Archive for 28 junio 2013

CEDÍN: ¿es un CHEQUE DIFERIDO CERTIFICADO?

28 junio, 2013

Noto no haber sido el único en sospechar que el Cedín es un instrumento de pago inconfiable, por provenir de un Estado que ha anteriormente defaulteado sus obligaciones, y encima niega el Gobierno que la inflación es grave, porque utiliza sistemas mentirosos de calcular la depreciacion del peso ya no convertible a dolar, o  siquiera, poder determinar como “baja” el poder de compra de dicho dinero argentino.

Lo mas parecido como antecedente al Cedín, sería el “cheque certificado diferido”, donde el certificante – cualquier banco – apartaba de la cuenta del titular la cantidad exacta de dinero por el cual se emitia el cheque, y el Banco se convertía en garante fideicomisario de que el cheque  a su vencimiento, sería cancelado. Era una operación clara: si el cheque no se cobraba en el plazo indicado, los fondos volvían al titular del crédito, aunque lo probable es que el 99,9 por ciento de ellos se presentase al cobro, y la operación habría terminado bien para todos. Por eso, el cheque diferido funcionó bien.

En cambio, el CEDÍN se supone es para que la gente pueda depositar y blanquear dolares, y a cambio, reciben ese certificado de deposito que emite el banco Central de la Republica Argentina, y que será repagable a tres años de su emisión. Digamos que un Cedín emitido el 1 de julio de 2013 podrá circular en plaza pero recién será pagadero – con intereses incluidos – a partir del 1 de julio de 2016, seis meses y días después que el mandato Presidencial de la doctora Kirchner haya finalizado, y posiblemente cuando el Banco Central tenga otro Presidente y Directivos. Que quizás no tengan suficientes dolares para redimir o cancelar la totalidad de CEDINES que puedan haberse emitido. Y esto podría dar lugar a estafas varias. Empezando porque nadie sabe si el gobierno que suceda al actual de Cristina será honesto y pagará, o si hará igual que Duhalde, cuando incumplió e hizo incumplir al Banco Central su compromiso de devolver uno a uno los dolares ajenos que custodiaba en fideicomiso, para garantizar a los cándidos aceptantes de los pesos convertibles, que retirarían dolares uno a uno en cualquier momento. Y gracias a aquella confianza – defraudada por Duhalde y el Banco Central –  Argentina como Estado se apropio de diecisiete mil millones de dolares  circa, tal como informó Steve H. Hanke al Congreso Norteamericano, y eso nos valió la fama de país incumplidor con un Banco Central defraudador, que incumple sus obligaciones fiduciarias.

Peligro también existiría si a la doctora Kirchner sus funcionarios la engañan, y entran a emitir y certificar CEDINES sin que ingresen a cambio los dolares que se espera depositen aquellos que quieren blanquear patrimonios multimillonarios. A espaldas de Cristina, millones de dolares en Cedines sin dolares (los que fueron falsificados) ingresarían en el mercado, y la oferta de dicho instrumento de pago provocará quizás un descenso en su valor, si es que la gente desconfía del Banco Central. Ojo: cualquier gobernante sensato desconfiaría, hoy Francisco el Papa, está muy preocupado porque hay altísimos príncipes de la Iglesia involucrados en la archifamosa desde hace años estafa al “Banco Vaticano” y ya ha decretado su intervención.

Otro temor tengo es que Cristina se entusiasme, mal aconsejada como siempre por sus ultra alcahuetes economistas, y se decida a aprovechar que tiene mayoría en el Congreso, para declarar al CEDIN como la única moneda nacional, a partir de x meses. Tendríamos muchos papeles legalmente firmados por el Banco Central, pero podrían a los tres años faltar los dolares para hacer efectivo dichos pagares o cheques diferidos. Otra vez mas la gente de Argentina habría sido engañada, y el entorno del Poder seguiría medrando. Sin o con conocimiento de Ella, la Presidenta, que quizás ya no lo sea cuando llegue el momento de “recolectar los dolares”. Porque todavía no se ha modificado la Constitución Nacional para permitir el tercer mandato presidencial  que se dice pide, aunque por medio de sus alcahuetes.

Por lo que noto, el CEDIN no es un cheque certificado, apenas una promesa sospechosa emitida por un gobierno que ama perdonar a los grandes capitales que buscan un puerto donde blanquearse, porque provienen de negocios sucios, según oímos. Algo que  Argentina ha repudiado al firmar tratados internacionales para impedir lavado de dinero. Con razón la oposición se queja: saben que el Estado ladrón es capaz de seguir estafando, peronistas Duhaldistas lo hicieron y necesitaron la complicidad del es Presidente Raul Ricardo Alfonsín y sus incondicionales, para lograr terminar con la ley de Convertibilidad, que era defendida por el 90 de la gente. Pero que peronistas y radicales gobernantes querían dejara de funcionar, para volver a emitir dinero sin respaldo, como antes con la hiperinflacion en Australes alfonsinistas, hoy con los pesos ya no convertibles, y mañana, con CEDINES sin dolares para cancelarlos en el mercado, cuando Cristina ya no esté… y los dolares hayan desaparecidos, porque loas bolsas de Comercio y otras entidades argentinas creen que es confiable un papel estatal del Banco Central que promete canjear por  dolares a partir de 2016. Si algo raro pasa, recordar que  lo advertimos… País sin moneda confiable es  inconfiable, aunque todavía el doctor Lorenzetti no haya explicado a los demás miembros de la Corte Suprema que es inconstitucional emitir dinero sin respaldo, y que Argentina sigue emitiendo papeles que constituyen un delito: la inflación implica que el Estado Nacional se enriquece, a costa de empobrecerse el pueblo y los Estados Provinciales y la Ciudad Autónoma.

¿ES TAN DIFÍCIL PARA LA CORTE SUPREMA ENTENDER QUE INFLACIÓN ES EL DELITO DE ROBAR A LA GENTE?

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ARAÑAZOS DEFENSIVOS CRISTINISTAS

26 junio, 2013

Inaudito: la Jefa de los Fiscales Gils Carbó se pone a defender a la Presidenta, en vez de investigar si  enriquecimiento ilícito y otros delitos fueron cometidos por los Kirchners, mas no investigados gracias al  silencio doloso del anterior peronista Procurador General de la Nación, que omitió apelar la sentencia de Oyharbide, que absolvió a los denunciados.

La Justicia no podría funcionar, si el Estado no acusa a los bandidos, es el A.B.C. del derecho constitucional, para eso existe la interdependencia de los tres Poderes dentro de un mismo Estado Argentino. Y nadie será investigado en serio, si la doctora Gils Carbó, elige tomar partido contra la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación para intentar ayudar a Cristina F. de Kirchner, la amiga que la nombró en el cargo equivocado. Gils Carbó manifestando a la cabeza de una marcha contra la Justicia (cual joven cristinista equivocada) indica  que ella está siendo usada como ariete para intentar voltear a la Corte  Suprema, o al menos, presionarla. Eso, además de una grosería, parece delito. Pero  si los Fiscales no actúan porque Gils Carbó lo impide, sugiero que la Corte Suprema intervenga de oficio, en respaldo de la Constitución y la Justicia.

El mundo civilizado debe estar asombrado por el intento de   seguir ocultando delitos cometidos desde el Ejecutivo, incluso  con ayuda del Congreso. La figura de la “asociación ilícita para delinquir” desde el Estado existiría, siempre que algún Fiscal denuncie el caso, la Justicia penal intervenga. Y la doctora Gils Carbó debería excusarse, por ser parte denunciada, y si no lo hace, violaría la ley y podría ser procesada por el Procurador adjunto, que existe, aunque nos hayamos olvidado, por no ser funcionario mediático. Hay Procurador General adjunto, recordemos, que debería intervenir, para que  la investigación de delitos DESDE el Estado no se frene. Se acabó la dictadura, los bandidos no deben evitar ser investigados y eventualmente condenados

PANTALONES

El Presidente de la Corte puede seguir actuando en defensa de la Constitución y la sociedad, lo viene haciendo bien, ha notado que el fascismo no nos conviene y que los grandes bandidos deben ser  investigados por la Justicia, a pesar de Gils Carbó. Un país donde los delitos peores (los que se cometen desde el Gobierno contra la sociedad)  no se investigan, entra automáticamente a la categoría de nación Bananera. Los derechos humanos son violados impunemente, pero en Argentina la Corte aún puede puede impedirlo, actuando en forma creativa. Tomando la ofensiva para defender a la Justicia, aunque los bandidos estén dentro del Gobierno.

A los abogados que respetamos la Constitución y las leyes, nos interesa que el orden jurídico vuelva a funcionar, y que a los funcionarios que delinquen, se los frene con el peso de la ley y la Constitución. Un conflicto entre una Presidenta y una Corte Suprema compuesta de siete miembros, por lógica jurídica indica que la primera se equivoca, que sabe menos derecho que la mayoría de los siete Cortesanos Supremos. Y que la sociedad le cree mas a la Justicia que al sistema fascista cristinista peronista que Cristina quiere implantar como modelo nacional y popular, en reemplazo de la Constitución vigente que todavía tenemos.

inicio de N. Kirchner Presidente

25 junio, 2013

CHARLA 645 ª DEL CURSILLO DE ECONOMÍA CRIOLLA – 14-05-03

CARTA AL CIUDADANO DELEGADO

 

Estimado Dr. Néstor Kirchner:

 

              ha sido el poder del Pueblo y no el apoyo del Dr. Duhalde, lo que ha decidido que el opositor al candidato Carlos Menem sea el CIUDADANO DELEGADO para restaurar la vigencia de la Constitución y las Leyes.

              El DESISTIMIENTO del Dr.  Menem  (el último de los políticos tradicionales y ciertamente el único exitoso desde que desapareció el MILITARISMO a raíz de la derrota en las Islas Malvinas)  al ballotage implica que él advirtió que se acabó la época en la que el Presidente es el AMO y nosotros el pueblo su rebaño de ordeñe. 

               Las primeras declaraciones de Ud. luego de confirmado ese desistimiento del doctor Menem no parecen haber advertido estas circunstancias. Y lo que mas me alarmaría es que tarde en comprenderlo y suponga que cuenta Ud. con el 21,9% de los votos de la primera rueda, porque la MAYORÍA corresponden al Dr. Duhalde, otro político fracasado y posiblemente el peor presidente de la historia argentina, que destruyó la moneda, la Constitución y el Derecho de Propiedad.

               Espero comprenda que al ser NOSOTROS EL PUEBLO los que tenemos el Poder, y no Ud., a partir de hoy será la forma en que demuestre saber solucionar los problemas urgentísimos lo que le permita ganarse ese voto en blanco que le tocó en suerte recibir en esta etapa histórica argentina.

               Una vez que Ud. acepte que su PODER no es suyo, sino DELEGADO POR NOSOTROS – y ciertamente, no por el compañero Duhalde – tiene todos los elementos para cumplir con lo único que tiene cumplir: con la Constitución y las Leyes, lo cual implica que cada uno de los TRES Poderes Delegados por nosotros EL PUEBLO, es decir, el Legislativo, el Judicial y el Ejecutivo, tienen que trabajar en equipo porque todos están dentro de ese Estado Argentino cuya función es trabajar en beneficio de la sociedad y no de USTEDES, los futuros Gobernantes.

               La primera demanda social es resolver la MALDITA DESOCUPACIÓN, y esto es muy simple si se sabe aprovechar la única ley verdadera que la puede solucionar: la de la OFERTA Y LA DEMANDA, es decir, hay que permitir la Libertad de Trabajo para los millones de desocupados marginados, que les es violada cuando se les encarece el costo al recargarles sus salarios con costos indirectos que DESALIENTAN la aparición de nuevos empleadores en el mercado.

                Somos un equipo de fútbol que pretendía ganar la Copa del Mundo con seis en la cancha porque el D.T. impedía hasta hoy que los otros cinco pudiesen ingresar. A partir del 25 de Mayo será Ud. el D.T., y ahora no tiene excusas: o RESUELVE LA MALDITA DESOCUPACIÓN PROPONIENDO AL CONGRESO LEGISLACIONES SENSATAS QUE REVIERTAN LAS DEMAGÓGICAS QUE CAUSARON LA MALDITA DESOCUPACIÓN, o habrá sido Ud. otra esperanza fracasada. 

                  Y ya que estamos, no se olvide de proponer al Congreso que fije nuevamente el VALOR DE LA MONEDA, como le corresponde según la Constitución, porque un país sin moneda es una HORDA SALVAJIZADA al no existir el Estado de Derecho ni la seguridad económica y jurídica en este Tercer Milenio en un mundo Globalizado.

                   La Opinión Pública tiene una fuerza enorme, como lo ha Ud. comprobado, y el partido se terminará de definir en las elecciones nacionales para diputados y senadores dentro de unos meses. Si Ud. comienza ACERTADAMENTE,  ubicándose en su rol de CIUDADANO DELEGADO, y se concentra en solucionar los problemas mas urgentes – para mí obviamente son la Maldita Desocupación y la ausencia de MONEDA, ahora que hemos vuelto a ser CIUDADANOS – tendrá el apoyo de la sociedad, que es mucho mas importante que el de los dirigentes políticos fracasados que si no estarán ocupando el Sillón de Rivadavia en vez de Ud. se deberá a que NO PUDIERON CONSEGUIR SER VOTADOS.

                   Proponer la Guerra Nacional a la Desocupación y la reinvención de la MONEDA al Congreso Nacional es una tarea que no requiere mas de dos semanas. Si UD. no lo hace, es porque no quiere o porque no sabe, pero jamás porque NO PUEDE, ya que toda la sociedad está con la mirada puesta en el CIUDADANO DELEGADO.

 Si no sabe cómo,  puede preguntar y consultar a los que algo saben, de modo que excusas ya no tiene…Los países occidentales que funcionan exitosamente tienen legislaciones SENSATAS que no impiden el empleo, porque saben que el TRABAJO es, fue y será el recurso mas importante de cualquier nación en cualquier época de la Historia.

                  Con  mirada EXPECTANTE y bastante esperanzada a los primeros DOS días de su Gobierno, lo saludo atentamente como conciudadano

                    Germán R. Pirán        

¿COINCIDENCIA?

22 junio, 2013

 

—– Original Message —–

From:
To:
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:08 AM
Subject: RV: Coincidencia

Hoy recibí esta poesía que escribió Federico García Lorca.

Creo  describe a nuestra Presi de pie a cabeza.

Envíenla a cuantos puedan y tal vez le llegue a Lanata o a ella misma.

 

 

DE NEGRO VA LA SEÑORA

SIEMPRE VESTIDA DE NEGRO
Y NO ES POR SU MARIDO
QUE HACE RATO QUE SE HA MUERTO.


LLEVA LUTO POR LA PATRIA
QUE ELLA HA IDO PARIENDO,
DESTRUYENDO CON SU IRA
LO QUE OTROS ERIGIERON.


MUJER SIN CONCIENCIA ALGUNA,
VACÍA DE AMOR O AFECTO,
NO ACEPTANDO UNA OPINIÓN,
UNA PALABRA, UN CONSEJO.


ABRIGA SU SOLEDAD
ACUMULANDO DINERO,
POBRE, POBRE ESTA SEÑORA
QUE NO TIENE NADA BUENO.


VA CAYENDO POCO A POCO
SU DELIRIO SE AGIGANTA
Y YA SE SIENTE UNA REINA
RODEADA DE ORO Y DE PLATA.


CON SUS SÚBDITOS AL PIE
TODOS CON CABEZA GACHA
Y ELLA UNA DIOSA SE CREE
Y VA CON LA FRENTE ALTA


¿NO SE CANSARA –PREGUNTO-
DE DISCURSEAR CON TAL SAÑA
CARGANDO LA TINTA EN COSAS
QUE NO TIENEN IMPORTANCIA?


¿NO SE MIRARA AL ESPEJO
Y DIRÁ¡ QUE ESTOY HACIENDO¡
ESTOY CANSADA QUE SIEMPRE
ME DIGAN LO QUE YO QUIERO.


LA LOCURA DEL PODER
LA CODICIA Y LA AMBICIÓN
LLEVADAS A TAL EXTREMO
UN FINAL HA DE TENER.


PORQUE AL LLEGAR TAN ARRIBA
ESTA SOBERBIA MUJER,
SOLO UNA COSA LE QUEDA
Y ES SIMPLEMENTE… CAER.

FEDERICO GARCIA LORCA
Poeta español (1898-1936)


No se encontraron virus en este mensaje.
Comprobado por AVG – www.avg.com
Versión: 10.0.1432 / Base de datos de virus: 3199/5931 – Fecha de publicación: 06/22/13

¿IMPRUDENTE ó ENFERMA?

