5. ARGENTINA IS STILL HELPING IRAN COVER UP ITS ROLE IN THE BOMBING OF A JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER 21 YEARS AGO (Business Insider)6. WHY THE AMIA MASSACRE AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF ALBERTO NISMAN STILL HAUNT ARGENTINA (The Daily Beast)8. ARGENTINA’S INFLATION REMAINS AT HIGH LEVELS WHILE OUTLOOK PREDICTIONS SUGGEST STAGNATION IN SHORT TERM (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)By Almudena CalatravaJuly 19, 2015BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Conservative Horacio Rodriguez Larreta won Sunday’s mayoral run-off election in Buenos Aires, in a closer race than his opposition party had hoped for in the capital ahead of presidential voting later this year.With 99.9 percent of ballots counted, the candidate of the business-friendly PRO Party had 51.6 percent of the votes. His rival, ECO Party candidate and former economy minister Martin Lousteau, got 48.4 percent.Rodriguez Larreta is an economist and was chief of staff for outgoing mayor and likely presidential candidate Mauricio Macri. Rodriguez Larreta won the most votes in the opening round of balloting July 5, but did not garner enough votes to avoid a run-off with Lousteau.In his victory speech, Rodriguez Larreta thanked Macri for his work as mayor and vowed to continue improving public education, health and security for Argentina’s capital city.“I’m optimistic about the future because with Mauricio (Macri) as president, Argentina will recover its path of growth and well-being for all. And that will benefit all of the citizens of Buenos Aires as well,” he said.With Buenos Aires’ 2.5 million voters accounting for nearly 8 percent of Argentina’s voting population, the capital city’s election was being closely watched for tendencies for the Aug. 9 presidential primaries and the Oct. 25 national election.Both Rodriguez Larreta and Lousteau are critical of President Cristina Fernandez’s leftist government. The candidate representing Fernandez’s Victory Front coalition, Mariano Recalde, was knocked out of the race after finishing third in the first round July 5.Rodriguez Larreta has said he hopes to help achieve change for all of Argentina after the 12-year rule of Fernandez and her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner.The PRO had been hoping for a stronger margin in the mayor’s contest to give a boost for Macri’s chances in the presidential race. His main rival is Buenos Aires Gov. Daniel Scioli, who has been picked by Fernandez to continue the populist policies that began with her husband’s presidency. Fernandez is barred from seeking a third consecutive term.Restoring Argentina’s sense of pride and sovereignty after the country’s worst economic crisis in 2001 has been the central goal of Fernandez and Kirchner. The presidential couple negotiated or paid off most of Argentina’s defaulted debt, nationalized the pension system, kept energy cheap through subsidies and dug deep into the treasury to redirect revenue to the poor through handouts.But many Argentines are calling for change amid frustration with one of the world’s highest inflation rates, government currency and trade controls and corruption accusations that have penetrated deep into Fernandez’s inner circle.By Jonathan GilbertJuly 17, 2015BUENOS AIRES — Argentines filled the streets outside the rebuilt headquarters of a Jewish community center here on Friday, 21 years after a van loaded with explosives was driven into the building, killing 85 people in one of the deadliest anti-Semitic attacks since World War II.The annual ceremony at the site of the 1994 bomb attack has often been emotional with victims’ relatives pleading for justice in a case still unsolved and shaped by setbacks and controversy. This year, after the mysterious death of the prosecutor who led the bombing investigation for a decade, the ceremony was especially anguished.The crowd heard speeches extolling the work of the prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, including one drafted by his elder daughter, Iara, and dedicated a lengthy applause to him.“The death of Alberto Nisman was an event so tragic for society that it made us feel the echoes of that bomb on July 18,” Ariel Cohen Sabban, a committee member of the community center, the Argentine Jewish Mutual Aid Association, told the crowd.The ceremony was held on July 17 because of the Jewish Sabbath.The anniversary reignited a debate between Mr. Nisman’s supporters and his detractors, who say his focus on Iranian suspects was misguided. Separate ceremonies were held by victims’ relatives who have been critical of Mr. Nisman.For many of the victims’ relatives, however, the truth feels more remote than ever. Mr. Nisman, 51, was found dead at his home in January, slumped in a pool of blood with a bullet in his head.“After 21 years, we have nothing; all we have is another victim,” said Sofía Guterman, a retired private tutor, 72, whose 28-year-old daughter died in the bombing, referring to Mr. Nisman. “We’ve always clung to the smallest hope that some truth would emerge. But justice here regresses; it does not move forward.”As a siren wailed at the precise moment of the bombing, the crowd held up black-and-white pictures of the dead. Handwritten posters criticized Argentina’s public institutions for what are widely perceived as moves to obstruct justice. These include alleged maneuvers to distort the investigation involving former President Carlos Menem and a judge and prosecutors previously assigned to the case. They will appear in a much-awaited trial next month.The unresolved bombing points to “ills that beset Argentine society,” said Dina Siegel Vann, Latin America director for the American Jewish Committee in New York, who was here for the anniversary. “There’s a sense of skepticism that there are no resources to address this.”Investigators have still not established whether Mr. Nisman shot himself or was murdered. He was replaced by a team of four prosecutors.Mr. Nisman had accused President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her foreign minister, Héctor Timerman, of conspiring to derail his investigation. Mrs. Kirchner, Mr. Nisman claimed, had ordered back-channel negotiations to shield former Iranian officials he believed had planned the 1994 attack, in return for trade benefits.The accusations, which the government refuted, died in Argentina’s courts.Mr. Nisman was found dead hours before he was due to present his findings before Argentina’s Congress. A pistol he borrowed from an assistant, used to fire the fatal bullet, was beneath his body, and a spent cartridge was at the scene.While those in the crowd largely supported Mr. Nisman and his focus on the Iranians, the anniversary emphasized fissures in the Jewish community over how the investigation should proceed.