Argentina under right-wing President Macri


This December 2016 video says about itself:

Argentina: Thousands march for release of Milagro Sala on International Human Rights Day

Thousands of protesters rallied for both the defence of their human rights and the immediate release of political prisoner Milagro Sala in the Plaza de Mayo on Sunday. The day of protest also falls on the anniversary of Mauricio Macri‘s government, which demonstrators argue has worsened the social and political state of the country.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The peso is falling and falling in value, inflation is screaming and now more than a third of the population lives in poverty. …

“I was here a year ago and see the differences”, correspondent Nina Jurna says from Buenos Aires. “More and more people are sleeping on the streets because they have lost their homes. The tables at the once popular, chic restaurants remain empty.”

“Everyone suffers”, says Latin America connoisseur Michiel Baud. “It reminds the Argentines of the 1970s: when you as a foreigner exchanged your money for a cup of coffee at 11 am, and did it again at 1 pm because the peso had already dropped in value so much again.”

Today Argentina is electing a new president, one to save the country plagued by crises. …

The current president Mauricio Macri is at the top of the ballot papers. A neo-liberal who promised in 2015 to get Argentina out of debt. He would let the market do its work and promise to attract investors.

But they did not come and Argentina only went deeper into the red. Macri even had to request an emergency loan of $ 57 billion from the International Monetary Fund, despised by Argentineans – the largest loan the IMF ever granted.

With the broken promises, Macri‘s popularity also disappeared. …

Macri‘s challenger is the left-populist duo Fernández-Fernández (no family). Alberto Fernández makes a shot at the presidency, his running mate is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – the one from whom Macri took over four years ago.

The couple is considered an absolute favorite. In the polls, they lead with a difference of 20 percentage points – enough to win the first-round elections. …

People hope that left-wing populists will improve their personal situation quickly, Jurna explains. “They will probably try again with subsidies. At least people then will be able to pay their rent again.” …

In the meantime, the Argentines are watching on television the disturbances in their neighbouring countrhies. They see how the president of Chile is rolling back [right-wing] reforms under pressure from students and how the indigenous people of Ecuador are doing the same. “The Argentines certainly get inspiration from those protests“, says Jurna. “They see that the power of the people is enormous.”

Dutch royals’ friendship with Argentine Macri criticized


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Argentines protest softening of human rights law

Buenos Aires – 10 May 2017

1. Girl handing out white scarves (symbols of the plight of Argentine human rights group, Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo) to people as they begin to arrive for rally

2. People gathered in Central Plaza de Mayo square at beginning of rally

3. Woman holding placard reading (Spanish) ‘No to the 2×1 for perpetrators of genocide

4. Man standing amongst crowd in square holding large placard reading (Spanish) ‘No forgetting, no forgiving. What is missing is to put on trial those who are responsible for the economy, those from the church and the members of the justice system.’

5. Wide of large number of people walking along central avenue to arrive in square for rally

6. One of the elderly members of humanitarian group, Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, being wheeled into square; she passes over image of white scarf painted on Plaza de Mayo Square

7. Nora Cortinas, leading member of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo humanitarian group arriving at event

8. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Nora Cortinas, Leading member, Mothers of Plaza de Mayo:

“People have come out to the street to rally to call for the reversal of the injustices that members of the justice system are inclined to commit. People using their voice, breaking the silence, will help us achieve the true justice for human rights.”

9. Top shot, large number of people gathered in Plaza de Mayo Square

10. Person dressed as the Grim Reaper carrying banner reading (Spanish) “The Supreme Court of injustice, corrupt and immoral, has liberated death”

11. Zoom out from image of man that disappeared during the 1978-1983 dictatorship in Argentina to his sister in law

12. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Ana Maria Vega, her brother-in-law was disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship:

“How can I look my grandchild and my niece in the eyes, and tell them about this (referring to the top court’s decision last week that reduced the sentence of a human rights abuser based on an interpretation of a repealed law, known locally as the 2×1 ruling). I also lost a daughter to Spain (in exile, during the dictatorship). This is what they have achieved. We can not let that the 2×1 continues. They are perpetrators of a genocide, whether it’s here or in China or even in Lujan (town in province of Buenos Aires).”