21 junio, 2013

La Presidenta Cristina ha sufrido una derrota abrumadora – seis votos contra uno – cuando la Corte Suprema declaró inconstitucional su ley de modificar el funcionamiento del Consejo de la Magistratura. Ha sido la decisión judicial mas fuerte y sensata durante mi vida: la Justicia Suprema enseña a la Presidenta  como funciona la Constitución y los tres Poderes del Estado. Ella cree que puede hacer aprobar cualquier ley, por medio de sus congresistas partidarios incondicionales, y el Supremo Tribunal le ha dicho que no puede, que la Constitución está por encima del Congreso y del Ejecutivo, y también del poder judicial.

El shock noto le hizo olvidar lo que no puede decir  como Presidenta  sin declararse autoritaria   y anti republicana. O ignorante de la Constitución, que juró varias veces obedecer, lo que incluye respetar a los Jueces, y en particular a los Supremos. Recordemos que se ha discutido judicialmente si ella se recibió de abogada, parece no haber firmado jamás como tal, desde la época que se supone recibió su diploma en la Universidad de la Plata. Algún día se sabrá la verdadera historia, posiblemente cuando ella ya no sea Presidente, a partir de diciembre 10 de 2015.

Mientras tanto, muchos  se enteran por sus propios dichos y discursos, de sus iras y enojos, y esto perjudica a todos, comenzando por ella. Lo malo del sistema cristinista parece ser  que no existe gente suficientemente seria en su entorno,  para averiguar si  su salud mental no está alterada, y si  lo está, se tome unas vacaciones para recuperarse, y  la gente – the people of Argentina – seamos oficialmente informados. Una nación  con cuarenta millones de habitantes, mínimo, no merece seguir conducido por alguien que no está en condiciones. A cualquier conductor de ferrocarril  mentalmente alterado, se  lo aparta del puesto, para no causar daños. Acá parece al revés: mientras mas alterada esté, mas aprovechan sus subalternos, al punto que intentan nada se investigue respecto a escandalosos daños económicos al Estado Argentino. Cuando el Jefe no está, los bandidos aprovechan. El sistema de obsecuencia incondicional, característica peronista fascista, que tanto mal ha causado, sigue vigente en Argentina. Una pena.

Nadie mejor que la Corte Suprema para investigar oficialmente si su actual salud le permite de momento seguir al frente, ya que todo estaría mas calmo si ella dejase que  el vicepresidente la reemplace, mientras reposa lo suficiente para recuperarse, o bien se declare que su salud le impide la dura y difícil tarea de controlar como el Jefe de Gabinete Abal Medina va administrando al país, o despedirlo en caso de hacerlo mal, para que otro lo reemplace. Y ella siga apartada de la Función Publica, hasta tanto sus  médicos declaren que se recuperó totalmente. Un Presidente no debería gobernar mientras  está bajo fuerte stress, para eso hay remedio institucional sin necesidad de  hacerle  juicio político. Hay  antecedente no lejano: a  María Isabel Martinez de Perón se tomó semanas de vacaciones cuando quedó alterada, y el vicepresidente la reemplazó, hasta que recuperó su estabilidad  emocional.

Una pena que  una mujer tan linda, doblemente elegida Presidenta, simpática, millonaria, abogada exitosa, no sea cuidada por sus propios partidarios, y tampoco por sus opositores… Los responsables de lo que pueda acaecernos son aquellos que deben velar por su salud. Quizás el Ministro del área Salud  sea el que debe intervenir, o el vice Presidente, hombre de su entera confianza. O su cuñada, Alicia Kirchner, o sus hijos… Ya no lo digo por Cristina, sino por todos nosotros, que vemos como su estado anímico luce como que  no puede aceptar los “slings and arrows of outrageos fortune”.

ARGENTINE UPDATE – Jun 17 & 19, 2013

20 junio, 2013

 


WEDNESDAY, June 19

1. ARGENTINA SUPREME COURT REJECTS LAW THAT WOULD PUT JUDICIAL SYSTEM CONTROL UP FOR POPULAR VOTE (The Washington Post)

 

2. WORLD NEWS: ARGENTINE HIGH COURT DEALS BLOW TO KIRCHNER (The Wall Street Journal)

 

3. BLOW TO FERNÁNDEZ OVER JUDICIARY PLAN (Financial Times)

 

4. ARGENTINA BANKS ON RAILROADS TO PROLONG SOYBEAN BOOM: FREIGHT (Bloomberg News)

 

5. ARGENTINE SUPREME COURT BLOCKS PART OF FERNANDEZ LEGAL OVERHAUL (Bloomberg News)

 

6. BATTLE OVER ARGENTINA’S JUDICIARY LAW ON SUPREME COURT FAST TRACK (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

 

7. PROFILE – BREAKAWAY ARGENTINE MAYOR COULD TRUMP RULING PARTY IN OCTOBER VOTE (Reuters News)

 

8. ARGENTINA PROVINCE SLAPS HEFTY TAX ON EMBATTLED MINING COMPANIES (Dow Jones Global News Select)

 

9. ARGENTINIAN APRIL OIL OUTPUT FALLS 6.7%: INDUSTRY GROUP (Platts Commodity News)

 

10. UNDER NEW ACCORDS PDVSA CONSIDERS POSSIBLE ENTRY INTO SHALE PLAY, YPF EYES VENEZUELAN GAS PROJECT (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

 

1. ARGENTINA SUPREME COURT REJECTS LAW THAT WOULD PUT JUDICIAL SYSTEM CONTROL UP FOR POPULAR VOTE (The Washington Post)

June 18, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina’s Supreme Court has struck down key elements of a judicial reform the government hoped would rapidly make the courts more responsive to majority rule.

 

The court says it’s unconstitutional to require direct popular elections for an expanded magistrates’ council that hires and punishes judges. The law would have expanded the council from 13 to 19 members and make it so that whatever party wins congress would be able to name a majority on the body.

 

But the high court said Tuesday that this would break the balance of powers in Argentina’s democracy, compromise judicial independence and weaken citizens’ rights by distorting the electoral process.

 

With a 6-to-1 majority, the justices also said such changes can’t be done by passing laws, and instead require amending the constitution.

 

 

2. WORLD NEWS: ARGENTINE HIGH COURT DEALS BLOW TO KIRCHNER (The Wall Street Journal)

By Shane Romig

19 June 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s Supreme Court threw out a main pillar of President Cristina Kirchner’s sweeping judicial reform, dealing her administration a stinging blow in what critics say is a push to expand control over the judiciary.

 

In a 6-1 ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a law requiring elections for members of a judicial board that assigns and punishes federal judges. The law would likely have given Mrs. Kirchner’s faction of the Peronist Party control of the board.

 

Critics had called the law a full-frontal assault on the independence of the judiciary and celebrated the ruling.

 

“After so many years of abuse of power, we’re overwhelmed with excitement,” Alejandro Fargosi, the attorney association’s representative on the board, told cable news channel TN.

 

The government quickly slammed the decision. “They’re afraid of the popular vote, the expression of the people,” cabinet chief Abal Medina said. “The corporate elites are increasing efforts to maintain their power, even at the cost of damaging democratic institutions.”

 

The board, known as the Consejo de la Magistratura in Spanish, selects all federal judges except Supreme Court justices, who are nominated by the president. The board is currently made up of 13 members, including six legislators, three representatives chosen by judges, two by attorneys, one by universities and one named by the president.

 

Mrs. Kirchner used much political capital to push through six judicial reform bills, and the reversal is a major setback just as her administration gears up for congressional elections in October. That vote looms large because of speculation — unconfirmed by Mrs. Kirchner — that she wants to seek a third consecutive term, which is now banned by the constitution.

 

3. BLOW TO FERNÁNDEZ OVER JUDICIARY PLAN (Financial Times)

By Jude Webber in Buenos Aires

June 19, 2013

 

Argentina’s Supreme Court dealt a blow to the government of Cristina Fernández and her plans to “democratise” the judiciary by ruling unconstitutional a new law that allows direct election of members of a council who nominate and fire judges.

 

The law, which has been stoutly defended by a government that believes the judiciary should be in line with the popular will, would have required people voting in party primaries in August to elect members of the Magistrates’ Council.

 

“Until [this ruling] we could have become Venezuela very quickly,” said Alejandro Fargosi, a member of the council, expressing relief at a ruling that had been widely expected. “This is the only decision the court could have taken.”

 

But Juan Manuel Abal Medina, the cabinet chief, said “our democracy requires the participation of the people in all the essential powers of the state, especially in the judiciary” and that the judges’ reasoning in the 6-1 vote was “weak”.

 

“Anyone who doesn’t understand this is clearly afraid of the popular vote, of the will of the people,” he added.

 

Critics said direct election of Magistrates’ Council members would have politicised the judiciary since candidates would have had to appear on party ballot papers.

 

Argentina holds midterm elections in October, which will be pivotal to Ms Fernández’s future. Though she has said she is not planning constitutional changes and is not expected to get the two-thirds majority needed to seek a change to the constitution, politicians, commentators and business leaders believe she is still hoping to overcome a ban on seeking a third consecutive term in the 2015 elections.

 

Ms Fernández has clashed repeatedly with the judiciary, especially over a government-backed media law, and wastes no opportunity to lambast judges she considers to be at the beck and call of powerful media and business lobbies.

 

Shortly before the Supreme Court’s ruling, she was tweeting about another court ruling, which she said favoured the powerful farm lobby. “You see what we’re talking about when we talk about democratising justice,” she said.

 

The president has also blasted the court’s oldest member, 95-year-old Carlos Fayt, on grounds of age, and some commentators believe the government would now seek to remove some of the court’s members.

 

Ironically, the government hails a 2003 overhaul of the Supreme Court fostered by Ms Fernández’s late husband and predecessor, Néstor Kirchner, as one of the highlights of their 10-year rule and had been proud of having an independent, prestigious tribunal after a Supreme Court in the 1990s that was seen as under the government’s thumb.

 

Julio Alak, the justice minister, said the government would “respect the ruling, even though we don’t agree with it”. However, he added: “The judiciary does not belong to judges or lawyers, it belongs to the people. And the people, sooner or later, will elect the members of the Magistrates’ Council.”

 

4. ARGENTINA BANKS ON RAILROADS TO PROLONG SOYBEAN BOOM: FREIGHT (Bloomberg News)

By Pablo Gonzalez and Matt Craze

June 18, 2013

 

Argentina’s nationalization of two railroads in the past month paves the way for the renovation of a network from the foothills of the Andes to the coast, cutting transport costs in the world’s third-largest soybean producer.

 

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s administration on May 22 took over the Belgrano Cargas railroad, which connects the northern provinces to Parana River grain loaders operated by Cargill Inc. and Bunge Ltd. (BG), among others. Two weeks later, she expropriated Brazil’s All America Latina Logistica SA (ALLL3)’s concession linking western Argentina with Atlantic ports.

 

Belgrano’s takeover ends nine years of limbo since its renovation was first announced. With $2.1 billion in previously announced loans from China for the network, Argentina can renew railroads built over 100 years ago to access its agricultural wealth, said Marcelo Bosch, appointed by Fernandez in May to run the state railroad. Fernandez plans to use the lines to slash farm transport costs and boost the country’s grains and oilseed production by 50 percent to 150 million metric tons by 2020.

 

“The only way to boost grains and oilseed output is to recover the cargo lines,” said Bosch, a former Credit Suisse Group AG executive, in a June 12 interview. “Fortunately, we have loan offers from China and we will use those facilities.”

 

The investment can’t come soon enough for farmers. Farm associations went on strike June 15 to protest high taxes and poor infrastructure. The strike, set to end today, halted 90 percent of grain and oilseed deliveries to the Rosario port, the country’s largest agricultural export hub.

 

Strategic Importance

Argentina’s rail system “is strategic for the competitiveness of exports,” Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo told reporters on June 4. “We have to recover the rolling stock, the rails and the infrastructure to reach our goal of transporting via the Belgrano line 100,000 tons a month by the end of this year and 300,000 by 2015.”

 

China has offered a total of $10 billion in loans to revamp the Belgrano railroad, Agriculture Minister Norberto Yauhar said in a June 13 interview in Buenos Aires, shortly after visiting officials in China.

 

“China is Argentina’s new political partner,” said Yauhar, who is scheduled to meet China’s deputy agriculture minister today in Rosario, a city on the banks of the Parana River where most of Argentina’s crops are loaded for export.

 

The first objective of the freight companies’ new management is to renegotiate one loan of $2.1 billion agreed to with China Development Bank Corp. and China Citic Bank Corp. (998), Bosch, 41, said by phone from Buenos Aires on June 13.

 

Truck Transport

The country currently relies on trucks to carry 84 percent of its grains and oilseeds to ports. Of the rest, 3 percent is transported by barge and 13 percent by rail. Rail freight costs 5 cents per kilometer, while road haulage averages 11 cents, according to Gustavo Lopez, a Buenos Aires-based logistics analyst at the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange.

 

The Argentine transport figures contrast with those of the U.S., where 65 percent of the grain and oilseed harvest is shipped by barge, 25 percent by railroad and 10 percent by truck, Lopez said.

 

Farmers say they need to cut costs to remain competitive on global markets as prices and wages leap about 25 percent a year in Argentina.

 

“Ambitious as it looks, the renewal of the cargo railways will happen,” Hugo Sigman, who operates farms spanning 400,000 hectares (988,400 acres) throughout the country, said in an interview in Buenos Aires. “The project is a must if Argentina wants to increase its output.”

 

More Capacity

The newly nationalized Belgrano Cargas y Logistica SA, which connects the ports of Rosario and Buenos Aires to 13 of Argentina’s 23 provinces, will absorb the lines nationalized from ALL, as well as the Urquiza and San Martin lines that ALL had operated.

 

With these additions, its transport capacity will grow to as much as 6 million tons a year from 1.2 million tons, Bosch said. Among investment plans are the relaying of 1,000 kilometers (622 miles) of track at a minimum cost of $1 million per kilometer, Bosch said. Belgrano was “just treading water” under the previous ownership, he said.

 

Argentina’s widening budget deficit, which was the largest in 11 years in 2012, and competing demands for funds from state-controlled oil company YPF SA will hinder attempts to turn around the nationalized and recently created company, said Michael Cordonnier, president of Chicago-based Soybean & Corn Advisor Inc.

 

The government has failed to improve companies it has seized previously, he said.

 

Track Record

“I am dubious that the government’s intent is to make things better,” said Cordonnier, adding that Argentina is already more competitive than Brazil in transporting soybeans from inland farms to the coast. “The government doesn’t have a good track record in making things better.”

 

Two commuter trains crashed on the outskirts of Buenos Aires last week, killing three people, on a rail line operated by a company under a government concession. The line had been taken over from a different company last year after a separate accident that killed 52.

 

“One of the challenges we have imposed on ourselves is to recuperate the service of passenger and cargo trains,” Randazzo said June 4, when the government expropriated the ALL concessions.

 

Argentina accounts for about 20 percent of the global soybean harvest, trailing only Brazil and the U.S. in global rankings, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The country is set to harvest 51 million metric tons of soybeans in the 2012/2013 agricultural year, the second-highest on record, USDA figures show.

 

Second-Largest

Argentina was also the world’s second-largest corn exporter, behind Brazil, in the 2012/2013 agricultural year, according to the USDA.

 

China is the largest buyer of Argentine soybeans and imported more than $5 billion of agricultural goods from the South American country last year, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

 

The government may face protests by truckers who stand to lose business from a revived rail service. Labor union leader Pablo Moyano announced a surprise two-day strike on June 10 to demand a pay increase. The strike was suspended after getting a 26 percent wage increase.

 

Truckers have disrupted soybean harvests since Moyano’s father, Hugo, leader of the union confederation, fell out with the president in 2011, driving up prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange during the southern Hemisphere harvest months between March and May.

 

Ownership Stakes

The truckers union and the rail-workers union each owned 6.6 percent stakes in the group that managed the Belgrano line before it was expropriated by the government. Hugo Moyano declined to comment, his spokesman, Hector Lopez, said in a telephone interview.

 

The government seized the concession to operate the Belgrano rail company from a group led by Argentine businessman Franco Macri. Macri’s son, Mauricio Macri, is the mayor of Buenos Aires and a political opponent of Fernandez.

 

Alberto Rodriguez, president of the Grains Exporters chamber, downplayed the risk of conflict between the railroad project and the truckers. Farmers will still need trucks to deliver their products to the train station, he said.

 

“If the railroad plan is really executed, it will boost Argentine oilseeds exports as current truck freight costs make it impossible for farmers in many provinces to even consider planting soy or corn,” Rodriguez said in an interview. “Exporters have always expressed their intention to bring in money for such infrastructure if conditions are clear.”

 

5. ARGENTINE SUPREME COURT BLOCKS PART OF FERNANDEZ LEGAL OVERHAUL (Bloomberg News)

By Pablo Gonzalez

June 18, 2013

 

Argentina’s Supreme Court blocked part of the judicial changes proposed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in a move that threatens to stall her ambitions to “democratize” the nation’s legal system.

