1. CITIGROUP’S ARGENTINE UNIT SUSPENDED FROM TRADING IN LOCAL CAPITAL MARKET (The Wall Street Journal Online)1. CITIGROUP’S ARGENTINE UNIT SUSPENDED FROM TRADING IN LOCAL CAPITAL MARKET (The Wall Street Journal Online)By Taos Turner27 March 2015Move follows bank’s deal with hedge funds that have sued ArgentinaBUENOS AIRES—Amid the battle between a small group of hedge funds and the Argentine government, Argentina on Friday suspended Citigroup’s local unit from trading in the country’s capital market after the bank made a deal with the hedge funds that have sued Argentina in a U.S. court.Last week, Citi Argentina reached an agreement with the hedge funds and the court that allowed it to make interest payments to local bondholders. U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa had previously ruled that Citi couldn’t make the payments. His ruling put Citi in a legal bind, forcing it to choose between obeying a U.S. court order or Argentine law, which dictated that it make the payments.The deal angered Argentina’s economy minister, Axel Kicillof, who said Citi chose to protect itself even though it knew that the interest payments wouldn’t actually reach the hands of bondholders. Mr. Kicillof said at a news conference later that Citi had behaved illegally.A spokesman for Citi declined to comment.“The National Securities and Exchange Commission today preventively suspended Citibank NA from operating in the capital market because it believes that by signing an agreement with the hedge funds…it did not act in according with Argentine legislation,” the commission said in a statement late Friday.The suspension isn’t likely to have any material impact on the bank’s business in Argentina, a person familiar with Citi’s operations said Friday.The dispute stems from a yearslong lawsuit that Argentina lost against a small group of hedge funds in the U.S.In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last year, Citigroup said the failure to make its bond payments in Argentina could lead to “sanctions, confiscation of assets, criminal charges or even loss of licenses” and expose “Citi and Citi Argentina to litigation.”Citi had already announced that it would exit the custody business in Argentina, which represents about 2% of its income in the country.By Arturo Porzecanski of American UniversityMar 27, 2015Recent moves, countermoves and judicial decisions have brought the government of Argentina perilously close to a checkmate situation. As a result, the endgame in the litigation saga pitting holdout investors against a “uniquely recalcitrant debtor” is now within sight. If the authorities in Buenos Aires were to set aside their confrontational rhetoric and do what is best for their own political survival, they would agree to a negotiated settlement sooner rather than later.First, a recap of what has transpired. For a number of months, Axel Kicillof, Argentina’s economy minister, has had his eye on the looming redemption of over $6bn in dollar-denominated bonds issued under Argentine law, a series known as the Boden 2015. The issue matures in early October, three weeks before national elections to be held on the 25th of that month, such that it represents a significant payment or rollover challenge during a period of likely election-related volatility.Back in December, the minister decided to get ahead of the potential problem by offering to buy back the Boden at a discount to par and to sell dollar-denominated Bonar 2024s, and he took pride in the fact that no underwriters would be hired to handle the transaction. While the entire $6.3bn outstanding were available for purchase or exchange, the hope was that about $3bn would be tendered. But poor market timing combined with inflexible pricing resulted in a transaction which yielded fewer than $200m in Boden bought and less than $300m in Bonar sold. And yet, Minister Kicillof, a spin master in the best Peronist tradition, declared the whole operation a huge success, arguing that investors had not wanted to part with their Boden bonds because they had confidence in Argentina.Internalizing the criticism that he should have hired professional underwriters, especially when targeting overseas investors, in late February Kicillof encouraged JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank in London to drum up orders for a private placement of at least $2bn of the Bonar 2024 bonds. When rumours of an imminent transaction surfaced, the leading-edge holdout creditors (NML Capital and others) obtained a subpoena to have the banks disclose what they were up to. When they were not forthcoming with information, US District Judge Thomas Griesa ordered Morgan and Deutsche to appear before him, and within hours the banks let it be known that their involvement in the transaction had ended. The incident was a warning shot: even though the intended issue involved Argentine-law bonds placed outside of the US, the holdouts could have persuaded Judge Griesa to order the attachment