Club to settle the debt, or it can ask to reschedule payments. Paris Club rules, however, stipulate that before debt can be rescheduled, the borrower must secure a loan program with the IMF.

 

Settling that debt could reopen Argentina’s access to funding from the export credit agencies of Paris Club members, which has been cut off since the country defaulted on $100 billion in 2001.

 

President Cristina Fernandez said last week in a visit to Germany that she wants the tax breaks received by foreign companies operating in Argentina to be taken into account in settling the Paris Club debts.

 

“We believe the renegotiation of this debt with the Paris Club should also contemplate investments by Paris Club countries in Argentina, where companies get fiscal benefits and loans that allow these European companies to send profits home,” she said.

 

Fernandez and her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, have been vocal critics of the IMF, whose policies, they say, contributed to the default and the destruction of Argentina’s industrial base.

 

Argentina has refused to submit its economic policies and data to a periodic review by the IMF since 2006, the same year that then-president Kirchner paid off ahead of schedule about $9.8 billion in debt owed to the multilateral lender.

 

 

 

 

ARGENTINA SOYOIL EXPORTERS VIEW END TO CHINA SPAT WITH WARY EYE (Dow Jones International News)

By Shane Romig

12 October 2010

 

 

Argentina’s soyoil exporters are cautiously optimistic that China is poised to resume its purchases of soyoil, but they are waiting to see an actual sale go through before celebrating an end to the six-month old trade dispute.

 

An executive at one of Argentina’s leading grain and vegetable oil exporters told Dow Jones Newswires on Tuesday that he is waiting to “see it to believe it.”

 

In April, China–the world’s largest importer of the edible oil–blocked imports from Argentine–the largest exporter–citing purity standards. But many saw the move as retaliation for a host of anti-dumping duties imposed by Argentina on imported Chinese goods.

 

Fueling scepticism over the resumption of soyoil sales is the fact that there seems to have been no progress in resolving the underlying conflict over trade barriers. In fact, Argentina has expanded the number of Chinese products hit by anti-dumping penalties in recent months.

 

Despite the tension, the Chinese appear to be more concerned with their domestic food prices. China is facing high inflation and Argentine soy oil is cheaper than what it is now buying from the U.S. and Brazil, said Ricardo Baccarin, vice president at local brokerage house Panagricola.

 

A senior trader with a large Chinese grain buyer said Tuesday that China’s government is clearing new soy oil imports from Argentina, although no purchases have taken place yet.

 

China’s Ministry of Commerce would support the resumption of soy oil imports from Argentina as long as there are no quality concerns, said Chen Rongkai, a ministry media official.

 

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez celebrated the news in a twitter post on Tuesday. “If it wasn’t enough, China is buying oil again,” Fernandez wrote.

 

Agriculture Minister Julian Dominguez told state news agency Telam on Monday there were signs that China would allow shipments to resume, although a foreign ministry spokesman on Tuesday declined to comment.

 

A resumption of sales to China would be a boon to Argentina’s farmers, who were slow to sell this season and still have significant soybean stocks remaining, Panagricola’s Baccarin said.

 

Current data is not available on how many soybeans that farmers are still holding, but a record 54 million tons of soybeans were grown last season, according to the Agriculture Ministry. As of Sept. 1, the ministry said grain processors had soybean stocks of 1.68 million metric tons, while soyoil stocks totaled 280,218 tons.

 

Argentina sharply raised its soyoil exports to India to make up for the loss of the Chinese market, but only by offering significant discounts.

 

Soyoil exports to India are expected to reach $1.5 billion this year, with Indian buyers purchasing more than $1 billion during the first six months of the year, according to Argentina’s Foreign Ministry. Last year, very little Argentine soyoil made it to India.

  

 

 

 

CHINA REOPENS SOYA TRADE WITH ARGENTINA (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Irenea Renuncio Mateos

12 October 2010

 

 

Argentina’s minister of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, Julián Domínguez confirmed yesterday that the Chinese government has authorised the entry of the first Argentine soya oil exports to the country since April, when the admission of these products into China was brought to a halt. The commercial dispute started when Chinese importers began to curb soybean oil exports from Argentina on 1 April this year, supposedly on grounds of safety concerns (see China – Argentina: 2 June 2010: ). The move followed 18 anti-dumping investigations by the Argentines against Chinese products in 2009. The dispute, which was initially expected to come to a swift end, has taken months to be finally resolved. Domínguez declared that his Chinese counterpart, Han Changfu, will come to Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires on 12 November to discuss commercial relations further.