13. Top shot of people carrying large banner with images of people who disappeared during the Argentine dictatorship, through crowds into Plaza de Mayo Square

14. Wide of large number of people in Plaza de Mayo square at dusk

Buenos Aires, Argentina – 10 May 2017

++NIGHT SHOTS++

17. Various of large number of people in Plaza de Mayo square during rally

STORYLINE

Thousands of Argentines of all ages and opposing political parties joined Wednesday to protest a Supreme Court ruling that many feared would lead to the release of convicted human rights criminals.

Lower court judges denounced it as unconstitutional and rejected requests for freedom by other convicted abusers.

The Dutch royal couple and the Argentine presidential Macri couple, HH photo

This photo shows from left to right: Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Dutch Queen Máxima, Argentine presidential wife Juliana Awada and Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today, by Kysia Hekster:

King’s friendships can be risky

It is not wise for [Dutch King] Willem-Alexander and [Queen] Máxima to have friends with a distinct political profile. For his credibility as king of all Dutch people, it is important that Willem-Alexander should be above the parties. It is not for nothing that the king has the right to vote, but never votes.

Yet the Dutch royal couple are close friends with the – not uncontroversial – Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and his wife Juliana Awada. Máxima first met Macri in January 2016, at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He had then just become president of Argentina. Apparently things went well with … Máxima.

When Willem-Alexander became engaged to Máxima, there was criticism in the Netherlands of Máxima’s father, who had been Argentine minister of agriculture during the bloody military dictatorship.

Willem-Alexander then on 7 March 2001 defended his prospective father-in-law Jorge Zorreguieta by quoting Argentine ex-dictator Videla. Máxima then called, advised to say so by a Dutch senior official, that defense of her father by her fiancé ‘een beetje dom’ (a little stupid).

Because at the end of that year, King Willem-Alexander and Máxima and their three daughters spent Christmas together with the Argentinian couple and their daughter Antonia in Patagonia, where Máxima’s aunt runs a hotel. A few months earlier Maxima posed with the president, his wife and their daughter, when she visited the country for her United Nations work.

State visit

Macri and his wife visited the Netherlands in March 2017. Prior to that visit, they slept at Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn and visited the Dutch royal couple in private on the Eikenhorst, where the Orange royal family lived at the time.

Last November, Máxima was at the invitation of the Argentine president in her home country for the G20, the twenty largest economies in the world for her United Nations work. She was given an honourary place in the group photo, right behind the Argentinian presidential couple.

Macri‘s wife Juliana was also at the funeral of Máxima’s sister Inés. At the beginning of this year, the Dutch royal couple and their daughters ate again with the Argentinian president and his wife, wrote Argentinian media.

Of course the royal couple can choose their own friends. But Macri is not undisputed. During the state visit to the Netherlands, there were demonstrations by Hijos Nederland, an organization of children whose parents disappeared during the Videla regime in Argentina. The organization blames the Argentinian president for “ruling by decree, advocating milder punishment for war criminals and imprisoning human rights activists“.

Last year, Amnesty International also expressed concerns about signs of the erosion of the right to demonstration and freedom of expression under Macri. In 2015, he won the elections with the promise to put an end to the economic crisis and poverty. But he did not keep that promise.

Elections tomorrow

There are presidential elections in Argentina on Sunday. It looks like Macri will probably lose it in the first round. It is very likely that there will be a new president, Alberto Fernández, who will have nothing to do with Macri‘s political course. He is probably also a lot more distant from Macri‘s friends, including Willem-Alexander and Máxima.

This may not have immediate consequences in the Netherlands. But friendship with one president can negatively influence contacts with another, new head of state of Argentina. It is therefore important that the king also guards his political impartiality – essential in the constitutional monarchy – internationally.

Costanera Sur, Argentina wildlife, one hour video


This video says about itself:

One hour raw ambient footage of some of the prettiest wildlife of the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur located in the city of Buenos Aires and around the International Airport Ezeiza of the Argentinian metropolis.

Footage was filmed in 4K UHD during the month of December [2018].

I was in this beautiful area many years ago.

Spanish young people cannot afford homes


This July 2016 video says about itself:

SPAIN: YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT 57%

CNN’s Al Goodman shows a whole generation lost in Spain due to high unemployment.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

More and more Spanish people in their twenties still live with their parents. The percentage of 16 to 29-year-olds living at home rose to no less than 81 per cent in the second part of 2018: a record.

The main reasons for continuing to live at home are the unaffordable owner-occupied houses and the rental properties that often cost more than a monthly salary.