of any funds raised on Argentina’s behalf before they got delivered.And then, earlier this month, there was a renewed request to Judge Griesa by Citibank for its subsidiary in Argentina, which acts as a securities custodian, to be allowed to process payments to domestic and foreign holders of Argentine local-law bonds. (The bank had been allowed to handle three coupon payments last year, but on an exceptional basis.) Citibank argued that the bonds in question should not be covered by the court’s orders, and pleaded because the authorities in Buenos Aires threatened its license and employees if it obeyed the US court order not to process any payments.The matter was fully argued in court, after which Judge Griesa prohibited Citibank from making further payments, taking a very expansive view of who is covered by his earlier rulings – “any entity that participates with or assists the Republic” – and of what securities are covered – any and all (new) bonds issued to investors in 2005 or 2010 in exchange for (old) defaulted bonds, regardless of the jurisdiction under which they were issued. The sole exceptions still standing are bonds denominated in Argentine pesos.Subsequent to this ruling, Citibank and NML Capital (and its related holdout creditors) reached an interesting compromise late last week which has been approved by Judge Griesa. In return for Citibank pledging not to appeal the court’s decision and to withdraw from the custody business in Argentina in the months to come, it is allowed to process the March 31 and even the June 30 coupon payments on Argentine debt – for the last time. This compromise gives Citibank the chance to comply with its responsibilities as an Argentine-chartered custodian while at the same time extracting itself from such an intermediary role now thwarted by the US courts. It also means that Judge Griesa’s interpretations and judgements are likely to stand.The noose tightened further on Wednesday, when Judge Griesa entered an order that Brussels-headquartered Euroclear shall not process any Argentina-related payments received from any source, including from Nación Fideicomisos and Caja de Valores. The former is the securitization unit of the government-owned Banco de la Nación Argentina, in which the government last September opened a trust account to hold the coupon payments it could no longer make via BNY Mellon. Caja de Valores is the country’s central depository for both government and corporate securities.The implication of these developments is that Argentina has been blocked in its attempts to raise new funds from the international capital markets, and it cannot make payments on its existing obligations abroad – unless it is ready to stop discriminating among its bondholders, paying some but not others, as it was doing until the middle of last year. Indeed, opinions by expert attorneys quoted by Bloomberg News have stated that the existing rulings effectively impede Argentina from issuing new foreign-currency debt in any jurisdiction, or else that motions which could be made to that effect by holdout creditors might easily lead to that result, given the expansive judicial interpretations now on record.And this brings us back to the Boden 2015s. To be sure, when October rolls around, the government could order the central bank (BCRA) in Argentina to transfer the needed $6bn out of its official international reserves, currently valued at $31bn, in return for a special-issue, long-term bond paying hardly any interest. The authorities have done this often in recent years, so that the BCRA is by now stuffed with such government bonds: whereas at the end of 2007 the BCRA had $46bn in foreign currency reserves representing nearly two thirds of the bank’s assets, the current level of reserves accounts for a mere quarter of its (dubious quality) assets.However, raiding the central bank will not ensure that the Boden proceeds will actually reach the hands of bondholders. Given the judicial latitude that the leading holdout creditors have gained in the past nine months in New York and well beyond, chances are that the Boden redemption payments will come to be blocked by court order, causing the scope of Argentina’s default to expand further. The timing of such a payment disruption could not be worse for the election climate, and especially for Peronist candidates, never mind for any candidate supported by the outgoing administration of President Cristina Kirchner.It is a matter of when, not if, a government in Argentina will enter into negotiations to settle their obligations to holdout creditors. This conviction is what explains the high prices and relatively low spreads (of around 600 basis points over US Treasuries for the JP Morgan EMBIG Diversified Argentina index) of the country’s defaulted bonds, when compared with the average spreads for bonds issued by non-defaulting Ecuador (850 bp) and Venezuela (3,000 bp). If the authorities in Buenos Aires were to become realistic, especially about