 

Argentine sub-secretary of agriculture Oscar Solís confirmed Domínguez’s declarations and added that new purchases of Argentine soya oil were being made by China.

 

Significance: Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner visited China in July, but it took the South American country stepping up soya sales to India for China to react: Domínguez travelled to India in August to strengthen relations and secure the flow of Argentine soya exports to the Indian market (see Argentina – India: 4 August 2010:  ). This might have had an impact on China, which was the primary consumer of Argentine soya products until the commercial dispute started. China absorbs roughly 50% of Argentina’s soy bean exports and cannot easily find a replacement source. Now, despite the normalisation of commercial relations, Argentina will be wary of China’s attitude in the future and will be sure to diversify its export basket towards more reliable markets, such as India’s.

 

 FACTBOX – SOYOIL TRADE BETWEEN ARGENTINA AND CHINA (Reuters News)

12 October 2010

 

 

Argentina’s government and Asian traders said on Tuesday China had lifted a six-month freeze on Argentine soy oil imports that had forced Argentine exporters to find new, less-lucrative markets.

 

China, the world’s largest buyer of soy oil, halted shipments from Argentina, the top global exporter, in late March following anti-dumping measures imposed by Argentina on some Chinese manufactured goods.

 

Here are some estimates on Argentine soy oil production and exports and the trade ban:

 

* Argentina is the world’s No. 1 exporter of soy oil and soy meal, as well as the third-largest global supplier of soybeans.

 

* In 2009, the South American country exported 1.84 million tonnes of soy oil to China, worth $1.4 billion and accounting for 77 percent of all Chinese soy oil imports.

 

* Argentine soy oil shipments to China fell nearly 60 percent to 595,140 tonnes in the first eight months of this year, compared with the same period of 2009, due to the Asian country’s de facto ban.

 

* Last year, Argentina reaped $16.2 billion from its soy exports — which include the oilseed, soy meal and oil derivatives. In 2010, soy exports could reach $17 billion.

 

* Cargill [CARG.UL], Bunge , Louis Dreyfus, Aceitera General Deheza and Molinos Rio de la Plata are the country’s main soy-exporting companies.

 

* Argentina’s 2009/10 soy harvest came in at a record 52.7 million tonnes, according to government figures, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the Argentine crop at 54.5 million tonnes.

 

* Argentine Agriculture Secretary Lorenzo Basso told Reuters on Tuesday exporters will resume Argentine soy oil shipments to China in the coming days.

 

 

 

 

 

ARGENTINA EX ENERGY CHIEFS CALL FOR REFORM OF OIL, GAS LAW (Platts Commodity News)

12 October 2010

 

 

Eight of Argentina’s former energy secretaries Tuesday called for a sweeping reform of the country’s hydrocarbons law in order to revive oil and natural gas production that they say is dropping at an “alarming” rate.

 

“We are in a sustained decline” as fields mature and exploration spending remains insufficient, the former officials, including Enrique Devoto, Jorge Lapena and Daniel Montamat, said in a three-page report distributed by e-mail.

 

The government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is trying to turn around flagging production and reserves to end chronic shortages that are pushing the country to greater reliance on pricier supplies of imported diesel, fuel oil and LNG.

 

National oil output has dropped 26% to 620,000 b/d from a record 847,000 b/d in 1998 and gas has fallen 7.8% to 132 million cubic meters/d from a peak of 143.1 million cu m/d in 2004.

 

To turn things around, the former energy chiefs called on the national government to create a “credible policy” and to do more to promote offshore exploration, including by allowing oil and gas prices to rise so the industry is sustainable over the long term.

