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The Friday Roundup: March 28

By | [email protected] | March 28, 2014 9:54pm

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It’s Friday again!

And, oh, what a week. One of those uneventful weeks in which a lot happened but it’s mostly irrelevant stuff, so you feel like nothing really happened. Yeah, this was one of those weeks.

So here’s a brief summary of what happened in the last seven days, courtesy of me because I have nothing better to do.

This is what you need to know:

  • Those red letters are hard to miss, no? (Photo via Diario Registrado)

    Those red letters are hard to miss, no? (Photo via Diario Registrado)

    Alright, first things first: I got some bad news. Did you know that part of your utility bills are subsidized (or paid) by the National Government? Because they are. I mean, it’s pretty obvious, considering there are some BIG RED LETTERS stamped on your utility bills that say “Consumo con subsidio del estado nacional.”  Really, you never saw that? Damn, you’re clueless. Well, turns out that since the Government is trying to save money, the administration has decided to cut utility subsidies by an average 20 percent, which could help the administration save 13 billion pesos, which will be used to “cover utility company costs and finance social spending.” The announcement was made by Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and Planning Minister Julio De Vido, who said that the cuts would – for now – affect gas and water bills:

 

 

  • OMG, AXEL KICILLOF SHAVED HIS REBELLIOUS SIDEBURNS!!! It’s OK, though. As long as he refuses to wear a tie, his one-man revolution against the establishment lives on.

 

  • So going back to the subsidies thing, does this mean that your utilities are going up? You bet your middle-to-lower-class ass they are. In neighborhoods like Recoleta, Palermo and Belgrano, water bills could go up 400 percent. It’s all explained neatly in this piece on Infobae. Oh, stop crying. You know how cheap utilities in this country are? They are some of the cheapest in Latin America, if not the cheapest. The problem with this measure is that it’s not gradual, so many people are understandably up in arms about it.

 

  • And with all this subsidy stuff happening, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had to go on Cadena Nacional to do some damage control this week, although as usual the official reason for the national broadcast was some silly excuse, like “giving some loans to small and medium sized businesses.” It’s always the same: something controversial happens, so she announces that she’s going to go live on Cadena for some bullshit reason no one cares about. She talks about the opening of some new playground or whatever for the first ten minutes of her speech, and then she casually goes “Oh, and by the way…“. And that’s when you know her real speech is about to start. Try it, it never fails.

 

  • The teachers’ strike in the Buenos Aires province is over almost a month after the school year started. Kids are mortified and parents are ecstatic. Balance has been restored in the universe.

 

  • Oh, and you know who called Cristina this week to talk about the weather and invasions and stuff? Soviet Russia’s answer to Chuck Norris, president Vladimir Putin himself. According to a statement released by the Kremlin – and Cristina herself via Twitter – he just wanted to thank her for criticizing the West’s (the US and the UK) double standard, since they condemn the referendum in Crimea but celebrate the one that took place in the Malvinas Islands last year. Now, it is important to remember that while Cristina criticized the West for this, she also criticized Russia for the annexation of Crimea, which she said wasn’t right. But Putin cherrypicked the most convenient facts and called her. Whatever, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. You know how it goes.

 

  • Oh, and speaking of Putin’s enemies, Barack Obama went on a trip around Europe this week and met for the first time with God’s ambassador himself, Pope Francis. Or as the Republican party in the US would call it, “a Communist Summit.” Obama said he admired the Pope, which by extension obviously means he admires all Argentines, and delivered a kickass present that put Cristina’s present to shame: a seed chest made from American leather and wood reclaimed from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals built in the United States. What did Cristina get the Pope last week? This.

 

  • No, seriously, that’s what she got him.

 

  • I’m not shitting you, that’s what she got him!

 

  • And that photo of Pope Francis and Obama laughing? It was begging to become a meme. And obviously it did. Here you go: “Believe it or not, she gave me a thermos.” I love you, the Internet.

 

  • Meanwhile, in the United States… Frente Renovador lawmaker Sergio Massa, AKA the guy who could become president next year, was visiting Washington DC and meeting with Obama officials in an effort to make nice with the US, considering that Cristina’s love-hate relationship with Washington has left them scratching their heads more than once. Many local politicians criticized Massa’s visit, saying that he was already cozying up to the US and that he is “the Empire’s candidate of choice.” This prompted Department of State officials to come out and say that “they have no interest in influencing elections” and that they would be more than happy to meet with the major presidential candidates, such as Mauricio Macri and Daniel Scioli as well. Next year it should be interesting to see where Argentina is headed, since so far all candidates seem to be leaning center-right. Oh, no, don’t worry. They could even be full right and still be considered “radical leftists” by pundits in the US.

 

  • Last but not least, the Dakar Rally is coming back to Buenos Aires next year! Remember the Dakar Rally? No? Exactly. That’s why it’s coming back. Because if it doesn’t involve Buenos Aires in some way nobody gives a shit about it. So in 2015, the Dakar Rally will begin and end in Buenos Aires, which mean they must be desperate for attention. Fortunately for me, I still won’t care about it.

Happy weekend, kids!