“We systematically confronted Nisman about the orientation of his investigation,” said Laura Ginsberg, 57, a university professor whose husband died in the bombing. Ms. Ginsberg, who did not attend the ceremony, is aligned with victims’ relatives who believe Mr. Nisman was coerced into focusing on Iran.While many people hope that the impending trial involving former President Menem could provide new information on the bombing, Ms. Ginsberg said she could no longer trust Argentina’s judiciary. “It won’t take us toward the truth,” she said.As the anniversary shifted attention to the bombing, and away from Mr. Nisman, some said his death might pave the way for justice.“I don’t think Nisman was the key to solving the case,” said Horacio Lutzky, 55, a lawyer who has researched the bombing for years and wrote a book, “Toasting Amid the Rubble.” “Perhaps this tragedy will allow the case to embark on paths that had been abandoned.”Others saw the anniversary as a time to reflect on wider issues, like perceived undercurrents of anti-Semitism. “When Jews feel scared, they unite,” said Roberto Pikholtz, 72, a retired businessman, pointing to the large crowd.Mostly, there was a sense of desperation. “The death of the prosecutor is a phenomenal blow to the search for the truth,” said Luis Czyzewski, 71, an accountant whose 21-year-old daughter died in the attack. His wife survived.Mr. Czyzewski recalled running toward the wreckage of the community center, past shards of glass and broken blocks of masonry. He wrestled past police officers, who had sealed the site. He found his wife, her face blackened and bruised.Their daughter, Paola, was among the first to have died in the blast, experts later told Mr. Czyzewski.“Each year, you feel worse than the last,” he said.By Benedict Mander in Buenos AiresJuly 19, 2015Soledad Rodríguez Pons admits she had no idea what bitcoin was when it was suggested to her two years ago that the digital currency could provide a neat way of dodging Argentina’s strict capital controls.“I was suspicious at first,” says the 29-year-old owner of a budget hostel in Buenos Aires.“But I took the risk, and it was well worth it,” she adds, explaining that she takes credit-card payments from foreign tourists in return for the digital currency. At the moment, she can sell her bitcoins on Argentina’s unofficial currency market for 50 per cent more than she would get at the official exchange rate.The prolonged use of capital controls in Argentina since 2011 has wreaked havoc for businesses operating in South America’s second-largest economy — not only restricting access to foreign currency and leading to a heavily overvalued official exchange rate, but also exacerbating economic stagnation and double-digit inflation.Under the leftist government of President Cristina Fernández, no immediate change is expected in Argentina’s complicated economic conditions, which have seen the use of bitcoin more than double over the past year, mainly among small businesses. This represents much faster growth than elsewhere in Latin America, according to bitex.la, a regional bitcoin exchange.Recent raids on currency trading houses and new powers for the national spy agency to prevent speculative attacks pushed the peso’s black market value this week to its lowest levels since Argentina defaulted last year on its foreign debt for the second time this century.Greek woe brings powerful sense of déjà vu for ArgentinaHealth and hospital workers advance towards Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo during a protest by various workers unions 29 August 2001.On a cruise round the Mediterranean, Domingo Cavallo, Argentina’s economy minister in the run-up to the country’s dramatic economic collapse in 2001, was bemused when he was unable to use his credit card during a brief stop-off on Greek soil last week.However, presidential elections in October are expected to bring in a more market-friendly administration, and investors hope that untangling capital controls will be one of the top priorities for the new government. That has triggered a heated debate over how to defuse a situation that has caused an investment drought in Argentina.“As always happens with such controls, it is much more complicated getting rid of them than it is putting them in place,” says José Luis Espert, an Argentine economist.The two leading candidates advocate sharply differing methods. Daniel Scioli, the one-armed governor of Buenos Aires province backed by Ms Fernández, favours a more gradual approach, although there is growing concern that his government ties will limit his room for manoeuvre.Mauricio Macri, the centre-right mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, backed by the markets, prefers a more immediate solution.Although Mr Espert also recommends a swift removal of capital controls, he says it must be accompanied by a “technically solid economic plan” that inspires strong confidence in the markets. “Without a credible plan, shock treatment can be just as damaging as a more gradual approach,” he warns.José Urtubey, vice-president of the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA), a powerful business chamber, doubts that shock therapy will work. Although capital controls played a big part in a 2.6 per cent contraction in Argentina’s industrial sector last year — foreign currency is essential to import materials needed for industrial production — he fears that central bank reserves could not withstand the pressure on the currency generated by the controls’ sudden removal. “The remedy could be worse than the illness,” he says.As always happens with such controls, it is much more complicated getting rid of them than it is putting them in place– José Luis Espert, Argentine economistSuch resistance to change explains why Mr Espert believes that Argentina’s volatile economy has for the past half century been stuck in a “vicious triangle”, whose vertices are crisis, followed by a rebound and then mediocrity — which every decade or so leads to another crisis.“Soon there will be another one,” he says, pointing to a lack of consensus over how to fix the country’s serious macroeconomic imbalances, especially a gaping fiscal deficit, which he fears will lead to more mediocrity. “Argentina finds it very difficult to escape that triangle. We are afflicted by a kind of [economic] Stockholm syndrome,” he says.If the future of Argentina’s economy is as gloomy as Mr Espert fears, that would be good news for bitcoin, which is still in its infancy in Argentina, with only about 6,000-8,000 users.Franco Daniel Amati, a co-founder of Bitcoin Argentina, a kind of embassy for bitcoin in the heart of the Buenos Aires financial district, is optimistic about prospects for the digital currency in a country where still only half the population entrust their money to the formal banking system.