 

The federal government has used price controls to keep a lid on energy prices since a 2001-2002 economic crisis, helping shield consumers from inflation. The domestic price of oil is capped at $42/barrel compared with Tuesday’s settle of $81.67/b for light sweet crude on NYMEX. Gas at the wellhead is averaging $2.40/MMBtu, less than the $7-$9/MMBtu Argentina pays to import Bolivian gas and LNG.

 

One concern, the former energy chiefs said, is that the provinces are establishing their own hydrocarbons laws and this is “conspiring against the existence of a national policy.”

 

This also is impeding the development of national exploration and production campaigns, as well as deterring foreign investment by making it more confusing to do business in the country, they said.

 

To rekindle investment and production, the former energy bosses said policy and planning should be concentrated in the national government, while the provinces should have leeway to carry the program out.

 

The new law must set the guidelines for offshore exploration to help attract foreign investment and drilling expertise and technology, they said. It also must set out uniform tax policies and establish a National Hydrocarbons Department to oversee regulations and the administration of contracts, as well as promotion and statistics, they added.

 

 

 

 

 

ARGENTINA SET TO START BEEF EXPORTS TO CHINA SOON (Reuters News)

12 October 2010

 

 

* Argentina was No. 4 beef exporter in 2009

* Country’s beef production shrinking

 

Argentina is set to start exporting beef to protein-hungry China before the end of the year, after striking a deal over animal-health requirements with the Asian country, the Argentine government said on Tuesday.

 

Argentina was the world’s No. 4 beef supplier in 2009, shipping 653,000 tonnes to markets including Russia and the European Union.

 

“Regarding beef, we should start exports (to China) toward the end of the year,” Argentine Agriculture Secretary Lorenzo Basso said on Tuesday after a meeting with Chinese officials.

 

“There was an issue regarding (animal) health protocols … It’s a long negotiation and we’re near the end,” he told Reuters.

 

There are still more cows than people in Argentina, but beef production is decreasing in the South American country, where the national herd has shrunk by 10 million heads in the last three years to about 48 million.

 

Many Argentine ranchers have sold off herds due to several years of harsh drought. Others have turned fields over to more profitable soy, blaming the government for eroding ranching profit margins with export curbs and price caps.

 

Exports of Argentine beef shrank by nearly 50 percent to just over 135,000 tonnes from January to August, versus the same period last year, Argentina’s Meat Industry and Trade Chamber said in a recent report.

 

 

 

 

 

ARGENTINA’S CAPITAL AIMS TO ISSUE $500M,10-YEAR BONDS IN 2011 (Dow Jones International News)

By Ken Parks

12 October 2010

 

 

The City of Buenos Aires is in talks with investment banks to issue about $500 million in 10-year bonds next year to refinance debt and fund infrastructure projects, a top government official said Tuesday.

 

“If there continues to be as much [global] liquidity as there is today we might get single-digit interest rates,” said Nestor Grindetti, the city’s finance minister, in a telephone interview from Washington, DC.

 

In March, the city sold $475 million in five-year bonds on international debt markets, paying a hefty annual interest rate of 12.5%.

 

Today, Argentine issuers face a favorable international backdrop thanks to abundant global liquidity provided by central banks, Europe’s fading crisis, and rock-bottom benchmark interest rates in major developed countries.

 

The federal government’s debt swap in June with the holders of bonds dating back to Argentina’s $100 billion sovereign default in 2001 has also helped yield-hungry foreign investors set aside lingering doubts about the country’s willingness and ability to pay its creditors.

 

Last month, Buenos Aires Province sold $550 million in five-year bonds with an annual interest rate of 11.75%, while Cordoba Province sold $400 million in seven-year bonds in early August, paying 12.375% in its debut on international markets.

 

The City of Buenos Aires aims to hire an investment bank early next year and obtain the necessary approval from its legislative assembly in order to go to go to market in late March or April, said Grindetti, who has met with about 10 banks during his current visit to the U.S.

 

About $300 million of proceeds from the planned issuance would be used to pay debt that matures in 2011, and $200 million would be earmarked for infrastructure projects, Grindetti said.

