The Bubble | Argentina News Argentina News Fri, 16 Mar 2018 20:59:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Bubble's weekly podcast lets you know everything you may have missed last week in Argentina. We round it up so you can waste your time looking at pictures of cats on the internet. <br /> Politics, pop culture, and everything in between - all with a healthy dose of political correctness. The Bubble | Argentina News The Bubble | Argentina News (The Bubble | Argentina News) The News. With a Twist. Now in podcast form The Bubble | Argentina News Fashion Fans, Listen Up: Designers Buenos Aires Week is Here Fri, 16 Mar 2018 20:59:16 +0000

As one of Buenos Aires’ most exclusive and elusive fashion events (seriously, one of the hardest events to get any information about), we’re here to give you the lowdown and let you in on all the highlights (and lowlights) of the high-fashion filled week.

Just halfway through the thirteenth edition of Designers BA Week (March 12th – 21st), there’s already been enough fashion fused drama for one year.

The BA Designers event takes place at landmark locations across the city, speaking with Infobae, organizer Guillermo Azar explained that he wanted to leave behind conventional fashion show locations, which in his view are boring for the spectator and says he instead favors non obvious locations for fashion shows.

This year’s edition kicked off on MALBA’s roof terrace with designer / anesthetist Fabián Zitta’s 50s and 70s era inspired collection named, ‘Entrada a Milán’.

(Photo via Jason Sheill).
(Photo via Jason Sheil).


Garments included pleated gowns of sparkling emerald green, cool crimson and midnight black that were all about showing off a feminine silhouette. Models were also dressed in sharp tailored suits showcasing a total of 43 new looks for the 2018 Fall and Winter season.

(Photo via Jason Sheill)
(Photo via Jason Sheil)


A terrace packed full of the royalty of the Argentine fashion and television world, high profile fashionistas were all present to show their support for Fabián Zitta, who made an appearance at the end to rapturous applause.

Organizer Guillermo Azar, Cathy Fulop, designer Fabian Zitta and Mery del Cerro. (Photo via Infobae).
Organizer Guillermo Azar, Cathy Fulop, designer Fabián Zitta and Mery del Cerro. (Photo via Infobae).


An ambitious catwalk spanning the full 170-meter length of the Puente de la Mujer in Puerto Madero was the chosen location for designer Laurencio Adot’s ‘Dot Store’ show.


Models wearing outfits that bore a striking resemblance to those of an air hostess were sent down the runway, only to find it near impossible to successfully make it to the end. People who have walked across the Puente de La Mujer will know what I mean when I say the wooden boards are not the ideal surface for a high-heeled fashion show.

(Photo via Jason Sheill).
(Photo via Jason Sheil).


A slight car crash in the most spectacular of scenic locations, unfortunately the trips and near tumbles were distracting from an overall chic and sleek ensemble.


Parisian fashion brand Paule Ka debuted their brand and collection for the first time on Argentine soil at their newly opened boutique on Avenida Alvear, Recoleta.

Influenced by the subtle style and grace of the 50s and 60s, principal designer Alithia Spuri-Zampetti aims to create a timeless elegance inspired by style icons like Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly.

(Photo via Paule Ka).
(Photo via Paule Ka).


Clothing was geometric, simple, sophisticated and very wearable for the urban inhabitant; the collection embodying accessible luxury. Must have items such as the eternally classic staple, ‘Little Black Dress’ were presented and cemented the brand’s position in the ‘prêt-à-porter’ (ready to wear) sector of the fashion world.

(Photo via Paule Ka).
(Photo via Paule Ka).


Whilst an exclusive invite only event, organizer Guillermo Azar emphasizes that if people are interested in going to any shows during the week, they need only to write to the organizer and they will be allowed entry.

People listen up, you have until the 21st March to see the remaining shows.

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Priests Working in BA Slums Say Poor People are ‘Being Used as an Excuse’ to Push Abortion Debate Fri, 16 Mar 2018 18:16:02 +0000

A group of priests who work in the villas (shantytowns) located in the City and Province of Buenos Aires weighed in on the debate about the decriminalization of abortion and, as you’d expect, they argued against it.

In a press release published today, the priests said that sectors advocating for decriminalization use the argument that the current legal status affects people from the vulnerable sectors of society the most – as they don’t have the resources to safely obtain an illegal abortion – as justification to push their agenda.

