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Argentine Mondays: October 2nd, 2017

Two months on

After two months, there is still no sign of Santiago Maldonado — the 28-year-old who went missing on August 1st after gendarmería evicted a protest carried out by the Mapuche indigenous tribe in Cushamen (Chubut province). Yesterday saw thousands of people march across the country with the eternal question: “Where is Santiago Maldonado?”

Sergio Maldonado, who has dedicated himself to finding his younger brother, spoke at the protest with an emotional letter written to Santiago. “Wherever you are, I want you to know that I love you and that I miss you more with each day that passes. Why are you going through this and not me? Because you always got involved in the just causes and not me.”

Source: Perfil

Germán Maldonado, who is not seen as often in the limelight, also read out a letter heavily criticising the government and the media for how they have handled his brother’s disappearance.

“Where are the politicians that want my brother to reappear, why don’t I see them? Where is [Elisa] Carrió, [Mauricio] Macri, [Gabriela] Michetti, [Marcos] Peña, [Patricia] Bullrich, [María Eugenia] Vidal? [...] They never come to support [us] here or anywhere. They never call.”

He also said that Security Minister Patricia Bullrich should “throw [herself] out of the window” to “do society a favour.”

Source: Clarín

There were also incidents at the march in the City of Buenos Aires, with a group of hooded men as protagonists in the Plaza de Mayo. According to witnesses, around four of them began spray-painting the area and threw several stun grenades, causing chaos as many tried to run away. They also began to accost journalists covering the event as the protesters had begun to disperse. They were chased away by the protesters themselves.

Milagro Sala déjà vu

Once again, Milagro Sala, the Tupac Amaru social leader whose imprisonment last year sparked international controversy, is in the news and the government faces international criticism. She is set to be sent back to the Alto Comedero Women’s Prison, where she had been imprisoned in 2016 before spending less than a month under house arrest. Said house arrest was revoked by the Appeals Chamber in Sala’s home province of Jujuy.

“Nothing about this government or this justice surprises me because they (the government) has been violating rights. [...] This is not a house arrest, this is a jail. This was a change from one prison to another," said Sala in an interview with TeleSUR. "To violate my rights is to violate [...] democracy.”.

The Interamerican Court of Human Rights has rejected the decision made by Jujuy’s Appeals Chamber and has warned that they evaluating what measures to implement as a result. The central government allegedly considers the revocation to have been both unnecessary and unfortunate.

Source: Ámbito

Economy: tidbits for Monday small-talk

  • The national budget, which was put forward on September 15th, will allocate 40 percent of its costs to the city of Buenos Aires and the province of Buenos Aires. That’s according to the Argentine Institute of Fiscal Analysis (IARAF in Spanish), which clarified that the percentages “do not establish a relevant relative measure because the provinces of our country have a marked heterogeneity when it comes to population.”

  • Retail sales have seen an accumulated decrease of 2.3 percent this year according to the Argentine Chamber for Small and Medium Sized Companies (CAME in Spanish): the month of September saw a 0.1 percent decrease.

  • President Mauricio Macri has enjoyed a third consecutive week of increased political and economic optimism, according to Clarín’s weekly measurements with information compiled by the private consulting firm Management & Fit. The overall economic optimism index is now at 38.6 and after a 1.4 point increase, the political index comes in at 43.

Luján Pilgrimage

Under the pouring that you probably refused to go out in, thousands of people participated in the 43rd pilgrimage to Luján over the weekend, making it into the town’s basilica by six in the morning on Sunday after walking an average of 60 kilometres. You can watch drone footage of their journey.

The maxim of the pilgrimage this year was “Mother, teach us to build peace” and the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Mario Poli accordingly focused on the country’s need for peace in his 07:00 mass. “There are no divisions during pilgrimage: that’s the unity that we want for our country. If there is peace, we can build anything and does Argentina need peace!” Poli also called for “every gesture of violence, discrimination and intolerance to be renounced.”

Source: Perfil

Some sports

  • Violence broke out in a match between Independiente and Vélez, with a banner at the centre: it read “Basta de AFAno,” meaning “Put an end to the stealing” using the acronym of the Argentine Football Association (AFA).After a warning, the Buenos Aires police force and the hinchas (football fans) clashed in the stadium as Independiente was winning 1-0 and after the match outside. Rubber bullets and stones were used but no serious injuries reported.

Source: La Nación

  • The players who will be facing Peru on Thursday were revealed over the weekend, including River’s Enzo Pérez and Milton Casco, who are now training with national coach Jorge Sampaoli in Ezeiza. The surprise pick of Milton Casco caused a flurry of articles on who he is and why he was chosen as well as an explosion on social media, with many considering that he isn't national team material.

  • Argentine national rugby team los Pumas lost to All Blacks on Saturday by 36-10 after a crushing first half in which the New Zealanders got ahead by 26 points. They went on to claim their fifth Rugby Championship in six years.

What to look out for this week

  • As of today, there’s a new 20 peso bill in town as presented by the Argentine Central Bank: as has been the case with most of the new bills, an animal features on it, this time the guanaco. In addition, the five and ten peso bills will no longer be in circulation: coins of the same value will be minted soon.

  • Also as of today, the price of cigarettes is set to go up by an average of 4 percent, setting back Marlboro smokers back by AR$55 for every KS.

If knowledge is power, being informed will help you power through the morning.

Or at least have a conversation or two.

Happy Monday!

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