 

Mayor Mauricio Macri, a member of the center-right PRO party and a likely candidate for president next year, is asking the legislative assembly to approve a budget that forecasts a 20.3% year-on-year increase in revenue to ARS23.76 billion. The spending portion of the budget calls for a 23.4% increase to ARS25.42 billion as the city government boosts outlays on healthcare, education and infrastructure.

 

“If we can’t issue, [surpluses in the budget] would allow us to pay maturing debt and obviously we would have to do less public works,” said Grindetti when asked if the city has a back-up plan in the event it can’t sell bonds.

 

 

 

 

 

RIGHTS-LATIN AMERICA: MAKING FORCED DISAPPEARANCE “DISAPPEAR” (Inter Press Service)

By Emilio Godoy

  

12 October 2010

 

 

Agustin Cetrangolo from Argentina is tireless in his fight to bring to justice those responsible for the forced disappearance of his father, who was seized in 1978 by the dictatorship of that South American country and was held in at least two different concentration camps in Buenos Aires before he went missing forever.

 

“We want justice, and we want it to be a permanent feature of society,” said the activist, who belongs to Hijos e Hijas por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio (Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice Against Oblivion and Silence – H.I.J.O.S.), which was founded in Argentina in 1994.

 

His father, Sergio Cetrangolo, was one of the 30,000 people forcibly disappeared during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship, according to human rights groups.

 

“We didn’t expect so much progress to be made (in legal cases involving) forced disappearances in Argentina” this decade, he told IPS. “The powers of the state are doing their job, and there is social condemnation of state terrorism.”

 

Trials of human rights violators began to be reopened in 2003, after centre-left president Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007) took office and Congress repealed the two amnesty laws passed in the mid-1980s, which had kept military personnel accused of human rights abuses out of the courts. In 2005, the Supreme Court declared the two laws unconstitutional.

 

Along with other activists from Argentina, as well as Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Uruguay, Cetrangolo attended the international H.I.J.O.S conference Wednesday through Friday in the Mexican capital. The aim of the gathering was to put the issue on the regional agenda.

 

The countries of Latin America have moved at different speeds in the fight for justice in cases of forced disappearance. Countries like Argentina, and, with more ups and downs, Uruguay and Chile, have been in the vanguard of legislation and convictions, while Mexico and Colombia have lagged far behind.

 

“The state not only has a responsibility, as well as an obligation to investigate all of the cases, but it must also bring those responsible (for forced disappearances) before the courts,” Hector Cerezo, a member of the Cerezo Committee, a Mexican organisation dedicated to defending the human rights of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, told IPS.

 

The Cerezo Committee was formed in 2001 after Hector and his brothers Alejandro and Antonio Cerezo were arrested, tortured, and held incommunicado, and charged with belonging to a guerrilla group.

 

In August, the organisation joined with other human rights groups to launch a National Campaign Against Forced Disappearance, and put out a manual to help orient families with regard to steps to be taken if one of their loved ones is forcibly disappeared.

 

  

In Mexico, more than 3,000 people have fallen victim to forced disappearance since 2006, according to human rights groups. The most recent case was the Sept. 14 disappearance of Victor Ayala, a leader of the Frente Libre Hermenegildo Galeana, a peasant organisation in the southern state of Guerrero.

 

During the “dirty war” against leftwing activists, social leaders and guerrillas in the late 1960s and the 1970s, 532 people were forcibly disappeared, according to the National Human Rights Commission, a public institution that enjoys autonomy from the federal government.

 

But the attempts to bring former presidents and senior officials in office during that time to trial in connection with the cases have failed.

 

In Guatemala, the estimated 200,000 victims of the 1960-1996 civil war included some 45,000 victims of forced disappearance. The state security forces were blamed by an independent truth commission for nearly all of the killings and disappearances.

 

In Colombia, H.I.J.O.S. has a list of 47,000 forced disappearances in the past few decades of armed conflict. The first documented case was that of bacteriologist Omaira Montoya, a leftwing activist detained in 1977.

 

During Argentina’s seven-year military regime, some 30,000 people were “disappeared”, according to human rights groups, although the official number of documented cases is just under 15,000.

 

H.I.J.O.S. says the first case in Argentina was the 1962 disappearance of Felipe Vallese, a young steelworker and leader of the Peronist Youth, which had been banned.

