Posts Tagged ‘Cristina Fernandez’

Argentina: Diplomacy by advert

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Cristina Fernandez took out an ad in the UK’s Guardian and the Independent basically telling UK Prime Minister David Cameron to have the UK “return” the Falklands to Argentina.

Argentina’s been out of the Falklands for 181 years and got their butts kicked when they tried to invade 31 years ago, but Cristina needs a distraction from her ruinous domestic policies, and oil was found off the Falklands, hence, the ad.

Cameron replied in no uncertain terms,

a spokesman for Mr Cameron said the people of the Falklands had shown “a clear desire to remain British” and their interests would be protected.

Downing Street said the prime minister would “do everything to protect the interests of the Falklands islanders.”

Mr Cameron’s spokesman said the people of the Falklands had shown “a clear desire to remain British” and the Argentine government should respect their right to self determination.

Ed Morrissey posts on the story:

Argentina now argues that the British planted people on the island over the last 180 years of sovereignty, and that the people currently living on the islands — which are more than 250 miles away from Argentina, by the way — should be ineligible for self-determination. It’s a cute argument, as it does away with the question of self-determination at all — but by the same measure, most Argentinians would be ineligible for self-determination, as their population came mainly from colonial expansion from a couple of centuries before. What’s the cutoff? 181 years? 241 years? 369 years?

No one can be expected to take this seriously, but Cameron is clearly taking no chances.

Cristina ought to be worrying her little Botoxed head over her domestic policies… and maybe, just maybe, over her political future if the time comes when Hugo Chavez’s demise stops those suitcases full of money that finance her campaigns.

Jeff Dunetz finds a metaphor buried inside all the rubble.

Cross-posted at Liberty Unyielding.


Cristina Kirchner’s Falklands demands are delusional and insulting

Argentina: Broadcast licenses, cable TV and fiber-optic Internet networks to be auctioned off

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Cristina Fernandez’s government is auctioning off the broadcast licenses and the cable TV and fiber-optic Internet networks currently owned by Grupo Clarín SA and Unos Medios:
Argentina Plans to Auction Seized Media Assets

The country’s top court looks likely to rule on the constitutionality of the law, which opponents say not only violates constitutionally protected private-property rights, but threatens free speech as well.

The auction plans were confirmed Wednesday by Martin Sabbatella, who heads the federal agency created to enforce the law which critics say targets top media conglomerate Grupo Clarín SA and its most profitable business unit, Cablevisión.

Later Wednesday, Congress passed a law that allows the government to bypass federal appeals courts and take its case against directly to the Supreme Court.

The companies have until Dec. 7 to present plans to sell off all broadcast licenses and related assets that exceed a quota established by the media law. If they don’t, the government will begin the process of auctioning off the assets after the deadline, Mr. Sabbatella said at a news conference.

Another media group, Uno Medios, which also provides cable TV and Internet services around the country, will be similarly forced to sell its broadcast licenses, cable TV and Internet infrastructure or see them forcibly auctioned off.

Spokesmen for Grupo Clarín and Uno Medios weren’t immediately available for comment.

Mr. Sabbatella had previously said the government would force companies to sell licenses that didn’t comply with requirements of the media law, but it wasn’t clear they would also have to sell related infrastructure assets.

Mr. Sabbatella said a federal tribunal will establish the value of those assets and that value will be used to determine the initial auction price for the assets, proceeds from which would go back to the companies, not the government.

The deadline stems from an injunction that Grupo Clarín was granted against the enforcement of the media law. The injunction expires Dec. 7. Lawyers had said Clarín could seek an extension of the injunction or appeal any government attempt to take over or auction off its assets.

Clarin argues the media law violates constitutionally protected private-property rights, which the government denies.

Clarín, the country’s largest-circulation daily, has been criticizing both Cristina and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, for years (Clarín‘s stock actually stock went up by 50% the day after Kirchner’s death). They have stated that

“This government can’t handle the existence of independent entities that can have an influence in society,” Clarin editor Ricardo Kirschbaum said. “It seems to me that the government simply wants to have political control over the media. … and I think that what’ they’re trying to achieve is the beginning of a process that enables them to hold onto power indefinitely.”

