Welcome to Argentine Mondays, your Monday morning update on what happened in Argentina while you were otherwise engaged over the weekend. Sit back and enjoy while the morning caffeine kicks in.
Happy Independence Day!
Yesterday was Argentina's Independence Day (July 9th), so hopefully most AM readers were enjoying an asado or locro or a ridiculous amount of food of some kind. In the absence of President Mauricio Macri, Vice President Gabriela Michetti was in charge of the official Independence Day celebrations, held in Tucumán province (where the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1816).
There was a traditional Catholic Te Deum ceremony in San Miguel de Tucumán, in which the Archbishop of Tucumán, Alfredo Horacio Zecca, asked the congregation (including national and provincial authorities) to "let go of the grudges and useless, sterile differences in order to build a [stronger] house."
Not that it helped, apparently: Vice President Michetti was booed and jeered at the moment she appeared outside of the Cathedral, with more insults to welcome her at the Historical House of Independence (where the famous document was signed). The people responsible were allegedly Kirchnerites that responded to local lawmakers (according to La Nación).
Meanwhile, in Germany...
President Macri, on the other hand, spent his Independence Day on board the Fragata Libertad, the famous Argentine navy school vessel, which was also in Hamburg. In the ceremony for the 201st anniversary of Argentine Independence, he told those present that "[We] Argentines are ready to assume a central role on the world stage and to be a part of the answers to the most urgent global challenges. [...] We get nowhere by isolating ourselves."
While in Germany, Macri took part in the G20 international forum, where he held his first bilateral meeting with France's President Emmanuel Macron and did not meet with Prime Minister Theresa May. In interviews, he focused on the former, saying that the new French president "agreed that the [potential agreement between] the MERCOSUR and the EU is an opportunity that must be advanced upon." The G20 will be held in Buenos Aires 2018.
"I am very happy [with how the G20 went]. And I sense support for the transformation that we have taken on [in Argentina]," continued Macri, who is set to return today.
Economy: tidbits for Monday small-talk
According to the private consulting firm Economía & Regiones (E&R), things aren't looking good for the official annual inflation estimate— due to the increase in fuel prices, the baseline values "have been elevated," making for a 1.7% projection for this month. For E&R, missing the official 12-17% objective due to an upsurge of inflation "would not be surprising."
How about these numbers as conversation starters? The sale of used cars has gone up by 29% and leather goods imports have increased by 32% in 2017.
As for our weekly look at the nation's optimism levels, Management & Fit's Political Optimism Index shows signs of a more positive image for Macri with a 0.8 increase. However, "people's pockets are the thermometer of their worries" as the Economic Optimism Index goes down by 0.3 points, to 33.4.
Over 900 Senegalese immigrants congregated in Córdoba City (in Córdoba province) yesterday for a day of "singing and praying for peace" and religious festivities. The event was organised to call for more visibility for the community as well as improved organisation for their documents and other legal processes. Most Senegalese immigrants are registered as refugees: Argentina has had no embassy in Senegal since 2002 and Brazil has the only Senegalese embassy in South America.
"Senegalese communities all over the world have this event, but not on the same day. Every country and organisation choose a date. We chose the 9th [of July] because it's Argentina's [main national] celebration and we want to participate in our own way [...] celebrating the day of Xassida, of books and poetry by Serigne Touba about Islam and the prophet Mahoma. It's a day of reciting the Koran and the xassida," said Cheikh Mouhamadou Bamba Seck one of the event organisers who moved to Córdoba 18 months ago.
According to a local newspaper, most of those in attendance were men of around 30 from across Argentina, including Buenos Aires, Corrientes, Rosario, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán and Trelew, alongside the Senegalese community in Córdoba.
Beyond the scoreboard
Argentinos Juniors FC, known as "Bicho" or "Bug," has returned to the Primera División after beating Gimnasia de Jujuy 1-0 on Saturday. Diego Maradona congratulated his first football club (which saw his professional debut at 15) but others went further: one football fan jumped onto the grass to thank the coach Gabriel "Gringo" Heinze with a marriage proposal: "I weigh 130 kilos and I ran the entire pitch to kiss you. I want to marry you," said the football fan. Intense. But then, that's Argentine football.
Another Argentine star goes to China— after 10 years in the US National Basketball Association (NBA),37-year-old Luis Scola is set to play for the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons.
The second-top scorer of the league, River Plate FC forward Sebastián Driussi headed off to Russia yesterday for the next phase of his career in Zenit, addressing the doping rumours surrounding him before boarding.
Boca Juniors FC, meanwhile, failed to transfer Ricardo Centurión back to Sao Paolo after offering a number "far off the mark." Centurión threatened last week that he would "retire from football" if he was forced to leave Boca, despite only being on loan as of August 2016: "I belong to Sao Paolo, but my wish is to stay here."
Coria barrios http://www.lanacion.com.ar/2041179-tenis-en-los-barrios-guillermo-coria-dio-una-clinica-en-moron-y-presento-el-programa-juvenil
Argentine Google Doodle
Google Doodle paid homage to Argentine Independence Day yesterday with an illustration by the Argentine artist Liniers, known for his comic characters that range from adorable to outright bizarre. The patriotic drawing features tango as a central theme, with the well-renowned accordion player Aníbal "Pichuco" Troilo playing away with octopus-like dexterity.
"The great thing is that [Google] gave me total freedom. I played around with different archetypes to represent [Independence Day] and the tango version was the one that stuck," said Liniers in an interview with Clarín
Speaking of 9 de julio, it's been ten years since the Independence Day many will remember as the day it snowed in Buenos Aires. In 2007, the city saw snowflakes (and slush) for the first time since 1918, something that the National Meteorological Office did foresee but for some reason failed to report.
What to look out for this week:
Teachers in the City of Buenos Aires will go on strike on Tuesday (July 11th): Buenos Aires City Education Minister Soledad Acuña warned over the weekend that teachers who go on strike will have that day deducted from their salaries. The teachers unions, for their part, denounce that they have as yet received no new proposal from the city government. This is off to a good start already.
More protests: on Thursday, public hospital workers from the province of Buenos Aires will go on a 24 hour strike demanding better salaries and to "highlight the crisis" in the provincial health system. This is their eighth protest of 2017. A new provincial Health Minister, Andrés Scarsi, is set to start this week: that's what we call a baptism by fire.
The 1País alliance, spearheaded by Sergio Massa and Margarita Stolbizer, will try to get a special session in Congress on Wednesday to eliminate legislative privileges for public servants.
If knowledge is power, being informed helps you power through the morning. Or at least have a conversation or two. Happy Monday!