“There is a conversation about women’s mortality rates as a result of abortions in the poorest neighborhoods. The first thing that needs to be done in our neighborhoods is fight against poverty with firm determination. And here, the state has the best tools. With a 30 percent poverty rate in the country, there are certain debates that should be prioritized.”

Instead, they propose the state make it easier for families to adopt. “We witness many cases of married couples in the villas that are not allowed to adopt because they did not have their property’s deed.”

The release goes on to criticize “developed” countries where abortion has been decriminalized, arguing it leads progenitors to “discard children who are going to be born with Down syndrome.” “How much do these kids teach us who have our ability to love atrophied! The logic of the powerful, the strong, who decide over those who have fewer possibilities, is the dominant logic. And that, in a way, is extrapolated to the subject of children who have not yet been born,” it adds.

The priests finish the letter by saying they have witnessed how death reaches the villas in many different ways, and that is not necessary to add yet another one. “Our neighborhoods need proposals that improve their lives. And a society that protects the weakest.”

The debate in Congress is set to start on April 3 or 10. It will certainly not be exempt of polarized views.

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Court of Appeals Orders Media and Biz Tycoon Cristóbal López be Released from Prison Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:57:51 +0000

A Federal Appeals Court ruled today that media tycoon Cristóbal López, currently being held in pre-trial arrest since December last year as a result of a case in which he stands accused of defrauding the state, be released today, as it considered his freedom does not jeopardize the investigation. His former business partner Fabián De Sousa will also be released in the next few hours.

However, both of them are still indicted for owing the State over AR $8 billion in taxes from fuel purchases taking place at the gas stations they owned – the company was named Oil. Former AFIP tax collection agency head Ricardo Echegaray has also been indicted in the case, as Federal Judge Julián Ercolini believes there is enough evidence to determine that he deliberately omitted auditing the company over its unpaid taxes.

Along with Lázaro Báez, López is one of the most high-profile business people linked to corruption during the former Kirchner administration. In fact, he has been indicted in the so-called “Los Sauces” case, where both he and Báez are suspected of directing kickbacks obtained through fraudulent public works contracts to the Kirchner family through hotel stays.

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Thanks to an App, a 19 Year Old Revitalizes the Aymara Language Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:34:22 +0000

How much good can you do at 19 years old?

Bolivian student Fabiola Acapari might have just saved a language in her free time, thanks to an app, which last month exceeded 10,000 downloads.

Just in case you didn’t know, out of the 7,000 languages spoken on the planet, half are in great danger, according to the UN: a language is lost every two weeks; 90% of them will have died by the end of the century. For example, the Russian language of the Akkala Sami disappeared in 2003 with the death of its last speaker, a recurrent phenomenon in small villages, where youngsters prefer to learn English rather than the local dialect (although Akkala Sami might be a nice addition to your LinkedIn skills).

Areas with languages in danger of extinction (Photo via Lackuna)
Areas with languages in danger of extinction (Photo via Lackuna)

The Aymara is not yet at this point, but is a seriously damaged language in South America, classified as “endangered” by the UN, which specifies that its survival is “fragile.” With over two million speakers it is not yet the most jeopardized language in the world, but the domination of Spanish in the region is endangering both the Aymara and its culture. Recognized as an official language by Bolivia – it is President Evo Morales’ mother tongue – as well as in Peru, it is also spoken in Argentina and Chile due to the important immigration in the early 20th century.

In Argentina, the language is mostly spoken in rural or urban areas, where the Bolivians settled, and – fun fact to share at a fancy dinner party – Argentine’s declaration of Independence is redacted in Aymara, along with Spanish and Quechua.

So let’s go back to that 19-year-old girl. She made the headlines in 2016 when she released an app to learn the language along with the culture it incorporates, called simply “Aprender Amayra.” Being a 2,000 year-old language, it was essential that she get it right; while she is not a native speaker herself, she asked her grandfather and uncle to record themselves speaking. “They helped with the pronunciation of the words,” said Acapari to El País. The student, who is along with being a genius, truly generous: “[The app] is free, so everyone can download and learn!”