“A recurring inflation crisis, capital controls and overall financial repression make life very difficult in Argentina. More and more people here are looking for ways to get around these problems, and bitcoin is the perfect solution,” he says.19 July 2015BUENOS AIRES, July 19 (Reuters) – Argentina’s business-friendly PRO party won the Buenos Aires mayoral runoff on Sunday, clinging to its stronghold for a third consecutive term ahead of presidential elections in October, but prevailed by a smaller-than-expected margin.Outgoing mayor and PRO presidential candidate Mauricio Macri had sponsored the campaign of his chief of staff Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, who won 51.6 percent of ballots cast on Sunday, official returns showed.That put Larreta only a few points ahead of ECO party candidate Martin Lousteau, who picked up 48.4 percent with 99 percent of the vote counted. Larreta had been expected to leave Lousteau trailing by a margin of 9 to 13 points.With Buenos Aires, the PRO’s power base, accounting for about 8 percent of Argentina’s national vote, Macri would have hoped his party would win by a wider margin.He must drum up support elsewhere to win in the presidential elections on Oct. 25.“I would like to thank Mauricio (Macri) for showing that it is possible in Argentina… to transform reality,” Larreta told cheering and clapping supporters in a televised speech.The candidate of President Cristina Fernandez’s party, Front for Victory, had crashed out in the first round of voting two weeks ago. Since then, party members have dismissed the runoff as irrelevant, saying the PRO and ECO are much akin.Those who voted ECO – a regional alliance – in the Buenos Aires elections could end up voting PRO on a national level.The outgoing president is constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term. She has endorsed the candidacy of Daniel Scioli, governor of the Buenos Aires province.Fernandez is faulted by big business for imposing a web of currency and trade controls that have hurt the economy, which has teetered on the brink of recession over the past year and has one of the world’s highest inflation rates.The Buenos Aires elections have highlighted her party’s lack of popularity in the capital.But the Front for Victory remains popular in Argentina’s provinces in part because of this government’s generous subsidies. Scioli, who is expected to keep some of Fernandez’s policy mix but return to slightly more orthodox economics, is leading polls.5. ARGENTINA IS STILL HELPING IRAN COVER UP ITS ROLE IN THE BOMBING OF A JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER 21 YEARS AGO (Business Insider)By Toby Dershowitz, ContributorJuly, 18, 2015July 18th marks 21 years since the largest terrorist attack in Argentina’s history: the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 individuals and wounded hundreds more. Evidence is mounting that Argentina’s president is seeking to whitewash Iran’s role in the attack.Earlier this year, Argentina’s special prosecutor in the case, Alberto Nisman, met a suspicious death just one day before he was due to present evidence of a secret Iran-Argentina backchannel. Nisman had already implicated senior Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing. As a result of his investigation, INTERPOL had issued red notices (tantamount to international arrest warrants) for these Iranian officials.But Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government has taken a series of steps that appear aimed at covering up Iranian involvement. In the latest example, the Argentine government is trying to reverse a court decision that ruled an Iran-Argentina Memorandum of Understanding related to the AMIA attack (MOU) unconstitutional.In 2013 Kirchner’s government signed an MOU with Iran that ostensibly would have had the two countries jointly investigate the AMIA bombing. Nisman believed the MOU’s real purpose was to rid Iran of culpability in the attack.Then-Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi argued that according to the MOU, “INTERPOL must eliminate the charges against the Iranian authorities.” Salehi, a nuclear scientist and head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was a key part of the secret backchannel.In 2014 a lower court determined that the MOU was unconstitutional and that it interfered with an independent judicial investigation. That ruling was being reviewed by a panel of three judges in the country’s highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation, which is second only to the Supreme Court in Argentina’s legal system.The panel of three judges was set to hold a hearing to announce its decision on June 22, but it was abruptly canceled. Three days later, Judge Luis Maria Cabral was removed by the Judicial Council without explanation and replaced by Judge Claudio Marcelo Vazquez, who is recognized as supportive of the government’s agenda. The Judicial Council, which holds a pro-government majority, took this action following new authority it was granted to replace surrogate judges with appointees more supportive of the government’s agenda.Judge Cabral is the head of the Argentine Association of Magistrates, an organization that vigorously opposes efforts by the executive branch to interfere in the judiciary. His term had no end date.Why would the Judicial Council suddenly remove him? Perhaps because Cabral had expressed his intention to uphold the lower court’s 2014 ruling that found the MOU unconstitutional — a position the government opposed.Four opposition members of the House of Deputies then filed a formal federal complaint against the Judicial Council demanding that Cabral be reinstated. AMIA and DAIA, the Jewish organizations that filed the original court challenge against the MOU, demanded that Cabral’s final opinion be used in the resolution of the case.Cabral was removed during a session called with little advanced notice. One of the members of the Judicial Council, National Deputy Gustavo Valdes, said the government prevented him from attending the session by holding up the flight he was to take to get there.Valdes’s flight on the state-run airline Aerolineas Argentinas was abruptly canceled. Poor weather was cited, despite the fact that the weather was fine in both the departure and destination cities. The pilots had received orders from the airline not to leave their hotel, according to media reports. The airline’s CEO is Mariano Recalde, who is also the government party candidate for mayor of Buenos Aires.Judge Cabral filed a complaint to the Federal Administrative Court and argued that “it is incredible to illegally substitute one surrogate judge for another.” The government is seeking to “discipline” the judicial branch, he said.Buenos Aires City prosecutor Martin Ocampo said, “I believe the process by which Cabral was removed is unconstitutional.”Removing Cabral from his position days before a decision was to be rendered is part of a disturbing pattern of activities by Kirchner’s government, whose singular purpose appears to be ending Nisman’s investigation of Iranian complicity.The Kirchner government replaced Nisman with three pro-government prosecutors, and engaged in an aggressive campaign to discredit Nisman. This included an effort to characterize his death as a suicide, despite substantial evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, judges and a prosecutor known to be supportive of the government declined several requests to investigate the complaint Nisman filed about the government’s secret back-channel negotiations with Iran.Argentinian journalist Eduardo van der Kooy writes that Kirchner’s “pact with Iran is what is keeping her awake at night the most.” If the Court