what is best for their own party in the October elections, they would set aside their confrontational rhetoric and sit down to negotiate a settlement ahead of the October Boden crunch.Professor Arturo Porzecanski is director of the International Economic Relations Programme at American University, Washington DC. From 2000 to 2005, he was head of emerging markets sovereign research at ABN Amro.By Charlie DevereuxMarch 27, 2015(Bloomberg) — Argentina suspended Citigroup Inc.’s local subsidiary from operating in the country’s capital markets, saying the bank violated local law by striking a deal with holdout creditors who are embroiled in a legal battle with the South American nation.An agreement under which creditors led by billionaire Paul Singer and U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa will allow the bank to make two interest payments violates Argentine law, the securities commission said in an e-mailed statement. The ban doesn’t affect Citibank Argentina’s commercial banking business and Caja de Valores SA has been appointed to administer and process payments affected by the measure, the commission said.“The signed agreement especially affects bondholders in that it doesn’t guarantee their payment and excludes the legitimate right Citibank Argentina has to appeal judicial decisions that affect bondholders compromising compliance with Argentine law,” commission said in the statement. The accord “leaves the rest of the institutions involved in the process of bond payments unprotected.”Citibank Argentina wasn’t immediately available for comment.The bank has found itself caught between obeying a 2012 ruling by Griesa ordering the country to only pay holders of restructured bonds if it also pays holdout creditors from the 2001 default in full. Citi said last week it would quit the custody business in Argentina after the government threatened to revoke its operating license if it didn’t handle the payments.The Citibank NA subsidiary had argued that the 2012 ruling blocking Argentina from paying holders of its performing debt didn’t apply to it. Griesa rejected the assertion, ruling March 12 that U.S. dollar-denominated bonds issued in Argentina under that country’s law are covered by the 2012 ban.NML Capital said in a statement that creditors reached an agreement with Citibank NA last week, adding that it applies only to Citibank NA, meaning that payment could be stopped at other points in the process.By Camila RussoMarch 27, 2015(Bloomberg) — A selloff in Argentina’s local bonds is spreading on speculation that a U.S. judge will broaden an order that has limited the government’s ability to make payments on some of the securities.While rulings by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa have already called into question whether holders of local bonds that were issued as part of 2005 and 2010 restructurings will receive their interest payments, investors are now starting to ask if he could impinge on the government’s ability to service other local bonds that are held by foreign investors.The situation stems from Griesa’s ruling in March that the country can only pay interest on any of its local-law restructured bonds after settling with holders of defaulted notes, including billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital, which sued for full repayment. While bonds that weren’t sold in the restructurings have been excluded from the order, Barclays Plc analyst Sebastian Vargas and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Vladimir Werning say that the securities are also at risk.The yield on local bonds maturing in October that weren’t part of the restructuring surged 2.27 percentage points to 12.27 percent as of 1:25 p.m. in New York for the biggest jump in five months as the price dropped 1.2 cent to 100.8 cents on the dollar. Bonds due 2024 sank 1.4 cent to 105.4 cents on the dollar, pushing yields up 0.2 percentage point to 8.4 percent.Griesa RulingGriesa ruled on March 12 that payments on local law bonds due 2033 and 2038 should be blocked because they were sold as part of the country’s debt restructurings following its 2001 default, and were offered to foreign creditors.Following the judge’s ruling, Euroclear agreed to withhold any payments on Argentina’s restructured debt that it receives, while Citibank Argentina is trying to exit the bond custody business after officials threatened to revoke its license if it doesn’t make the payments.Investors are concerned the judge could rule that the local-law bonds not issued as part of the restructuring are still covered by his order because they qualify as foreign indebtedness, Vargas and Werning said in reports this month.While contagion fears are “well founded,” the appeals process can be lengthy and the recent price drop in prices could be taken as an opportunity to buy, Vargas said in a report Friday.By Rodrigo Orihuela and Daniel CancelMarch 27, 2015(Bloomberg) — Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the