The auction would take place once the injunction expires.

Argentina: High-end retailers leave the country

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Argentinian newspaper 2001 reports that international high-end retailers, such as Escada and stores owned by LVMH, are vacating their shops in Buenos Aires’s Alvear avenue due to the latest currency restrictions.

Most prominently, shops can no longer accept payment in US dollars, but the article also mentions that “numerous business restrictions” impede doing business.

Additionally, other retailers like The Gap and Apple are opening shop in Santiago, Chile, which has a much more welcoming business environment. The Santiago Apple store will be Latin America’s third, after Mexico and Brazil. This nearly amounts to an indictment of the Argentinian government’s business policy, since Argentina’s economy is South America’s third-largest. However, Chile’s competitiveness and economic index surpassed Argentina’s years ago.

Luis Vuitton, a favorite brand of president Cristina Fernández, is gone, but, fear not, she’ll always have Paris.

Argentina: Cristina will miss the Olympics

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

London 2012: Argentina to snub UK by refusing to send president to Olympic Games opening ceremony

Argentina has decided not to send its president to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in a diplomatic snub to Britain at a time of growing tensions over the Falkland Islands.

$5 says no one will miss her.

The taxman commeth

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Sicking the taxman on your political opponents is becoming quite the vogue in our hemisphere:

The Taxman Cometh

If you want to publicly criticize Argentina’s government, make sure all your tax filings are in order.

That was the thinly veiled message President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner sent Wednesday near the end of a speech broadcast on all national television and radio stations. Reiterating her standard criticism that media “operations” are depressing Argentinians with gloom-and-doom stories, she derided an article published last Sunday. (She didn’t say this, but the paper that ran it was Clarín, the country’s largest-circulation daily.) In the story, the owner of a real-estate agency, one of its directors and an employee were quoted complaining that recent government measures essentially blocking the sale of foreign currency to citizens had paralyzed their business.

Kirchner then dropped this bit of information: the firm in question hasn’t filed taxes since 2007 and neither has the director quoted in the story, whom she named.

How did she know? She had called up the head of the tax agency to ask, and this, too, she openly revealed on Wednesday’s broadcast.

…Kirchner’s statement on Wednesday was different: by saying that she had called the taxman out of supposed concern for the real-estate agency, she unabashedly established cause and effect: you criticize me; I punish you. Was there a better way for her to flex muscle than signal that Argentina’s government agencies are at her beck and call and say so with no shame?

Not cause-and-effect, but coincidental,
Strassel: Obama’s Enemies List—Part II
First an Obama campaign website called out Romney donor Frank Vandersloot. Next the IRS moved to audit him—and so did the Labor Department.

Mr. VanderSloot has since been learning what it means to be on a presidential enemies list. Just 12 days after the attack, the Idahoan found an investigator digging to unearth his divorce records. This bloodhound—a recent employee of Senate Democrats—worked for a for-hire opposition research firm.

Now Mr. VanderSloot has been targeted by the federal government. In a letter dated June 21, he was informed that his tax records had been “selected for examination” by the Internal Revenue Service. The audit also encompasses Mr. VanderSloot’s wife, and not one, but two years of past filings (2008 and 2009).

Mr. VanderSloot, who is 63 and has been working since his teens, says neither he nor his accountants recall his being subject to a federal tax audit before. He was once required to send documents on a line item inquiry into his charitable donations, which resulted in no changes to his taxes. But nothing more—that is until now, shortly after he wrote a big check to a Romney-supporting Super PAC.

Two weeks after receiving the IRS letter, Mr. VanderSloot received another—this one from the Department of Labor. He was informed it would be doing an audit of workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers.