According to NOS correspondent Rop Zoutberg, it is anything but new that so many young people continue to live at home. “Only now it is extremely long, but that can be explained because they have little money and there is a lot of unemployment in Spain.” …

Taking a holiday job in summer, as many Dutch young people do, is often not an option. “These are hardly there for young people.”

So, the austerity ‘medicine’, prescribed for Spain by the European Union and right-wing Spanish politicians, really works … NOT!

Like it also really ‘works’ in the Argentina of right-wing Panama papers scandal president Macri … NOT!

This 12 August 2019 video says about itself:

Major Upset For Macri In Argentina‘s Primary Elections

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri lost the primary elections in a major upset, topping even the worst [public opinion] polls in the country.

From Couch to Curb film launch highlights youth homelessness in Australia: here.

Argentine dog prevents football goal


This 3 December 2018 video about football says about itself:

Dog makes incredible goalline save

Watch the incredible moment a dog stops a shot on the line in an Argentine third division match between Defensores de Belgrano de Villa Ramallo and Juventud Unida.

G20 summit police state in Argentina


This video says about itself:

G20 protests take over Buenos Aires streets

Protesters and demonstrators took to the streets of Argentina’s capital on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, as the world’s top leaders meet in Buenos Aires to address global issues, including trade, human rights, climate change and migration.

By Rafael Azul:

Police repression in Buenos Aires for G20: a dress rehearsal for dictatorship

1 December 2018

As the presidents of the Group of 20 nations (G20), representing the world’s top economies, were preparing to travel to their 13th economic summit in Buenos Aires, this weekend, Argentine authorities were in the process of rounding up and forcibly expelling homeless families who reside in downtown Buenos Aires.

The violent expulsion of the homeless has been accompanied by naked repression and the suppression of democratic rights. Buenos Aires and federal officials are using the G20 meeting as a dress rehearsal for police-state measures appropriate to a military dictatorship.

Página 12, a Buenos Aires daily, quoted Martín, a 19-year-old homeless resident who told a reporter from the Telam press agency, “They are closing the neighborhood because of the G20.” Martín, his 18-year-old companion and their baby were expelled together with all the homeless who sleep in the parks and doorways of the city center. “We moved here six months ago because we could not afford to pay rent anyplace,” declared the youth, who works gathering and recycling paper and cardboard discarded by downtown offices. “I earn enough to eat, but not enough to pay for even a tiny room,” he added. Non-governmental organizations estimate that 7,300 homeless now live in the city of Buenos Aires, a 30 percent increase over 2017.

The removal of the homeless is part of an operation by Federal police and security forces who erected a perimeter around government buildings in Buenos Aires city center in anticipation of mass protests.

More than one thousand homeless live in the targeted zone. “Government workers came by and told us that because of the visit of the presidents, we would have to leave,” said Sergio, a single dad who with his four children occupies two mattresses in Plaza de Mayo square, across from Argentina’s Government House.

Among the leaders arriving for the summit was Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was given a warm welcome Thursday morning by Argentina’s foreign minister Marcelo Fauri; the prince, with an entourage of over 1,000 men, was among the first to arrive.

There is a pending demand by Human Rights Watch in the Argentine courts for the arrest of the Saudi prince for war crimes in Yemen involving “indiscriminate air raids aimed against civilians” and for the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi; none expect that this protégé of Trump and imperialism will be detained during his two days in Buenos Aires.

In Argentina there is increasing mass opposition to the austerity policies imposed by the administration of President Mauricio Macri in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund. The measures demanded by the IMF to rescue the Argentine economy require dictatorial policies.

The G20 summit is taking place under the most repressive conditions in Argentine history. Throughout the week, thousands of police placed barriers and established three concentric security zones. Twenty thousand gendarmes are in place in addition to the five thousand police assigned as personal guards to the summit delegates.

City authorities declared that this Friday, the opening day of the summit, would be a no-work holiday and advised residents to leave the city. Subway lines and metropolitan rail service have been suspended. All domestic flights into Buenos Aires have been cancelled. Auto traffic was re-routed around the security perimeter.

A 460-kilometer circumference air traffic exclusion zone was imposed over Buenos Aires, presumably including the La Plata River and part of Uruguay, further restricting flights. Buenos Aires is truly a city under siege. President Macri has threatened to shoot down airplanes flying overhead.

While the immediate target of the massive security apparatus may be a protest march on Congress repudiating the G20 summit and the agreement between Macri and the IMF—organized by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and dozens of civil rights organizations—the real target is the repudiation by the working class and large sections of the middle class of the Macri government, its neo-liberal and corrupt policies and its prostration to imperialism.