state-controlled company at the center of Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal, agreed to sell oil and natural gas fields in southern Argentina to billionaire Eduardo Eurnekian’s Corporacion America, two people with knowledge of the deal said.The sale, the first divestment since a management overhaul at Petrobras last month, was approved by the Rio de Janeiro-based company this month, the people said, asking not to be named before an announcement is made as early as Monday. The fields, in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, are valued at about $90 million with proven reserves that are 75 percent gas, one of the people said.The sale process in Argentina began in September and was delayed as Petrobras became ensnared in a corruption scandal that led to the resignation of Maria das Gracas Silva Foster as chief executive officer in February. New CEO Aldemir Bendine is leading a review of investment plans and corporate governance and is seeking to increase asset sales to raise funds as the company is locked out of international credit markets.Corporacion America’s press department in Buenos Aires declined to comment. Petrobras’ press department in Rio de Janeiro didn’t immediatelty provide a comment on the deal.Eurnekian is looking to expand his oil and gas unit after purchasing a majority stake in Cia General de Combustibles in 2013. The 82-year-old businessmen runs the holding with several nephews encompassing industries from airports to construction.Waning OutputShares in Petrobras Argentina SA, the local unit, rose 2.5 percent to 8.29 pesos at 3:04 p.m. in Buenos Aires. That was the best performance among global peers tracked by Bloomberg. Argentina’s benchmark equity index was little changed.The Buenos Aires-based company said in its 2014 annual report that it is focusing mostly on unconventional exploration and production and drilled a first well in the vast Vaca Muerta shale formation in Neuquen province.The company, whose net income fell 41 percent in 2014 to 458 million pesos ($56.6 million), said output fell 10 percent in the year partly due to the $40.7 million sale of its stake in the Puesto Hernandez venture with state-run YPF SA.Petrobras appointed the top executive at iron-ore miner Vale SA, Murilo Ferreira, to lead its board as it looks to improve transparency amid allegations of political interference and corruption.The Rio de Janeiro-based company said on March 2 it plans to sell $13.7 billion in assets in the next two years including exploration and production, supply and gas and energy divisions.By Phil MilfordMarch 27, 2015(Bloomberg) — Funds pressing a lawsuit against Argentina over defaulted bonds withdrew subpoenas served on Euroclear Bank SA/NV in an agreement that forces the bank to sequester any money it’s paid, according to court papers.The funds include Aurelius Capital Master Ltd., Blue Angel Capital I LLC and Olifant Fund Ltd., according to the filing in Manhattan federal court. Euroclear is a payment intermediary between Argentina and investors in some restructured debt.“The parties agreed on a compromise,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs wrote in a letter Thursday to U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan.The U.S. court in 2012 barred Argentina from paying restructured bondholders unless it pays a group led by Paul Singer’s NML Capital that claims $1.7 billion in defaulted debt.Citigroup said last week it’s quitting the custody business in Argentina after the nation threatened to revoke the bank’s license if it didn’t handle the payments.The case is NML Capital Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina, 08-cv-06978, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).By Richard Lough27 March 2015BUENOS AIRES, March 27 (Reuters) – The Argentine securities regulator said on Friday CitibankArgentina had violated local laws in striking a deal with litigating U.S. hedge funds and suspended the bank from conducting capital market operations.Under the accord, Citibank agreed not to appeal a U.S. court ruling that interest payments on Argentina’s restructured local law bonds could not be processed if the bank was allowed to make two one-off payments to help it exit its local custody business.The leftist government is concerned the agreement may further hamper the chances of future interest payments reaching bondholders on debt exchanged after its record 2002 default.The punitive measure was imposed “on the grounds that there is a situation of grave danger and uncertainty for holders of restructured debt”, the regulator said.CitibankArgentina’s parent group, Citigroup, declined to comment immediately.The securities regulator added that local financial institution Caja de Valores would take over the administration of the Argentine coupon payments that Citibank had previously processed.The next payment on Argentina’s restructured dollar denominated Par bonds is due on March 31. If Argentina fails to complete