Perhaps all this is coincidence. Perhaps something in Mr. VanderSloot’s finances or on his ranch raised a flag. Americans want to believe the federal government performs its duties without fear or favor.

Only in this case, Americans can have no such confidence. Did Mr. Obama pick up the phone and order the screws put to Mr. VanderSloot? Or—more likely—did a pro-Obama appointee or political hire or career staffer see that the boss had an issue with this donor, and decide to do the president an unasked-for election favor? Or did he or she simply think this was a duty, given that the president had declared Mr. VanderSloot and fellow donors “less than reputable”?

As a commenter in the latter article put it,

Here is the problem. Despite living an exemplary life and keeping all of your affairs in order and legal to the best of your abilities, because the laws are so outrageously complex and of such breadth and volume that it is impossible to know them and thus adhere to them, everyone who has any arrangement beyond the most simple can likely be found, upon thorough investigation, to be in violation of something. For this reason, getting audited can be problematic, despite honest attempts to stay compliant. Thus, people rightly fear being singled out and becoming an audit target.

Criticisms of “what have you to hide?” are a simpleton’s response to such fears. Nowadays, managing a business or any enterprise is fraught with big and little gotchas in every conceivable corner.

Not a good trend.

Not good at all.

Cross-posted in The Green Room.

Argentina’s Olympic gaffe

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Two weeks ago, Cristina Fernández saw fit to run this ad on TV,

The ad features

Fernando Zylberberg, a member of the Argentine men’s hockey team running through the streets of the Falklands capital Port Stanley with the slogan “to compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil.” The advert included scenes of Mr. Zylberberg training on the steps of the Island’s Great War Memorial, which commemorates British sailors who gave their lives fighting the Germans in 1914.

The Olympic Committee has no sense of humor:

The IOC said the 2012 Games should not be a forum to raise political issues.
It added that it “regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end.”

The IOC said it had contacted the Argentinian National Olympic Committee about the advert and received assurances that the games would not be used as a political platform.

‘Not political’
“The Olympic Games should not be a forum to raise political issues and the IOC regrets any attempts to use the spotlight of the games for that end,” the IOC added.

And then, Zylberberg’s own team dropped him,

as The Telegraph revealed today, the hockey player featured in the Falklands-set propaganda piece is now likely to miss the London Olympics, after being “virtually ruled out after being excluded from the 18-man Argentine hockey squad taking part in a 10-day tournament in Malaysia from May 24.” His shameless use as a political pawn by the Kirchner administration is undoubtedly a key factor in the decision by Argentina’s own Olympic Committee to drop him, after they distanced themselves from the controversial advertisement.

Zylberberg will probably be offerred a job in Cristina’s bureaucracy.

In the meantime, the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Argentina’s nationalisation of YPF and called for a partial suspension of tariffs that benefit exports from the South American country to the EU.

Argentina: Book banning through unleaded ink

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

No Kindle for Kirchner
In the age of the iPad, Argentina bans importing books.

Last October, the government impounded 1.6 million commercially imported books. In the spirit of Mr. Sellers’s Count Rupert of Mountjoy, Mrs. Kirchner’s government has concocted a reason for this novel policy: Imported books are dangerous, but in a way even Ray Bradbury hadn’t thought of.

Last month the Argentine government told retail customers of online booksellers such as Amazon that their imported books would be held up at airport customs until they went there personally and proved that the ink in the books contained less than 0.06% lead.

Argentine industrialists, like the loyal citizens of Grand Fenwick, applauded the measure. One explained the government’s concern: “If you put your finger in your mouth after paging through a book, that can be dangerous.”

For a moment I thought Cristina was going to fuel her car with imported books, but that explanation clears it all for me: She doesn’t want leaded ink in her books because she never stopped sucking her thumb while reading.

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 13th, 2012

The Argentine president and her empire in the south
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has been quick to accuse Britain of ‘imperialism’. But, as Ian Mount and Philip Sherwell write, she has been creating a rather impressive empire of her own.

