The Bubble | Argentina News Argentina News Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:23:32 +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 New Gastronomical and Cultural Hub in Plaza Houssay Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:23:32 +0000

Feeling hungry and stuck for choices? Fear not! New constructions beginning today are underway to provide you with yet more gourmet dining options. (Ok, so it will take around eighteen months to be completed, so don’t get your hopes up for summer 2018, but at least we have something to look forward to, right?)

To add to the obvious appeal of the words “gourmet dining”, the words “constructed outside of Palermo Soho” makes it sound even better, and any excuse to venture outside of the usual cool kids district sounds good to me. Described as a gastronomical and cultural hub, this polo gastronomico cultural will be located at Plaza Houssay, right on the square between the University of Buenos Aires’ Business school and Medicine school, and it’s set to become a popular haunt for the many hungry students and professors passing through. In fact, close to 180,000 people pass through the plaza everyday, making Plaza Houssay a savvy choice on the footfall front.

What Plaza Houssay looks like now. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
How Plaza Houssay looks like now. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)


With plans and budget approved way back in May 2016the idea was generally well received but many were unsure about the supposed privatization of a public space. I mean, there might be a point there, but hey, any kind of increase in food options seems like a good deal to us. What’s more, we can expect exciting cultural activities with the development of some kind of natural amphitheater right in the heart of the plaza. Yeah, we’re not too sure what to visualize either, but it sounds pretty fancy, so we’re game!

The public bidding won by development company Lamp Investments SA means that they will be in charge of developing and have the rights to the so-called urban campus for twenty years, paying the lowly monthly fee of AR $400.000 (loose change, really). And it looks as though money will be spent: If the snazzy photos are anything to go by, the newly completed Plaza Houssay will look incredible.

Let's hope the plaza lives up to this swanky development photo. Photo via La Nacion
Let’s hope the plaza lives up to this swanky development photo. (Photo via La Nacion)


The whole space will be open air and just a few meters below ground allowing a whopping new space of 1900 m2 for anything deemed a restaurant, shop or cultural space. Hopefully, we can expect variety of choice and plenty of independent venues. Easily reachable by the Linea D of the subte and with a planned underground parking lot, the newly developed Plaza Houssay will be well connected to the rest of the city, which basically leaves no excuse to not to check it out. (If you look for me, I’ll be the blonde one eating french fries!)

The snazzy new Plaza Houssay from the sky. Photo via ASN/nOISE
The fancy new Plaza Houssay from the sky. (Photo via ASN/NOISE)


Sources from the Ministerio de Modernización, Innovación y Tecnología de la Ciudad (Ministry of Modernization, Innovation and Technology) confirmed that works are already in progress. Areas affected starting today cover the space between calle Junín, Paraguay and Avenida Cordoba. So unless you really are super curious to see what’s going on at the new polo, probably best to avoid the area for a while (or risk inhaling a mouthful of dust).

For now, the area may be a bit of a mess, but government officials hope that in the long run, the whole surrounding area will benefit from the Plaza’s re-development. The plans hope to conserve the surrounding green areas while improving the accessibility via sidewalks. In addition to this, and since neighbors had previously expressed safety concerns over the darker areas within the Plaza zone, money will also be spent on adding street lamps, thus improving visibility and security. The development is set to resolve many local issues so that the area becomes more attractive for both residents and visitors alike.

Hopefully this will work out as planned, and there’ll be something for everyone.

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No ‘Political Issue’ Keeping Pope from Visiting Argentina, Says Peña Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:59:39 +0000

As we slowly return to our daily routine after a few days of fun and sun(burn), government officials are back to dealing with what they know how to do best in this country: putting out fires.

This morning, it was the turn of Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña who, while offering a press conference, had to comment on one of the first big controversies of the year: the infamous papal snub (or why Pope Francis is seemingly avoiding an official visit to Argentina). The local population remains undecided. Some say it’s because he’s not a fan of Mauricio Macri, others say he’s just busy.