 

The court ruled today that proposed changes to the selection of members of the council of magistrates is unconstitutional, according to a copy of the ruling published by the Court information website. Six of seven judges objected to the proposed changes, saying they were against the principles established in the 1853 Constitution amended in 1994.

 

Argentina’s Congress approved four bills in May promoted by Fernandez, including limits on injunctions against the state and expanding the number of members on the council of magistrates, a body that oversees judges’ rulings and conduct. According to the bill, new council members would be elected through popular vote.

 

“Powers are limited,” the majority six judges said in the ruling. “If somebody wants to change this, the Constitution should be modified.”

 

Fernandez, 60, has clashed with the courts over the last year as government initiatives including the regulation of media groups and the expropriation of the Rural Society’s grounds in Buenos Aires have been left unenforceable through injunctions.

6. BATTLE OVER ARGENTINA’S JUDICIARY LAW ON SUPREME COURT FAST TRACK (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

By Taos Turner

18 June 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s Supreme Court is expected to move fast to strike down or endorse a controversial new judiciary law backed by President Cristina Kirchner after a number of courts found it unconstitutional.

 

The law, passed by Congress last month, changes the way judges are appointed and makes it easier to impeach judges whose decisions are unpopular.

 

Mrs. Kirchner has invested a lot of political capital in the law and a reversal by the Supreme Court would be a significant setback to her administration, just as its gears up for key congressional elections in October. Such a setback would be welcome news to Argentina’s opposition parties, which are eager to gain momentum ahead of the election.

 

The election is considered crucial because of speculation, neither confirmed nor fully denied by Mrs. Kirchner, that she wants to seek a third consecutive term, something that is currently banned by the constitution. Mrs. Kirchner’s ruling party would need a strong showing in the election to gain enough seats in Congress so she could amend the constitution and run for office again.

 

Mrs. Kirchner and her cabinet members have stepped up pressure on the court to approve the law, which she says will improve a “corrupt” and inefficient judicial system.

 

“The democratization of the judicial system entails cleaning up the system, obtaining what people want: justice,” according to a message recently posted on the president’s Twitter account.

 

But critics of the law–including opposition politicians, legal groups, nongovernmental organizations, and judges associations–say the legislation is really just a power grab by the executive branch, a ruse aimed at weakening the judiciary and subjugating it to executive control.

 

The law calls for the popular election of members of the Magistrates Council, which appoints and impeaches federal judges except those on the Supreme Court. In practice, this would mean giving political parties and the electorate much more influence over the selection of federal judges.

 

Though Mrs. Kirchner says the justice system should be controlled by the masses, civil rights advocates say this would jeopardize the protection of minority rights, subjugating them to the whims of the majority.

 

Opposition Congressman and former Justice Minister Ricardo Gil Lavedra says changes to the Magistrates Council are “grossly unconstitutional.” He expects the high court to overturn the law.

 

Mr. Lavedra says the popular election of council members would violate Argentina’s constitutionally mandated separation of powers and severely weaken the independence of the judicial branch.

 

Meanwhile, civil rights advocates say that making it easier to impeach judges would put enormous pressure on them to rule in line with public opinion, instead of limiting their rulings strictly to the confines of the constitution.

 

Earlier this year, Mrs. Kirchner pushed half a dozen judicial overhaul laws through Congress, arguing that the judicial system was beholden to special interest groups and didn’t adequately represent the will of the people.

 

But polls indicate that many Argentines are skeptical about the president’s motives, and hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets earlier this year to protest the laws and voice other complaints about the government.

 

The changes to the council would likely give Mrs. Kirchner’s party control over the council, which will be able to impeach judges by a simple majority, instead of the two-thirds vote previously required.

 

Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case after a lower court judge declared part of the law unconstitutional and the Kirchner administration appealed the ruling directly to the high court.

 

Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti said that if the case made it to the high court, he and other justices would move “immediately” to rule on the law’s constitutionality.

 

7. PROFILE – BREAKAWAY ARGENTINE MAYOR COULD TRUMP RULING PARTY IN OCTOBER VOTE (Reuters News)

By Guido Nejamkis

18 June 2013

 

* Massa, mayor of Tigre, weighs congressional candidacy

* Served in Fernandez’s government for less than a year

* Pollsters say he would take votes away from ruling party

 

BUENOS AIRES, June 18 (Reuters) – The savvy young mayor of Tigre, Argentina, has fostered a real estate boom, tightened security and brought celebrities to town, boosting his image to the point where pollsters say he poses a challenge to the ruling government. Sergio Massa, 41, served as President Cristina Fernandez’s cabinet chief for less than a year between 2008 and 2009. He resigned after she stepped up state intervention in the economy, but he stuck with the ruling party during the 2011 elections.

 

This year, however, is different.

 

Last week, the charming, cocky politician broke ranks with the government by signing up his own coalition to compete in October’s congressional vote.

 

Now he must decide if he will run for Congress himself or put a lesser-known ally at the top of his coalition’s ticket to avoid a head-on collision with Fernandez.

 

Massa is one of the most popular politicians in Argentina, polling well ahead of most other leaders and several percentage points above Fernandez, whose approval ratings have sunk since she was re-elected in late 2011.

 

Tigre lies just 19 miles (32 km) north of Buenos Aires and is home to about 380,000. The mayor has overseen its transformation from a shabby satellite city to a vibrant tourist destination where upscale housing developments proliferate along picturesque waterways. Massa has close ties to business and was re-elected as mayor in 2011 with 73 percent of the vote. He has studiously avoided any criticism of Fernandez to widen his appeal in an increasingly polarized country.

 

“Massa has support among people who back the government and among the opposition … he has the power to defeat Cristina’s government,” said political analyst Carlos Germano. “The business world is betting on him.”

 

Saturday is the deadline to register candidacies for the lower house of Congress in Buenos Aires province. A slew of parties will compete and they win seats proportionally, depending on how many votes they get province-wide.

 

Germano said polls show Massa has about 40 percent voter support in densely populated Buenos Aires province, where Tigre is located and where four in every 10 Argentines vote.

 

The province will be a crucial battleground for the ruling coalition in the mid-term elections because its candidates are unlikely to prevail in the city of Buenos Aires or other major

districts such as Santa Fe, Cordoba and Mendoza provinces.

 

In October, 24 of 72 upper house Senate seats will be contested along with 127 of the lower house’s 257 seats. Fernandez controls Congress now, but with so many of those posts in play, the legislature will be up for grabs.

 

Some of the president’s allies in Congress want to push for a constitutional reform that would allow her to run for a third term in 2015. But if Massa steps into the ring in October, he could siphon votes off the ruling party, thereby dashing those hopes. Fernandez has said she has no intention of trying to reform the country’s charter, but her supporters encourage the idea – particularly because she has no clear successor.

 

Massa is eyeing the presidency himself, aides say.

 

“If Massa wins now, he will be very well-positioned for the presidential election (in 2015),” a person who works closely with the mayor said on condition of anonymity.

 

Massa declined to be interviewed on the subject.

‘FISH OUT OF WATER’

 

Both Massa and Fernandez are members of the splintered Peronist party that has dominated Argentine politics since the 1940s, but Massa heads the new “Front for Renewal” movement that groups about 16 mayors in Buenos Aires province.

 

He is two courses away from finishing a long-pending law degree and people close to him say he is habitually tardy.

 

Massa had a close, playful relationship with journalists when he was cabinet chief – an anomaly under Fernandez and her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner, who rarely gave

interviews or press conferences.

 

According to his aides, Massa tried to encourage Fernandez to take market-friendly steps such as cleaning up Argentina’s discredited official inflation statistics and reaching a deal with “holdout” creditors who rejected the country’s 2005 debt restructuring, after a damaging $100 billion default in 2002. But Fernandez did not follow this advice and adopted more interventionist policies instead, so Massa decided to resign.

 

“He went to work with Cristina because Kirchner asked him to … but he was a fish out of water,” another of Massa’s allies said.

 

Massa has turned Tigre’s image around by fighting crime, promoting ecotourism in the surrounding river delta and organizing high-profile events, including a private tennis exhibition in which Swiss star Roger Federer played last year.

 

Federico Weil heads construction company TGLT, which is developing in Tigre a multimillion-dollar housing complex with private docks called Venice. He says the city has come into its own and is now seen as a desirable place to live.

 

“There’s an investment-friendly environment. And because the municipality knows money is being made, they make you give something back in terms of infrastructure, opening streets or the like,” Weil said.

 

Although Massa is widely believed to favor a free-market approach, he has kept quiet as Fernandez bolstered the state’s role in the economy, nationalizing the country’s top energy company YPF and restricting imports, among other measures. But his apparently successful strategy of not making waves and remaining above the fray may be tested in coming months. Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo recently rebuked Massa for his silence, telling reporters: “The truth is I don’t know what Massa thinks. You’d have to ask him.”

 

8. ARGENTINA PROVINCE SLAPS HEFTY TAX ON EMBATTLED MINING COMPANIES (Dow Jones Global News Select)

By Shane Romig

18 June 2013

 

–Santa Cruz Province imposes new 1% tax on mine reserves

–Companies vow to challenge the duty in court

–Industry struggling due to low metals prices, soaring costs and government regulations

 

BUENOS AIRES–Mining companies in Argentina’s Santa Cruz province are gearing up for a courtroom clash after the local legislature passed a steep tax hike that the companies say threatens the industry’s viability.

 

Last week, the Santa Cruz congress passed a bill slapping a 1% annual tax on mine resources in the province as the local government struggles with a wide spending deficit.

 

While the percentage seems small, it will cost mining companies in the province $100 million in new taxes next year, said an executive from one of the province’s leading mines who requested anonymity. In effect, the tax amounts to about 8% of the total resources of a mine with a 15-year life, considering that it must be paid annually, he said.

 

Companies must pay the percentage on proven reserves regardless of sales or output, posing another challenge to startups that may be sitting on a mountain of gold, but have yet to start production.

 

As soon as the law is formally implemented, mining companies will be heading to court to challenge its constitutionality, the executive said.

 

Companies argue that the tax clashes with an article in Argentina’s constitution that grants mining projects 30 years of fiscal stability. The tax law also signals to investors that provincial governments won’t shy away from changing the rules to plug budget deficits.

 

Companies with operations in Santa Cruz include AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (AU, ANG.JO), McEwen Mining Inc. (MUX, MUX.T), Hochschild Mining PLC (HOC.LN), Mirasol Resources Ltd. (MRZLF, MRZ.V), Minera IRL Ltd. (MIRL.LN, IRL.T), Goldcorp Inc. (GG) and Pan American Silver Corp. (PAAS, PAA.T).

 

Even though mining companies plan to challenge the tax, “the biggest damage will be irreparable, causing the rejection of Santa Cruz as a destination for international investment,” the Santa Cruz and nationwide mining chambers said in a joint statement.

 

“It condemns functioning projects, those in construction and will completely stall exploration,” according to the chambers.

 

Higher taxes that strain the bottom line are a “significant concern,” especially with global mineral prices in a slump, said Andrew Elinesky, vice president of McEwen Mining, in a recent interview.

 

The new tax comes at a time when some mining companies in Argentina are already scrambling for the exit. Low metal prices, soaring costs, capital controls and the absence of consistent rule of law have taken the shine off of projects that aim to develop the Andean country’s vast, untapped mineral wealth.

 

In December, Pan American Silver Corp. shelved work on its Navidad silver mine in Chubut Province, saying inflation and proposed tax increases would make the project inviable.

 

Brazil’s Vale SA (VALE) recently stopped work on its Rio Colorado potash mine in Mendoza Province after already spending $2.23 billion.

 

Mining exploration, as measured by both investment and drilling, plunged 50% on the year in 2012 and is likely to slump an additional 20% this year, Julio Rios Gomez, president of mining exploration chamber Gemera, said in a recent interview.

 

Economists said annual inflation has been at or above 20% for the past three years. Wages alone rose almost 24% on the year in April, according to the government.

 

Government limits on the repatriation of dividends and profits, which aim to stem capital flight, have added a further sting. McEwen Mining Inc. recently cut its forecasts for production growth at its El Gallo gold mine in Mexico, citing lower metal prices and higher borrowing costs.

 

The company had hoped to finance construction by using its profits from Argentina, but it hit a wall when Argentina’s government stopped allowing companies to send dividends home.

 

Legal uncertainty also looms large in investors’ minds.

 

Last year, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner nationalized Argentina’s top oil company, YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA), without offering compensation to its former controlling shareholder.

 

More recently, the Kirchner-controlled Congress passed controversial legislation that severely limits the ability of judges to issue injunctions against government acts. Those injunctions are often the only legal protection that mining companies have when appealing adverse court rulings.

 

9. ARGENTINIAN APRIL OIL OUTPUT FALLS 6.7%: INDUSTRY GROUP (Platts Commodity News)

By Charles Newbery

18 June 2013

 

Buenos Aires (Platts)–18Jun2013/313 pm EDT/1913 GMT  Argentinian oil production dropped 6.7% in April compared with the year-ago period while natural gas output fell 8.1%, according to an industry report Tuesday.

 

Crude production dropped to an average of 531,934 b/d in April from 570,240 b/d in April 2012, and was down 0.8% from 535,985 b/d in March, the Argentinian Oil and Gas Institute (IAPG) said.

 

IAPG said part of the decline was due to changes in the calculation of crude production. The government ordered that natural gasoline be stripped from the calculation of total crude production starting in January. The industry group has not adjusted the prior data.

 

Even so, crude production has been declining over the past decade, dropping 37% from a record 847,000 b/d in 1998 on weak exploration and limited finds, according to analysts. This has led the country to reduce its crude exports and start importing supplies to meet domestic demand. Argentina now exports 10-15% of its production, down from 40% in 1997 and 1998.

 

Argentina’s state-run YPF produced 36% of the crude in April, trailed by China’s CNOOC-backed Pan American Energy with 18%, Argentina’s Pluspetrol with 7.3%, Brazil’s Petrobras with 6.9% and China’s Sinopec with 6.7%, IAPG said.

 

Gas production, meanwhile, dropped 8.1% to 112.5 million cu m/d in April from 122.4 million cu m/d in the year-ago period, and was up 0.9% compared with 111.6 million cu m/d in March, IAPG said.

 

Gas output has dropped 21% from a record 143.1 million cu m/d in 2004.

 

Argentina, which relies on gas to meet 50% of its energy needs, has seen consumption of the hydrocarbon surge 33% since 2003 to an average of 126 million cu m/d in 2012 on a growing economy and price controls that have made it the cheapest source of energy. The combination of falling production and rising demand is forcing the country to step up imports of LNG and Bolivian gas, which rose 40% to 28.6 million cu m/d in 2012 from 20.5 million cu m/d in 2011.

 

France’s Total produced 30% of the gas in April, followed by YPF with 24%, Pan American with 12% and Petrobras with 8.7%.

 

REFINING ACTIVITY FALLS

 

IAPG said crude processing fell 6% to 476,792 b/d in April from 507,013 b/d in April 2012, and was down 13% from 549,585 b/d in March.

 

Crude processing fell after a storm halted operations at the country’s biggest oil refinery April 2, which has still not returned to its full capacity of 189,000 b/d. YPF, the state-run company that operates the La Plata refinery, said the facility returned to 83% capacity on May 27.

 

Of the supplies processed in April, 8,991 b/d was imported, equivalent to 1.9% of the total processed that month. That compares with no imported supplies in the year-ago period and 10,526 b/d in March.

 

Output of RON 95 gasoline fell 8.5% year on year to 82,595 b/d in April while RON 98 gasoline production dropped 1.6% to 30,547 b/d. Production of fuel oil rose 13% to 10,622 mt/d, while that of diesel fell 6.7% to 192,876 b/d over the same period, IAPG said. Naphtha production dropped 15% to 38,340 b/d.

 

The leading refiners are units of China’s CNOOC-backed Bridas, Oil M&S, Petrobras, YPF and Shell.

 

 

10. UNDER NEW ACCORDS PDVSA CONSIDERS POSSIBLE ENTRY INTO SHALE PLAY, YPF EYES VENEZUELAN GAS PROJECT (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Juliette Kerr

18 June 2013

 

The Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and its Argentine counterpart YPF signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday (14 June) to evaluate joint projects in both countries that could extend across the entire value chain, from exploring and developing resources to processing and refining. Venezuelan minister of oil and mining and President of PDVSA, Rafael Ramírez, said that studies will be conducted for the participation of the two companies in mature fields in Venezuela and Argentina. In addition Ramírez indicated that PDVSA’s possible participation in unconventional plays in Argentina such as Vaca Muerta would be evaluated, alongside YPF’s entry into a gas project being developed by PDVSA and Chevron Corporation in the offshore Deltana Platform. PDVSA’s possible participation in refining projects in Argentina will also be considered.

