It’s the weekend again!
And as we get ready for the arrival of spring and try to keep our raging hormones under control, here’s what you may have missed this week because you were too busy trying to download iOS8 (and failing miserably in the process because you didn’t have enough space on your phone).
This is what you need to know:
- President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner flew to the Vatican to meet with the Pope for lunch. The Pope found out that she was going to attend the UN General Assembly this week and sent her a hand written letter inviting her to drop by on her way to New York. The Vatican is not exactly on the way from Buenos Aires to New York, but you don’t simply don’t reject an invitation to join the Pope. Whatever. They had salad and steak, and no matter how heavenly tasty Vatican food is, Cristina said during a press conference: “Sorry Vatican, Argentine beef is better.” She also said Pope Francis wouldn’t be a fan of that statement. All in all they seemed to have had a lot of fun.
- After eating and offering the Pope some gifts of questionable taste (yes, that’s a La Cámpora t-shirt she gave him) Cristina revealed that the terrorist group known as ISIS (or ISIL, or Islamic State… you know who they are) had made threats against her because of her friendship with the Pontiff and her support of a two-state solution in the Palestine-Israeli conflict. Great. Just fucking great. Because if there’s one more problem we need in this country, it’s terrorism. I guess the ’90s are indeed back after all.
- She’ll be speaking at the UN General Assembly this week, so expect a strong, passionate speech against the buitres, AKA Vulture Funds.
- Also in politics (yes, don’t roll your eyes, we’re still not done): Congress passed the Supply Law (known in Spanish as Ley de Abastecimiento), which has everyone up in arms because “we’re becoming Venezuela.” If you don’t know what the Supply Law is, it basically puts a cap on consumer prices of goods, sets profit margins for private businesses and fines businesses that are accused of making “unjustified” profits. The business and farming sectors are up in arms over this and have vowed to sue because they say it violates private property, while the opposition says it’s unconstitutional. So, yeah. Try to sugarcoat it as much as you want, but this is very much inspired by the Venezuelan School of Economics. Difference is at least they have oil and we do not. Socialism or bust.
- Happy quinceañera, “blue” dollar! The black market exchange rate crossed the 15-peso mark this week. Which means that very soon whenever you frugal travelers come visit Buenos Aires and happen to find a dollar at the bottom of your backpack, this classic scene from the movie Eurotrip could actually become a reality.
- Vice-President Amado Boudou (currently Acting President, since Cristina is out of the country) has been accused in court of more mischief. Again. This time he is in trouble for falsifying official documents, including lying about his address on his DNI (Identification Card). See, it looks like the veep registered several vehicles he owns under a wide array of “home addresses” in which he never actually lived. In fact, he’s being accused in court on so many fronts that online news site Perfil decided to launch an entire section so you can follow each case without missing any details. “Complicated situation” doesn’t even begin to cut it.
- Argentina is once again in bad odor with the United States because Kevin Sullivan, the US chargé d’affaires (remember, there’s no ambassador yet) said that it would be good for Argentina to get out of this default as soon as possible. The Government didn’t find Sullivan’s words very pleasant and said it was “very upset” by them, so Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman summoned him to warn him in person of the possible consequences of his unfortunate meddling. Timerman also said that if such behavior continues, Sullivan would get kicked out of Argentina. The US government, used to the administration’s tantrums (that never really end up amounting to anything) rolled its eyes and toned down the conflict by saying that both officials just had a private meeting, so no biggie.
- Just when we thought that rumors of Cristina’s re-reelection had finally been put to rest, here comes the First Son, Maximo Kirchner, to reanimate them á la Doctor Frankenstein’s monster back in the early 1800s. And just like it happened with his misunderstood post-modern prometheus, the populace immediately took to the streets with pitchforks and torches to kill those undead dreams and denounce that doing so would be like trampling on the Argentine Constitution (Presidents here can’t run for office more than twice, FYI.) But that doesn’t mean that Kirchnerite leaders can’t bait the anti-Kirchnerites, who freaked out at Maximo’s suggestion that “if the opposition is so certain that they can beat Cristina, they should run against her again and see what happens.” To make things worse, the leader of the La Campora, Andres “Cuervo” Larroque, suggested that if most people in Argentina support Cristina, it doesn’t matter who’s elected president next year because whoever it is, he will be illegitimate. Sounds to me like “Cuervo” Larroque doesn’t really get the basic dynamics of a constitutional republic, but since Cristina’s approval ratings are in the low 30s, I’ll just let it slide. If anything, get ready for Maximo to run for Congress next year. Stop freaking out. The Republic is safe.
- American Airlines will not let you buy plane tickets in Argentina unless you plan to return to the country within the next 90 days. Blame it on the insane uncertainty surrounding the peso. Cristina, who stands always at the ready to hate on anything US, used a speech she gave on television to tie the airline to the vulture funds and say this was another attempt to create economic uncertainty. So now you know. If you want to fly American and spend New Year’s Eve abroad, get ready to wait until October 1st.
- And I say October under the assumption that you plan to return to Argentina on January 1st. If not, get ready to wait a few more days.
- Argentina made the international headlines (again) this week after a Canadian tourist decided to film his bike tour through La Boca with a GoPro camera mounted on his helmet. Too bad a motochorro cut him off and demanded his backpack, unaware that he was being caught on camera. The rest is YouTube history.
- Last but not least, here’s one of those videos where you have no idea of what’s going on because it feels like one of those dreams you have when you’re sweating in bed with a fever, courtesy of some food poisoning you got at the street fair. As the Gimnasia football team prepared to meet its arch-nemesis Estudiantes, they deemed it necessary to do some spiritual cleansing at the Estadio Unico – where the game was going to take place – because whenever they play against their rival there, they lose. So in order to rid the place of any bad vibes and possibly spirits, they hired a “little wizard” (as in a little person who is dressed like Gandalf but holds a Christian cross, for some reason) to walk around the field and say a few blessings.
- And while everyone mocked the team for their ridiculous stunt, in the end the game ended up tied. So… partial credit?
Have a good weekend, kids.