However, the Macri administration is apparently brushing it off as a matter of the Pope’s busy schedule rather than animosity towards the President.

“There’s no political issue here. Argentina is his home, his land. He doesn’t need our invitation. We will be waiting for him with our hearts and arms open when he decides it’s the best time to visit us,” Peña told reporters this morning.

“It would be great if he could come, but we respect his times and his decision-making process,” the Cabinet Chief added. He also suggested we should all take a step back and understand the historic importance of having a Latin American Pope.

“Let’s not bring him to the political area,” he asked.

Whatever the case may be, yesterday’s telegram (in English!) from the Pope to President Mauricio Macri while flying over Argentina didn’t help, as many grew frustrated with what sounded like a standard, formal message from the Pontiff towards the Argentine people that, contrary to many who got their hopes up, didn’t announce his intentions to come visit.

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Labor Reform: The Macri Administration is Open to Changes Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:42:38 +0000

The government has opened the door to debate and tweaks to its proposed labor reform, further confirming that it won’t be tackled by Congress in extraordinary sessions in February.

Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña confirmed today that the Mauricio Macri administration was open to receiving suggestions to the labor reform, setting as the only condition that any changes “have to benefit workers and create more registered employment.”

Addressing reporters at a press conference after the first Cabinet meeting of the year, Peña said that the reason to push back the debate that had been slated to commence in February was due to it not being worth the trouble “for only a few sessions.”

“It seemed better to start work in March after the presidential address (in Congress, on March 1st), when committees begin to function normally,” added the chief of staff. Peña denied that there had been disagreements on the labor reform with members of the Peronist opposition, saying only that it seemed like there had been a consensus to debate the matter thoroughly in committee.

Senator Miguel Ángel Pichetto, (PJ-Río Negro), the leader of the Peronist caucus that has expressed its willingness to negotiate and work with the Executive, sent a message to the Casa Rosada recently when he complained that the government was focusing on the reform while its members holidayed in the exclusive Punta del Este. Various labour leaders and members of the Frente Renovador, which often helps Cambiemos get a majority in the Lower House, have also signed their rejection of the reform in its current state. The Government sustains to have managed the support from the CGT umbrella union, but it should be noted that there has been infighting among its leaders about the terms of the reform.

No single party or a coalition has a majority in either house of Congress, forcing the Executive to negotiate the terms of its initiatives to ensure that they are approved.

The Cabinet met for the first time in 2018 today. (Photo via Argentine Presidency Press Office)
The Cabinet met for the first time in 2018 today. (Photo via Argentine Presidency Press Office)


Among the criticisms of the reform are articles that reduce the window for workers to sue their employers as well as the exclusion of overtime hours and other additional payments from the formula used to calculate severance packages in the case of layoffs. The government has trumpeted the reform as a way to guarantee the inclusion of a large swathes of workers into the formal labor system – roughly one third of the workforce is employed en negro, that’s to say, under the table – as well as the extension of paternity leaves and greater flexibility in working hours for new parents.

The reform efforts come at a sensitive time in the relationship between the government and unions in general, with several union leaders recently being imprisoned or investigated on charges charges covering money laundering, embezzling and blackmail, among others. In response to questions asking if he felt there was a coincidence between the corruption investigations of union leaders and the labor reform, the chief of staff said he felt that there was no connection both occurrences, pointing to the independence of the courts in political meddling.

Furthermore, collective wage bargaining negotiations are set to begin soon setting the stage for disputes over the final amount that unions and business chambers can agree to. Asked today if the recent changes in the inflation targets could prove a sticking point, Peña reiterated that the government sees those wage bargaining negotiations as “free” but asked that society as a whole makes an effort to make it possible to meet to the 15 percent target set for this year. Don’t forget that in 2017, inflation clocked in at 24.8 percent – so there’s still a long way to go.