Argentina in UK ‘nuclear’ claim
Argentina accuses the UK of sending a nuclear-armed submarine to the South Atlantic, and makes an official complaint to the UN over the Falklands.

Barack Obama’s shameless Falklands betrayal will overshadow David Cameron’s Washington visit

Repsol Says Argentine Shale-Oil Formation Requires $250 Billion Investment

Concerns with the Brazil Narrative

Privatising Brazil’s airports
Fasten your seat belts
Sky-high prices raise the prospect of more sell-offs

Drippy No More
Once viewed as filler for mass-market brands, Brazilian coffee is hot. A look at its sweet and nutty charms

The Wall Street Journal has a Brazil Special: Have It Your Way
There’s a lot to see in a country with 4,600 miles of coastline and nearly half the landmass of South America. But whether you’re into art, urbanity or the outdoors, you’ll find something to love in this destination trifecta

Chile drops brush fire charges against Israeli

Colombia seizes Farc rebels’ explosives cache
The Colombian security forces have seized three tonnes of explosives and arms belonging to the country’s biggest left-wing rebel group, the Farc.

How Kennedy bought 1,200 hand rolled Cuban cigars just hours before he ordered blockade of communist state 50 years ago

Will The Pope Absolve Fidel Castro?

Hey Fidel, Abuse of the Sacrament of Confession is a Mortal Sin

Dominicans in deadly migrant boat accident say they pleaded to return

U.N. Investigative Body to Stay in Guatemala

California’s Demographic Revolution
If the upward mobility of the impending Hispanic majority doesn’t improve, the state’s economic future is in peril

The problem some Texans have with border fence

The Obama Effect in Latin America
Placating enemies instead of strengthening partnerships with friends.

President BO’s “not much of a policy” toward Latin America

Self-deportation works

Cynthia Vanier’s Background and Activities in Libya
Ms. Vanier, who traveled to Libya in 2011 as a consultant to a large Canadian construction company and is now jailed in Mexico, is accused of trying to help smuggle Saadi Qaddafi, the son of the former Libyan dictator, into the country

Mexico mob kills three suspected kidnappers
Security officials in Mexico say three men have been killed by a mob for allegedly trying to kidnap a group of youths.

Candidacy tests Mexico’s culture of machismo

Mexico’s Presidential Election and the Cartel War

Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch & Public Safety Report: 2/9/2012

Sendero Luminoso, fragilidad institucional y socialismo del Siglo XXI en el Peru, PDF file.

Puerto Rico Referendum Could Revitalize D.C. Status Debate

On Obama’s Watch

Venezuela’s presidential campaign
Mano a mano
The opposition has got its act together at last. Will that be enough to topple a convalescent and vulnerable Hugo Chávez?

Threats against Venezuelan state employees may suppress turnout for Sunday’s primary election

The week’s posts:
Ecuador: More persecution of journalists
Drugs, guns, and bundlers UPDATED


Argentina’s flight of capital

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I was writing about this nearly three years ago, and it’s not stopping.

Argentina’s Capital Flight
The government clamps down as the economy deteriorates and capital attempts to flee the country.

As kichnerismo enters its ninth year, the populist economic model is beginning to fray. Price controls and contract abrogation have damaged foreign investment flows. Government expenditures increased last year by 40% while revenues were up by only 30%, according to Universidad Torcuato Di Tella economist Pablo Guidotti. “If the economy slows it will aggravate this fiscal weakness,” he told me in a telephone interview last week.

Normally deficits can be financed in the international capital markets. But Argentina has been cut off since 2001 because it is in default to the Paris Club governments and to private creditors. Mr. Guidotti says the central bank has been “printing” money to close the gap. Inflation estimates by other private-sector economists of over 21% in 2011 support his claim.