As she taught herself English with an app, she knew it would help youngsters to learn the ancestral language at their own pace. She was right: in 2018, the app has had more than 10,000 downloads coming from Bolivia, Peru, Argentina… and even from Germany. Ich spreche Aymara.

The Jaqi Aru group, who is bringing Aymara to Facebook.

In 2014, a group of Bolivians had distinguished themselves by starting the translation of Facebook (the entire interface, from the Likes to the Comments) in Aymara. A titanic work which they have not yet finished, as they have to translate over 24,000 words to be accepted by the website. “It takes some time,” said Rubén Hilari to the BBC at the time, explaining that they had to create the majority of the vocabulary: in Aymara, words like internet or Wi-Fi were never translated. History does not say if words such as fake news, Russian manipulation on public opinion and data collections were translated.

Various Argentine languages are now nearly extinct, because people like us never bothered to learn granddad’s languages. The Puelche has nowadays around 5 speakers; the Tehuelche had 4 in 2000; and in 1991 the Selk’nam (or Ona) had 1 to 3 speakers, but is probably dead now, as full blooded Ona people have been extinct since the 1994 death of Virginia Choinquitel in Buenos Aires.

To avoid this terrible fate, for Rubén Hilari or for Fabiola Acapari, the mission is the same: create a renewal of the speakers thanks to new technologies.

An advert for a "Meme Contest" in Aymara (Photo via the Jaqi Aru page on Facebook)
An advert for a “Meme Contest” in Aymara (Photo via the Jaqi Aru page on Facebook)
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Argentina Summit: Private and Public Leaders Advocate for Gradual Change Fri, 16 Mar 2018 16:24:44 +0000

More than 250 political, economic, and business leaders gathered at the Alvear Icon hotel in Puerto Madero yesterday for The Economist’s Argentina Summit. “Have We Changed?” was the chosen theme, and set the tone for the event as panelists discussed how Argentina can move on from its rocky economic past to a brighter, more developed, and inclusive economic future.

The opening speaker, Vice President Gabriela Michetti, started the day by preaching the gospel of economic gradualism. She acknowledged that while Argentina’s economic situation wasn’t “the best,” people had voted for a “more and stable and predictable country.”

Several members of President Mauricio Macri’s cabinet spoke at the event, including Minister of the Treasury Nicolas Dujovne, Minister of Agribusiness, Luis Miguel Etchevehere, Minister of Energy and Mining Juan José Aranguren, Minister of Transport Guillermo Dietrich, and Minister of Tourism José Gustavo Santos.

While topics ranged from the rise of fintech to creating a more inclusive economy, the summit was driven by a common theme: the Macri administration’s intention of promoting gradual economic changes to stabilize the economy and work toward long-term growth.

Minister of the Treasury Nicolas Dujovne emphasized this point, adding “we cannot decrease poverty until we increase investment in Argentina.” To that end, he discussed how important a stable economy was in attracting foreign investment, and how while “stabilizing” measures like decreasing national spending on subsidies might have negative effects in the short run, he hopes that they’ll increase foreign investment in the long-term. Following his reasoning, this would create real economic growth for the country, which would then, theoretically, decrease poverty for the population.

Private sector leaders outside of the Cambiemos circle agreed with the need to eliminate poverty. Jorge Lawson, the director of Banco Nación, doubled down on the need for economic growth to create jobs in order to alleviate this issue, since more than 30 percent of citizens live at or below the poverty line.

Innovation, startups, and entrepreneurship also permeated the event as topical themes. Several tech leaders like Pedro Arnt, the CFO of Mercado Libre, and Sebastian Serrano, the founder of Ripio, discussed the future of tech in Argentina.

With Mercado Libre being Argentina’s largest online retailer, Arnt focused on online retail as a needed engine for growth in the country. He said that the percentage of shopping done online in Argentina trails those of developed countries, and emphasized how this could be a major opportunity for the economy.

Statistic: Most popular retail websites in Argentina in January 2017, ranked by unique visitors (in millions) | Statista

Serrano, a co-founder of Ripio, one of Latin America’s leading bitcoin companies, agreed with Arnt that online retail is necessary to grow Argentina’s economy, and discussed the future of financial technology in the country in very optimistic terms: “Buenos Aires is one of the hubs of blockchain technology, with more than 30 businesses, some of the most important in the world.”