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Pope Francis Sent a Telegram (in English) to President Macri on His Way to Chile Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:34:40 +0000

As Pope Francis flew over his native Argentina yesterday, he sent President Mauricio Macri a telegram – in English. The telegram directed Macri to send Argentines “his heartfelt best wishes” and reminded them to “pray for him”.

During his South America tour, he will not be visiting his home country, a divisive choice that some are calling politically charged while others are shrugging off.

Telegram sent by Pope Francis to President Mauricio Macri.
Telegram sent by Pope Francis to President Mauricio Macri.


Macri replied to the telegram with a solemn tweet, showing appreciation for the Pope’s greetings and blessings and wishing him a successful visit to Chile and Peru.

This telegram, however, isn’t any sort of special treatment for the Pope to Argentina. He actually sent telegrams to every country he flew over on his way from Rome, including Italy, France, Morocco, Cape Verde, Senegal, Brazil and Paraguay.

While the Pope and the president exchange pleasantries publicly, many wonder if this is the continuation of what Perfil once called “a Cold War” between the two powerful leaders. Back in February of 2016, Perfil quoted a source close to the Pope saying that the Pontiff was “trying to distance himself from the current government,” and that “he knew exactly what he was doing” when he avoided a visit to Argentina.

Macri’s cabinet chief Marcos Peña maintains that the Pope’s absence is not political, and that “he doesn’t need an invitation. When he decides it is the right time to visit us, we will greet him with open arms.”

So what is it? According to this New York Times article from last week, some Argentines feel as though the Pope is intentionally ignoring them. Pope Francis and President Macri have had a rocky relationship since Macri was the mayor of Buenos Aires and Jorge Bergoglio (now known as Pope Francis) was the city’s Archbishop. In 2010, Macri refused to appeal a same-sex marriage, setting the tone for their fraught relationship.

When the two met in 2016, their meeting lasted for 22 minutes, which many considered to be very short, especially compared to Bergoglio’s more friendly encounters with former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. It is widely assumed that the Pope endorsed Macri’s Kirchner-endorsed opponent in the 2015 presidential election, adding to the tension.

By the end of this trip, he will have visited more than half the countries in South America, including Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Ecuador and Columbia, Chile (where he is today) and Peru. And yet, so far there are no plans to come Argentina.

At the same time, others are saying that this is an overreaction. “The Pope is a prudent and wise man and will know when it’s the best time to travel to Argentina. We must be patient,” argued Alfredo Miguel Abriani, a senior Foreign Ministry official who oversees religious affairs in Argentina.

Even if the Pope is skipping our country to avoid drama with Macri, he isn’t avoiding controversy altogether. His visit to Chile began with a remarkable apology for the Church’s abuse of young boys in Chile. “I can’t stop expressing the shame I feel,” said the Pope during the reception with President Michelle Bachellet.

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Argentina Will File Lawsuit Against US for Biodiesel Dispute Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:40:51 +0000

Newly designated Argentine Ambassador to the US Fernando Oris de Roa touches down in Washington later this week and will hit the ground running, as he announced that Argentina intends to file a lawsuit with the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the biodiesel duties dispute. Oris de Roa has stated that it comes as part of a ‘mature relationship’, adding that it will have no impact on bilateral relations.

In recent months, the US has increased duties on biodiesel exports from Argentina up to 72 percent, after the ruling in November that Argentine producers had received “unfair” subsidies for the biodiesel production process. The Bubble previously reported on Argentina’s options regarding the biodiesel dispute and the possibility of heading to the WTO with the case has been chosen as the way forward. Though different in circumstance, the WTO sided with Argentina in a biodiesel dispute with the European Union last year. Oris de Roa believes that both countries recognize the need to use all available alternatives to solve this issue.

In an interview with Infobae, the Argentine ambassador discussed his hopes for an immediate “active agenda” in order to create new trade scenarios, stating that the Embassy will focus on the quality of the products, services, and technologies imported to the US rather than trying to solely address the negative trade balance head on.

