Argentine Mondays: September 4th, 2017
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.
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Once again, this weekend was all about Santiago Maldonado, the 28-year-old artisan that went missing on August 1st in Chubut province. As we've mentioned before, the government has been facing a lot of heat from human rights organisations and Argentine citizens who consider the State to be responsible for his disappearance: the gendarmería is alleged to have arrested him and for many, it is a case of abduction by the force.
On Friday, there were protests across Argentina asking for his safe return and for Security Minister Patricia Bullrich to resign, marking one month since his disappearance. The largest protest took place in Plaza de Mayo in the City of Buenos Aires and in El Bolsón, the town close to where he was last seen alive. Unfortunately, there was violence and destruction of public property, with 31 arrests, Molotov cocktails and graffitti on the iconic Cabildo building, causing outcry. The National Statistics Bureau (INDEC) claims that there was attempted arson at its downtown office and the reparations will allegedly cost AR$ 5.8 million.
30 of the 31 people arrested have since been freed and there were protesters outside the court over the 12 hours of investigation into the charges of “public harassment [and] resisting authority." The person that remained apparently had issues with their documents.
Welcome, Buenos Aires Times!
Saturday marked the beginning of a new era, with the English language Buenos Aires Times appearing as a printed supplement to the Perfil newspaper — it's set to be a tribute to the Buenos Aires Herald, the 141-year-old newspaper that folded about a month ago. British ambassador Mark Kent said that “it comforted him to know that The Buenos Aires Times would keep the Herald’s legacy alive.” So keep your eyes peeled on Saturdays at your nearest kiosk!
Tupac Amaru leader Milagro Sala, whose imprisonment last year sparked international controversy, has been in the news after questioning the high level of security surrounding her house arrest, which she began serving last Thursday.
"Not even the [perpetrators of] genocide* have this much security. They don’t have gendarmería [Border Patrol] at their door, they don’t have as many cameras [on them] as I do," said Sala. She also complained about the fact that she has to prove that she is in her house at 9 AM to Border Patrol: “What’s the point of [wearing] the electronic ankle band?”
Sala has also had visitors (no more than four at a time), including her friends, family, members of the Tupac Amaru and famous journalist Victor Hugo Morales.
* Sala was referring to members of the latest military dictatorship, convicted of crimes against humanity.
No time for gaffes
As protests clamoured for her resignation, Security Minister Patricia Bullrich slipped up over the weekend. She confirmed that a woman who had threatened President Mauricio Macri's four-year-old daughter turned out to be a psychiatric patient had been apprehended. So far so good. However, in her tweet on Saturday Bullrich also revealed the woman's name to the press — which is against Argentine mental health law.
Speaking of social media gaffes, albeit a little less serious, USA Basketball promoting the FIBA Americup final between Argentina and the US with the emoji of...the Uruguayan flag. No, really. That's despite the Argentine flag featuring clearly in the flyer that was being tweeted and the fact that the Uruguayan flag doesn't really look like the Argentine flag. There was a lot of indignation on social media but the three Argentine players who responded — Facundo Campazzo, Nicolás Laprovittola and Patricio Garino — didn't appear to take it to heart.
Argentina lost 81-76, by the way.
For the first time in five years, Argentina has two tennis players in the second week of the US Open, with Diego Schwartzman and Juan Martín del Potro making it through to the quarter and the fourth round respectively. Delpo got himself a warning for swearing after slipping and falling over in his bright pink Nike trainers: it looked painful and Delpo had a long discussion with umpire Carlos Ramos, but obcenities are against the rules. Delpo went on to win despite the fall and subsequent distractions, but Nike might not count this one as a victory.
The Buenos Aires Subway "A" Line has started touristic route between the Perú and Acoyte stations until the end of the year. Why touristic, you may ask? The old fashioned coaches, known as "las brujas" (the witches) which had been taken out of the underground tunnels in 2013, have been completely restored. 270 residents were selected to ride in one of the 78 restored coaches that have been declared as Cultural Heritage of the City of Buenos Aires. An underground train with no chewing gum under the seats? Add that to your Buenos Aires bucket list.
What to look out for this week
Juan Martín del Potro will be playing against the young Austrian Dominic Thiem today in the US Open at 16:30. Will there still two Argentine players in the tournament by the end of the day?
This Thursday, get your Argentine news fix with Plus Five Four, a weekly podcast with something for everyone! Check out Plus Five Four on your usual podcast app or follow on Facebook/Twitter. Stay tuned!
If knowledge is power, being informed helps you power through the morning.
Or at least have a conversation or two.