payment, its July default on foreign-law exchanged bonds will spread to local law bonds.The regulator said that the suspension from capital market operations did not affect CitibankArgentina’s retail banking operations.CitibankArgentina portrays itself as an innocent party caught up in a bitter court battle between the Argentine government and the New York-based funds after they were awarded full payment on their defaulted debt by a U.S. judge.The judge, Thomas Griesa, barred Argentina from servicing its performing debt until it settled with the creditors, but Argentina insisted Citibank keep processing payments.CitibankArgentina opened its first branch in 1914. It is the country’s 12th largest bank by deposits with 22.82 billion pesos ($2.67 billion) as of December, about 2.6 percent of all deposits in the Argentine banking system, central bank data shows.By Charles Newbery27 March 2015Buenos Aires (Platts)–27Mar2015/1028 am EDT/1428 GMT Cordoba, a central farming province in Argentina, is seeking to use its many farm machinery plants to turn itself into a key equipment and machinery supplier for the country’s shale oil development, a provincial official said.“Cordoba can become an industrial hub for the shale oil and shale gas industry because it has 162 agricultural machinery plants that can easily be reconverted to produce machines and hoppers,” Jorge Lawson, Cordoba’s minister of communication and strategic development, told a business conference late Thursday, according to a statement.He said the plants could also produce cranes, trucks and other machinery for the shale industry.Argentina, one of the world’s biggest farming countries, is seeking to rebuild oil and natural gas production after a decade of decline by developing its huge shale resources, estimated at among the world’s largest.Most of the potential is in the Vaca Muerta play in the southwestern provinces of Neuquen, Mendoza and Rio Negro.Argentina’s state-run YPF is already producing 41,200 b/d of oil equivalent from the play, mostly light crude, in a partnership with Chevron, while other companies like ExxonMobil, Shell and Wintershall are testing the potential.The national government is offering tax breaks for importing drilling rigs, machinery and other equipment and supplies to encourage companies to develop the resources.At the same time, the government wants more equipment to be sourced locally, helping to create jobs and lower drilling costs.Misiones, a northeastern province, has said it plans to sell wood to the shale industry, while YPF has said it will start to mine fracking sand in the south this year. The sand will meet more than 50% of its needs by 2016, replacing some of its imports from Brazil, China and the U.S., YPF has said.YPF is trying to cut shale-drilling costs from $7 million per vertical well — already down from $11 million in 2011 — to the U.S. average of between $4 million and $5 million.March 28, 2015In Argentina these days no one talks politics. It’s not because no one cares but rather because one stray word can lose you a friend or a family member.SCOTT SIMON, HOST:It’s political season in Argentina. There’ll be a presidential election there in October. The government’s in crisis, but politics is still not a subject you often hear discussed around the lunch table. NPR’s South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro explains why.LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Lorena Cascallana’s garden in a leafy affluent suburb of Buenos Aires is different than the surrounding well-pruned yards. It’s slightly overgrown, a bit wild you might say. She likes to sit there, especially on the weekend listening to her favorite radio show.LORENA CASCALLANA: (Foreign language spoken).GARCIA-NAVARRO: “Sometimes I put the music on pretty loud, reggae,” she says, “and no one’s ever said anything to me. But last Saturday it was around 11 a.m. and my neighbor peered over the wall,” she tells me, “and asked me to turn down the radio. And it wasn’t even on loudly. She couldn’t tolerate that someone would speak well of the government,” she says.The radio show she was listening to was hosted by a well-known leftist journalist who supports President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Lorena Cascallana does too. She thinks Kirchner and her predecessor and late husband, Nestor Kirchner, have done a lot of good things for the country – legalized gay marriage, promoted human rights, taken away power from the rich and given it to the poor. But it’s not just her neighbor who disagrees with her. Her brothers aren’t fans of the current administration either.CASCALLANA: (Foreign language spoken).GARCIA-NAVARRO: “Especially my younger brother,” she says, “I feel sorry for him. He believes everything he reads in the right-wing media. He eats what they give him – rotten fish,” she says. Adrian Bono is a journalist and blogger in Buenos Aires.ADRIAN BONO: You’ve got two groups in this country – you’ve got the pro-Cristina