Oris de Roa also spoke with Clarin last week, in which he stated that the US interest in Argentina can be considered political, while the Argentine interest in the US is largely economic. The new ambassador stated that opening up the American market to Argentine exports is a way of reducing poverty, reducing the fiscal deficit and creating jobs, three objectives upon which the Macri administration has heavily focused on.

Oris de Roa underscored the importance of normalizing relations with the US to increase the confidence of American businesses for investing in Argentina, since he stated that an intelligent and active renewed relationship generates both confidence and respect. He added that although American businesses have taken note of the political changes taking place in Argentina, the country must push forward with its public policies to secure further investments.

Although he is not entirely well-known in the diplomatic sphere in Argentina or the States, Oris de Roa has a decorated resume in the private sector with decades of experience in the agriculture (lemons!) and mining sectors. A seasoned businessman, Oris de Roa can be seen as well-suited for President Trump’s administration which is primarily run by those formerly in the private sector.

This ambassadorship has been vacant in Washington since Martín Lousteau left his post in April to run for a House of Deputies seat in the October mid-term elections. He will report his credentials to the Trump administration on January 24th to make his post official. The US ambassador to Argentina position has not yet been filled since then President-Elect Trump recalled politically appointed ambassadors in early January 2017 before his inauguration.

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Pope Francis Kicks Off Chile, Peru Visit Mon, 15 Jan 2018 20:55:40 +0000

Pope Francis will be arriving tonight in Chile, marking his sixth visit to the Americas since he was ushered in as the first Latin American pontiff in 2013.

The visit to Chile and Peru this time around has rekindled the debate as to why the former archbishop of Buenos Aires has yet to make a return to Argentina since making his move to the Vatican.

Francis will be welcomed to Santiago by outgoing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and her Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz. Télam has reported that the pope will then make a visit to the tomb of Monsignor Enrique Alvear, known as the “bishop of the poor”, before heading to the Apostolic Nunciature. After meeting with Bachelet tomorrow the pope will offer his first mass in Chile, meet with women in prison and en with members of the clergy.

Ahead of the trip, Argentines keen on seeing Jorge Bergoglio in person have been making the trip over the Andes. “To be with him is crazy, to come from Argentina and see him, it makes me very happy” said Agustina Marchescada, 27, in conversation with Télam. As a volunteer, Marchescada has already seen Francis during his trips to Brazil and Poland.

Claudia Gallardo lights a candle in front of a statue of Our Lady of Luján before leaving for Chile to see Pope Francis, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 14, 2018. (Photo via REUTERS/Agustín Marcarian)
Claudia Gallardo lights a candle in front of a statue of Our Lady of Luján before leaving for Chile to see Pope Francis, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, January 14, 2018. (Photo via REUTERS/Agustín Marcarian)

In his nearly five years as pope, Francis has made 22 trips and six to the Americas. After a first to Brazil in 2013, Bolivia-Ecuador-Paraguay in 2015, two visits to Cuba (one in 2015 that included a leg in the United and another in 2016 with a stop in Mexico), Francis headed to Colombia in September 2017.

Bracing for what was expected to be heavy traffic to Chile along land borders, Argentine authorities made special preparations in order to cope with the flow. Télam has nonetheless reported that at the largest border crossing “the flow was not as heavy as expected” and that there hadn’t been major delays. As such, special procedures designed to expedite the entry of cars were not utilized. Nonetheless a a taxi driver quoted by Télam noted that there had been an uptick in international visitors arriving at the Santiago airport.

The visit has potential pitfalls for Francis. There have been protests in Chile and discontent with the visit, resentment with the Church over cases of child abuse and the run-up to the pontiff’s arrival six Catholic churches have been targeted by incendiary devices. Those responsible have not been identified by Chile’s Interior Minister Mario Fernández said that they are “small groups, with a limited capacity to act. They’ve left behind pamphlets that mix issues, they mix social issues with the Mapuche issues and with criticism of the spending on the papal visit.” No injuries have been reported as a result of the fires caused to the churches.