of Cassation were to uphold the unconstitutionality of the MOU, that declaration “would include lethal arguments that would blame the President for having … surrendered to another nation the prosecution of a tragedy that happened on [Argentinian] soil.”This would translate into treason, he said, and would “prevent Cristina’s desire to leave power with glory. For that reason she is demanding closure of the Iran circle. Even at the cost of undoing the judiciary.”Argentina should not be allowed to bury the truth of Iran’s involvement in the AMIA bombing along with Nisman.And as our own government reviews its terrorism policy and threats to our homeland, it should ensure Iran continues to be held accountable for its role in the 1994 atrocity.Toby Dershowitz is Vice President for Government Relations and Strategy at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, DC6. WHY THE AMIA MASSACRE AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF ALBERTO NISMAN STILL HAUNT ARGENTINA (The Daily Beast)By Michael LuongoJuly 20, 2015This weekend Argentina remembered one of the worst massacres of Jews since World War II, and the mysterious death of the special prosecutor just as he was about to accuse the country’s leadership of a coverup.BUENOS AIRES—The names of streets and neighborhoods in Buenos Aires often commemorate historical events.Most relate to its revolutionary period, like Nueve de Julio, often tagged the world’s widest avenue, for the 9th of July, Argentina’s Independence Day.A more recent July date lingers in Argentine memory: July 18, 1994, when a car bomb ripped through AMIA—La Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina—the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires’s Abasto neighborhood.Though the country denies involvement, Iran has long been blamed for the incident, which was Argentina’s worst terror attack.Every year, the event is commemorated with a ceremony in front of the since reconstructed and now heavily fortified AMIA.This year with the true anniversary on Shabbat, the Jewish holy day, it was held the morning of Friday, July 17.The attack date marks another anniversary: it is 6 months since the death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, found dead January 18 under mysterious circumstances, days after announcing he would reveal evidence accusing the country’s highest authorities of complicity with Iran in covering up the AMIA bombing.As reported in two New Yorker articles, Nisman was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment in the Puerto Madero neighborhood of Buenos Aires. He had a bullet wound to his head and a 22 caliber gun near his hand.The gun was apparently lent to Nisman by his assistant when he feared being murdered. There were no signs of forced entry or robbery in the apartment. In a garbage can at the scene a copy of a draft of a warrant calling for the arrests of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and foreign minister Hector Timerman was found.Four days before he had accused them of being involved in a cover up to protect those involved in the AMIA bombing. More than a decade of Nisman’s life had been spent investigating AMIA and the coverups.The theme of the 21st commemoration is ‘Victims of Terrorism, Victims of Impunity’, and Nisman’s death slashes open the wounds of survivors and those who lost loved ones.A series of events, exhibits and a renamed subway station, completely redesigned as a memorial to AMIA, marked this year’s anniversary.Bearing Witness As A SurvivorAna Weinstein, Director of AMIA’s Marc Turkow Center of Documentation and Information on Argentine Judaism and of the Vaad Hakehilot Federation of Argentine Jewish Communities, is a survivor of the bombing.That year was meant to be a happy one, the organization’s 100th anniversary. Weinstein, who explained personally and not as a representative of AMIA, told the Daily Beast, “Every July 18, it brings me back to the moment. This shock that somebody wants to kill you. It is a very strong feeling.”While the commemoration generally followed the same pattern as in years past, Weinstein said Nisman’s death added new elements.“This anniversary has to do with some ingredients that we cannot ignore, about the shocking thing that happened with Nisman, his appearing dead.”She added, a sense of both sadness and anger in her eyes, “It shocked me, because it was death again. Somebody is dead again related to AMIA bombing. Somebody is dead again and I had this feeling that we would never know exactly what happened, like we don’t know exactly what happened with this bombing.”Weinstein, who has written several books on AMIA, emphasized the significance of the event Nisman was investigating.The 1994 bombing was the largest terrorist attack on Argentine soil, and is one of the largest massacres of Jews in the post-Nazi period.She said, “it was the first attack against a Jewish premises, against Jews, and where 85 people were killed, not all of them Jewish. This speaks of something that is very big in its intensity of destruction and hate.”It followed an earlier similar bombing, on March 17, 1992, of the Israel Embassy which killed 29 people.Argentina has the sixth largest Jewish population in the world, and the largest in Latin America, with estimates ranging from 250,000 to 300,000, according to Weinstein.Weinstein feels the size of the AMIA case and its unsolved nature have a bearing beyond Argentina.“Those organizations that are aware that hate and discrimination and violence and fundamentalist thinking connect with each other, are aware that is dangerous for the world and for society. Attacking Jewish targets means any other day they can attack other targets that are not Jewish as well,” she said.The case’s mysteries have exacerbated the emotions of those connected to the tragedy.“We do not have justice after twenty years. Relatives who have lost their loved ones don’t know who is to be blamed. That is the most important thing to understand, and that is the thing that is the most difficult thing to understand, because of course we don’t have any answers. Things like that don’t happen unless they cross political situations. Somebody who was very high up may have come very close to knowing the truth.”Art and PainThroughout Buenos Aires, art spreads knowledge of the AMIA bombing, connecting it to other forms of hatred during the commemoration period.In the downtown Corrientes Avenue theater district, AMIA worked with SIGEN, the Sindicatura General de la Nación, or Office of the National Comptroller, to exhibit murals through August not only on AMIA, but on genocide across the world.Perhaps the most impactful is a three by nine meter mural Olvido Terminal, ‘Forgotten Terminal,’ a concentration camp scene by Mariano Sapia.Swastikas adorn black flags in the background of an industrial landscape. Grey and brown bodies flow down a cliff, a silhouette of a woman on her knees, a gun to her head, nearby.Clouds of black smoke from chimneys form faces. Train tracks lead to cattle cars, gallows with hanged men to one side, women, naked, lined up on the other.Emaciated men stare through barred