 

And the latest case was that of Jorge Julio Lopez, a 77-year-old retired construction worker and former political prisoner who went missing in 2006 shortly after he testified as a key witness against a former police chief who ended up sentenced to life in prison.

 

In Chile, there were 2,115 victims of forced disappearance during the 1973-1990 military dictatorship. The first documented case was that of trade unionist Gast¾n de Jesus Cortes, who was “disappeared” just after the coup in which General Augusto Pinochet toppled socialist President Salvador Allende (1970-1973).

 

The human rights group also reports that 172 Uruguayans became victims of forced disappearance during that country’s 1973-1985 de facto regime.

 

But most of them went missing in Argentina, under Operation Condor, a coordinated plan among the military governments that ruled Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in the 1970s and 1980s, aimed at tracking down, torturing and eliminating leftwing opponents, with the at least tacit approval of the United States.

 

However, the names of more Uruguayan victims of forced disappearance may surface as the result of continuing investigations into the transfer of political prisoners in flights across the Rio de la Plata, the estuary that separates Buenos Aires from Montevideo.

 

The first documented case of a victim of forced disappearance in Uruguay was that of medical student Adan Abel Ayala, in 1971, at the hands of the security forces of the authoritarian government of then President Jorge Pacheco Areco.

 

“Forced disappearance is attributed to an individual, and not to an agent of the state. If the perpetrator is a public servant, that is not counted as an aggravating factor,” complained lawyer Yessica Hoyos of H.I.J.O.S-Colombia, which was founded four years ago.

 

Hoyos was another of the participants at this week’s meeting, which included the showing of films and documentaries on forced disappearance.

 

In June, a court in Colombia sentenced retired colonel Alfonso Plazas to 30 years of prison for the 1985 disappearance of 11 people who worked in the cafeteria of the Palace of Justice in Bogota. They went missing after a military siege of the courthouse, which had been occupied by the 19th of April guerrilla movement.

 

After the armed forces raid, in which 55 people were killed, nothing more was heard of the group of cafeteria employees, who had survived the attack.

 

The activists hope that the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which was approved in 2006 and will go into force in 2011, will give a boost to their struggle.

 

Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have ratified the Convention, but other Latin American countries with large numbers of victims of forced disappearance, such as Guatemala and Colombia, have not.

 

When the international treaty enters into effect, the state parties will be required to present an annual report on forced disappearance, with hard data and information on legislative and judicial action taken.

 

In September, the Argentine Senate approved a reform of the criminal code, which made forced disappearance a specific crime. The lower house is set to vote on it in the next few weeks.

 

“Argentina has found its own route for trying” human rights violators, but it is important for all countries “to convict those responsible for forced disappearances, because of the symbolic value as well,” Cetrangolo said.

 

Under a November 2009 sentence in which the Inter-American Court of Human Rights held the Mexican state responsible for the 1974 forced disappearance of school teacher and social activist Rosendo Radilla, Mexico is required to pass a law against forced disappearance and carry out thorough investigations of past cases.

 

“The authorities do not register cases of forced disappearance, which are treated as kidnappings,” said Cerezo, who was in prison from 2001 to 2009, found guilty of exploding homemade bombs in three banks in the Mexican capital.

 

Gabriel Cruz and Edmundo Reyes, members of the Popular Revolutionary Army, a small guerrilla group, and 38 workers of the Pemex state oil company have been missing since 2007.

 

“In Colombia, the history has been one of denial of forced disappearances,” said Hoyos, the daughter of trade unionist Jorge Dario Hoyos, who was killed in 2001. “That’s why we want Congress to ratify the Convention, and approve the law on victims.”

 

On Sept. 27, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos introduced in Congress a bill on victims that would provide compensation for those affected by the violence of the guerrillas, the right-wing paramilitaries, and government agents.