While there’s clearly a long way to go, the tone of the event seemed to be one of hope – and the answer to the question “Have we changed?” seemed to be, at least by most panelists, an emphatic yes.

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Recoleta’s New Fall Program: Mujeres Acá y Ahora Fri, 16 Mar 2018 15:25:48 +0000

If you’ve been out and about in Buenos Aires over the last few weeks, you have probably realized that March has been a pretty big deal for women. The wrongly called “weaker sex” proved they’re nothing of the sort, challenging the status quo and fighting for gender equality, with March 8 showcasing just how much remains be changed.

However, moments like International Women’s Day also serve as a chance to celebrate both the progress that has been made and women’s achievements across the globe. In light of this, the Centro Cultural Recoleta has chosen the name of their new fall program, “Mujeres Acá y Ahora,” which fittingly translates as “Women Here and Now.” Taking place throughout March and April, the new season is all about celebrating women and their achievements in frequently male-dominated arts areas like cinema, music, stand-up comedy, theater, and thought. And because Buenos Aires is beautiful (and the CCR even more so), it’s all totally free of charge, without too much need to book in advance.


Celebrating women in the film industry, a different movie directed by a woman will be shown at the culture center every Thursday. Next week will dazzle us with “Sita Sings the Blues” by Nina Paley – a lovely animated tale that combines ancient mythology with a modern scene, and everyone’s sure to love.

Thursdays, March 22nd and 29th | 8 PM | Free | Pick up your (free) ticket within the hour before at the Center.


Led by Argentine comedian and radio host Malena Guinzburg, a cycle of female stand up comedy will be taking place every Friday this month. Inviting the likes of comics Noelia Custodia and Connie Ballarini to take to the mic, it’s sure to be an evening of laughs with some of the city’s famous and up-coming female comedians. Taking advantage of the last summery balmy evenings, each stand up event will be held in Plaza Francia, just outside of the Culture Center.

Fridays, March 16th, 23rd | 8 PM | Free | Plaza Francia

Comedian Melena Guizburg will be leading a cycle of female stand - up performances. (Photo via Cuatro Bastardos).
Comedian Melena Guizburg will be leading a cycle of female stand – up performances. (Photo via Cuatro Bastardos).


If you’d prefer to see an al fresco rock performance, turn up at the Patio de los Naranjos any remaining Saturday of this month to hear female rockers playing some tunes.

Saturdays, March 17th, 24th, 31st | 19.30 | Free | Patio de Los Naranjos

La Piba Berreta performing at one of the Center's rock nights. (Photo via Buenos Aires gobierno).
La Piba Berreta performing at one of the Center’s rock nights. (Photo via Buenos Aires gobierno).


Having proved to be very popular during the Center’s Amor de Verano program, the Saturday hip hop dance sessions will continue to be on all throughout April, but this time with female performers and DJs taking center stage.

Saturdays, March 7th, 14th, 21st April | check for times | Free | Patio del Aljibe

Kris Alanis at the Recoleta Centro Cultural. (Photo via Buenos Aires gobierno).
Kris Alanis at the Recoleta Centro Cultural. (Photo via Buenos Aires gobierno).


If you want to feel inspired, look out for the series of female based chats where interviewer Lala Pasquinelli, founder of feminist activist group Mujeres Que No Fueron Tapa, will be talking with several women who are at the forefront of their respective fields. Speakers will include the economist and feminist Mercedes D’Alessandro, and head of La Fundación Microjusticia Argentina, Alejandra Martinez.

Every Saturday during April | 7 PM | Free | Patio de Los Naranjos

(Photo via Buenos Aires gobierno).
(Photo via Buenos Aires gobierno).


For the full program of events, check the schedule here.

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Mascherano Debuts in China: What About the World Cup? Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:35:29 +0000

The Chinese Super League has been dropping the big bucks in the last years, spending quite a lot of money in signing up several international players of great renown. Following the likes of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka in the early 2010’s, the league now signs stars such as Hulk, Oscar, or Axel Witsel, and while many players may rave about the League’s “sports project,” if you’ve seen their matches, you know that something else (*cough* money *cough*) is probably playing a role here.

You probably read about it when Carlos Tevez signed there last year, earning a record US $40 million during his stay… Which, considering he only scored for four little goals in 16 matches, doesn’t sound like a particularly fair trade.