The central bank insists that annual inflation is only 10%, and it has used capital controls and market intervention to limit peso devaluation to a similar level. Markets know better. The truth is showing up in the drag on Argentine competitiveness in export markets, i.e., Argentine products are too expensive. It is clear that the peso will eventually face a much larger devaluation and Argentines therefore prefer to hold dollars. But experience tells them that holding dollars inside Argentina isn’t real protection, and tighter capital controls have increased fears of confiscation. This is why Mrs. Kirchner has employed sniffer dogs.

On the fiscal side trouble is also looming. Even with generous central bank accommodation, Mr. Guidotti says, fiscal accounts are “deteriorating.” The government has recognized this and announced that it will reduce subsidies in gas, electricity and water and will stop subsidizing the Buenos Aires subway. While the administration claims the utility cutbacks will only hit the wealthy, Mr. Guidotti says “it will affect almost everybody except the very poor,” who will have to apply for an exemption. Last week ticket prices on the subway in the capital went up by more than 100%. But by all accounts the belt tightening has only just begun.

Era of Argentine Subsidies Ending
President Kirchner Starts to Pare Back State’s Largess Amid Strained Finances, a Slowing Economy
; the dogs are out, let the strange season begin.

Who let the dogs out?


Argentina: broke, regardless of the Dead Cow’s oil

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Investors are excited about a new shale oil find, reportedly six times higher than previously estimated:
Repsol’s Argentine Oil Find Is Company’s Biggest

Repsol YPF SA (REP), Spain’s largest oil company, rose the most in six-weeks in Madrid trading after its Argentine YPF SA (YPF) unit made its biggest ever find at a shale oil field in Patagonia.
YPF, in which Madrid-based Repsol owns a 57 percent stake, said yesterday well tests showed the Loma La Lata field holds about 927 million barrels In May, it had said the find was about 150 million barrels.

The field will roughly double YPF reserves and helps cement Argentina’s ranking as having the world’s third-largest probable reserves of shale oil, behind the U.S. and China, based on U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

Of course, the US’s reserves are, from a pragmatic point of view, meaningless for as long as the US government continues to forbid the development and exploitation of our own natural resources.

But I digress.

At present, YPF has total oil reserves of about 531 million barrels. The find announced yesterday is located at the Vaca Muerta formation at Loma La Lata.

Vaca Muerta means dead cow.

The Dead Cow finding in Argentina will be expensive to develop and process

Shooting water and chemicals deep underground to blast open oil- and gas-bearing rocks can be a much more intensive, and expensive, process than traditional onshore drilling. And rising concerns in the U.S. and elsewhere that the process could contaminate aquifers could put a brake on its development in Argentina, said Jim Flanagan, an analyst who focuses on Latin America with energy consultant IHS CERA.

Years down the line, the country may become a petrostate of sorts. Dependence on foreign oil and Hugo Chavez will decrease — if the government doesn’t blow it,

Yet, Argentina has had trouble developing both shale and conventional reserves because of heavy intervention in the energy sector by the leftist government. After enduring an economic collapse in 2001, Argentina imposed price controls on energy to protect consumers. But the controls, along with the populist tenor of the Argentine governments of Cristina Kirchner and her late husband and predecessor Nestor, have discouraged new investment despite fast growth in Argentina.

The combination of low investment and rising energy consumption, along with higher prices, is increasingly putting Argentina in a bind. Argentina’s overall energy trade balance, including electricity, will swing this year to a deficit of about $3.5 billion from a surplus of about $1 billion in 2010, according to Daniel Montamat, a former energy secretary who also once served as YPF’s president when it was a state-controlled company.

For now, however, the clock is ticking (h/t Instapundit):

One hopes they are wrong, but it looks increasingly as if Argentina is now embarked on the next phase of its recurring bipolar economic disorder. The manic phase has peaked and the long and painful fall has now begun. The next step of the cycle is marked by increasingly desperate and wild struggles of a government to cope with increasingly intractable and pressing problems. During this cycle, seasoned Argentines often begin moving their money out of the country and anticipating one of the recurring bouts of inflation that periodically reduce the nation’s money to worthlessness.

A ten year cycle? If so, the next one’s about to strike.