groups and the anti-Cristina groups.GARCIA-NAVARRO: He says political polarization has reached such a pitch in Argentina that people actually don’t talk politics anymore because families have been torn apart and friendships ended over ideological differences.BONO: Even when they get together for lunch on Sunday, and the entire family gets together because obviously this is a very Italian population, they’ve stopped talking about politics ‘cause they know that it always ends in a fight. I try not to discuss politics with my mother. I have lost friends because we didn’t see eye to eye politically. This is something that is affecting all of the Argentine population.GARCIA-NAVARRO: Especially now. The death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman has caused an unprecedented political crisis for President Kirchner. He was investigating a 1994 terror attack, which he blamed on Iran when he was found dead with a bullet to the head. He’d just accused the president of a cover-up. While the political polarization here predated his death, people are now also divided over whether or not he was killed, and if so, by whom? What regular people are experiencing on the street is just an echo, though, of the acrimony in the halls of power.CONGRESSWOMAN LAURA ALONSO: My name is Laura Alonso. I am a member of the House of Representatives in Argentina.GARCIA-NAVARRO: Alonso is an outspoken member of the opposition, who, in our interview, said President Kirchner was behaving like a monster. Alonzo, though, has been egregiously threatened on social media. And on one memorable occasion in Congress, she was called a tramp by a member of Kirchner’s party, a confrontation which quickly escalated into a shouting match.ALONSO: The rhetoric is full of violence, and when she speaks she says we are love, they are hate. We are joy, they are sadness and silence. And she’s all the time dividing the country and polarizing the country.GARCIA-NAVARRO: President Kirchner and members of her party, though, say it’s the other way around, that the opposition is trying to overthrow her and has accused her of many crimes that have turned out to be unproven. This month the Argentine government took out full-page ads in local papers alleging that Nisman was trying to destabilize the government through his allegations. The response to all this acrimony for many regular people has become silence. As one Argentine told me it’s better to keep your own council these days, so you can eat your family meal in peace and keep your friends.By Fabiana Frayssinet27 March 2015BUENOS AIRES, Mar. 25, 2015 (IPS/GIN) – When they joined the police, Marina Faustino and Silvia Miers were part of a small minority. To succeed in a “man’s world” they had to act tough. Now, thanks to a gender equality policy, there are more and more policewomen in Argentina, fighting sexism and prejudice as well as crime.Faustino, who at the age of 39 is a “principal” – the post just under deputy commissioner – in the PFA, Argentina’s federal police force, first felt the calling to join the police when she was a teenager, out of admiration for her father, who at the time was an active member of the force.“I would watch my father in the parades and I wanted to be like him,” Faustino, who was a model during her adolescence, told IPS. “But he would tell me: ‘the police isn’t a catwalk’.”She made it into the PFA, however, against her father’s resistance. “He said it was a sexist institution, that I was going to suffer, that they didn’t respect women,” she said. And she did suffer, from the very start of her two-year training, at age 20.“Back then, the older policewomen kept their hair short. You had to look like a guy. But I said: ‘that’s not me, I’m feminine, they have to respect my identity, who I am’,” she added, explaining why she never cut her blond hair.It took years for women to gain respect. “There was deep-rooted misogyny in the police,” human rights lawyer Natalia Federman told IPS.From 2010 to December 2014 Federman was the first national director of human rights in the Security Ministry, where she developed a gender strategy.The process began with centre-left President Cristina Fernández’s designation of the first female security minister: Nilda Garré (2010-2013), who banned restrictions or quotas for the admission of women in the four national police forces and their academies, which answer to that ministry.In addition, the forces were ordered to accept transvestites, transsexuals and transgender recruits. Garré also issued an order to respect gender identity under all circumstances and in all police activities, as part of the fight against homophobia y transphobia.The strategy put in place by Federman, “Building Gender Sensitive Institutions”, was considered in 2014 one of the best of its kind by the United Nations Development Programme.It also regulated issues like maternity leave and breastfeeding breaks.