Throughout this week there have been mass rallies and protest marches by workers and students in the context of a collapsing dollar, ever increasing prices, job cuts and increasing misery. Industrial production in Argentina is now at the same level that it was in 2002, during the last financial and debt crisis.

The series of demonstrations have been met with police repression that in the last week resulted in two deaths and many wounded.

In a police station in Esteban Echeverría, eight people in “preventive detention” were left to die when a fire took place and police officers abandoned the prisoners.

Police used rubber bullets against protesters occupying vacant land in the town of Jose Leon Suarez, wounding several.

On November 22, a member of the Federation of the Workers of the People’s Economy (CTEP), Rodolfo Orellana, was killed by police during an attempted eviction.

In the city of Cordoba, labor activist Marcos Jesús Soria was beaten and killed by government security agents. According to CTEP, Soria, after being beaten, attempted to hide in a horse stable, but was shot in the back by the police who then threatened eye-witnesses to the crime, ordering them not to reveal what had happened.

A CTEP communiqué condemned the “hunting down of activists in the context of increasing repression by the government of Mauricio Macri and his Security Minister, Patricia Bullrich.”

The police repression extends to strikes and occupations. Last week police violently ended an occupation by workers at a factory of consumer durables, Siam, injuring workers and their supporters. In each of these cases the security forces have acted with total impunity.

Officials in charge of security have warned that they will strongly repress any incidents considered violent, that police will not stand idly by and will react against any act that it considers provocative. The latest turn of the screw authorizes police forces to use live ammunition against demonstrators.

This police-state response in the context of the G20 summit and the far broader social struggles gripping Argentina represents an abrogation of the democratic right to assemble and protest and the adoption of dictatorial forms of rule.

G20 papers over differences as economic conflicts intensify: here.

Argentine investigation of Saudi crown prince’s crimes


This 28 November 2018 video says about itself:

🇦🇷MBS arrives in Argentina for G20: Will he be a pariah?

Saudi Arabia‘s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, has landed in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires for the G20 summit, which begins on Friday.

The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is hanging heavily over Prince Mohammed, as he arrives in Argentina for the G20 summit of world leaders. Human Rights Watch has filed a legal complaint in Argentina over the Khashoggi allegations and it also wants MBS to be prosecuted over civilian deaths in Yemen.

Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo reports from Buenos Aires.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

An Argentinian judge is starting a preliminary investigation into Mohammed bin Salman. He responds to the request of human rights organization Human Rights Watch to prosecute the Saudi crown prince for crimes against humanity.

Mohammed bin Salman arrived in Argentina yesterday. This weekend he will be participating in the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Judge Ariel Lijo agreed with the prosecutor’s request to establish whether investigations are being conducted against Mohammed in other countries as well. He also asked Human Rights Watch to give more details about the accusations against the Saudi. The judge will decide at a later time whether he will start a formal investigation.

Yemen and Khashoggi

Human Rights Watch submitted the request to prosecute Mohammed on Tuesday. According to the human rights organization, he has committed crimes in [the war on] Yemen … . The organization also wants to prosecute him for the murder of the journalist Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

US President Donald Trump’s trip to the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina has been accompanied by an outpouring of jingoism throughout the US political establishment, targeting not just Russia, but with ever-greater belligerence, China: here.

Macri bringing Argentine military dictatorship back?


This October 2016 video says about itself:

Stolen children of Argentina’s dictatorship search for the truth

Imagine discovering that your surname, first name and date of birth are all lies? That your family is not your real family?

Hundreds of Argentineans born during the dictatorship of General Videla, from 1976 to 1983, have faced this horrifying discovery. FRANCE 24 went to meet them.

In Argentina, during the dark days of the dictatorship, almost 500 babies were forcibly taken by the military junta from their parents, who were left-wing dissidents opposed to the regime. The parents were tortured and often executed.

The young mothers, accused of “being active militants of the machinery of terrorism”, in the words of the dictator Videla, were killed or thrown into the sea from a military plane. According to human rights campaigners, around 30,000 dissidents were killed or disappeared during the junta’s rule from 1976 to 1983.

Newborns, who were often born in jail or in clandestine maternity wards, were given as spoils of war to military families or those close to the regime. Once adopted, they were given a new name and a new date of birth: a false identity.