Since then, Chinese fans may have grown a little suspicious over the motivations of some Argentine players for being there. However that may be, it hasn’t stopped them, and there’s currently five of our best and brightest starring in their matches: Augusto Fernandez, Nicolás Aguirre, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Nicolás Gaitán, and the newly-arrived Javier Mascherano.

Carlos Tevez when he signed for Shangaï Shenshua a two-years contract, making him the highest paid footballer in the world (Photo via Diario Popular)
Carlos Tevez when he signed for Shangaï Shenshua a two-years contract, making him the highest paid footballer in the world (Photo via Diario Popular)


Javier Masherano was arguably one of FC Barcelona’s top players of the last ten years. Although he was not the most spoken about, especially compared with Lionel Messi, Iniesta, or Xavi, he was an important figure in the Catalan defensive area. He started as a midfielder but was quickly moved to a central defender position, with Carlos Puyol, the other big contender for that spot, often being injured. Even though he didn’t particularly like this place on the field, he helped ensure Barcelona’s success in two Champions Leagues and four Spanish championships, and so became one of Argentina’s most coveted (and selected) players.

However, football is a game where no place is assured, and last season found a 33 year old Mascherano competing for his central defender spot against the young Samuel Umtiti. While Umtiti was gaining experience, the Argentine was losing playing time and fighting for a position he didn’t even like. It was time for him to pick up a last challenge before the 2018 World Cup, and his choice came as a bit of surprise – the Hebei China Fortune FC in Chinese Super League (CSL), which paid nearly US $10 million for the Argentine.

As we said, many international players have been attracted by joining the “interesting sports project” offered by Chinese clubs, but for many it meant the end of their international career: national managers are usually hesitant when it comes to calling a player who plays in China, Qatar, or the United-States, which are often seen as “retirement houses” (as in “really-well-paid-with-easy-football-every-Sunday” retirement houses).

Indeed, it would be lying to say that famous footballers are not coming to China for the money. But in the case of an international player and a leader of the Argentine team, it does seem strange that three months before the World Cup, he’d join a league where more often than not, players are overlooked when it comes to being called to participate in the national team.

A few players lost their spots in their national squad when going to China, although that’s not always the case. Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel, for example, has been playing in Tianjin since 2007, where he signed despite offers from the Juventus of Turin (probably attracted by the, ahem, sporting project). Players signed by the Asian country have been known to keep their position to defend their flag on the field, but that’s usually because they’re too essential to a squad to not be a part of it. It should also be noted that they’re generally younger, and Mascherano, while practically being a one man team, is sadly on the older end of the football spectrum.

There’s also some Brazilian players who have kept their national positions, and these seem to be precisely the examples that Mascherano aims to follow. The Argentine was very clear when joining Hebei, seeing how he stated that he was not there to retire and that he wanted to be an essential part of Argentina’s team in Russia. “Sampaoli watches my games, and both Paulinho and Renato Augusto have been selected for Brazil,” he said during his first press conference, before assuring that despite no official word from the Argentine manager, he had spoken with him and confirmed that if he kept his abilities up, he definitely had a chance with the albiceste.

Mascherano is not just a typical Argentine’s squad player. Captain from 2008 to 2011, he is an essential part of Jorge Sampaoli’s tactical system, a 3-4-1-2 where he was playing in central defense. With sixteen World Cup appearances, he is an experienced player who was in the Argentine’s squad for the last friendly matches against Nigeria and Russia – no minor feat.

It should be noted that he probably wants to go back to his preferred position in the Argentine team, since together with the money, this is one of the main reasons why he joined Hebei. The Chinese club let him play as a central midfield, his spot of choice. Will this affect his status on the national team? Two players are more likely to play in the central midfield: Biglia and Enzo Pérez. Mascherano could push one away if he performs well in China.

Javier Mascherano debuts at Hebei Fortune in China (Photo via Infobae)

While it’s too early to tell, here’s a reassuring thought for Mascherano: the games with Hebei will probably be good, with Ezequiel Lavezzi and Gervinho as two experimented players in the attack that should be able to lead the team to a high position in the league. Another important feature for the team is the coaching staff, led by Manuel Pellegrino, who has joined China after managing Manchester City. “I was the one who gave him his debut with River Plate,” declared the Chilean manager a week before the deal was made. “Mascherano is a leader, and I think he’ll be great for my team in the Chinese Super League.”

