Did you spend your weekend freaking out over the fact that it’s December and you’re starting to get those “Happy Holidays” emails and “What A Crazy Year 2016 Was” videos in your NewsFeed? Of course, nobody can read the news with that sort of trauma. Jokes aside, the end-of-year crunch has started to kick into gear, making Mondays that much harder to deal with.
For that, The Bubble is here with its weekly update of what happened over the weekend while everyone else was trying to relax (or striving to remember where 2016 went)
- A lot of things were said by President Mauricio Macri during the governmental “spiritual retreat” over the weekend, which came as a sort of end-of-year evaluation of their first year in power. “In the campaign frenzy, certain expectations were created around a magical change, which is something we should steer clear of, [away from] messianic leaderships. I’m no David Copperfield,” said Macri on the last day. Retreats are something that the PRO has been doing since 2007, when Macri became the mayor of the City of Buenos Aires, and they’re more like an extended party meeting than intense meditation master classes (despite what we’d like to believe). No cell phones allowed, though.
- Read more: The ‘Spiritual Retreat’ Macri Should Have Thrown
- Speaking of end-of-year evaluations, a survey by the consulting firm Management and Fit revealed yesterday that 43.1 percent of those surveyed considered that Macri’s first year was negative or very negative and 51.6 percent think that he isn’t keeping his campaign promises. Only 25.9 percent thought his administration’s policies were positive or very positive.
- Also, after returning from the retreat and getting his cell phone back, Macri downloaded Telegram, because Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp apparently aren’t enough to connect with young people. However, he did say “I promise not to flood you with messages or send you things I’ve already uploaded onto social media.” So stay tuned!
- Vice President Gabriela Michetti defended the government’s decision to allow family members of all public officials to declare previously undeclared assets under the new tax amnesty. According to Michetti, it would be “almost unconstitutional” not to: she clarified that they would not be allowed to declare (and “get away”) with all their undeclared assets. “I’m not going to say what I think. I’m a part of this government and I defend its policies,” Michetti commented, which piqued local media’s interest. Read more: Government Backlash After Politicians’ Family Members Get Included In Tax Amnesty Law
- More on Michetti: the investigation into alleged irregularities in the foundation she presides, the SUMA Foundation, has widened in scope after lawmaker Rodolfo Tailhade presented new charges against her and Cecilia Brook, a member of SUMA that organized a party in which over AR$ 200,000 disappeared last year. Michetti was heavily criticized for not disclosing the burglary to the public and questions began to emerge about where that money came from. Read more: After Michetti’s Legal Woes, More Macri-Linked Foundations Come Under Scrutiny
- A lot of investigations into public officials’ salaries were revealed over the weekend. Perfil revealed that public officials at the AFIP and the Central Bank earn much more than their governmental counterparts: the head of the AFIP, Alberto Abad earn a salary that doubles Macri’s. Not only that, but apparently the “wealthiest Buenos Aires province police officer,” who retired due to fraud allegations, could own up to 101 properties. And a helicopter. And racehorses. Read more: This Buenos Aires Police Commissioner Owns 7 Houses And A Helicopter
- The political TV show La Cornisa focused it’s program on former presidential candidate Daniel Scioli yesterday, specifically on a trip he made to Cuba with the model Gisele Berger during the presidential campaign last year. According to host Luis Majul, the trip wasn’t official and cost around US$1.7 million: Scioli is already suspected of using of public funds to pay for flights on private planes during his presidential campaign. Meanwhile, Scioli insists that the whole controversy is being generated to eclipse the country’s current problems under Macri’s government. Read more: Scioli Jets Off To Punta Cana With Model Amid Fraud Allegations
- The controversy over Milagro Sala, the Tupac Amaru leader whose imprisonment since January 16th has generated international outcry over what many consider to be her illicit detainment, flared up again over the weekend. First, the government presented a long report justifying her imprisonment to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which had urged the state to free her last week. Then, in a radio interview, Renewal Front lawmaker Graciela Camaño caused outrage by saying she “did not believe [Sala] should be freed” despite international pressure and that the conflict was due to “the government’s mistakes.” Read more: OAS Secretary General Joins Call To Free Milagro Sala
- In Mendoza province, two priests have been arrested along with one employee of an institute for deaf and mute children after 20 charges of pedophilia were made against them. The case prosecutor Fabrizio Sidotti told the press that the number of victims could be up to 60 and the Vatican has initiated their own investigative process. One of the priests, 82-year-old Nicolás Corradi, had allegedly already been charged of pedophilia in Italy in 1984, also with deaf children.
- Anyone who tried to take a bus around Belgrano and suffered the Metrobus construction chaos will not be surprised to hear that asphalt consumption sky-rocketed in November in comparison to last year due to the increase in public works, reaching 49,000 tons, the highest value in five years.
- A month after the head of the Supreme Court, Ricardo Lorenzetti, was involved in a car accident in Santa Fe province, his 32-year-old son Pablo Lorenzetti also had a car crash…in the same province. Although his accident was worse, with the car flipping over into a ditch by the highway, he apparently has his father’s luck (is it luck?) because neither Lorenzetti or his friends were seriously injured. Take taxis from now on, Lorenzetti clan!
- More from Management and Fit! In Clarín’s weekly political and economic indices, the firm revealed that economically, the government is doing better than last week while in political terms, the decreasing tendency continues.
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Go forth and show yourselves to be well informed, my loyal Monday readers!