 

 

SMITHSONIAN LATINO CENTER OPENS “SOUTHERN IDENTITY: CONTEMPORARY ARGENTINE ART” (States News Service)

12 October 2010

 

 

The following information was released by the Smithsonian Institution:

 

The Smithsonian Latino Center opened its exhibition “Southern Identity: Contemporary Argentine Art” Oct. 11. The exhibition, organized with Argentina’s Secretariat of Culture, highlights 80 works by 32 living Argentine artists, including León Ferrari, Marta Minujín, Luis Felipe Noé, Nicola Constantino, Marcos López, Pablo Siquier and Marcia Schvartz. “Southern Identity: Contemporary Argentine Art” will be on view in the International Gallery of the Smithsonian’s

 

S. Dillon Ripley Center through Jan. 23, 2011.

 

The bilingual exhibition presents an overview of the major movements and trends in Argentina’s national art scene since 1948 and is organized in four sections featuring political art, landscapes, national identities and abstraction. It is the largest survey of Argentine contemporary art ever organized in the United States and includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, video art, photography and prints representing the work of artists working in Buenos Aires and throughout Argentina’s provinces. The exhibition’s curators are Alberto Petrina, national director of patrimony and museums, and Andrés Duprat, director of visual arts; both are from Argentina’s Secretariat of Culture.

 

“Southern Identity” is part of the public program and exhibition series Argentina at the Smithsonian 2010 that commemorates Argentina’s bicentennial and features more than 20 free public programs between March and January, including tango and jazz concerts, hands-on design programs, film screenings, artists’ dialogues, spoken-word readings, family days and scholarly lectures. This series also features the exhibition “Buenos Aires, El Instante Siguiente: Contemporary Photography from Argentina,” which is on view between Oct. 18 and Nov. 16 in the Terrace Level Gallery of the Organization of American States at 1889 F Street N.W.

 

The Smithsonian Latino Center is the division of the Smithsonian Institution that ensures that Latino contributions to art, science and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution and its affiliated organizations across the United States and internationally.

 

=========

Chile’s Mapuches: Trying violence | The Economist

 

AS A presidential candidate in 2009, Sebastián Piñera called Mapuche Indian activists accused of burning farms and lorries “criminals”. He criticised the president, Michelle Bachelet, for not using the country’s harsh terrorism law to quell their protests for control of their ancestral land. Ms Bachelet later had them charged with terrorism. But on October 1st, Mr Piñera, her successor, got the charges withdrawn.

The Mapuches forced him into this about-face by launching a hunger strike in July, which grew to include 38 prisoners. They wanted a change in the terrorism law, which dates from Chile’s military dictatorship. Although later amended, it remains controversial. Since 1990 it has been used mainly against Mapuche activists. In 2007 the UN Human Rights Committee said its procedural guarantees should be strengthened. The hunger strikers also wanted to end military courts’ jurisdiction over civilians, so that Mapuches who attacked police could not be tried twice for the same incident. Mr Piñera supports this.

Few Chileans back the Mapuches, and Mr Piñera’s conservative allies in Congress had blocked previous efforts to reform the terrorism law. But the president wants to avoid the bad foreign press that followed the deaths of hunger-strikers in Cuba and Venezuela this year.

  

On September 30th Congress changed the law so that a presumption of terrorist intentions no longer trumps the presumption of innocence. Defence lawyers will be able to question protected witnesses. The penalties for arson, a common Mapuche practice, will be reduced. Yet the conflict is not over: ten activists are still refusing food.

Excerpted from Chile’s Mapuches: Trying violence | The Economist
http://www.economist.com/node/17209615?story_id=17209615&fsrc=rss

NÉSTOR: ¿ACORDÓ CON SU KORTE?

9 octubre, 2010

La  movida de Néstor de decir que respeta  a la Corte Suprema puede significar dos cosas: temor del pinguino  que sabe que la Constitución,  es lo que la Corte Suprema decide y hay que cumplir (posibilad ideal pero difícilmente creíble) o que por el contrario, ha arreglado con la Corte para seguir haciendo su politica dudosa y equivocada, en  el año y meses que le resta a Cristina de Presidenta, hasta saber si el Kilrchnerismo es reelecto en la Presidencia el año 2011, y hasta tanto, ganar tiempo.