 

Significance: Argentina has previously expressed a desire for Venezuela to sell LNG to the Southern Cone country and perhaps even participate in a regasification project in Argentina. YPF’s participation in the Deltana Platform would be in line with Argentina’s ambitions to secure LNG from Venezuela. However, a potential shale gas co-operation agreement between PDVSA and YPF does not bode well for the prospects of unlocking Vaca Muerta’s resource potential. Not only does PDVSA not have an established track-record in unconventional hydrocarbon development (apart from extra-heavy oil), it is not in a strong enough financial position to invest heavily abroad. Moreover, PDVSA’s previous investments in Argentina in the retail fuel sector failed to live up to the initial grand promises. It may well be that Argentina is replicating the strategy used by former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez of inviting national oil companies from allied countries to help certify reserves in the Orinoco Belt under the Magna Reserva project, irrespective of their technical expertise or the likelihood that these companies would have the necessary financial resources to be able to participate in future joint ventures to develop the reserves. It is worth noting that Argentina recently invited the state oil company of Bolivia, another close ally, to participate in Vaca Muerta.

 

=======================================================================================================================================

Monday, June 17 

1. ARGENTINE ANNUAL INFLATION SLOWED IN MAY TO 10.3%, AGENCY SAYS (Bloomberg News)

 

2. ARGENTINA SAYS MAY INFLATION UP 0.7% ON MONTH, UP 10.3% ON YEAR (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

 

3. ARGENTINA’S YPF SEEKS TO PARTICIPATE IN VENEZUELA OFFSHORE GAS PROJECT (Dow Jones Top Energy Stories)

 

4. YPF, PDVSA INK E&P DEAL, EYE VENEZUELAN GAS SALES IN SOUTH AMERICA (Platts Commodity News)

 

 

1. ARGENTINE ANNUAL INFLATION SLOWED IN MAY TO 10.3%, AGENCY SAYS (Bloomberg News)

By Eliana Raszewski and Silvia Martinez

June 14, 2013

 

Argentine consumer prices rose 10.3 percent in May from a year earlier, the slowest pace since October, the national statistics agency reported.

 

Prices rose 0.7 percent from April, less than half the 1.6 percent reported by opposition lawmakers, who yesterday released estimates by private economists.

 

The accuracy of the institute’s data has been questioned by independent economists since President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, changed agency personnel in early 2007. Since 2011, lawmakers have released private estimates without naming the economists, who are subject to government fines if they report data that differs from official statistics.

 

Supermarket chains including Carrefour SA, (CA) Wal-Mart (WMT) Stores Inc. and Chile’s Cencosud SA (CENCOSUD) agreed with the government to freeze prices of 500 goods beginning in June. The list of goods ranges from cooking oil, sodas, cereals, hair removal wax and beer. Fernandez ordered officials and supporters to monitor stores to ensure the accord is honored.

 

“These military-like attempts to control prices will fail if the government doesn’t take measures to fight inflation,” opposition lawmaker Eduardo Amadeo said yesterday, when the private inflation estimate was released. “The government should take care of the economy and forget these controls.”

 

In February, Argentina became the first member of the International Monetary Fund to be censured by the lender for not providing accurate data. Fernandez pledged to release a new index that will reflect current consumption habits by the end of the year.

 

 

2. ARGENTINA SAYS MAY INFLATION UP 0.7% ON MONTH, UP 10.3% ON YEAR (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

1 By Shane Romig

4 June 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina said that inflation held steady in May, but the reported figures were again widely dismissed as fiction by private economists.

 

The government’s consumer price index was up just 0.7% on the month and up 10.3% on the year, the national statistics agency Indec reported Friday.

 

However, that stands in stark contrast to figures reported by opposition congressmen earlier this week. Those numbers showed a May monthly inflation rate of 1.57% and yearly rate of 23.39%.

 

Indec’s inflation and growth data have been heavily criticized since long-serving staffers were replaced with political appointees in early 2007. Since then, the official figures have shown little resemblance to private estimates of the country’s steep inflation rate.

 

The government tried to slap fines and criminal charges on a handful of local economists for releasing their own estimates of price gains, but those sanctions were thrown out by a court last month.

 

A group of opposition congressmen has taken to releasing a monthly “real” inflation index produced by anonymous economists to shield them from the threat of government prosecution.

 

In February, the International Monetary Fund said Argentina has until Sept. 29 to address data “inaccuracy.”

 

The administration plans to have a national consumer price index in place in the fourth quarter of this year in a bid to address the criticism.

 

In addition, Buenos Aires City has launched its own consumer price index because of the widespread mistrust of federal government data.

 

Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri is a fierce political opponent of President Cristina Kirchner and is frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate when her second term ends in 2015.

 

According to the city government, consumer prices in the capital rose 7.1% in the four months ending April 30.

 

Indec, which measures prices in the capital and surrounding urban area in Buenos Aires province, put the price rise during the same period at 3.1%.

 

Economists say inflation has been running at or above 20% for more than three years as the government relies on the central bank to fiance spending by printing money.

 

The central bank’s benchmark M2 measure of the money supply expanded almost 36% on year in April.

 

 

3. ARGENTINA’S YPF SEEKS TO PARTICIPATE IN VENEZUELA OFFSHORE GAS PROJECT (Dow Jones Top Energy Stories)

By Kejal Vyas

14 June 2013

 

CARACAS–Argentine energy company YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA) is in talks to participate in Venezuela’s Deltana offshore natural gas project and is looking to purchase gas to meet domestic needs, officials from both countries’ state energy companies said Friday.

 

Despite boasting large reserves, Venezuela’s gas projects have been long delayed and the leftist government has resorted to importing gas from neighboring Colombia to meet its own power needs. But Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez says the OPEC nation expects three major gas projects to come online over the next several months, which will allow for exports as early as next year.

 

YPF would join U.S. oil major Chevron Corp. (CVX), which has licenses in two blocs of the Deltana shelf, a large off-shore area that lies off of Venezuela’s eastern coast, close to its maritime border with natural gas-rich Trinidad and Tobago.

 

“Deltana’s development will need a buyer and Argentina is a buyer,” YPF Chief Executive Miguel Galuccio told reporters at the headquarters of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PdVSA, in Caracas.

 

Mr. Galuccio said it was too early to say what percentage participation his company would take in the project and declined to put a timeline on when deals could materialize into action.

 

Argentina imports between 80 and 100 cargoes of liquefied natural gas every year to feed a deficit of around 230 million cubic meters of gas daily, Mr. Galuccio said, adding that demand rises substantially during winter months.

 

He made his comments following a meeting with Mr. Ramirez, where both parties signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate partnerships in each country’s energy sector.

 

Mr. Ramirez called it “a first step for investment in both countries” as they look at financing options as well as opportunities for joint production at mature oil fields and refining.

 

Like Venezuela, which is looking to advance development of its massive Orinoco heavy oil belt, Argentina, too, aims to move forward with exploiting shale oil and gas reserves located in its Vaca Muerta formation.

 

Mr. Galuccio said there was a possibility of inviting PdVSA to work at Vaca Muerta. “Of course the participation of Venezuela interests us a lot. There are a lot of similarities between what PdVSA is doing in the [Orinoco] belt” and YPF’s operations in Argentina, he explained.

 

 

4. YPF, PDVSA INK E&P DEAL, EYE VENEZUELAN GAS SALES IN SOUTH AMERICA (Platts Commodity News)

By Charles Newbery

14 June 2013

 

Buenos Aires (Platts)–14Jun2013/437 pm EDT/2037 GMT  Argentina’ YPF and Venezuela’s PDVSA have signed a memorandum of understanding for joint exploration and production projects aimed at selling Venezuelan natural gas to its southern neighbors and for developing shale resources in Argentina, the companies said Friday.

 

YPF CEO Miguel Galuccio and Rafael Ramirez, who doubles as PDVSA’s president and Venezuelan energy minister, signed the agreement in Caracas, the companies said in separate statements.

 

“The idea, as of now, is to assess the possibilities of providing gas from Venezuela to the south of the continent,” Ramirez said.

 

If the partnership moves forward, both state companies would work with the US’ Chevron on developing gas reserves in Block 2 of Venezuela’s offshore Deltana Platform gas project. The block has an estimated 7.3 Tcf of proved gas reserves, and the approval of Venezuelan authorities for development, YPF said.

 

Argentina is seeking to step up gas supplies as dwindling domestic production makes it more reliant on imported diesel, fuel oil and gas. The country — and some of its neighbors — a few years ago had considered a project with Venezuela to build a pipeline from Venezuela to Argentina for supplying gas in the region. But buyers have opted for bringing in supplies by boat in its liquefied form, ending plans for the massive pipeline.

 

Venezuela has said it wants to eventually export LNG, and Argentina could be a buyer. YPF and private companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil are investing to develop large shale gas resources in Argentina. The process is expected to take several years — some analysts say at least a decade — to offset declining conventional gas production, meaning the country will still have to import gas until shale production increases.

 

Argentina is the largest gas consumer in South America, burning 126 million cu m/d, more than its current production of 114 million cu m/d.

 

UNCONVENTIONAL RESOURCES

 

As part of the agreement, YPF and PDVSA said they will evaluate exploration and production projects for developing shale and tight oil and gas resources in Argentina.

 

YPF has started developing shale resources in the Vaca Muerta play in southwestern Argentina, with 51 wells drilled and 14 rigs in operation. This has boosted its production of shale oil there to 7,000 b/d from 4,000 b/d at the start of the year, the company has said.

 

Chevron has signed a preliminary agreement to join with Vaca Muerta project, with plans to invest $1.5 billion in drilling 100 wells over a year. The final agreement is set to be signed by July, according to both companies.

 

YPF also has signed such agreements with Dow Chemical and Argentina’s Corporacion America, as well as Bridas, which is half-owned by China’s CNOOC.

 

PDVSA is the latest to enlist as a potential partner with YPF, and will look at possibilities for projects in Vaca Muerta as well as the D-129 play in the southern province of Chubut, the Argentinian company said.

 

Other projects could include developing heavy oil in the Orinoco Belt of Venezuela and squeezing more out of 20 mature fields in both countries, YPF added.

 

Ramirez said PDVSA can benefit from YPF’s capabilities in developing mature fields, and that both companies can share equipment.

 

PDVSA and YPF left the agreement open to include expanding their joint efforts to other blocks and fields, according to YPF.

 

PDVSA also agreed to work with YPF on expanding the oil refining and petrochemical industry in Argentina.

 

Argentina needs to add an estimated 150,000 b/d-200,000 b/d to its about 550,000 b/d of crude processing capacity to keep pace with rising demand, according to industry estimates. The petrochemical industry has stalled expansion because of the lack of oil and gas feedstock.

 

 

 

 

— 
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

This was written by Benjamin Franklin, within quotation marks but is generally accepted as his original thought, sometime shortly before February 17, 1775 as part of his notes for a proposition at the Pennsylvania Assembly, as published in Memoirs of the life and writings of Benjamin Franklin (1818).

DIRIGISMO ECONÓMICO FRACASA

19 junio, 2013

Leo http://www.infobae.com/notas/715927-El-devenir-de-la-economia-y-el-papel-de-los-economistas.html y vuelvo a denunciar la forma en que los economistas cristinistas destrozan las posibilidades y ambiciones de millones de personas, al implantar controles y otorgar facilidades no solo tontas, sino sospechosas de existir un comportamiento delictivo que proviene desde el Gobierno, y es alentado para beneficio del Amo, en vez de dejar a la sociedad en libertad para que la economía funcione sin intervención estatal, mas velando el Estado Republicano – si existiese – por la existencia de leyes de juego sensatas y libres para todos, en la sociedad. Y allí entra la función de la Justicia, como elemento o Institución que equivale al referí en un partido de fútbol: si alguien comete una falta, y es advertida, la justicia se aplica de inmediato, y las faltas se sancionan, porque de lo contrario, no sería espectáculo deportivo sino la ley de la Selva, donde los mas fuertes o astutos violan las reglas de juego civilizadas, y como siempre, el león se come a la gacela, y no a la inversa. León implica el Poder del Estado fascista, gacelas somos los  abusados y engañados por sucesivos  desgobernantes argentinos de turno, prácticamente todos.

Yendo al artículo comentado, cuanto menos dirigismo económico exista, mejor funcionará un país, y a la inversa, peor irá a la población y luego el Gobierno incapaz y corrupto perderá poder, la gente se va enterando de todo, y como hoy votamos cada dos años, parece imposible que el modelo fascista – que rige desde 1930 – pueda seguir funcionando mucho tiempo mas, a nivel nacional. En las provincias, la cosa es distinta: subsisten los señores Feudales, los  Gobernadores e Intendentes, que suelen engañar a la población en provecho propio. Y no pueden evitarlo, porque en el modelo fascista, quien asciende a Gobernador está debiendo favores a quienes lo apoyaron en su ascenso al cargo, e igual sucede con los intendentes. Los fascismos provinciales subsistirían al fascismo nacional, supongo. Parece difícil que en provincias ricas que ademas tienen petroleo, los gobernadores se comporten como Estadistas, en vez de pensar en enriquecerse a titulo personal. El primitivismo hace que los países gobernados en forma autoritaria, vivan peor que aquellos que tuvieron gobiernos liberales que se ocupan por su gente. Algo así sucedió en Costa Rica, que pudo adelantarse a los países sudacas bananeros de la región, utilizando reglas de juego – legislaciones – sensatas, que no abundan en Hispanoamérica, incluso hoy. Así, cuando en el presente, un gobierno toma medidas dirigistas que violan la Constitución y las leyes, no necesitamos ser adivinos para saber hoy mismo que el país declina, porque artificialmente se vulnera el equilibrio natural según el cual los mas capaces e inteligentes tendrán mas éxito en el plano económico, y los bandidos serán castigados.

Cuba, la isla de la familia Castro, tiene un sistema dirigista que hace fracasar a los que quedaron sometidos al modelo socialista perimido, pro unión sovietica. Los cubanos que emigraron a La Florida, trabajaron duro y en general, progresaron mas que los que no huyeron, pero se supone los primeros eran los mas educados y ricos, porque pudieron elegir la huida. Los otros, sufrieron y se quedaron. Algo parecido pero infinitamente peor había sucedido con los judíos en los territorios controlados por Alemania nazi.  En Argentina, la intención de evitar que la gente compre y venda dolares, demuestra la torpeza de la Presidenta, que elige mal a sus funcionarios, y por eso, pareciera que está fracasando en forma peor de lo que todavía imaginamos. Nadie sabe cuanto debe el Estado Argentino, ni cuanto se pudo haber robado en los diez años K que comenzaron en el 2003.  Si hubiese continuado el sistema democrático – interrumpido cuando a Fernando de la Rúa lo eyectaran de la Presidencia en diciembre de 2001, y si Duhalde no hubiese destruido la moneda peso convertible en enero de 2002, hoy estaríamos con un país distinto. Pero la Historia no se cambia para atrás, solo podemos intentar que la Constitución funcione para todos a partir de ahora, y que los gobernantes bandidos sean castigados por la ley.

El reciente fallo de la Corte Suprema, donde 6 de los 7 integrantes, optaron por no ser mas incondicionales del Presidente de turno, marca una posibilidad sensata: leyes sensatas dictadas hoy, razonablemente nos brindará un país mas agradable y confiable, en pocos años. Cuando los delitos desde el Estado no se investigan, la gente se deseduca, y cree que las reglas de juego legales deben ser violadas para triunfar, es como intentar hacer  goles con la mano en el fútbol.  El peligro subsiste: la Procuradora Gils Carbó no parece entusiasmada para proseguir casos de corrupción emblemáticos, que apuntan contra el oficialismo, y el caso Oyharbide sobre el enriquecimiento ilícito de la familia Kirchner, luce cada vez mas escandaloso: el caso no prosiguió, porque la sentencia absolutoria del Juez directamente NO fue apelada por el antecesor de Gils Carbó, ni tampoco por ella, que lo reemplaza. Y si Argentina no procesa penalmente el enriquecimiento ilícito de quienes desgobiernan, en el momento en que están todavía en el Poder, significa que no somos Republica Democrática, sino tan solo gente utilizada como rebaño de ordeñe y esquila por el Gobierno y sus funcionarios. El Periodismo libre lo muestra, la Justicia debe investigar, aunque Gils Carbó no se apresure.

Es obvio que Argentina mejora de veinte en veinte años. La Corte Suprema desoyó a Gils Carbó cuando opinó que la sentencia de la doctora Servini de Cubría no debía ser confirmada, y así la Procuradora General demostró estar alineada tan solo con Zaffaroni, el único que votó en disidencia, el fallo que sirvió para que muchos creamos que esta nuestro país hoy con mejor Corte Suprema que antes, porque finalmente un caso importante para el cumplimiento de la Constitución, es aplicado y sirve para frenar en seco al autoritarismo fascista, que pretende que el Presidente elegido haga lo que quiera durante su mandato de cuatro años, y también los otros cuatro cuando puede ser reelegido, e incluso reformar la Constitución para perpetuarse en el Poder, con simulacros de elecciones, tipo Cuba y tantos otros países victimas del dirigismo, donde la libertad personal casi no existe, y el dirigismo económico crea Presidentes ricos y pueblos pobres.