barracks windows. The only brilliant colors are a row of children in the foreground who seem newly arrived, some with dolls and teddy bears.They stare out through barbed wire with unsure, frightened expressions at eye level with children who come to see the exhibit, as if to connect them to the historical tragedy.At Recoleta Cultural Center, a public art space within a former convent adjacent to Recoleta Cemetery where ‘Evita’ (Eva Peron) is buried, a small exhibit open through August features two pieces of interactive art: ‘Illustrated Memory,’ from graffiti art collective Buenos Aires Stencil; and ‘Carriage of Memory’ by Jorge Caterbetti, a cart loaded with boxes full of mock Supreme Court documents related to AMIA and other Argentine tragedies along with an accompanying video.Inside AMIA, Argentine artist Milo Lockett worked with students and organization staff on new murals to exhibit at SIGEN.Lockett told the Daily Beast that art can “transform this pain into love. I can’t say that pain can change. But pain can transform into truth. And I believe that we have to say that we artists are present and are participating. Not only as artists but as Argentine citizens.”Lockett, who is not Jewish, feels the AMIA tragedy can be a unifying force.“AMIA is the cause of all of Argentina. It is not just for Jews and for the Jewish community. It is a question of the state. I don’t want to show that this is a country without impunity, but that it is a country that searches for the truth. And the truth needs to come into the light. It is a shame that for these 85 victims, it has been 21 years, and how many presidents, and they cannot clarify what happened with the attack.”AMIA’s Youth NightThe night before the main commemoration, nearly 1,500 people participated in AMIA’s Youth Night, according to one AMIA staffer.The event, with displays, bands, and speeches grew out of an earlier, informal vigil in which young people stayed near AMIA until daybreak, according to 28 year old Marianela Aprosof, who was there representing MASA Argentina, an organization bringing young Argentines to Israel.Aprosof acknowledges most young attendees have no direct knowledge of the bombing.At the same time, she feels youth must know more than just AMIA’s tragic history. “AMIA is an institution, with events, programs, things for kids, and information. The young people need to think of it as more than just the day the bomb happened,” she told the Daily Beast.Youth Night, Aprosof said, is also growing in popularity. However, she did not feel Nisman’s death played a role.Instead, she said, “the real reason more are coming is because the cause is not being investigated. It is not just Nisman.”Iran and ImpunityOn a cold, sunny Friday morning, nearly 6,000 people attended the main ceremony on July 17, according to AMIA press coordinator Marcela Pieske.Nearly all the stores along the route were closed, but the faint smell of zataar hung in the air, testimony to the many Sephardic and Mizrahi shops and kosher restaurants open the day before.Family members and survivors were near the stage, youth groups behind them. Many held images of victims on small posters, their life stories printed on the back.At 9:53 a.m., the time of the bombing, a sense of shock and silence fell over the chatty crowd as an air raid siren echoed through the streets.At times crying, Argentine television journalist Cristina Pérez served as mistress of ceremonies, introducing speakers and family members who read the names of victims, the crowd shouting “presente” after each one.At points, readers choked into tears, perhaps when they had come to the names of their family members.Among the most powerful speeches, his voice booming against the stucco facades of the surrounding buildings, was that by Ariel Cohen Sabban, AMIA’s Director and the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Argentina.Cohen Sabban spoke of Hezbollah and Iran’s involvement in the bombing, demanding Argentina’s government work with Interpol in “actively seeking out the Iranian suspects, and that the requests for their capture are not just a formality.” (Here is a link to the text).Nisman was also a concern in Cohen Sabban’s speech with the reminder, “Tomorrow will also be six months after the death of the prosecutor Alberto Nisman. An event so traumatic for society that it made us feel the echoes of the bomb of July 18.”He added that as with AMIA and the impunity around the original investigation, the mystery of Nisman’s death leaves Argentines wondering, “what happened and how did the prosecutor die investigating the bombing?”Nisman’s death was, in essence, added to the total number of victims of the AMIA bombing that day.His elder daughter, Iara Nisman, 15, walked on stage to emotional applause to light a candle and place a rose into a stand marked Justice and Memory.Perez read a speech prepared by Nisman in which she wrote, “I wanted to thank you for the place you have given to pay homage to my dad and convey that, even though my pain is more recent, I understand and share the long route of searching and suffering that you have carried for 21 years.“Because I saw how much my dad worked for justice and heard from him the details and stories behind the families of the attack.“Both my sister Kala and I, we ask you to join us and help to find the truth about what happened to my dad, no matter what happens, without giving importance to things that are sometimes said to dirty him, because he cannot defend himself when they try to detract from his effort and work.” (This is the original text of the speech from La Nacion).Special prosecutor Viviana Fein, a long time colleague of Nisman, is in charge of the investigation into his death. Fein is currently pursuing a forced suicide theory in explaining the death.Redesigned Subway Station Honors AMIA DeadThe same week, the closest subway station to AMIA, the B-Line’s Pasteur, was renamed Pasteur-AMIA.The memorial went far beyond name, the station redesigned with artworks and interactive displays in a commemorative form known in Argentina as an Espacio de la Memoria, or ‘Space of Memory.’A large niche in the subway station lobby contains a bold, black and white placard in Spanish explaining the attack, an English version to its side.A relic from the bombing, a twisted broken typewriter, is set in a glass display case within a wall adorned with images from a vigil held soon after the attack.A touch screen allows visitors to tweet their thoughts on AMIA, record short voice messages and examine photos and stories of the 85 victims.On the subway platforms, an electronic calendar counts the number of days the terror attack remains unsolved.The rounded platform walls are decorated with new ceramic works by 25 artists, largely in political cartoon format.Some of the individual pieces are remarkable for their criticism of Argentina’s government.One contains an image of the Casa Rosada, the Presidential Palace, splattered in blood; others have blind justices or authority figures asleep while AMIA is attacked. Some are sentimental, parents talking to children about AMIA and other Argentine tragedies.Family