“We are trying to build a democratic institutional culture” that will promote gender equality and human rights in the area of security, Federman said. At the same time, gender violence was made “a central issue of citizen security,” she added.In 2011, her team carried out an internal survey to detect “symbolic or regulatory limitations” that excluded women from certain posts.For example, the survey found that “37.7 percent of women and 55.1 percent of men believe that men are more suited to the work of prevention, containment and security during protests.”Silvia Miers, who made a career move from the air force to the airport security police (PSA), has faced these stereotypes.Today the PSA is the national force with the largest proportion of women, 38 percent of the total, followed by the PFA, where 23 percent of the officials or noncommissioned officers are women, the National Gendarmerie (18 percent) and the Prefecture (nine percent).But things were very different at the start of Miers’ career, when a number of male police officers answered to her and she had to be “extremely serious, strict and tough” to gain their respect.“Everyone remembers me as the meanest of all of the female officers,” Miers, who is now an inspector in the PSA, with 80 people under her, told IPS.“There was no alternative – if you acted even just a little bit familiar or friendly, you were seen as a woman who slept around, or as someone who got to where you were because you slept with your boss,” added the 38-year-old deputy inspector.Faustino also suffered when, as a young woman, some of her subordinates at a police station were men “who were old enough to be my father” or young men who would quip “here comes the blonde.”“I had to rethink how to do things, because I couldn’t just say: ‘I’m the boss and it’s my decision.’ I had to learn from their experience, in order to not pit them against me,” she said.The survey revealed more serious situations as well. For example, 13.8 percent of the women said they had suffered sexual harassment, often from their male superiors, and only eight percent of them had reported what happened.Now there are police gender centres that receive internal complaints of sexual harassment or discrimination, or workplace violence, and that help reconcile family and work demands.Miers, a mother of two who is in the middle of a divorce, had a problem reconciling her work and family life when she was promoted.Even though “a man wouldn’t consult his wife,” she did discuss it with her husband, worried about “finding him glum when I got home from work.”“When I worked from 8:00 to 14:00, I would help the kids with their homework, I would cook. I told him ‘our life isn’t going to be the same. From now on I’ll go to the airport in the morning but I don’t know when I’ll come back; I’m asking you to put up with it, to not get angry, to not get jealous’, because I was surrounded by men,” she said.Faustino pointed out that while in 2010 there was just one single female police inspector, the current general commissioner of the PFA is a woman, Mabel Franco.“Without women to push it forward, no gender perspective is possible,” the current Security Minister Cecilia Rodríguez has stated.“There is no more glass ceiling” for promotions of women, Miers said with satisfaction. But she clarified that “you earn respect with our efforts, sometimes working twice as hard as a man. You have to study a lot, keep learning, if you really want to reach a leadership position.”According to Federman it will take a few more promotions for women to reach the highest-level positions, before it will be possible to assess whether “real equality” has been reached.In the meantime, it is necessary to fight stereotypes like the idea that the attributes indispensable for being a good police officer are masculine in nature: leadership, physical strength, courage, she said.Those prejudices ignore other characteristics “that are as or more necessary to provide good police services, such as empathy, ability to dialogue and negotiate, or the potential to motivate staff, many of which are historically attributed to women.”Values that according to Faustino helped her, for example, control in the stadiums the “barras bravas” or rowdy fans of the popular football team Boca Juniors, a task she had for 12 years.“We can do good tactical police work, and smile, offer a glass of water, talk and they respect you,” she said.She would address them as “gentlemen,” she learned their codes, and she managed to keep them under control.But not without a few bad experiences. Once, she said, a fan “was rude to me and I responded with what hurt him the most: I didn’t let him into the stadium.”“I don’t shout, and I get better results,” added Faustino, who is now studying psychology to boost her conflict resolution skills, to help work out conflicts in situations such as gender violence.“Sometimes we women act as mediators, we avoid clashes. We listen,” Miers said.