In 1983, as the dictatorship came to an end and a civilian government was democratically elected, one group of women, “the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo“, actively set out to find their missing grandchildren.

Today, forty years after the 1976 coup that brought the junta to power, and thanks to a monumental investigation, witness testimonies and DNA tests, 119 people have discovered their real identity and biological families.

In FRANCE 24’s documentary, our reporter Bertrand Devé went to meet these men and women who have discovered the truth of their past, with some of them finding out the horror of who their “adoptive” parents really were. We joined them on their journey to reconnect with their roots and rebuild their identities.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Controversial measure by the president of Argentina: domestic deployment of the military

The Argentine president Macri wants to deploy the army inland. That is sensitive in the South American country; Argentina suffered in the late 1970s, early 80’s under a military dictatorship, where tens of thousands of people disappeared under mysterious circumstances or were killed or tortured.

Macri wants to use the military to address domestic threats, such as drug crime and terrorism.

Authoritarian rulers usually have very wide definitions of terrorism. In this blog post, we have already seen Argentine dictator Videla, calling opposition to his dictatorship ‘terrorism’. The British conservative government does not know the difference between journalism and ‘terrorism’. Neither does the absolute monarchy in Bahrain.

Right-winger Macri, or some coup d’état general succeeding Macri as president, very probably don’t know the difference between terrorism and environmentalism; between terrorism and advocacy of workers’ rights; and between terrorism and advocacy of indigenous people’s rights; with consequences like for indigenous rights activist Santiago Maldonado, murdered during the Macri administration.

He also wants the army to guard sensitive areas, such as nuclear power stations. In a speech at a military base, Macri said that the military would mainly provide logistical support in border areas.

Defending the country’s borders

From 1976 to 1981, junta leader Videla was in power in Argentina. He used the army to suppress his own people. In 1983 the military dictatorship ended. With this history in mind, a decree was adopted in 2006 in which the role of the army was limited to defending the national borders.

The plans of conservative Macri, leading the country since 2015, are criticized by the opposition and human rights organizations. A wider use of the army can lead to military espionage, repression and more violence.

Criticism by human rights organizations

Former Minister of Defense Rossi says that separation of national security and internal security since 1983 is state policy and that should not change. According to him, it does not work either. He points out that Mexico, Colombia and Brazil have deployed the army in the fight against drug crimes, but those countries now seem to turn back from it.

The Buenos Aires Center for Legal and Social Studies says it is right behind the separation of military and domestic security issues. Messing that up poses a danger to both civil and human rights, says the organization.

The government wants to introduce the new rules through a decree rather than through a law which would have to be approved by Congress.

Argentinians hit the streets to protest against increasing militarisation: here.

28 jailed for life for crimes against humanity during Argentina’s Dirty War: here.

ARGENTINA VOTES DOWN BILL TO LEGALIZE ABORTION The Argentine senate has rejected a bill to legalize abortion, pushing back against a groundswell of support from a surging abortion rights movement. [Reuters]

Woman dies following illegal abortion in Argentina: here.

The crisis of the Turkish lira, driven by the strengthening of the US dollar, combined with the increase in US interest rates in recent months and sharply exacerbated by the Trump administration’s imposition of punishing trade tariffs, has spread to a number of “emerging markets” economies, which borrowed heavily during the years of low interest rates. Argentina has now joined Turkey in imposing currency mega-devaluations, threatening a national economic collapse: here.

After a brief respite, turbulence has returned to so-called emerging markets. The Argentine central bank raised interest rates to 60 percent yesterday to try to halt the slide in the peso. The Turkish lira also fell, moving toward the record lows it reached earlier this month: here.

Argentina-Iceland 1-1, celebration with birds


This 2015 video is about birds in Iceland.

This 2015 video is called 1000 reasons to visit Argentina. Birding in Argentina.

To celebrate today’s World Cup football match Argentina-Iceland, these videos. One bird video for each country, as they both made one goal.

This video is called Argentina vs Iceland 1-1 All Goals & Highlights 16/06/2018.

This is a surprisingly good result for small country Iceland against Argentina, one of the favourites. The Icelandic goalie stopped a penalty by Argentine star player Lionel Messi.

The coach of Iceland is part-time coach, part dentist on the Vestmannaeyjar islands.

Vestmannaeyjar means ‘islands of the Irish people’. As the original inhabitants of the archipelago were ‘maroon‘ Irish runaway slaves.