It very well may be that the South American connection and the trust Pellegrino has on Mascherano turn out to be the key for him to keep his talent shining bright, and his spot on the National Team.

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WeWork Reopens Their Tallest LatAm Tower in Mexico City Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:33:03 +0000

Have you tried a co-working space? Probably, if you’re the digital nomad most of you claim to be.

Coworking spaces are certainly a hot buzzword right now, and with so many opening up across Latin America and beyond, it can be hard to tell which one is the best fit for your needs.

(Photo via We Work)
(Photo via WeWork)

For those of you firmly rooted here in Buenos Aires, you can check out the best ones here. However, if your nomadic heart is burning to get traveling again, Mexico City might just be the place to add to your list of destinations from where you can also realistically work remotely.

After first opening in Mexico City 17 months ago, WeWork has just inaugurated its seventh and eighth collaborative workspaces, in addition to reopening its tallest Latin American tower, Montes Urales. Until a few months ago, WeWork had only owned several floors, the rest being used as a residential space.

(Photo via Montes Urales)
(Photo via WeWork)

A concept born out of a desire to provide office workers with personal yet professional working spaces, WeWork has rapidly expanded across Latin America, developing a strong community in Mexico City in particular.

#2018 is already looking up. ? #wework ? @imtheapolio

A post shared by WeWork (@wework) on Jan 1, 2018 at 3:28pm PST

WeWork’s two buildings are located in Arcos Bosques and Artz Pedregal – both upscale neighborhoods in Mexico City, in case you were wondering – and they are the newest editions to the company’s ever-expanding portfolio of swanky digs.

Don’t we all like the idea of a fabulous new office space? With features such as exercise rooms, a terrace, brainstorming rooms, meditation spaces designed for downtime, as well as a classroom used for inspiring talks, the Artz Pedregal location seems like a pretty fantastic place to work.

(Photo via WeWork).
(Photo via WeWork).

Their other new location in Arcos Bosques is a huge new space for those looking to work independently or to grow a small team. With five floors and a membership capacity of up to 800, it’s sure to become the next WeWork hub of Mexico City.

WeWork boasts around nine thousand members in Mexico; with 205 worldwide locations, it aims to create environments for people to be productive as well as communal spaces where its members can relax and socialize.

(Photo via WeWork).

With global membership of around 180,000, networking between other members is another perk of the WeWork universe, and an easy way to expand your international web of contacts. Useful for both startups and established businesses, these opportunities are ripe for the taking.

Next time you’re experiencing some serious wanderlust, but also need be productive, this is your chance. BRB, asking the boss if we can move to Mexico!

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And Now Daniel Scioli Hints He Might Not Be Against Abortion Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:28:45 +0000

“Those are my principles, if you don’t like them… well, I have others,” Groucho Marx famously said at some point in history.

That quote could very well be applied to Argentine politicians, as most of them have changed their (at least public) views depending on the direction in which public opinion is heading, or what they consider will help them score more political points.

But perhaps no one has flip-flopped more in the past years than former Vice President and Governor of the Buenos Aires Province Daniel Scioli.

Currently a national deputy representing the Frente para la Victoria (FpV), Scioli has been trying to reinvent himself ever since he lost the 2015 presidential election against Mauricio Macri. And boy, has he “evolved” when it comes to abortion, considering he just made a U-turn and hinted in an interview with Infobae that now he might not be against it after all.

Yes, people. This is the same Scioli who claimed to be a devoted Catholic not a long time ago and who, while on the campaign trail, finished every single of his remarks with the catchphrase “with faith and hope” (con fe y esperanza).

Oh, and the same one who in an interview in 2015 expressly said he was against decriminalization.

“Everyone is in favor of life. The issue here is to be in favor with a proper sexual education and healthcare, and be honest about a situation that is clearly bringing several consequences in different camps. And when you look at the countries that have moved forward to implement decriminalization, you see that child-maternal mortality rates have dropped sharply. It is an extremely interesting debate that is going on at the moment, and that is the reflection I can make about it,” Scioli said.