members of the AMIA victims appreciate the city’s new memorial. Mario Averbuch, whose daughter Yanina died in the 1994 bombing, told the Daily Beast inside of the station as he made his way home after speaking at the ceremony, “It was a fight to get this done, but we made it happen.”Another family member, Sofia Guterman, whose daughter Andrea died in the attack, told the Daily Beast that the redesigned subway station was, “a work of love, re-expressing the tragedy that is so terrible.”Guterman added, “For us, it’s very important, because within this subway station pass millions of people. They are going to look at this. This goes from the older people who remember when this happened to the new generations who are going to pass this and ask, ‘What happened? What is this?’”A new trial has been set for August 6 to examine the coverup of bribes related to the original investigation of the AMIA bombing.This weekend Argentina remembered one of the worst massacres of Jews since World War Two, and the mysterious death of the special prosecutor just as he was about to accuse the country’s leadership of a cover-up.Regarding Nisman’s investigation and mysterious death, Guterman said, “It was many years that he was doing this. You don’t have to imagine that people wanted to kill him. This was not suicide. They killed him. Now, we don’t know anything.“If we don’t keep fighting for this, there will pass year after year since the attack on AMIA, without knowing anything. Nor will anything happen for Nisman either. Every day we are further from the truth.”It is for this reason that she appreciates the annual commemorations, and the new memorials.“Memory is very important, because there is no justice,” Guterman said. “So we have to work very hard for the sake of memory, because memory is the justice that we have.”By Peter KohliJuly 17, 2015Another pivotal election in the developing world will take place on October 25th in Argentina. The current president, Christina Kirchner, is prohibited from seeking a third term, though for a time there was speculation that she might try and run for congress. That idea has now been put to rest. She certainly has had a rocky eight years in power, which saw the economy of the country go from bad to worse.It’s demeaning for the head of any country to resort to racism as a way to deflect from the problems taking place under their watch. But according to Commentary Magazine, that is exactly what happened recently when Ms. Kirchner visited a school and asked the students what they were reading in Shakespeare. “In one tweet, Kirchner recounted how she had asked students she met which Shakespeare play they were studying. When they told the president they were studying Romeo and Juliet, Kirchner said she responded, ‘I said, “Have you read The Merchant of Venice to understand the vulture funds?” They all laughed. ‘No, don’t laugh. Usury and the bloodsuckers were immortalized by the best literature for centuries,’ she then tweeted to her two million twitter followers.”Additionally, the Wall Street Journal reports that the poverty level in Argentina has gone from 24.7% in 2011 when Ms. Kirchner was reelected, to 28.7% this year. Though she actually had the nerve to tell a United Nations meeting that due to her policies, that rate has actually fallen to 5%. How laughable!Meanwhile, the people of Argentina suffer. We can only hope that they will not vote for her named successor, Daniel Scioli, and instead vote for the center right candidate, Mauricio Macri, who is viewed as being market friendly. The current inflation rate in Argentina is 15%, while the interest rate, at 24%, is one of the highest in the world.As far as investing is concerned, there is only one Argentina focused ETF, Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (Argentina (PZE) Shares Cross Below 200 DMAPowered by Market IQ) which has a YTD return of 8%.Just to think that at the turn of the last century Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. Oy vey!8. ARGENTINA’S INFLATION REMAINS AT HIGH LEVELS WHILE OUTLOOK PREDICTIONS SUGGEST STAGNATION IN SHORT TERM (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)By Paula Diosquez-Rice, Mario Guillen17 July 2015Although consumer confidence in Argentina has increased according to a poll, more than half of respondents expect a bleak economic situation in the coming year.OutlookAccording to Argentina’s National Statistical Office (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos: INDEC), consumer inflation remained at 1.0% month on month (m/m) and 15.0% year on year (y/y) in June.The category of other goods and services posted the quickest increase, up by 3.2% m/m, followed by the leisure category, up by 1.7% m/m, and the equipment and household maintenance category, up by 1.2% m/m, the same increase observed in the category for medical attention and health expenses.Inflation figures presented by the opposition in Congress point to a rise of 1.53% m/m and 27.9% y/y, contrasting with INDEC’s figures. With regards to inflation expectations for the next 12 months, Torcuato di Tella University reports a rise of 2 percentage points, placing it at 30%, according to the median, while average expected inflation in annual terms rose to 30.5%.Argentina’s economic distortions are a result of the government’s interventionist approach to economic policy. Bans on trade, currency exchange controls, wage ceilings, and more red tape for companies were aimed at reducing capital flight, but have severely compromised the country’s economic flexibility and, therefore, a readjustment of the productive sector.Dismantling these distortions will be the main political topic during the presidential campaign in the run-up to the election in October, with speculation on the pace of reform and its effects on the value of the peso. As the balance of trade points to a loss of competitiveness, the magnitude of a necessary devaluation will be a key element of sensitive reform.Even if changes are implemented relatively quickly, institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expect the current recessionary environment to persist until 2017, the IMF revealed in its latest report.17 July 2015The recent fall in international oil prices has led Argentina’s state oil company, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), to focus on projects that seek to improve competitiveness, especially in Vaca Muerta, a shale oil field that will require huge investments to commercialise. New investments to increase production of conventional oil will help to reduce the energy trade deficit, which has persisted despite the domestic economic downturn and falling prices.In May YPF released a report showing the results of three years of state management (the company was re-nationalised in May 2012). In this period natural gas production rose by 25%, oil output grew by 10% and reserves expanded by 24%. Investments totalled US$6.1bn in 2014, well over double the 2011 level. The company’s sales rose by 30%, and pre-tax income increased by over 40%. Production continued to grow in the first three months of 2015: YPF’s oil output rose by 5% and