“You can be polite but firm at the same time,” Faustino said.By Alexis Arthur27 March 2015Argentina, once a regional energy leader, is now better known for financial busts and bombastic politicians than hydrocarbons prospects. Still, with a resource potential both vast and untapped, the nation has never been far from energy investors’ minds. The question today is just how much Argentina is willing to change and how this plays into a low oil price environment that is already negatively impacting investment elsewhere.Argentina’s deliberate efforts to appease some of its international creditors, combined with an overhaul of the nation’s hydrocarbons framework have the potential to lure foreign investors back. The promise of a change of government– and potentially a more market-friendly approach – later this year should add to the country’s appeal.Experts have kept a watchful eye on Argentina ever since the US Energy Information Administration identified the nation as holding the world’s second largest shale gas and fourth largest shale oil reserves. This translates to an estimated 802 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas and 27 billion barrels of oil.Yet unlike the production boom unleashed by the shale revolution in the United States, Argentina’s vast shale plays have remained comparatively idle.Politics and economics are largely to blame.Investor confidence in Argentina has been damaged by heavy-handed nationalist politics, including the nationalization of oil company YPF in 2012. Price caps and export restrictions have added to what many view as a trying business environment.
Exploration and production in Argentina is also expensive. It costs an estimated $11 million per well in Argentina, a figure YPF hopes to bring more into line with international standards of $7 million by the end of the year. Whether this target is feasible remains to be seen.But in the nation famous for the Albicelestes, things are starting to change. Argentina is making efforts to improve relations with international creditors and agreed to a $5 billion settlement with Spanish company Repsol as compensation for its YPF stake.Meanwhile, exploration and production in the unconventional fields is slowly picking up. Argentina is one of just four countries to produce commercial quantities of shale oil or gas – joining the US, Canada, and China – and is the only producer in Latin America. Most of this production has come from the Vaca Muerta formation in west-central Argentina.Argentina’s shale fields are currently producing 41,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 320 wells. These are important milestones for the nation’s oil and gas industry and YPF expects both figures to increase in 2015.Could this be the reason for Saudi Arabia’s stance on oil supplies?There’s an incredible energy development we’ve been keeping track of for you over the past year… It’s the reason Saudi Arabia is acting in desperation… depressing oil prices… and even risking internal unrest. Their (and OPEC’s) very survival is being threatened.And we believe we’ve put together an incredible video revealing how it works.Foreign investors are also trickling back to Argentina. Chevron was the first oil major to take the plunge with a deal worth a potential $15 billion. YPF has also received commitments from DOW Chemical for a potential $188 million and Petronas for a potential $9 billion, both in Vaca Muerta. YPF has also signed preliminary deals with Wintershall and Sinopec.The Argentine government hopes the overhaul of the national hydrocarbons law will further spur investor activity. Many of the benefits included in Chevron’s deal have been carried over, including the ability to export up to 20% of production free of tariffs or sold domestically at international prices. The legislation also caps royalties for oil-producing provinces at 12% and centralizes the bidding process.Replicating the United States’ success was always going to be a tall order. The unique set of factors, including easy access to financial and human capital, technology, know-how and a favorable regulatory and business environment – are not easily reproduced in Argentina or elsewhere.Argentina is instead seeking to adapt US technology and innovation to increase efficiency and productivity in existing and new wells, with a focus on large-scale drilling and cost reduction.As for the low price environment, Argentina’s subsidized domestic market will shield producers in the short term. Oil prices are set at $77.50 per barrel and natural gas as $7.5 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). Of course, this provides no such protection for exporters.A new administration will need to address the issues of subsidies as well as boost local production in order to reduce the energy trade deficit that is costing Argentina’s government an estimated $6 – 8 billion per year.In the meantime, excitement around Argentina’s energy prospects is welcome and while investors are wise to remain cautious, there are positive signs that the nation’s energy ambitions are within reach.