Una vergüenza constitucional sería que la Corte Suprema frene su accionar, y que no designe interventor judicial para reponer al procurador de Santa Cruz, habiendo sentencia firme incumplida. Por eso, la proxima jugada debe hacerla ya la Corte, mostrando que ella manda, y que Cristina debe obedecer, y el gobernador de Santa Cruz ser procedado criminalmente por no obedecer al maximo Tribunal.

Si la Corte Suprema no actúa rápido, mala señal, entramos a sospechar que estamos igual que cuando Alfonsin nos engañaba diciendo que la casa estaba en orden. Y seguiremos siendo un pais fascista incorregible, que como bien dice Vargas Llosa, elegimos la pobreza y el peronismo desde 1930.

Ojalá nos equivoquemos y esta Corte K se haya vuelto independiente en serio…y haga que los K respeten la constitucion y los dineros de la Nación. AMEN.

IZQUIERDA E INSEGURIDAD

8 octubre, 2010

Fw: ¿Por que la izquierda no combate la inseguridad?

viernes, 8 de octubre de 2010, 15:02
De:

Agregar remitente a Contactos

Para:
“Alberto Pérez” <ajperez@diputados.gov.ar>
  
 

 

 

.

¿Por qué la izquierda no combate la inseguridad?

http://america.infobae.com/notas/10069-Por-que-la-izquierda-no-combate-la-inseguridad

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Deja indefensos a los más débiles frente al ascenso del delito porque la ideología la lleva con demasiada frecuencia a tomar partido por el delincuente.
Es la tesis de Hervé Algalarrondo, vicejefe de redacción de Le Nouvel Observateur.
 
Siendo él mismo un intelectual de izquierda, este directivo del prestigioso semanario francés viene formulando, sin embargo, desde hace un tiempo una dura requisitoria contra esa tendencia en varios ensayos y en particular en un libro titulado: Seguridad: la izquierda contra el pueblo.
 
Algalarrondo afirma que la izquierda ha descuidado un fenómeno que golpea sobre todo a los más pobres, porque ve en el delincuente a una víctima de la sociedad. Y a la seguridad como si fuera un reclamo de la derecha.
 
La acusa de haber traicionado a su electorado. Su tesis es que una “cultura de la excusa” la lleva a ignorar a la víctima para asumir la defensa del que viola la ley. Privilegiar las causas sociales en la explicación de los motivos del delito, es una cosa. Renunciar a combatir la delincuencia es otra.
 
Pero, para la izquierda, la explicación se convierte en excusa. Excusa para el delincuente y excusa para la inacción de los poderes del Estado.
 
Otra creencia que Algalarrondo combate es la de que una mejora de la situación económica traerá automáticamente una caída en los índices del delito. En la práctica, es apostar a que el tiempo lo resuelva todo.
 
Podemos comprobar la falsedad de esa tesis en América Latina: la región ha crecido sostenidamente en los últimos años, pero en muchos países latinoamericanos el flagelo de la delincuencia no sólo no retrocede, sino que avanza.
 
Una falsa ecuación
 
“En mi libro, dice Algalarrondo, ataco una ecuación totalmente falsa: que las medidas de seguridad son de derecha, hasta fascistas.
Ese es el discurso de las elites culturales parisinas totalmente desconectadas de la realidad.
En los suburbios humildes de París o de Lyon, el electorado de izquierda pide más seguridad, igual que el de derecha”. Y ejemplifica: “Los padres que quieren que sus hijos circulen tranquilamente por las calles de su barrio no son de derecha ni de izquierda, son padres”.
 
También ironiza sobre la postura de los ex partidos comunistas o trostkistas al señalar como “una fantástica paradoja” el hecho de que, aunque “las demandas de mayor seguridad son muy fuertes entre los trabajadores; «el partido de la clase obrera» se mantiene en ese tema en posiciones de una extrema candidez”.
 
Según él, al negar la realidad de la delincuencia, los “bienpensantes” del progresismo no han entendido que la inseguridad toca justamente a los más carenciados, “ahoga a los servicios públicos y a las barriadas”.
 
“La izquierda – acusa Algalarrondo- ha olvidado sencillamente que las primeras víctimas del incremento de la inseguridad” son los trabajadores, la gente humilde.
 