its production of natural gas rose by 14%. This compares with a 1% decline in total national oil output and a small rise of 2% in national gas output.New announcements suggest growth in outputSince the release of the May report YPF has made several announcements that are indicative of further output growth. At the end of May the company announced the find of a new conventional oil field in Los Caldenes, located in Northern Río Negro province. Exploration works had started last year, and the field’s potential resources now amount to 40m barrels. Soon after, YPF announced an agreement with Petrolera Pampa (which belongs to Argentina’s Pampa Energía group) to increase existing investment in Rincón del Mangrullo, in Neuquén province, to expand the production of tight gas. In December 2014 Pampa Energía had presented YPF with a US$150m project to improve surface facilities, in order to double the capacity of natural gas treatment plants to 4m cubic metres of natural gas per day. This project has now finally been approved. Pampa Energía will also invest US$22.5m in drilling new wells to expand gas production in the area. Both companies will jointly invest US$40m for new exploration in that area.Although these projects will help to raise YPF’s production of conventional oil and natural gas, the company’s key project continues to be Vaca Muerta, a shale oil field located in Neuquén, with a potential output of 23bn barrels. The president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, recently announced the construction of a railway to connect the port of Buenos Aires, the capital, to the Vaca Muerta field, seeking to cut transport costs for imported inputs by a quarter. This could prove important in the light of the recent drop in oil prices and the drop in competitiveness caused by renewed real appreciation of the Argentinian peso this year. YPF has also announced that it will start import-substitution of the sand needed for the fracking process at Vaca Muerta, which is also expected to cut down drilling costs. These announcements should help to ease labour tensions that recently erupted in Neuquén, when construction workers blocked roads in the province, warning that around 400 workers (around 15% of those working in construction activity in the shale field) could be dismissed, owing to a delay in the Vaca Muerta construction works caused by a drop in oil prices.The Vaca Muerta project remains crucial if the country is to overcome the energy crisis that has come about as a result of a decade of government intervention in the sector via tariff freezes, price controls and export taxes, which have driven a decline in oil and natural gas production and reserves. This has produced problems for the balance of payments: in 2014 the energy trade deficit was above US$6bn. Although in the first four months of 2015 the deficit decreased, it did not disappear altogether, despite the domestic economic downturn and the drop in international oil prices. The latest announcements will go some way to reducing the energy trade deficit further. However, commercialising Vaca Muerta will require a much larger investment commitment over time, and it will fall to the next government, which will take office in December 2015, to secure these long-term commitments.By Charles Newbery17 July 2015Buenos Aires (Platts)–17Jul2015/202 pm EDT/1802 GMT A federal judge in Argentina has ordered state-run energy company YPF and other parties to hand over information for an investigation into alleged overpayments and other irregularities in the purchase of LNG.At YPF, a source confirmed the arrival of the request.“We are collaborating with the justice system,” the source said on the condition of not being identified. “We are complying with the order for documentation.”Judge Claudio Bonadio issued the order on Friday. In addition to YPF, officials delivered the order to Enarsa, a state company that oversees LNG imports, and the Planning Ministry, which oversees national energy affairs and Enarsa, according to a report by La Nacion newspaper.Bonadio’s office could not be reached for comment. Enarsa likewise could not be reached for comment and the Planning Ministry’s press department declined immediate comment.YPF has handled LNG purchases at the request of Enarsa since the former came under state control in 2012.Bonadio is investigating a case presented last October by Federico Pinedo, Patricia Bullrich and Laura Alonso, lawmakers for the right-wing opposition party Republican Proposal.The lawmakers filed the case based on claims that Argentina may have overpaid for LNG supplies in recent years.The allegations derived from comments by Roberto Dromi, a lawyer and former minister of Public Works and Services, about a lack of transparency and illegalities in the tenders for cargoes. The remarks raised suspicions that officials and advisers involved in the tenders and the purchases may have benefited personally from the deals.Dromi made the comments in an interview published in La Nacion newspaper on October 18, 2014, according to a copy of the complaint.Dromi’s consultancy had worked for several years advising LNG suppliers on doing business with Argentina. “The contract was done in English, with secret clauses, armored keys and nobody knows the specifications, or price, or anything,” Dromi said in the interview.YPF has denied any irregularities.Argentina imports an average of 30 million cubic meters/d of gas, some by pipe from Bolivia and some as LNG.By John HopewellJuly 20, 2015First-half 2015 Argentine box office soars to modern-day record as national cinema awaits ‘The Clan,’ ‘Truman,’ ‘The King of Once’MARBELLA, Spain — Argentina’s Mar del Plata Festival, Latin America’s only “A” grade fest event, has moved forward to an early November berth, running Oct. 30 to Nov. 7 this year, Lucrecia Cardoso, president of Argentina’s INCAA Film Festival, confirmed Saturday at the 2nd Platino Awards.Approved by the Intl. Federation of Film Producers Assns., (FIAPF), the film festival regulator, the change is to avoid a clash with potential second-round voting in Argentina’s upcoming general elections, she added.Celebrating its 30th edition in 2015, Mar del Plata moved last year to a later date, just one week before early December’s Ventana Sur, running Nov. 22-24. That allowed the fest, which was graced by the presence of Viggo Mortensen and Paul Schrader and saw a hike in attendance to around 130,000 in tix sales, to begin to spark synergies with Latin America’s premier film mart: Mar del Plata’s Work in Progress took place only three days before Ventana Sur, for instance.The Mar del Plata Festival will once more host Argentina’s Encuentro de Comunicacion Audiovisual (ECA), an annual meet which debates the future of Argentina’s film/TV biz. This year it will also see a FIAPF board meeting.Mar del Plata has yet to announce its industry activities, which may well build on its successful Work in Progress event, or, as it 2015 dates half clash with the American Film Market, potential links with Ventana Sur.Backed by Argentina’s powerful INCAA state film-TV agency, which co-launched Ventana Sur with