Welcome back to the work week! Here’s to hoping that you all had a happy International Worker’s Day, Labor Day, May Day, Loyalty Day or Beltane. Since neither of those festivities include newsreading, let’s take a look at what happened over the long weekend, shall we?
- Sunday marked the 40th anniversary of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Association, which strives to find disappeared children who were abducted by the military dictatorship between 1976-1983. The Mothers are separate from the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Founding Line, from which they split in 1986 over political differences – each had their own commemorative event, lead by their leaders Hebe de Bonafini and Nora Cortiñas respectively. Both criticized President Mauricio Macri’s government, with Cortiñas insisting that classified dictatorship files be opened to the public and that “[they] no longer want to hear the President distort what happened by saying that there weren’t 30,000 desaparecidos [and thus] devaluing [history].” Bonafini, for her part, spoke about the previous Kirchner administrations as a model for the defense of human rights, stating that “In order to live peacefully, [one] has to turn off the TV and burn Clarín.”
Both Mothers Associations are separate from the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, led by Estela de Carlotto, who search for children born in captivity who were given or sold to allies of the dictatorship.
- Labor Day in Argentina yesterday was as busy as expected, with different unions holding different events and rallies according to their affiliation (or lack thereof) with the government. The CGT umbrella union held its own rallies, six in total, headed by Juan Carlos Schmid, who said in a speech that “The government has launched an economic route that none of us share.” He also stated that half of the population were having issues stretching their salaries to make it through the month: “Who the hell can say that that is feasible at this point in [our] history?” There was no mention, however, of another general strike. Meanwhile, Macri participated in Labor Day celebrations for the first time in his presidency, making a speech to 62 assembled organizations and ending with a cry of “Yes we can!” He also said that the administration will present a bill in Congress to integrate more informal workers into the Argentine workforce by having the state cover part of their salary (by way of maintaining their unemployment benefits, allegedly incentivizing employers to hire them formally). We’ll be hearing more about that in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned! Read more: Labor Day In Argentina: Macri in Ferro, CGT in Obras And CTA Outside Congress
— Fran Quintana (@franquintana) 1 de mayo de 2017
- The femicide of Araceli Fulles, whose body was found last Friday after being missing for almost a month, was also prominent throughout the weekend, starting with a wake held from Friday night to Saturday morning. The 22-year-old’s father, Ricardo Fulles, told Crónica TV that he “could not understand why they were so merciless with [his] daughter.” Fulles was buried on Saturday afternoon. The main suspect, Darío Badaracco, was finally apprehended on Friday but has refused to provide testimony to prosecutors. The six other men arrested for the crime did accept to testify, giving their whereabouts on the night of Fulles’ disappeareance (April 2) but denied any involvement in the kidnapping or the homicide. In addition, yesterday there was a silent march asking for justice in Fulles’ neighborhood, San Martín, with hundreds of people dressed in black holding white candles. “We want justice for Araceli and for the culprits to go to prison. We’re angry and wish them the worst. We want solitary confinement for life, not prison, for them to be incarcerated and never get out,” said Fulle’s uncle, Oscar. There will allegedly be more marches.
- It’s official. What we’ve all been waiting for. The US Department of Agricullture (USDA) announced yesterday that they will not extend the stay on restrictions for Argentine lemon imports, meaning that the citric fruit may be hitting US shelves again. In a statement, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said that it would not extend President Trump’s temporary suspension (established on January 23), which expires on May 26. This is very good news for the Argentine northwestern region, which will finally be able to access one of its largest consumer markets for the first time in 16 years. Read more: Price Of Lemons In Argentina Approaches AR $100 A Kilo
- According to a study by the private consulting firm Ecolatina, inflation has clocked in at 8.5 percent for the first quarter, meaning that the Argentina Central Bank’s goal of a 12 to 17 percent annual inflation rate is “looking harder to achieve” or as a “mission impossible,” saying that “the goverment started the year off on the wrong foot in terms in inflation.” Ecolatina warned that there was an inflationary acceleration, or a speeding up of the increase in cost of life, in the first few months of 2017 due to “the renewed wave of increases in public service tariffs (such as electricity and gas) as in other goods and services, the increased cost of which is authorized by the government (medical insurance, cigarettes, fossil fuels, telephones, etc.)”
- After Macri’s visit to the US, the US Ambassador in Argentina, Tom Cooney, has said that “it’s very likely that Trump will come to Argentina for the G20” in 2018: if that is the case, there will have been bilateral presidential visits in three consecutive years for the first time in history. While you’re writing that down in your agendas, you can also cross out “Pope Francis Homecoming” on March 18 of next year: he’s confirmed that there is no such visit planned, or any other for that matter, in 2018. Pope Francis has yet to visit his home country since becoming Bishop of Rome in 2013.
Go forth and show yourselves to be well informed, my loyal Monday readers!