La revalorización de los produstos que Argentina exporta, tipo granos y carne, imagino quizás no es otra cosa que el resultado de que el dolar respecto a si mismo, se devaluó alrededor de tres veces, en el curso del siglo XXI. Creemos que la soja, el trigo y el oro valen mas que hace un tiempo, porque la emisión de dolares ha aumentado con motivo de enormes gastos, motivados por guerras y gastos en armamentos, para mantener la Unión Norteamericana el liderazgo bélico en el mundo. Supuestamente, para no ser vuelta a agredir en su propio territorio, como cuando sufrió los graves atentados y las Torres Gemelas de N.Y. fueron destruidas.

Mas en Argentina, la triplicación en dolares de nuestros productos de exportación, debieran haber implicado una mejora sustancial en la economía. En parte existió, en parte no. Porque algo malo sucedió. Las viviendas por centenares de miles que se prometieron, no fueron construidas, las obras publicas enormes, tampoco. Los ferrocarriles viejos derruidos no se hicieron a nuevo, como cuando los Ingleses los construyeron en el siglo XIX. Se nos mintió demasiado, y hoy Cristina enfrenta la realidad de los países sudacas: gobernantes Ricos y pueblo pobre, aunque el Estado mienta con las cifras y estadísticas sobre costo de vida y otras cosas. Hasta sospecho que las Reservas del Banco Central no son reales, sino infladas. Nadie garantiza – por no haber arqueos de caja – que los dolares siguen estando, y que sería esta la razón por la que se prohibe algo tan torpe – e inconstitucional – como que la gente compre dolares a su valor libre de mercado, sea para sacarlos del país, o para conservarlos como manera de protegerse contra las medidas dirigistas peronistas cristinistas, que tanto mal nos hacen. Pais que ahuyenta el ahorro nacional, en vez de alentarlo, es país subgobernado y robado desde el Estado. El cristinismo no tiene excusas, ya que no hay una guerra bélica donde las reservas del Estado se gasten en defendernos de agresores países vecinos.

Para colmo, la abogada exitosa ha derogado la inderogable Ley de la Oferta y la Demanda, y cree que la gente no lo advierte. El Cosmos se vuelve contra los que escupen al cielo y cometen torpezas y crímenes contra la Naturaleza. Las consecuencias se evidencian a corto plazo. Si a los Ferrocarriles no se los cuidó, administró y mantuvo actualizados, los accidentes son inevitables. Igual sucede cuando la única ley que rige la economía es intentada violar en forma impune. El “mercado” lo muestra, prohibiciones de importar y exportar cosas que deben permitirse por  la Constitución liberal que tenemos, o los tratados y pactos tipo Mercosur, incluso equivocados, demuestran el fracaso del Modelo inexistente, que  permite que hayan demasiados nuevos ricos en el entorno del gobierno, y demasiados intentos oficialistas de impedir la libertad de opinión, de ahorrar e  invertir en dolares incluso, y sacar los capitales del país.

Vosotros que entráis aquí, perded toda esperanza, creo decía un cartel en la puerta de entrada al Infierno, según Dante, en su famoso  libro del que muchos hablan, pero  jamás  pude leer, aunque lo intenté varias veces. Esto sucede porque Cristina no es tan capaz como supone, el letrero pende sobre el territorio argentino y es leído por potenciales inversores, que no entienden como podemos estar tan desgobernados. El problema nuestro es que no sabemos elegir a los presidentes por sus antecedentes, sino que lo hacemos en forma sentimental. Perón fue un fascista fracasado, y lo endiosamos. Su legado al pueblo fue Isabelita su mujer de  Vicepresidenta, para que heredara su reino a su muerte. Pero con ella Presidenta, , quedásemos de hecho acéfalos, y sobrevino lo que pasa cada vez que un país está comandado por una Presidenta no preparada para ejercer su puesto, o  que no sabe elegir a sus asesores, o peor aun, que elige bandidos para ayudarla porque el modelo peronista ladrón se supone es inmodificable. En este ultimo caso, estaríamos mucho mas atrasados y salvajizados, pero me niego a creerlo.

La figura Asociación ilícita DESDE DENTRO del Estado es jurídicamente interesante. De hecho, algo parecido se aplicó en Nuremberg, luego de la derrota de Hitler, pero todavía nuestros Tribunales no han avanzado suficiente para que el Gobernante ladrón – si lo hay – sea detenido y llevado ante un Juez, porque ante casos de delitos a la vista de todos, la inmunidad política no debe proteger a los que nos dañan al país. Como hubiera dicho Perón,  militar presidente que hablaba muy bien y convencía aún mejor a la mayoría incauta…

CORTE SUPREMA SALVA LA CONSTITUCIÓN

18 junio, 2013

El oficialismo cristinista autoritario llora, la Corte Suprema Nacional ha decidido por 6 votos contra 1, que las reformas cristinistas al consejo de la Magistratura violan la Constitución, y ha declarado inconstitucionales 4 artículos, ver en http://www.infobae.com/notas/716118-Las-repercusiones-del-oficialismo-sobre-el-fallo.html y la Presidenta exitosa se ha equivocado otra vez mas, al apelar ante una Corte Suprema cuya mayoría está tan harta como nuestro blog en vivir en un estado fascista inseguro y mentiroso, donde el principal problema es la Presidenta Cristina F. de Kirchner, que se cree ser la dueña del país, y no la encargada de hacer cumplir la Constitución y las leyes y controlar al Administrador general del País, el Jefe de Gabinete doctor Abal Medina, que hace lo contrario de lo que Constitución dice, y encima se queja, porque la impunidad oficialista va llegando a su fin…

CEDIN: ¿instrumento confiable?

16 junio, 2013

La credibilidad de cualquier instrumento de crédito es proporcional a la confianza en el Gobierno de cada país. Suiza es un ejemplo de país pequeño con mucha credibilidad. Argentina, el caso opuesto, hasta ahora: los índices de precios se distorsionaron intencionalmente, y Cristina impide que funcione la única ley de la Economía que parece inmutable: la Oferta y la Demanda. Hoy nadie sabe cuanto vale una casa, un dolar, vivienda o un campo. De tanto intentar controlar, han descontrolado prácticamente todo. Pero volvamos a un certificado de depósito de dólares con el Banco Central de la Republica Argentina: ¿existirán depositados los dolares que dicho Banco ha certificado, o se los llevaron para gastar mas dinero el Estado autoritario, que durante diez años ha gobernado un país cuyos productos exportables de triplicaron en valor – medido en dolares – y pese a eso, el Gobierno necesita dólares porque se los gasta mas rápido de lo que les llega.

Nuestro Banco Central no es independiente, ni autónomo, como debiera ser según la Constitución. Se dice Cristina F. de K, ordena a su antojo,  y Marcó del Pont le obedece fielmente. Ergo, si alguien deposita confiadamente diez mil dolares a 3 años de plazo , y el Banco Central le entrega un Cedin negociable por igual importe mas 4 por ciento anual de intereses, ¿quien garantiza que los dolares existirán al vencimiento, toda vez que según la Constitución actual, Cristina no será ya Presidenta de Argentina en junio de 2016?  Hay antecedentes graves y objetivos de que el Banco Central ha sido incumplidor serial. Recordemos que el emisión monetaria descontrolada es una forma de robar el Estado a los tenedores abstractos de los pesos que circulan. Si la cantidad nominal de dinero se duplicara,  aproximadamente harán falta cien pesos para comprar lo que hoy vale cincuenta. Pero el Gobierno, al controlar al Banco Central,  embolsaría (en el sentido de meterlos en bolsas) un extra: la mitad de todo lo que puede comprarse con el dinero duplicado en circulación. Y como esta emisión se hace en forma progresiva y acelerada, es casi como el tren cuya marcha se acelera tanto que termina produciendo una tragedia eventualmente criminal.

Pero el Estado ladrón se va apropiando de una cantidad groseramente creciente de los recursos de la sociedad: la aceleración de precios nominales impacta en una sociedad que ya ya sufrido la hiperinflación varias veces, y la desconfianza en el Gobierno, concretamente en Ella, Cristina, aumenta. Y por suerte no tenemos Fuerzas Armadas dispuestas a derrocarla, ni políticos audaces capaces de repetir lo que  hicieron en diciembre de 2001 con F. de la Rúa, el Presidente eyectado en helicóptero del Poder, delito no difundido por los medios. Fue posible porque el enfermo presidente irrito a todos, al cometer el crimen de impedir que la gente dispusiera libremente de sus depósitos bancarios, algo que la Constitución no permite, pero él y Domingo Cavallo hicieron, para mal de la gente, y bien de algunos piolas que siempre existen, cuando el sistema fascista económico dicta medidas tramposas y la Justicia no interviene, porque la Corte Suprema de Justicia y el Ministerio Publico (Jefatura de los Fiscales cuya misión es perseguir a los bandidos)  están dominados por el Amo de turno, sea El o Ella.

Antecedente aún peor del Banco Central es cuando el Estado Ladrón, al terminarse con la convertibilidad, se apropio en enero de 2002 de alrededor de diecisiete mil millones de dolares, que eran ajenos, porque el Banco los custodiaba por cuenta de terceros, cada uno de los tenedores de los pesos convertibles, para garantizar el uno a uno. Eso lo denunció Steve H. Hanke al mundo, en marzo de dicho año, y como  resultado seguimos siendo país no confiable.

Pero eso no es todo. Hasta ahora, Argentina venimos perdiendo con los fondos Buitres, ya que la Justicia de Nueva York los considera correctisimos acreedores a quienes nuestro país ha engañado, incumpliendo el pago en termino de bonos.

Robar el Estado es costumbre vieja, via emisión monetaria, desde que el Peronismo con ayuda y dinero del Estado, surgió triunfador en 1946, utilizando el lema antinorteamericano Braden o Perón, que entronizó al modelo militarista fascista en la Presidencia Constitucional, y aunque luego derrocado por sus pares que lo encumbraron, Peron se exilio con ayuda de los nazionalistas militaristas que lo voltearon, y finalmente fue protegido pro el caudillo fascista Francisco Franco Bahamonde, y desde España se manejaban los hilos tendientes a que Peron regresara, usando métodos astutos, ya que a unos les hacia creer era comunista, y  a otros que  defendía la Tercera Posición o no alineamiento. Finalmente volvió, recuperó el Poder, y notamos que había engañado a Ricardo Balbin, cuando le hizo creer que  había aprendido mucho en el exilio. Puso como vicepresidenta a su propia mujer, ganó la Presidencia, murió a los ocho meses, y nos dejó un pais mas dividido que antes, y su viuda quería huir a España y no la dejaban, la encarcelaron algunos años hasta que le permitieron partir y hoy vive en el exilio dorado, sin que nadie la moleste.

El Banco Central y Argentina defraudando a sus acreedores, supongo data desde el peronismo o antes, en  1930, cuando el fascismo militar destituyó al Presidente Yrigoyen. Con Frondizi, en 1959 en el Banco Central se produjo otra maniobra sospechosa, se decía su Presidente huyó al Uruguay y consigo se llevó muchísimas reservas, y el dinero nacional se devaluó un cincuenta por ciento, en un solo día, causando la ruina de muchos deudores y el enriquecimiento de algunos amigos del Poder. Y esto se repite desde siempre. Por eso, cuando la contabilidad de una empresa no funciona ordenadamente, se producen aguyeros y la ruina de muchos inversores. Y si esa empresa es nuestro país, me pregunto por el futuro del Cedin, y como hará Cristina para cambiar 180 grados y convertir a Argentina en un país creíble, luego de varias décadas de ser lo contrario. Incluso, Malvinas nos muestra como un país no confiable, porque parece obvio que hemos perdido las islas, al punto que nuestra Cconstitucional Nacional en su clausula transitoria primera dice que intentaremos recuperarlas por los principios del derecho internacional, que todavía no existen, porque no hay un Tribunal competente para decidirlo, ni lo habrá, si el Reuno Unido se niega, ya que los falklanders han optado masivamente por la ciudadanía británica.

CONCLUSIÓN: el dinero peronista cristinista, llámese pesos o Cedines, no luce confiable. Nadie sabe si Nestor recibió reservas del Estado, cuando Duhalde le entregó el poder. Y tampoco sabemos si alguien contó uno por uno – arqueo de caja – los dólares que figuran en el balance del Banco Central, y los que son de propiedad del Estado Argentino, por tratarse de dos entidades en teoría diferentes. Los rumores de que bolsas cargadas de billetes de 500 euros circulaban por la casa de la familia Kirchner, es algo que nada ayuda para la credibilidad en el país. Y el hecho que Gils Carbó sea amiga incondicional de Cristina, tampoco, porque no parece entusiasmada a ordenar que los Fiscales investiguen a quienes están denunciados de mover demasiado dinero en ilegal, y de enriquecerse con contratos con el Estado.

El tremendo caso penal Rawson  Angeles, muestra que cuando la Justicia quiere, actúa y es incontenible. Me encantaría que Gils Carbó disponga un careo entre los supuestos acusados de enriquecerse en forma excesiva, y que a ella la obligue otra fiscal a explicar porqué demoran tanto las investigaciones a los supuestos amigos del Poder. Careo entre los acusados y  la Presidenta, por ahora luce imposible. Tampoco imaginaba  yo que a Carlos Menem pudieran condenarlo penalmente, y será  Corte Suprema la que decida por guilty or not guilty. ¿Esta mejorando tanto la Justicia? Aleluya…

Por ultimo: de la Corte Suprema depende que la confianza empiece a volver a Argentina, y lo veremos la semana próxima, con su esperado fallo sobre la ley del Consejo de la Magistratura. Si Cristina gana su apelación,  la confianza en Argentina seguirá cayendo. Pero si la Corte Suprema confirma la sentencia recurrida, aprenderemos todos  que la Justicia está por encima de la Presidenta. Y sería posible que el país comience a estabilizarse, a la espera de las dos próximas elecciones: la de octubre, que definiría el humor de la sociedad hacia Ella, y la siguiente,  que  designará  Presidente  de Argentina período  2015/9.

ARGENTINE UPDATE – Jun 11-12, 2013

14 junio, 2013

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http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/133207/%E2%80%98we-still-hear-of-torture-cases-in-argentina%E2%80%99

We still hear of torture cases in Argentina’

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez
United Nations Special Rapporteur official Juan Méndez talks to the Herald

By Santiago del Carril
Herald staff

The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez is an Argentine, who has dedicated his life and career to the defence of human rights. Today he will be receiving an honorary doctorate from La Plata University.

During the last military dictatorship that lasted from 1976 to 1983 he was detained and tortured for being the legal representative of political prisoners and was held for 18 months. In response to his arrest, Amnesty International adopted him as a “Prisoner of Conscience,” and in 1977 he was deported from Argentina, and traveled to the United States.

Since being assigned as the UN Rapporteur on Torture in November 2010, Méndez has investigated several high profile cases such as the solitary confinement of Bradley Manning, US Guantámano Bay prison and several other cases of human rights violations throughout the world. He has also worked for Human Rights Watch, the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights in Costa Rica and the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). Méndez has taught Human Rights law in several universities, including Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and Oxford.

Méndez talked to the Herald Thursday on the sidelines of an international conference on torture that was held in Buenos Aires last week.

What regions of Latin America do you believe are the most worrisome when it comes to torture and human rights abuses?

Fortunately, in Latin America there is no one country that specializes in wholesale torture, like during the military dictatorships, but there are very serious problems, particularly with prison conditions, and unfortunately there is more than one. But I would say from the information we have received on prison conditions in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and Honduras, they all face serious problems with overcrowding, violence and inhumane conditions.

What human rights issues are most important or relevant to Argentina?

The main problem is the lack of investigation. The investigation of torture is unique in International Human Rights Law since just one human rights case obligates the state to investigate, prosecute and punish those found guilty. And it does not have to be a crime against humanity. But this is one of the most difficult things to implement.

I have not been invited by the country to investigate nor have I requested it, so I can’t give you a complete account. But we do come across certain issues we end up hearing about. Some of those are the treatment of minors in police stations, prisons, the excessive use of police force as well as prison conditions. There is also a problem with the way psychiatric hospitals treat their patients.

But I think this country has the morale and experience to solve all these problems.

It does require a political and public will and you can’t just say we don’t torture. The police cut corners a lot of the time because they try to solve cases as fast as possible.

Although we’ve had 30 years of democratic rule, we still hear of torture cases.

How has Argentina improved in its handling of human rights issues from the 90s?

There seems to have been an effort in the 90s and going into the first decade of the millennium to create institutions within state organizations to focus on torture. There have also been some very creative measures.