the Cannes Festival and Film Market in 2009, Mar del Plata is also building as a springboard for young Argentine talent at a time when Argentina is producing a clutch of the most ambitious movies to come out of Latin America, such as Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales,” which swept the Platino Awards on Saturday, and now Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan,” which bows Aug. 13 in Argentina, plus Lucrecia Martel’s “Zama.”Argentina is also emerging as an en energetic international co-producer not only with Europe but also the rest of Latin America. In Marbella, Cardoso pointed out that over 2009-14, more than 50% of INCAA-backed films, via its main subsidy lines, were international co-productions,linking up with 24 countries in total.Awaiting some of its biggest 2015 plays – “The Clan,” Cesc Gay’s “Truman,” Daniel Burman’s “King of the Once” – Argentine films’ domestic market share to date this year is around 11%, thanks to adolescence-themed “Abzurdah,” “No Kids,” Santiago Mitre’s Cannes Critics’ Week winner “Paulina” – which has notched up 108, 508 admissions, three times the trawl for his debut, “The Student,” four years ago – and “Socio por accidente.” Argentina punched 25 million admissions first-half 2015, a record since 1986, Cardoso said.2015’s national film share might not break Argentina’s 2014 17.8% modern record, driven by “Wild Tales,” but should be significantly up on the average for years before 2013 when Argentina’s national share rose to 15%, she observed.“Argentina’s production section is growing, and making films at a higher scale and ambition,” she added, by way of explanation.Mar del Plata’s “A”-grade status points in popular parlance to its being one of FIAPF’s 15 fests – along with most, but not all, the biggest festivals in the world such as Cannes, Berlin and Venice – which are accredited by FIAPF as competitive feature film festivals.By John MalathronasJuly 17, 2015(CNN)The Buenos Aires railcar on Line A is air conditioned and sparkling new, as is its destination, Flores metro station.I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that Pope Francis comes from Flores.It’s because of the pontiff that I find myself at 3 p.m. outside the Basilica of San Jose, an 1880s church with a facade of Corinthian pilasters and an impressive Italianate clock tower.It seems a gigantic church for a minor middle-class parish, but in the 19th century Flores was the abode of prosperous landowners whose estates hosted political conferences and witnessed lavish parties.I’m here to join a walk to the Pope’s old stomping grounds.Daniel Vega, a guide with a booming voice and clearly enunciated Spanish meets me and three ladies from northern Argentina.This being Latin America, we spent the first 15 minutes getting to know each other.Our tour starts in the basilica because, as Daniel maintains, a 17-year-old Jorge Bergoglio — now known to the world as Pope Francis — had his epiphany in that confessional on our left.Flight from fascism“It was September 1953, springtime,” says Vega. “Jorge was off to meet his friends who were waiting in the square. When he passed by the basilica, somehow he felt the need for a confession.“He heard no voices, saw no visions, but that confession was a transcendental experience. He left with a strong conviction that he had to become a priest.”What about his friends?“He forgot about them and went home.”Outside, Vega gives us the back story.How the Bergoglio family had a candy store in Portacomaro, in Italy.How they left for Argentina on the steamer Giulio Cesare in January 1929 to escape the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini.Daniel adds that delays in selling their shop made them miss the earlier sailing of Principessa Mafalda.Papal ice creamIt sank in October 1927 off the coast of Brazil with the loss of 314 lives.Whether true or false, this act of apparent divine providence has already entered popular mythology.The Pope’s popularity has helped local businesses.In front of us stands a pizzeria, cheekily named “Habemus Pizza y Pasta” after the traditional “Habemus Papam” announcement following a pope’s election.A team of Argentinian ice cream makers have already presented His Holiness with his own ice cream flavor: vanilla and lemon, in the papacy’s traditional colors of white and yellow.We stop in front of a white one-story terraced house at Calle Varela 268.There are bars on the windows and the twin external doors lead to two separate flats.It’s all so ordinary except for the plaque: “Pope Francis was born here.”Until October 2014 another address at Calle Membrillar was considered to be the Pope’s childhood home.Indeed, when this tour started Pope Francis asked: “Which house do they go to?”When asked what he meant, he waved it away: “Let the poor neighbors live in peace.”Not any more.This address was discovered by historian Daniel Vargas who dug out the Pope’s birth certificate and sent a copy to the Vatican.Imagine his shock when his office phone rang: Pope Francis wanted a word.It was a word of confirmation.Little Jorge Bergoglio spent the first five years of his life here.Love letterOnly when the family expanded did they move to a bigger house at Calle Membrillar.There’s no doubt about our next stop a few blocks south.A bright red exterior announces Escuela Pedro Antonio Cervino, a mixed primary school that Pope Francis attended.The pervading silence is a reminder that it’s summer vacation time.After Cardinal Bergoglio’s election as pope, an elderly neighborhood woman claimed to have been his childhood sweetheart.“He wrote me a love letter”, she insisted. “And said that if I didn’t marry him, he’d become a priest!”The media demanded to see the letter.“When my father saw it, he tore it to pieces,” she said.“We were only 12!”The media swooned.Further south, the barrio becomes more residential.A small breeze hits us as we climb uphill.We walk by several freshly painted colonial-style houses with well-tended patios.The Pope’s father was an accountant and was comfortably off.At Membrillar 531 we find the house where Jorge Bergoglio spent his youth.As a marker of the Pope’s past it scores high in disappointment, because it’s been comprehensively rebuilt.The Buenos Aires Tourist Board must have been greatly relieved when the more photogenic Varela residence was discovered.The birth place of Pope Francis.Soccer saintsOpposite there is a square where Pope Francis played soccer as a kid.He’s still a card-carrying fan of his local team San Lorenzo de Almagro (nickname: The Saints).After his election San Lorenzo wore his image on their shirts for the next match.They won 1-0 after their opponents scored an own goal.No one here doubts it was a miracle.The final stop blessed by the presence of Pope Francis is the kindergarten in the Misericordia College.This is where he had his first communion and learned to count to 10, jumping down the entrance steps.“He returned to the college afterward as archbishop of Buenos Aires”, says Vega.“They still remember how he helped wash the dishes”.It’s probably because of memories like these that Pope Francis has his own tour.