Pope Francis speaks to reporters onboard the plane for his trip to Chile and Peru January 15, 2018. (Photo via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)
Pope Francis speaks to reporters onboard the plane for his trip to Chile and Peru January 15, 2018. (Photo via REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi)

Francis is scheduled to meet with Mapuche representatives in Temuco, in Chile’s south, on Wednesday. The country’s south has seen disputes and confrontation over Mapuche land rights, and is consistently a source of tension and violence and Chilean politics. In Peru, the pope will also meet with indigenous groups that live in the Amazon area. Despite these thorny issues, Francis expressed confidence today while on the plane to Chile that the trip would not be so complicated as he is familiar with the country.

With the pope’s imminent arrival, the questions about the relationship between Francis and Argentina have resurfaced. Reuters has reported that when asked about the pontiff’s lack of a visit to Argentina, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said only that the pope will fly over Argentina on his way to Chile and will send a customary message from his plane to the head of state. “It should be an interesting telegram,” Burke said. Last week Jorge Oesterheld, spokesman for the Argenitne Synod, said that it was “painful” that Francis was going to fly over Argentina but not stop in his homeland.

Argentine politicians across the mainstream political spectrum have made trips to visit the pope in the Vatican, and pronouncements made by Francis and the Argentine Catholic Church are often scrutinized to see of they hold any implicit or explicit support or criticism for the Maurio Macri administration. Prior to his election as pope former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was severeLy critical of Bergoglio as Archbishop of Buenos Aires – that relationship warmed significantly once Bergoglio became Francis.

Francis nonetheless had other issues on his mind as he crossed the Atlantic, saying that he was truly “afraid” that there is a chance that nuclear war could break out and called for the end of nuclear weapons. Latin America is a nuclear weapon-free zone.

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Food Trucks Finally Arrive in Buenos Aires this February Mon, 15 Jan 2018 20:23:50 +0000

After a painstaking yearlong wait, food trucks will now begin to hit the actual streets (and not just private spaces) starting this February. In this way, Buenos Aires will finally be able to lay claim to a gastronomical trend that has pretty much arrived everywhere else worldwide.

Food trucks are not a new concept in most cities, but severe legislation and complex restrictions had prevented them from taking root here in Buenos Aires. Many years of contradicting and confusing laws had pretty much killed any hope of a surge in food trucks by drowning it in bureaucracy, and while you might have seen them in street food festivals, these were generally restricted to ticketed events. However, one short year ago a law was approved to allow food trucks to operate publicly outside of private events. 2018 will be the year of the food truck… and this time, we mean it.

Although you can see alcohol in this picture, don't get too excited - food trucks won't be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages *sad face emoji* (Photo via
Although you can see alcohol in this picture, don’t get too excited – food trucks won’t be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages *sad face emoji* (Photo via


For those of you unfamiliar with food trucks and what they do, they can be defined as a vehicle that has a facility to cook and serve any type of food (that’s to say, a truck, with food! I know, I know, mind = blown). Providing an option to eat casually, often and cheap, their popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. Usually offering a selection of alternative and occasionally outlandish food, these venues (transportation methods? restaurants on the move? Whatever) have established themselves in cities around the globe as the go to spot for a working lunch or an after office snack.

Of course, (legal) food trucks didn’t arrive here lightly, and they’ve come with several bags worth of laws and restrictions. For starters, food trucks must be stationed at least 200 meters away from any fixed restaurant, bar or café, so expect food truckers to take advantage of restaurant-free green spaces. They will also be forbidden to sell alcohol (no spontaneous boozy fiestas in the park, unfortunately). Food truck owners must also apply for a permit from the Dirección General de Ordenamiento y Espacio Público del Ministerio de Ambiente y Espacio Publico de la Ciudad (now that’s a name! That would be the city’s Public Spaces Ministry, in essence), and will have to pay the grand total of AR $21.600 each year to have the privilege of offering us their delicious food – so here’s hoping that the burger business remains profitable. They will begin with eight locations around the capital with plans to roll out more post February. Expect to see food trucks popping up in places like Parque Chacabuco, Parque Avallaneda, Parque Sarmiento and Plaza Mafalda.