In the 90s, for example, they created the penitentiary ombudsman. All of this has been very helpful and has had a visible effect in the reduction of torture. But unfortunately what always happens with all these cases is that over time the perpetrators of torture find loopholes around the institutions or they find ways of preventing debate and getting other organizations to put pressure over the specialized institutions to prevent their efficiency.

And I think right now we are in a time where a new effort is needed to revitalize the old institutions that were created in the 90s or perhaps new ones because they are beginning to demonstrate their limited effectiveness.

Are the close ties between certain human rights group and the national government hurting the Argentine human rights movement or do you think the links between the two are more beneficial in the long run?

I think human rights activists, all over the world, when they find a government that they have good reasons to sympathize with, join or support it. There is really no harm in that, they have a right since they are citizens who can decide to support them or not.

For example, during the advent of democracy in Chile many of their human rights groups disappeared because they joined the democratic government.

I happen to think that it is very useful for civil society organizations to remain independent even when they sympathize with the government and even to keep some distance from it in order to preserve their effectiveness as civil society organizations.

But I can’t fault any individual in particular for choosing to be closer or more distant with a particular government, that’s a choice that they have to make on their own and the rest of us have to respect it.

In terms of Argentina itself, I also think it’s a little unfair because some well-known human rights leaders are very close to the government. But some well established organizations like CELS have kept a healthy distance from it because they have supported what needed to be supported and criticized what needed to be criticized.

The Supreme Court reform in 2003 allowed for many cases to be reopened with the classification of crimes against humanity and that was a reform that a good part of the general society viewed as something positive. Now with the judicial reforms do you think that this could also have a beneficial effect on the human rights movement?

I can’t give any opinion on the judicial reforms because that’s the mandate of a fellow rapporteur and I don’t want to interfere with her work. Though, in respect to whether the judicial reform will have any effect on the landmark decision of the Supreme Court to declare amnesty laws unconstitutional, I haven’t seen any sign of it and I don’t see why it should.

I think the judicial reform goes in some other direction. I think the reopening of the trials against the culprits and perpetrators of disappearances, violence and torture during the military dictatorship enjoys huge popular support. It even has 80 percent approval in the opinion polls.

This was demonstrated by the death of (former)general (Jorge) Videla and even the more conservative sectors of the country and conservative newspapers noted the death of Videla and not one said that he shouldn’t have been in jail or that he was a hero.

It seems to me that even though in Argentina we have little consensus on anything, one thing that we do have it on is that the trials of the dictatorship crimes should go on and I hope that will continue.

Do you think there is some merit to this argument that the cases involving human rights violations during the dictatorship are incomplete because members of leftist guerilla groups are not being prosecuted?

No, first I would say that (Montoneros leader Mario) Firmenich spent 10 years in prison. So there was an occasion to investigate, prosecute and punish him and he was actually convicted. But, there are others of course, who survived, who were leaders of the ERP and Montoneros and have not been prosecuted.

Crimes against humanity can also be committed by non-state agents such as guerrilla groups but the definition of crimes against humanity in international law is such that, when they are committed by non-state agents, the guerrilla groups must have control over the territory and population in way that they act like a quasi-government and that was never the case in Argentina.

The violations also have to be a part of generalized attack on the civilian population and I could say that that depends on your point of view maybe. But in general, what happens in Argentina, as terrible as it was and cruel as it was for some families, was not the kind of the generalized attack on the general population that is contemplated in the crimes against humanity. So on those rather technical reasons they don’t have a point.

Now obviously, you may want to analyze it on a case by case basis.

The final point I want to make is that nowadays its very hard to investigate or prosecute anybody because the military did not try to preserve any evidence. And in fact instead of trying to arrest and prosecute people they thought responsible, they just tried to kill as many of them as they could.

Now if you are going to tell me that because they prosecuted Videla, they have to prosecute Montonero and ERP members just for belonging to the organization, that’s also not the case. For each prosecution there has to be specific evidence pointing to the responsibility of that individual. Membership in an organization does not count as participation in a crime.

What progress has the US government made in the closing of the clandestine Guantámano Bay detention centre?

Other than President Obama’s announcement ten days ago, nothing much has happened. The last thing that we know is that the commander of Guantámano gave a news conference yesterday saying that things are not going to change, that they will continue to force-feed these people and that the strike will end when they stop striking.

There are currently 130 people detained under three different situations. Most of them have already been cleared for release but have not been released. A smaller group will be tried by military commissions and that process is going very slowly and not very well.

And then there is a smaller group that they are not going to try but also they will not release, at least this is so far the position of the US government. Those are the hardcore members of al Qaeda or they claim they are. But they don’t try them because the evidence they have against them is tainted because they tortured them.

So, they don’t use the evidence, which is good. But they keep them in prison for an indeterminate amount of time, which is bad.

I do think there will be a resolution, though, because the president can act without even going to Congress. In his announcement he said he had asked his legal team to advise him on what he could do by himself.

Although, he also called on congress to repeal some of the more annoying things, there are several bills that don’t allow the Executive branch to transfer any prisoner to US territory or send them outside of the US. This is a petty and mean way of dealing with the situation but those pieces of legislation also allow for presidential waivers.

So if Obama wants to solve the problem it seems like he could do it or at least solve it for those that have been cleared. And they have been cleared for five or six years. They were cleared in the Bush administration and they are still in prison.

Could you tell me about your intervention in the case of Bradley Manning‘s solitary confinement?

I began to intervene in this case by beginning to discuss the issue with the North American government, not only because of pressure from my organization but also from other groups. The solitary confinement of Manning ended a year ago, when he was transferred from Quantico marine prison in Virginia to a medium security prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

I published a report, stating the conditions were “cruel, inhuman and degrading.”

It seemed to me that in the eight months that he was confined in Iraq and Quantico did not have any justification. And according to the situation, it could have been classified as torture. When the case began, his lawyer requested that the court recognize his solitary confinement as a violation and that they discount the time spent in solitary confinement from any future conviction.

The military tribunal judge denied the request. but they could reopen this case, who knows.

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TUESDAY JUNE 11TH..

1. SHOP ‘TIL IT DROPS (New York Times Blog)

 

2. U.S. SUPREME COURT TO HEAR BG GROUP APPEAL IN ARGENTINA CASE (Dow Jones Top Global Market Stories)

 

3. U.S. SUPREME COURT TAKES UP BG GROUP ARBITRATION CASE (Reuters News)

 

4. BG GETS TOP COURT HEARING ON $185 MILLION ARGENTINA AWARD (Bloomberg News)

 

5. ARGENTINA TO PROMOTE TAX AMNESTY TO BUILD RESERVES, ECONOMY (Market News International)

 

6. ARGENTINA’S FARMERS PLAN 1-WEEK GRAIN, BEEF STRIKE (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

 

7. ARGENTINA: FIRST PRISONERS’ TRADE UNION DEFENDS ITS RIGHTS (Inter Press Service)

 

1. SHOP ‘TIL IT DROPS (New York Times Blog)

By Daniel Politi

June 11, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES — Eight years ago, it was almost impossible to get a taxi driver  in this city to accept a 100-peso note, the highest denomination.  Nowadays they barely bat an eyelid.

 

You can thank inflation for that: In 2005, the starting fare for a cab ride was 1.60 pesos (55 U.S. cents); today, it’s 9.10 ($1.70). Prices for  basic goods and services keep rising in Argentina, and though the government underreports by how  much, it has once again decided to do something about the problem.

 

Instead of developing a comprehensive plan to fight inflation, however, the  government is focusing on the last step of the value chain: retailers.  In February, it imposed a blanket freeze on prices in supermarkets and appliance stores. But that didn’t stop inflation: All other prices continued to increase. So now  the government has decided to freeze prices on specific goods. The  latest measure, which went into effect on June 1 and is applicable until October — when critical midterm elections are scheduled — applies to 500 products at each of the seven major  supermarket chains across the country.

 

What a curious selection. Here are items 121-129 on the list applicable to  Carrefour supermarkets [pdf]: “Aloe hair-removal cream for body, Miss  Ylang; olive hair-removal cream for body, Miss Ylang; rose hair-removal cream for face, Miss Ylang;  aloe hair-removal cream for face, Miss Ylang; olive hair-removal cream  for face, Miss Ylang; rose hair-removal cream for face, Miss Ylang;  moisturizing face cream, Ponds S; moisturizing face cream, Ponds; face cream, Ponds.” I’m quoting selectively, but this  point holds overall: Many of the items earmarked for the freeze are of  little interest to families struggling to make ends meet.

 

The lists are short on essentials. Most of the food items included, for  example, have low nutritional value and aren’t especially healthy.  There’s only one brand of regular milk, no fish and few fruits or vegetables. Yet the price freeze  applies to several different brands of wine and liquor, six ice-cream  desserts and 12 types of olives — as well as 22 deodorants.

 

The incongruity might be amusing if it weren’t so depressing to see such  cynicism at work. As one consumer rights’ advocate said, the selection  seems to have been designed “for the supermarkets, not the people.” Indeed: Prices for identical  products can differ by as much as 300 percent from one supermarket chain to another, which means that customers have to carefully study the  lists and then possibly travel far to make the most of them.

 

When President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced the general outlines of the freeze late last month, she also said that under the “Mirar Para Cuidar” (Watch to Protect) program, young political activists would fan out across the country to  ensure that supermarkets hold prices down as agreed. This government,  eager to portray itself as the victim of corporate interests and an  advocate for the poor, might think that photographs showing government inspectors checking price tags is good PR. But it’s  not — not when the inspectors are looking at hair-removal creams.

 

 

2. U.S. SUPREME COURT TO HEAR BG GROUP APPEAL IN ARGENTINA CASE (Dow Jones Top Global Market Stories)

By Brent Kendall

10 June 2013

 

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider an appeal by British  energy company BG Group PLC (BRGYY, BG.LN) that seeks to restore a $185  million arbitration award it won against Argentina in 2007.

 

BG alleged the Argentinean government destroyed its investments in the  country’s natural-gas distribution sector through a series of state  actions during Argentina’s 2001-2002 economic crisis.

 

The company also accused Argentina of threatening businesses with serious  penalties if they challenged the emergency actions in the country’s  courts.

 

BG chose instead to take its case to an arbitration panel, under rules  laid out in a 1999 investment treaty between Argentina and the United  Kingdom. The treaty required parties to litigate in Argentina for 18 months before going to arbitration, but BG argued it was excused from that obligation because Argentina had  sought to stymie any such lawsuits.

 

The arbitration panel, based in Washington, awarded BG $185 million after  finding Argentina violated the treaty by failing to treat investors  fairly.

 

Argentina then sued in U.S. court and last year persuaded a Washington-based  appeals court to throw out BG’s arbitration winnings.

 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled the  arbitration wasn’t valid because BG didn’t take its case first to  Argentina’s courts.

 

As the case comes to the Supreme Court, the legal question at issue is  this: Who gets to decide whether a case can go to arbitration–an  arbitrator or a court?

 

The justices will review the case during the Supreme Court’s next term,  which begins in October. The high court took the case against the advice of the Obama administration, which urged the court not to get involved.

 

BG said in a court brief that more than 25 foreign investors have brought similar arbitration cases against Argentina.

 

 

 

3. U.S. SUPREME COURT TAKES UP BG GROUP ARBITRATION CASE (Reuters News)

By Lawrence Hurley

10 June 2013

 

WASHINGTON, June 10 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear  British company BG Group Plc’s appeal over a $185.3 million arbitration  award it won against Argentina that an appeals court later threw out.

 

A U.S. district court ruled in 2011 that BG, a natural gas exploration  and distribution company, should recover the money because a decision by the Argentine government in 2002 to freeze gas prices breached a 1993 treaty between Britain and  Argentina.

 

This treaty was designed to encourage investment by foreign companies such as Reading-based BG.

 

Argentina imposed the price freeze shortly after it announced a sovereign debt  default of roughly $100 billion at the end of 2001.

 

BG challenged the freeze, saying it reduced the value of its roughly 45  percent stake in Argentina’s Metrogas SA. A BG spokesman said the  company sold its stake in Metrogas earlier this year to YPF SA and Integra Gas Distribution LLC.

 

An arbitration panel in Washington, D.C., called the International Chamber of Commerce International Court of Arbitration, concluded in 2007 that  because Argentina had by emergency decree restricted access to its courts, it would create an “absurd and  unreasonable result” to read the treaty literally and require BG to go  through the courts first.

 

But a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., said in January 2012 that  BG should have first tried to sue in Argentina and then wait 18 months  for a ruling, as required by the treaty, before resorting to arbitration.

 

Oral arguments and a decision in the case are due in the court’s next term, which starts in October and ends in June 2014.

 

The case is BG Group v. Argentina, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 12-138.

 

 

4. BG GETS TOP COURT HEARING ON $185 MILLION ARGENTINA AWARD (Bloomberg News)

By Greg Stohr

June 10, 2013

 

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider reviving a $185 million award won by BG Group Plc (BG/) in a dispute with Argentina over that country’s  2002 cap on natural gas prices.

 

The high court today said it will hear an appeal by the U.K. oil and gas  company of a federal appeals court decision that threw out an  arbitration award in BG’s favor.

 

The lower court said the arbitration panel in Washington lacked power to  take up the dispute. The appeals court pointed to a U.K.-Argentine  treaty that requires disputes to be submitted to a court in Argentina for 18 months before arbitration  can begin.

 

In its Supreme Court appeal, BG argues that the arbitrator, rather than  the appeals court, should have been the one to determine whether  arbitration would go forward.

 

BG says the price freeze caused the bankruptcy of Metrogas SA, an  Argentine gas distributor it previously controlled. BG says that, had it filed suit, it would have been punished under Argentine law and excluded from negotiations designed to mitigate the effects of the price cap.

 

The Obama administration urged the high court to reject the BG appeal, saying the appeals court reached the right decision.

 

The court will hear arguments during the nine-month term that starts in October. The case is BG Group v. Argentina, 12-138.

 

 

5. ARGENTINA TO PROMOTE TAX AMNESTY TO BUILD RESERVES, ECONOMY (Market News International)

By Charles Newbery

10 June 2013

 

The government this week will continue promoting a tax amnesty designed to  rebuild sagging foreign reserves, contain currency depreciation and  expand energy investments as the economy stagnates for a second year.

 

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner enacted legislation last week giving  people the chance to voluntarily repatriate undeclared funds – held  overseas or locally – without penalties as long as they are up to date in filing their taxes.

 

The amnesty will run July 1 to Sept. 30, before which the government and  central bank will fine-tune the process and market it to the public.

 

Participants will get tax-free bonds and certificates of deposit in exchange for  their undeclared cash, which the government estimates at $160 billion,  or four-times the $38.6 billion in hard-currency reserves held by the central bank.

 

People will then be able swap the CDs for dollars to buy real estate, or they  can hold or sell the dollar-denominated bonds paying 4% annual interest.

 

The government has said it will use the funds from the amnesty to finance  construction, energy and infrastructure projects, helping to revive  economic growth and create jobs while building energy supplies and expanding infrastructure capacity.

 

Analysts say it may be difficult to rally participation in the amnesty because of low trust in the government and the peso.

 

CFK has said she wants to return the country to energy self-sufficiency, a  process that involved the state taking control of YPF, the country’s  biggest energy company, last year from Spain’s Repsol.

 

YPF plans to invest $37.2 billion through 2017 to increase oil and natural  gas production 32%, helping to stem energy imports that have become a major drain of dollars out of the economy.

 

Argentina has suffered repeated devaluations, debt defaults, bouts of  hyperinflation and seizures of bank deposits over the past few decades,  leaving people with limited confidence in the system.

 

Many have chosen sock away their savings outside the banking system, even though the government has made the practice illegal.

 

To encourage participation, the tax agency said it will hunt down  undeclared assets held in and outside the country and then go after on  evaders who do not enter the amnesty after it concludes. Tax Chief Ricardo Echegaray said he has already  identified 300 cases of undeclared assets.

 

The government needs the cash to rebuild central bank reserves to make debt payments. While debt service is manageable, the government is not  expected to slow the high pace of spending ahead of the Oct. 27 midterm congressional election.  Spending has been growing faster than tax collections this year, while  capital flight has remained steady.

 

Central bank reserves have continued to sink from nearly $53 billion in January 2011.

 

Demand for dollars rose last week on the black market as people collected  monthly salaries, causing the unofficial rate to drop to 8.80 to the  dollar June 6 from 8.43 May 22. The government subsequently intervened by sending tax inspectors to  trading houses, reducing demand and cutting the rate to 8.60.

 

While the black market is small, it has become a thermometer of people’s  confidence in the peso and the economy – and a way for shielding savings against 25% annual inflation. The official rate is expected to continue losing ground after closing  at 5.30 to the dollar last week, down 16.5% from 4.55 a year earlier.

 

The government will report June inflation Friday.