Opportunistic? Perhaps, given the fact that the debate about decriminalization has taken over the Argentine conversation by storm in the past weeks. Ideological evolution? Also a possibility, considering the issue knocked on his door not a long time ago.

In May last year, a jubilant Scioli announced he would become a father at the age of 60 as his ex, Gisela Berger, was pregnant. However, immediately after he broke the news, Berger came out to call him a hypocrite, claiming he had in fact privately hinted that he wanted her to have an abortion.

“Now he wants to form the perfect family when, had it not been for me, [the baby] wouldn’t exist… he wanted me to have an abortion,” Berger said at the time.

“When I found out I was pregnant I told him about it and his reaction was ‘No. This is a mess! This is a mess! Isn’t there anything we can do?’,” she added. “Anything we can do” is, of course, dog whistle for you-know-what.

Predictably, her revelation ruined Scioli’s plan to make a huge announcement to the public, and the perceived hypocrisy led him to disappear from the public eye for a while.

If the bill introduced by the campaign for free, legal, and safe abortion – which will hit Congress in early April – makes it to the floor of the Lower House, Scioli will have the chance to show where he really stands.

We will very much be expecting that moment.

With hope. And faith.

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IMF Director Christine Lagarde Lauds Macri’s Economic Reforms Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:15:46 +0000

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Director Christine Lagarde arrived in Buenos Aires yesterday and spoke with Treasury Minister Nicolás Dujovne at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella for an event called “Argentina and the Global Perspectives of the Economy.”

Lagarde is the first IMF director to step foot in Argentina since 2007: Dominique Strauss-Kahn came down for Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s inauguration. Through her work within the French government and the international law firm Baker & McKenzie, Lagarde has traveled to Buenos Aires many times, though this marks the first in her official capacity with her work with the IMF. Lagarde will participate in the G20 Financial Ministers and Central Governors meetings

To start, she stated that 2018 is a “propitious moment to carry out structural reforms,” which was a welcome nod from the international financial institution to the Macri administration.

When asked about Argentina’s gradualismo economic policy, she had nothing but rave reviews. She lauded Argentine authorities for “attacking the issues in a very determined way” – noting that the policies are not “gradual” in terms of depth of measures that are decided, but rather “substantiative and sustainable” over time, which is what in her opinion characterizes gradualismo.

Lagarde went on to explain that these measures “do not attack the fiscal deficit in a harsh, front-loaded way” but rather take into account the “overall circumstances of the economy, and the capacity of society to absorb” the aforementioned policies.

Lagarde did note, that the orthodox economist “might argue it would be better if faster,” however, a pragmatist would say that as long as the administration “stays the course under the circumstances” that it indeed is an achievement. She also commented on the “remarkable” relationship between the federal and provincial governments, as other countries across the world “struggle to bind” the levels of government together in regard to fiscal policy.

The IMF Director made it clear she was strictly here for G20 business only: she is not here to negotiate any type of program. Lagarde underscored that Argentina “did not ask” for a program and “does not need it.”

Lagarde indicated she had high expectations for Argentina’s presidency of the G20, calling the agenda “ambitious” in addition to including topics that are on everyone’s mind. She alluded specifically to the future of work, which was the focus of the IMF’s annual meeting last October. The IMF Director stated that understanding the changes in the labor market is key to reinforcing productivity.

Lagarde also condemned a looming trade war elephant-in-the-room, stating that “there are no winners in a tit-for-tat process.” She went on to say that “reduction of trade does not help growth, it does not help to eradicate poverty, it does not improve the cost of living for low-income earners.” Dujovne stated there has been “a lot of noise” for specific protectionist measures, but expressed that he would be “more concerned” about greater, more general protectionist movements which have yet to be the case.

The mood was not as stuffy as one might anticipate, as she spoke with some humor and personability. She admitted that while she did arrive a few days early for meetings with Argentine officials regarding the reforms being implemented in the country, she also confessed she’ll head to Iguazú Falls with her husband – frankly, we don’t blame her. So to confirm, if you see someone in a large sun visor walking around the waterfalls this weekend that looks like the Director of the IMF, you have your scoop.

Lagarde meets with President Mauricio Macri in Olivos later today, and said she will be returning in July for more G20 meetings. Might we suggest Bariloche or El Calafate for future travels?

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