So apparently the smell of delicious food is the actual way of dominating the world. At least that's what I'm getting.
So apparently the smell of delicious food is the actual way of dominating the world. At least that’s what I’m getting. (Photo via


Since the vehicles will be parked, it was essential to count with the approval of the Secretary of Transport. In addition to this, all food trucks will have to pass rigorous hygiene checks which will have to be completed within twenty days of receiving their permission or completing their installation (at least we can say we are eating legally and cleanly!). Once vehicle and owner are registered, everything is set to go, kind of. Food trucks will have to be parked in the same registered location and will ironically now not be able to go back to private events. If the owner were to want to do both public and private events, two (yes, TWO) separate trucks would be needed for each separate use (bureaucracy, you win this one). So if you think that people just have to try your homemade pizzas, just make sure you either decide whether you’ll go public or private, or have enough dough (pun intended) to pay for two separate trucks. Vehicles will also have to come equipped with GPS so that the authorities can check if they are complying with rules, vacating the spot each evening, returning the following day, etc. Sounds intense, but hopefully not enough to deter a potentially burgeoning food truck scene.

“We hope to increase sources of employment and attend to the demands of new industries whilst catering for the needs of those commercial industries already in place” said Deputy Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires Diego Santilli. “We aim to continue to open doors to consolidate Buenos Aires as the gastronomical capital of Latin America.”

Via Diarios de Flores
(Via Diarios de Flores)


Ok so the concept is that a food truck can move when and wherever it pleases will be a little loose here, but at least we have the beginning of a new trend that should have started long before. We can’t have everything at once, right? Typically food trucks are at the forefront of those new and annoying hipster food trends that we all secretly want to try, so we can look forward to a probable emergence of gluten free and vegan food as well as reworks of old favorites such as parrilla and pizza, and if that doesn’t tickle your taste buds in anticipation then I don’t know what will.

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Macri Gets Back to Work, Promises Another Year of Growth for Argentina Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:22:24 +0000

President Mauricio Macri ended his three week vacation today with an optimistic speech at the Olympic Village in Villa Lugano, marking his return to the Casa Rosada for the new year as Buenos Aires gets ready to host the Youth Olympic Games this October.

Macri is confident that this honor will be an economic boon for Argentina.

After what seemed like a highly divisive, conflictive December, the president’s speech today marked a return to his usual positive rhetoric as he called for unity and growth. “We are going to continue to grow this year, just like we did last year,” he said. “We want to grow so that in 20 years we can end poverty and create the necessary opportunities so that everyone can achieve their dreams.”

Since Macri was elected, poverty has slightly gone down, producing mixed results at best, with UCA reports indicating that nearly 31 percent of Argentines are living below the poverty line.

After a few years of unreliable data on poverty rates in the country, Macri cleaned up house and began measuring the country’s poverty rate once more after taking office and asking that his presidency be judged on its ability to effectively reduce poverty.

At the Olympic Village today, Macri said he’s looking forward to watching an “idea transform into reality” and to show what “we as Argentines are capable of when we work as a team, compromise and throw ourselves behind a common cause.”

Watch a live stream of the speech here via the link in Macri’s tweet.

2018 will be a big year for Argentina. In addition to hosting the Youth Olympic Games, Argentina will be hosting the G-20, which Macri said “will give Argentina the opportunity to be the voice of Latin America and develop more opportunities for equality.”

These are all big, challenging promises, especially considering the many changes the Macri administration intends to tackle this year (like a labor bill that is opposed by the CGT and the Peronist bloc). But we still have to wait and see how things turn out. Summer still isn’t over and a lot can happen until March 1st.

Be patient.

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Former VP Amadou Boudou Speaks Out Against Courts After Release Mon, 15 Jan 2018 16:01:11 +0000

Former vice-president Amado Boudou has spoken out against his arrest and pre-trial detention, claiming that it was a part of a “persecution of the 12 years of national and popular administration” that was led by Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.