La tendencia de estos sectores políticos a “ideologizar” todo nubla la realidad. “La intelectualidad de izquierda sigue viendo en el más mínimo incremento de los poderes de la policía y de la justicia una amenaza para las libertades, explica el periodista.
 
En el imaginario progresista, la lucha contra el delito está siempre asociada con el atentado contra la libertad individual o a su recorte.
 
No hay duda de que pueden cometerse abusos en la represión de la delincuencia, pero en el estado de derecho existen mecanismos para prevenirlos y evitarlos, por lo tanto, no pueden ser la excusa para una inacción que, a la larga, por el caos y la inseguridad que genera, acaba atentando, y en mucho mayor medida, no sólo contra la libertad individual, sino contra la vida misma.
 
Los delincuentes, el nuevo proletariado
 
Hervé Algalarrondo pone en el banquillo de los acusados al desaparecido filósofo francés, Michel Foucault y su libro, biblia del garantismo, “Vigilar y castigar” (1985). “A los que roban, se los encarcela; a los que violan, se los encarcela; a los que matan, también. ¿De dónde viene esta extraña práctica (sic) y el curioso proyecto de encerrar para enderezar?”, se preguntaba Foucault, por ejemplo.
 
Algalarrondo expone al respecto otra tesis impactante: “Para la intelligentsia, el nuevo proletariado, son los delincuentes“. Traiciona a sus propias bases en nombre de la defensa de los “fuera de la ley”. Los que cometen delitos estarían en rebeldía contra una ley y un orden “injustos”. Son ellos las víctimas. Con este discurso, la izquierda deslegitima totalmente la idea de represión.
 
Otro aspecto en el cual el autor se despega del dogma progresista es su defensa de la policía. Acusa a la izquierda de racismo policial. Para ella, “los policías son siempre presuntamente culpables, y los jóvenes siempre totalmente inocentes”.
 
Eso explica que se movilicen por los casos de gatillo fácil o abuso policial, pero jamás por las víctimas de la delincuencia.
 
Alagalarrondo afirma que “no se hará retroceder la inseguridad sin rehabilitar a la policía” y que ésta “necesita sentir el respaldo de todo el país , pero, para la intelligentsia, eso es inimaginable, porque reserva su compasión para los delincuentes y no tiene ni una palabra de consuelo o aliento para los que trabajan, los que estudian o los que padecen por la delincuencia”.
 
Mucho menos para los policías caídos en cumplimiento del deber. También en eso, dice el directivo del Nouvel Observateur, “existe un divorcio entre el pueblo y las elites: en las zonas sensibles, la gente reclama más presencia policial”.
 
El “partido” de los derechos humanos
 
Finalmente, Algalarrondo pronostica que cualquier gobierno, “de derecha o de izquierda”, que decida enfrentar el delito chocará contra el “partido de los derechos humanos”.
 
Un partido informal, una creación de la revuelta estudiantil de mayo del 68 en Francia, que dio origen a esa nueva mirada candorosa hacia la delincuencia. Un partido ante el cual, afirma, muchos han capitulado.
 
El redactor de Le Nouvel Observateur aconseja a la izquierda rechazar el “fantasma liberticida” que afirma que combatir la delincuencia sería ser de derecha.
 
Es cierto que las fuerzas progresistas en general no ponen a la seguridad entre las prioridades de su agenda. Pero algunos están empezando a cambiar. El propio Partido Socialista francés designó a un responsable de Seguridad en su secretariado nacional, algo impensable tiempo atrás. “La inseguridad no es una sensación”, declaró a la prensa Jean-Jacques Urvoas, el diputado nacional designado para ese cargo.
 
En cuanto a América Latina, junto con Venezuela, cuyos índices de inseguridad se han disparado sin que el Gobierno haya reaccionado aún, tenemos el ejemplo del presidente salvadoreño, Mauricio Funes , quien llegó a la primera magistratura encabezando una lista formada por una ex organización guerrillera, el Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional , pero no ha eludido el drama de la violencia delictiva en su país y acaba de poner en vigencia una ley para combatir a las maras (pandillas) que prevé penas más duras para quienes se sumen a estos grupos delictivos.
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