 

 

6. ARGENTINA’S FARMERS PLAN 1-WEEK GRAIN, BEEF STRIKE (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

By Shane Romig

10 June 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s farmers plan to launch a one-week strike starting  this weekend to protest government policies they say are strangling the  farm sector.

 

Leaders of the country’s top four farm groups will gather Tuesday afternoon and plan to announce the stoppage following the meeting, according to a  statement on the website of the Argentine Rural Society, or SRA.

 

The SRA represents large-scale farmers and is one of the country’s oldest farm groups.

 

Starting Sunday, farmers will stop selling grain and beef for at least one week, according to the SRA.

 

Argentina is the world’s leading exporter of soyoil and soymeal, and ranks third in corn and soybean exports.

 

While the harvest is in full swing and exports are moving quickly out of the  country right now, the impact on shipments will be limited by the fact  that Thursday and Friday of next week are holidays.

 

The relationship between farmers and the government has been tense since a  battle over taxes in 2008. Farmers virtually shut down grain exports and caused shortages of beef in the cities through a series of strikes and roadblocks to protest  President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s attempt to increase  grain-export taxes. The government eventually backed down in the face of broad public support for the farmers.

 

Now, the farmers are asking for a lowering of export taxes, which run as  high as 35% in the case of soybeans, according to the SRA. They are also pushing for the government to free up grain exports.

 

Argentina tightly controls wheat and corn exports to keep down local prices. The  government only approves exports once it has determined that domestic  supply has been set aside.

 

Farmers complain that the quota system drives down the price they receive for their grains.

7. ARGENTINA: FIRST PRISONERS’ TRADE UNION DEFENDS ITS RIGHTS (Inter Press Service)

By Marcela Valente

10 June 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, Jun. 7, 2013 (IPS/GIN) – The first prisoners’ union in  Argentina, a country with a strong organized labor tradition, fights for the rights of inmates.

 

“No one had never fought before for anything like this in here,”  33-year-old inmate Gustavo Moreno, serving a 22-year sentence in the  Complejo Penitenciario Federal in Buenos Aires, better known as the Villa Devoto prison, told IPS.

 

Moreno, who has been in prison for three years, works on the cleaning detail.  He is also the coordinator of the foundation course at the university  education centre there, and is studying Business Administration.

 

Moreno is the social action secretary for the new prisoners’ union, the  Sindicato Único de Trabajadores Privados de la Libertad Ambulatoria  (SUTPLA), created in July 2012, which is recognized under an agreement with the Federal Penitentiary  Service (SPF). SUTPLA belongs to the centre-left Central de Trabajadores de la Argentina (CTA) trade union federation, whose leaders said the  prisoners’ union is being closely watched by the International Labor Organization (ILO) as an example that could be  followed in other countries.

 

“We have 700 male and 100 female members, and the basic idea is to defend  the rights of people who are in a defenseless and vulnerable state,”  Rodrigo Díaz, the secretary-general of SUTPLA, who has been out of prison on early release since April,  told IPS.

 

At present they are seeking legal union status with the help of CTA  lawyers. Once this is achieved, they will have to begin collecting union dues, but this is not an important concern for the organization.

 

The growing strength of the union fills Díaz with enthusiasm. He has been  in prison a number of times – “a total of 12 years in different  prisons,” he said. He started studying law behind bars and is now continuing his studies on the outside. He  has only one year to go to graduate.

 

Through his studies and the time he spent in different prison facilities, he  has learned about the labor rights of inmates, which are not always  respected. “The prison service does not see it as a question of rights but of benefits,” he said.

 

At present 64 percent of the nearly 10,000 prisoners in the SPF are  working. Another 49,000 prisoners are inmates in facilities dependent on provincial governments, where the proportion of inmates doing remunerated work varies.

 

Argentina’s prison law, which was reformed in 2012, stipulates that prisoners have  the right to work and study, as part of their rehabilitation. It also  states that their work “must be remunerated.”

 

The Justice Ministry established that all prisoners who worked would  receive the national minimum wage, equivalent to 553 dollars a month,  regardless of their actual working hours.

 

But in practice, most working inmates are paid much less, because the SPF  makes a number of controversial deductions. “Someone is keeping the  difference, very probably ENCOPE,” Díaz complained.

 

ENCOPE (Ente de Cooperación Técnica y Financiera del Servicio Penitenciario),  an agency for technical and financial cooperation with the prison  service, “does not fulfill the functions for which it was created…and actually oversees itself,” the trade unionist said.

 

Víctor Hortel, the head of SPF, has admitted that in the past there were  irregularities in the deductions that were made, which were supposed to  be credited to a reserve fund for prisoners when they were released. But he denied that these  practices continued, now that anti-corruption bodies are exerting  greater control.

 

With the help of CTA lawyers, the new union lodged various appeals against  deductions from imprisoned workers’ pay, except for contributions toward their future pensions.

 

This year, the fight against deductions and other labor demands led to the first strike by SUTPLA workers, lasting 72 hours.

 

The union is also demanding that proper clothing and footwear be issued to  workers for safety and health reasons, especially when they handle waste or other contaminating materials.

 

Díaz has met with social security authorities to negotiate payment of six  months unemployment benefit for newly released prisoners, just like any  other person dismissed from a job.

 

He himself received wages until April for his work in the Villa Devoto  prison, but was left without an income as soon as he was freed, six  months before completing his full sentence.

 

He said the worst situations were found in prisons run by the provincial  governments. “In Unit No. 1 in Olmos (in the province of Buenos Aires),  inmates are ‘paid’ with just two telephone cards a month,” he said.

 

In some prisons, inmates work in exchange for benefits such as visitors’  permits on weekdays. But work is not seen as part of rehabilitation, or a right, or something that should be remunerated, Díaz said.

 

“The idea is not instilled in prisoners that they can learn a trade through  working, and also help their families. That is why the recidivism rate  is so high,” he said.

 

Against this backdrop, SUTPLA wants to strengthen trade union activity in the  Villa Devoto prison, where the organization was founded, and then extend the same rights to other men’s and women’s prisons.

 

The work done in prisons is varied and includes agricultural production – vegetable gardens, nurseries, growing fodder, dairy production – and  industrial workshops – printing, sportswear, bicycles, bags and furniture.

 

Maintenance work is another option, like the cleaning work done by Moreno, the  social action secretary of SUTPLA, for which his net monthly income is  385 dollars.

 

“I’m working for my kids,” he said. He has four children, aged 13, 11, seven and one. “What I do for myself is study. That will give me a tool when I get out,” said Moreno, who is waiting to hear whether his sentence has been reduced.

 

“Studying is my way of detaching myself from life inside,” he said. He has been  in prison before, and managed to finish his secondary schooling. “I had  no opportunity of doing that on the outside,” he said.

 

 

  =============================================================================================================================WEDNESDAY JUNE 12TH..

1. FIGHTING INFLATION: ‘ARMY’ OF KIRCHNER SUPPORTERS MONITOR PRICES IN ARGENTINA (The Christian Science Monitor)

 

2. ARGENTINE FARMERS HALT GRAIN SALES (Financial Times)

 

3. ARGENTINE FARM GROUPS TO HALT GRAIN, LIVESTOCK TRADES FOR 5 DAYS (Bloomberg News)

 

4. ARGENTINA TO GET LNG SPOT CARGO FROM QATAR AT BAHIA BLANCA PORT (Bloomberg News)

 

5. CHINA IMPORT DEAL BOOSTS ARGENTINA’S GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS (UPI.Com)

 

6. ARGENTINA ECONOMY: QUICK VIEW – ANOTHER PRICE FREEZE (Economist Intelligence Unit – ViewsWire)

 

7. ARGENTINE FARMERS LAUNCH FIVE-DAY STRIKE TO PROTEST TAXES, OTHER CURBS (Dow Jones News Service)

 

8. ARGENTINE FARMERS TO SUSPEND GRAINS SALES NEXT WEEK (Reuters News)

 

9. MONSANTO EYES SPRING LAUNCH IN SOUTH AMERICA FOR NEW SOY SEEDS (Dow Jones Global News Select)

 

10. INCOME EQUALITY: HOW TO CLOSE LATIN AMERICA’S RICH-POOR CHASM (Inter Press Service)

 

1. FIGHTING INFLATION: ‘ARMY’ OF KIRCHNER SUPPORTERS MONITOR PRICES IN ARGENTINA (The Christian Science Monitor)

 

By Jonathan Gilbert

11 June 2013

 

Sporting sleeveless jerseys branded with a government campaign slogan, young  followers of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner march down  supermarket aisles to check on price freezes imposed by her administration.

 

The freezes, which apply to 500 products, are the latest attempt by the  Argentine government to tame inflation that private economists put at 24 percent – the second-highest rate in South America after Venezuela. President Kirchner says she is  protecting consumers by combating the “big monopolies,” blamed for  increasing prices. But critics insist the controls are a superficial  measure that do little to tackle the problem of inflation in the longterm, and lead to shortages.

 

A reported 3,000 pro-Kirchner youth activists nationwide are entrusted  with making sure stores do not overcharge for the goods, which range  from minced meat and pasta to cooking oil and cookies.

 

“Our task is to ensure the supermarkets honor the price freezes,” says Laura Farb, a member of the youth wing of Peronismo Militante. It is one of  several organizations that support President Kirchner – both fanatically at mass rallies and  through regular social work, often in poor neighborhoods.

 

The measure, agreed to by supermarket chains like Walmart and also  implemented by smaller convenience stores, is expected to last until  October. It follows a four-month freeze on more than 10,000 products. “Watching prices to protect the people’s  pockets,” reads the message printed across volunteers’ jerseys.

 

The government also froze gas prices in April and invests in schemes like  “Meat for Everyone,” which offers Argentines popular cuts of steak at a  knockdown cost.

 

La Campora, meanwhile, the political youth organization headed by  Kirchner’s son, sells fruit and vegetables at wholesale prices at its  centers across Buenos Aires. It echoes Kirchner’s belief that “big monopolies” are largely to blame for  inflation, not the government’s economic policies.

 

‘Makeup’

 

“It’s businessmen that set the prices,” Kirchner said in a recent speech to  celebrate 10 years of Kirchnerism, the left-wing political model started by Nestor, her late husband and predecessor, in 2003.

 

Freezing costs is “myopic,” however, says Gaston Rossi, director of the  consultancy LCG and a former vice-economy minister under Ms. Kirchner.  He says the original freezes, which were agreed to in February, curtailed inflation during the salary bargaining season with union leaders. Unions are strong in Argentina  and the controls were a “successful tool” for moderating raises.

 

“But it’s impossible to sustain,” Mr. Rossi says. The current controls are  just “makeup” and do not get to the heart of the problem – a fiscal  deficit and loose monetary policy.

 

“The illusion may work for a while but then reality hits,” says Jaime  Daremblum, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative  think-tank. Mr. Daremblum says Uruguay tried price freezes in the 1960s to stem inflation – but failed.

 

And in Argentina, controls imposed in the mid-1980s could not prevent hyperinflation by the end of the decade.

 

Kirchner recently announced a 35 percent increase in government child benefits,  claimed by nearly two million families, while other welfare programs  also saw hikes. The government hopes that together with the price freezes this will boost domestic  consumption, a key pillar of its model, ahead of midterm elections in  October.

 

“The government wants people to maintain their purchasing power,” says  Ricardo Romero, a political scientist at the University of Buenos Aires. “It doesn’t want to be harmed [in the run-up to the elections].”

 

Necessary or not?

 

The official inflation rate is 10.5 percent. But the government statistics  agency has been widely discredited since 2007, when the brusk domestic  commerce secretary Guillermo Moreno ousted the head of the consumer price index.

 

Amid other recent interventionist measures and expropriations, Mr. Moreno  has steered controversial import restrictions and now the price  controls. Local media reports that these controls have resulted in shortages. In some stores, notices on  shelves remind shoppers the 500 products are for family consumption  only, not resale. The head of Argentina’s main supermarket association  has also admitted that the products subject to the price freeze are being rationed in some cases due to high demand.

 

But the freezes are necessary to stop companies that dominate production  from fueling inflation, says Ariel Geandet, an economist at Movimiento  Evita, an influential pro-Kirchner youth organization named after Eva Peron.

 

“Society is told that government is entirely to blame for inflation,” says Mr.  Geandet, a former economy ministry official. “We’re breaking that logic  and empowering consumers with the right to fight back.”

 

Some 3,000 pro-Kirchner activists march store aisles nationwide making sure  there’s no overcharging for the 500 goods under a new price freeze.

 

2. ARGENTINE FARMERS HALT GRAIN SALES (Financial Times)

By Jude Webber and John Paul Rathbone in Buenos Aires

June 11, 2013

 

Argentine farmers halted grains sales on Tuesday, in a protest against government “mismanagement” which has led to high taxes, inflation and exchange  rate problems.

 

Farmers see hanging on to their crop as a way to hedge against stubbornly high  inflation and the weakening domestic currency; but the sales stoppage,  after months of strike talk, comes just as the market was beginning to see signs of Argentine  grains sales picking up.

 

Grains earn 60 per cent of the country’s foreign currency. The farming sector  earned $36bn last year in exports but has become increasingly  uncompetitive amid high inflation, estimated at around 24 per cent per year, foreign exchange problems and a tax burden that farming groups say is 58 per cent higher than the  average for the rest of the economy.

 

Luis Miguel Etchevehere, president of the Sociedad Rural, said the sector  was “like a state-of-the-art Ferrari, minus the wheels”.

 

The stoppage is expected to last for at least a week, but farmers are not  expecting a rerun of the massive, months-long protests of 2008 that were triggered by the government’s failed plan to introduce a sliding scale of export tariffs.

 

Their anger has been mounting as Norberto Yahuar, the agriculture minister,  had refused to meet farm leaders for the past 16 months to hear their  claims or work on solutions.

 

“International prices are good. What is bad is domestic policy,” said Mr Etchevehere.  He said the aim was to install the issue firmly in voters’ minds in the  run-up to important midterm elections in October that could shape the political future of  Cristina Fernández, president.

 

Since October 2011, Argentina has imposed foreign exchange controls in an  attempt to stem capital flight. That has led to a gulf between the  overvalued official exchange rate of 5.3 pesos to the dollar and the black-market dollar rate that is  used as a benchmark for imported raw materials that is now around 8.57  pesos.

 

Soya, Argentina’s top cash crop, meanwhile, pays a 35 per cent export tariff. Indeed, tariffs on all grains exports have raised $69bn since 2003.

 

Farmers have faced inflation in dollar terms of 10 to 15 per cent a year for  the past 10 years, and the cost of raw materials such as fertilisers was rising in step with the black-market dollar rate, Mr Etchevehere said.

 

Meanwhile, a lack of railways or cheaper river transport meant that getting grains from the northern province of Salta to the port of Rosario cost more  than shipping them from Rosario to Rotterdam, Mr Etchevehere said.

 

Argentina last year had a dismal wheat harvest and planted the lowest area with  wheat in 111 years. “The government wants us to produce [an overall  harvest of] 160m tonnes by 2020, but we can’t even get past 100m,” Mr Etchevehere said.

 

With no sign that the government is willing either to budge or to talk, this week’s halt in grains sales could be just the start. “We don’t rule out any action,” he said.

 

 

3. ARGENTINE FARM GROUPS TO HALT GRAIN, LIVESTOCK TRADES FOR 5 DAYS (Bloomberg News)

By Pablo Gonzalez

June  11, 2013

 

Four Argentine farm associations said their members will suspend grain and  livestock trading for five days to protest government agriculture  policies.

 

Farmers will halt sales nationwide from June 15 through June 19 to protest  government policies, including tax increases on grain and oilseed  exports and currency-exchange restrictions, Ruben Ferrero, president of the Confederation Rural Argentina, said  today at a press conference in Buenos Aires.

 

“We’re tired of the current situation, which is getting worse,” Ferrero said. “The government is indifferent to the agriculture agenda.”

 

The strike deepens the dispute between farmers and President Cristina  Fernandez de Kirchner’s government in a midterm-election year. Four  months of farm strikes in 2008 produced food shortages throughout Argentina after Fernandez tried to raise  export taxes on corn and soybeans. Dairy products won’t be included in  the strike that starts this weekend.

 

“We want immediate solutions from the president,” Julio Curras, vice  president of the Agrarian Federation, said at the same press conference. “This is the first step and we don’t rule out future strikes.”

 

Argentina is the world’s second-largest corn exporter behind the U.S., according  to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The country is also the world’s  third-largest soybean grower after the U.S. and Brazil.

 

 

4. ARGENTINA TO GET LNG SPOT CARGO FROM QATAR AT BAHIA BLANCA PORT (Bloomberg News)

By Chou Hui Hong

June 11, 2013

 

Argentina, which has no long-term contracts to import liquefied natural gas, is  scheduled to receive a spot cargo of the fuel from Qatar, according to  ship-tracking data.