Boudou spent more than two months in prison after being arrested on November 3, 2017 in relation to embezzlement and money-laundering charges. Once in prison, he was slapped with a second arrest order in connection with accusations concerning irregular travel expenses dating back to his time as Economy minister.

Boudou was released on Friday after an appeals court found that the accusations against him did not merit him being held in custody. His defense team had also argued that he had complied with legal authorities and not interfered with the investigation. Despite his release, though, the courts did not overturn the indictments against Boudou and he remains a defendant.

In a video posted to social media the night of his release, Boudou thanked those who had supported him during the two months that he had been in custody. He went on to say that “there’s nothing to celebrate today. We have to work so that there isn’t a single political prisoner in Argentina. Nobody. Democracy can’t bear what is happening. It can’t bear that people who are detained are considered as good as convicted when they’re actually political prisoners.”

In an interview with Radio 10 over the weekend, the former VP for Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said that he always felt that his arrest had been “part of a political situation that goes beyond the realm of the courts and has purely political explanations.”

Speaking today as he appeared at Comodoro Py to formally sign off on his release, Boudou said that “if someone is being persecuted, it’s Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. She and her family are suffering a monstrous attack, but it’s not about people but rather the 12 years [][of the Frente para la Victoria government]”.

“There cannot be political prisoners, it’s now happening to the previous government but it could happen to this one,” said Boudou. Other high-profile Kirchnerites in custody on a variety of charges include former Planning minister Julio de Vido, Legal and Technical Secretary Carlos Zannini, ex Foreign minister (recently granted a release from house arrest to receive medical treatment) Héctor Timerman, social activist Luis D’Elía, former Transport secretary Ricardo Jaime and former Public works secretary José López, among others.

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The United States Congress Has Launched an ‘Argentina Caucus’ Mon, 15 Jan 2018 15:08:06 +0000

Last week, US congressional leaders met to launch the “Congressional Argentina Caucus” – a pro-Argentina working group within the House of Representatives to bring together policymakers interested in furthering bilateral relations between the two countries. Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Peru also have similar groups. Caucuses have the ability to raise the profile of a specific issue or set of ideas, and this group can elevate the Argentine-American relationship to the next level.

The Wilson Center, a prominent Washington think-tank, hosted the caucus launch as part of its “Argentina Project” which intends to be the go-to research institution for the political and economic on-goings in Argentina. A group of Argentine Congressional leaders from Buenos Aires City and Buenos Aires Province were also present at the launch, including Karina Banfi, Marco Lavagna, Silvia Lospennato, and Cornelia Schmidt. Schmidt spoke on behalf of the delegation, affirming that the caucus was with “a country, not a government”, and highlighting the importance of inclusion for discussions with all political parties.

The caucus was previously announced in the fall of 2017 when it was formally brought forth with bilateral Congressional support by the Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (Republican, TX) and Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee Eliot Engel (Democrat, NY). In a joint statement, the Congressmen emphasized the compatibility of Argentina and the US as “natural partners” with “highly educated populations, diverse economies, and vast natural resources.” Engel called the caucus a “tool for exploring the untapped potential of the US-Argentina relationship.” They also lauded the economic reforms underway by Mauricio Macri which they say has helped renew Argentina’s position of leadership in Latin America.

In an interview with Clarin, McCaul underscored that groups like the Argentina Caucus in the legislative can complement and enhance the relationship that both the Executive Branch and State Department foster with Argentina. Creating the caucus raises awareness on Argentina’s importance in the region as well as the opportunities it provides for American businesses. Alluding to a “complicated relationship” of years past, McCaul stated that Argentina is on the “right path” which he believes is good for both countries.

A press release from the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the “creation of a friendship group with Argentina at the US House of Representatives marks a new step in reaffirming the bilateral relationship and serves as a valuable platform for engagement, especially between Argentine and American lawmakers.”

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