 

The Celestine River, with a capacity of about 145,000 cubic meters, is on  its way to the port of Bahia Blanca southwest of Buenos Aires, according to ship transmissions captured by IHS Fairplay on Bloomberg. It was scheduled to arrive on June 8.

 

The tanker loaded its cargo at Qatar’s Ras Laffan LNG terminal and departed on May 14, according to the data.

 

Argentina imports LNG through YPF SA, the country’s biggest energy company, and  state-run Energia Argentina SA, known as Enarsa. YPF closed a tender on  May 6 to buy seven LNG cargoes for delivery to Bahia Blanca. Enarsa and YPF have issued seven  spot tenders seeking as many as 150 shipments since December.

 

 

5. CHINA IMPORT DEAL BOOSTS ARGENTINA’S GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS (UPI.Com)

June 11, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, June 11 (UPI) — Argentina is celebrating an agricultural  success in China that is seen likely to blunt advocacy groups’ frequent  campaigns against genetically modified food crops.

 

China approved three types of Argentina’s GM soybean for consumption,  including the RR2BT seed resistant to herbicides, an official  announcement said.

 

Agriculture ministers from the two countries met in Beijing to seal the accord but  the official Chinese Xinhua News Agency’s English-language website had  no immediate comment on a deal that was celebrated in Buenos Aires as a breakthrough.

 

China is already a major importer of GM soybean, corn and other grain from  Argentina and Brazil. The announcement was seen as a boost for Buenos  Aires and GM seed giant Monsanto, which is facing problems in Europe, Japan and Korea over its GM wheat.

 

GM “contamination” is a fraught issue in most of Asia and Europe, but  Argentina embraced GM cultivation of its major cash crops in 1996. The  end result of that decision is hotly contested by groups arrayed against or in support of GM  agriculture. Critics say GM crops are bad for Argentina in the long run.

 

More than 22 million hectares of Argentine farm land are dedicated to GM  soybean, maize and cotton crops. Argentina earned more than $72 billion  from those crops, pro-GM federation Croplife International said on its website, biotechbenefits.croplife.org.

 

Crops cultivated by Argentina include herbicide-tolerant soybean, insect-resistant and herbicide tolerant maize and cotton resistant to both insects and herbicides.

 

“This is one of the most important news of the past years for the country in  terms of foreign trade,” Argentine Agriculture Minister Norberto Yauhar  declared after the outcome of his talks with Chinese counterpart Han Chang Fu was announced. The  deal followed China’s purchase of 60,000 tons of Argentine corn.

 

China’s ties with Argentina and the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean  were going through “an excellent moment,” Yauhar said.

 

Argentina is a major exporter of GM soy developed by Monsanto but the new deal  clears the way for Chinese imports of GM corn. China is already a major  buyer of Argentine agricultural goods and last year’s bilateral trade data, showing a $14.5 billion  turnover, is set to grow.

 

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has been seeking ways to  prevent China from flooding Argentine consumer markets, with moderate  success so far. Analysts say China is playing a “long game” and has been patiently building ties  with Argentina and other countries in Latin America as part of a  long-term strategy to secure food and energy supplies.

 

Last month, Fernandez was host to Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, who  told her China “stands ready to join hands with Argentina to maintain  high-level contact, formulate a common action plan, establish a dialogue mechanism between economic  agencies of the two countries, promote the steady and healthy  development of trade and mutual investment, strengthen cooperation in  finance to achieve common development and win-win results,” Xinhua reported.

 

The two sides have been working on the establishment of a China-Latin America forum to push for all-around cooperation, Li said.

 

 

6. ARGENTINA ECONOMY: QUICK VIEW – ANOTHER PRICE FREEZE (Economist Intelligence Unit – ViewsWire)

11 June 2013

 

Event

 

The president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has unveiled an agreement  with Argentina’s main supermarket chains to freeze the prices of 500  products (including food, beverages, cleaning products and toiletries) until October. Under the scheme,  members of the ruling Frente para la Victoria (FV) alliance will monitor supermarket compliance with the agreement and impose penalties (ranging from fines to closure) for non-compliance.

 

Analysis

 

A previous price-freeze agreement, which lasted from February to May, saw the country’s main supermarkets agree to freeze all prices, but did not have a lasting effect on inflation. This time, the government hopes that by selecting 500 key  products-which represent just 2% of total supermarket supply but include the main components of the consumer price basket-they can target the  consumer price index more effectively. Consumers’ associations appear unimpressed, claiming that there are shortages at some branches  already and noting that the list includes a small range of basic  consumption goods and a much larger assortment of non-basic items of  little benefit to low-income consumers.

 

Notwithstanding immediate criticism, the government hopes that the latest measures will kick-start sluggish private consumption, which is being hampered by  diminishing purchasing power amid double-digit inflation. The latest data from the Instituto  Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC) show consumer price inflation  at 10.5% in May. However, INDEC inflation figures remain widely  discredited and are contradicted by provincial and local statistics. Most recently, the government of the capital, Buenos  Aires, introduced its own inflation index for the city, which showed  prices in the capital rising by 2% in May.

 

This is higher than in other provinces (Santa Fe registered a price increase of 1.2% in the month, and Córdoba 1.1%), and substantially higher than  the INDEC figure of just 0.7% for May. The national government, which faces risk of censure by  the IMF for its failure to produce accurate statistics, has stated that  it will unveil a new consumer price index by the end of 2013. It remains unclear whether this will materialise. In the meantime, the government will continue to resort to ad hoc  measures, such as the supermarket price freeze, in its efforts to bring  inflation under control.

 

 

7. ARGENTINE FARMERS LAUNCH FIVE-DAY STRIKE TO PROTEST TAXES, OTHER CURBS (Dow Jones News Service)

By Shane Romig

11 June 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentine farmers will go on strike for five days starting  Saturday to protest grain-export taxes, export restrictions and other  government policies they say are strangling the sector.

 

“We don’t want confrontation, but we don’t have any choice…in the face of so much incomprehensible damage, which sometimes seems like vengeance,” said the president of rural confederation, Ruben Ferrero.

 

Farmers will stop selling grain and live cattle during the protest. While this  strike will be relatively short, the farmers plan to step up the  pressure.

 

“If there is no response, there will be new protests for sure, Mr. Ferrero  said at a press conference with the leaders of the country’s four  leading farm groups.

 

The strike is in response to repeated requests to meet with President  Cristina Kirchner, which have fallen on deaf ears, said rural society  SRA President Luis Etchevehere.

 

Farming plays a major role in Argentina’s economy. Soybeans are the country’s top exporter and source of foreign currency.

 

Argentina is the world’s leading exporter of soyoil and soymeal, and ranks third  in corn and soybean exports behind the U.S. and Brazil.

 

The relationship between farmers and the government has been tense since a  battle brewed over taxes in 2008. Farmers virtually shut down grain  exports and caused shortages of beef in the cities through a series of strikes and roadblocks to  protest President Kirchner’s attempt to increase grain-export taxes. The government eventually backed down in the face of broad public support  for the farmers.

 

Now, farmers are asking for a lowering of export taxes, which run as high as 35% in the case of soybeans. They are also pushing for the government  to free up grain exports.

 

Argentina tightly controls wheat and corn exports to keep down local prices. The  government only approves exports once it has determined that domestic  supply has been set aside.

 

Farmers complain that the quota system drives down the price they receive for their grains.

 

 

 

8. ARGENTINE FARMERS TO SUSPEND GRAINS SALES NEXT WEEK (Reuters News)

11 June 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, June 11 (Reuters) – Farmers in grains powerhouse Argentina will  suspend crop sales for nearly a week beginning on Saturday to protest  government trade and economic policies that they say hurt profits, the country’s main agricultural  groups said on Tuesday.

 

The strike will start on Saturday and last through Wednesday, June 19,  Ruben Ferrero, head of the Argentine Rural Confederation, known by its  Spanish initials CRA, told reporters.

 

The following Thursday and Friday are public holidays in Argentina, so the  protest means few if any grains sales will happen in the country next  week. The strike is likely to cause a backup of cargo ships along Argentina’s Parana River but no  major disruptions to world grains markets.

 

“The effect on exports will not be very serious,” said a Buenos Aires-based industry source who asked not to be named.

 

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soyoil and soymeal, as well as its No. 3 supplier of corn and soybeans.

 

President Cristina Fernandez, re-elected in 2011 on promises of deepening the  government’s role in Latin America’s No. 3 economy, has long feuded with the country’s farm sector.

 

“Nobody likes to go to the extreme of not selling what we have produced, but we have made countless requests for a meeting with the president and all  we’ve gotten back is disrespectful silence,” Ferrero said.

 

Growers say their profits are hurt by high taxes and export curbs placed on  corn and wheat to ensure ample domestic food supplies. The curbs hurt  farmers’ profits by reducing competition among the exporters who bid for their crops.

 

Inflation, fueled by Fernandez’s expansive fiscal policies and clocked by private  economists at 25 percent per year, has also jacked up farm production  costs, prompting some growers to hoard grains rather than sell them for pesos.

 

With confidence dented by Fernandez’s policies, the local currency has lost  more than 20.6 percent of its value so far this year on the black market to 8.57 pesos per dollar.

 

In 2008, farmers staged massive commercial strikes against the government  over a tax increase on soy exports – protests that also caught on in  Buenos Aires among the middle class. The government was ultimately forced to roll back the tax  increase.

 

9. MONSANTO EYES SPRING LAUNCH IN SOUTH AMERICA FOR NEW SOY SEEDS (Dow Jones Global News Select)

By Shane Romig

11 June 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Biotechnology company Monsanto Co. (MON) plans to debut its  second-generation of genetically modified soybean seeds in its key South American market during the next growing season.

 

South America produces just over half the world’s soybeans, with Brazil and  Argentina among the top three global producers of the oilseed, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

 

Soybean production in South America has surged over the last two decades as  farmers embrace the no-till growing process based on Monsanto seeds that are genetically engineered for resistance to the herbicide glyphosate.

 

With the patents on its first-generation seeds set to expire next year,  Monsanto is pinning its hopes on new seeds that combine glyphosate  resistance with defenses against insects.

 

Monsanto plans to sell just 200,000 bags of its new Roundup Ready 2 soybean  seeds in the region for the upcoming 2012-13 season, but expects 60%-65% of South America’s soybean fields to be planted with the seeds within five years, Pablo Vaquero,  vice president of Monsanto Argentina and director of corporate affairs  for Southern Latin America, said in an interview Tuesday.

 

Mr. Vaquero said the seeds boost crop yields by 10% and require less pesticide.

 

China is the leading importer of South American soybeans and its approval of  new seed strains is a prerequisite before planting can start.

 

Earlier this week, Argentina’s Agriculture Ministry said the Chinese government has approved imports of three new transgenic crops including Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 soybean strain.

 

China hasn’t informed Monsanto of its decision yet, but the company expects to be notified shortly, Mr. Vaquero said.

 

Monsanto is counting on significant growth in its South American business in the coming years. South America currently accounts for 15% of the company’s annual sales. Monsanto expects revenue from the continent to quadruple during the next eight  years, Mr. Vaquero said.

 

While Monsanto is moving forward with the commercial launch of Roundup Ready 2 soybean seeds in the region, it still faces the challenge of collecting royalties in Argentina.

 

Under local law, farmers don’t have to pay royalties on seeds they grow and hold back for the next planting season.

 

Monsanto started selling its first-generation soybean seeds in Argentina 15  years ago, and today virtually all of the soybeans grown in the country  are based on its technology. But the biotech giant has struggled to collect from growers.

 

Monsanto is working with seed sellers to establish a collection system, said Mr. Vaquero, who recognized that collecting royalties in Argentina has been a problem in the past.

 

Growers who farm about 70% of Argentina’s soy fields have signed payment agreements with Monsanto, he said.

 

This dispute over royalties hasn’t deterred Monsanto from investing in Argentina.

 

Monsanto recently spent 1.5 billion pesos ($280 million) to build a plant to  produce genetically modified corn seeds in the heart of Argentina’s corn belt in Cordoba Province. Monsanto already operates a similar plant in Buenos Aires Province.

 

 

10. INCOME EQUALITY: HOW TO CLOSE LATIN AMERICA’S RICH-POOR CHASM (Inter Press Service)

By Cydney Hargis

11 June 2013

 

WASHINGTON, Jun. 11, 2013 (IPS/GIN) – Latin American governments have increasingly  been working to lessen inequality in the region, but new data suggests  their efforts vary widely in quality and impact.

 

Latin America has for decades been considered one of the world’s most unequal regions, with chasms between the richest and poorest in each country.  At a World Bank discussion here on Monday, however, researchers suggested that these gaps have  been closing over the past several years – surprising many analysts.

 

Still, major work remains to be done in spreading these reforms to all members of society.

 

“The main reasons for these high levels of inequality have had to do with  corruption, lack of functioning justice systems and rule of law,”  Jennifer Johnson, a senior associate of the Latin American Working Group, an advocacy group, told IPS. “As  yet, the gains that have been made have not reached the marginalised  populations.”

 

Increasingly, researchers have been looking into what Latin American governments have and haven’t been doing over the past decade to achieve lower levels of  poverty and inequality.

 

“These questions don’t go away,” Stephen Younger, an economics professor at  Ithaca College, said Monday at the World Bank. “People are always  concerned about the equity implications of a policy, and that includes fiscal policy.”

 

Early results from a study released last week highlight a wide variety of  public policy choices confronting Latin American governments regarding  poverty reduction and income redistribution. The report looks at Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru,  Mexico and Uruguay.

 

“The idea of the project is not only to measure the result of what’s going  on with regard to inequality, poverty and social development in Latin  America,” Nora Lustig, a professor of Latin American economics and co-author of the new study, said at a  panel discussion last week.

 

“Rather, it is to look more deeply at how this process has been happening and,  particularly, how much effort governments themselves are really making.”

 

That analysis has now identified Argentina as the most effective Latin  American country at reducing inequality. Particularly useful in this  regard have been measures such as direct cash transfers, when governments give money directly to poor  citizens.

 

Lustig and her colleagues found that this approach has helped to reduce poverty levels in Argentina by more than 60 percent.

 

Yet in other countries, such an approach has not been nearly as effective.  In Peru and Bolivia, for instance, cash transfers have only reduced  poverty by around seven percent.

 

According to Lustig, this discrepancy can be explained by simple spending levels.

 

“Peru spends much less money in all these transfers,” she told IPS. “It also  had to do with who the transfers are targeted at, but it mainly has to  do with spending.”

 

Argentina comes out as a “shining star”, Louise Cord, a sector manager with the  World Bank’s Latin America and Caribbean office, said at the unveiling  of the results. “And yet we have to all wonder about the sustainability of this fiscal  framework.”

 

According to the study, Argentina has funded the majority of its public spending  since the early 2000s through “distortionary taxes” and “unsustainable  revenue-raising mechanisms”.

 

In nearly all countries throughout the region, so-called indirect taxes,  on goods and services as opposed to on people and organisations, are  seen as problematic for the poor. Such practices have been shown to wipe out all the effects of direct  taxes and direct cash transfers, especially in Brazil and Bolivia.

 

“There is no doubt that fiscal policy, the structure of taxes, can be a  powerful mechanism to change the distribution of wealth in a society,”  Jaime Saadera-Chanduvi, director of poverty reduction and equity at the World Bank, said Monday.

 

“It’s critical to understand how taxes and benefits can be shaped through the distribution of incomes and, through that, increase standards of  living.”

 

Economic blossoming

 

By 2009, nearly a third of the Latin America population had moved into the middle class, with just an estimated 10 percent chance of falling back  into poverty.

 

“Despite these important gains, there is still room to move forward and I think a study like this highlights that,” said Cord.

 

According to some advocates, Latin American governments need to focus particular  attention on corruption, in order to ensure that social policies are not used for political gain or other manipulation.

 

“States must begin to analyse poverty reduction initiative through coordination with marginalised sectors that have traditionally been excluded from  these policy discussions,” Kelsey Alford-Jones, the director of the Guatemala Human Rights  Commission, a Washington-based advocacy group, told IPS.

 

“They need to focus on models that meet needs identified at the local level,” he said.

 

Alford-Jones notes that U.S. economic policy, “including the imposition of  structural adjustment programs and free trade agreements, has played a  major role in the perpetuation of poverty and inequality.”

 

Meanwhile, the United States is currently looking for ways to more closely engage  with the rising economies of Latin America. Over the past week, both  Vice-President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry made highly visible trips to the  region.

 

Biden noted during his five-day trip that he had seen an “economic blossoming” in the region.

 

“What the United States needs to do is be far more flexible and less inclined to favour the demands of transnational organisations,” Laura Carlsen,  director of the Mexico City-based Americas Program for the Center for International Policy, a Washington  think tank, told IPS.

 

“In particular, it also needs to look more carefully at what’s happening to the weakest countries.”