Argentina is more corrupt than it was a year ago, according to the results of a Transparency International survey released Tuesday. The survey, in which Argentina typically ranks poorly, rated the land of the Gaucho as the 109th least corrupt country out of 180 surveyed.
That means 108 nations are less corrupt than Argentina, according to the survey, which actually measures perceived corruption. Last year Argentina ranked 105th while in 2001 it ranked 59th, thought that survey included only 91 countries.
Argentina’s poor showing is inline with that of other countries in the region, which has long been a bastion of corruption. “Among the 32 countries from the Americas included in Transparency International’s (TI) 2008 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), 22 scored less than 5 points out of 10, indicating a serious corruption problem, and eleven failed to exceed the three-point mark, indicating rampant corruption,” TI said in a statement. Argentina scored 2.9 points, making it one of those places were corruption is “rampant.”
TI said anti-corruption efforts in the region “appear largely to have stalled.” In contrast to Argentina’s bleak performance, Canada remained the “cleanest,” most trustworthy country in the Americas this year. It was followed by the U.S., which ranked 18th in the world. Haiti was the region’s most corrupt country, followed by Venezuela, which gave birth to the famous $800,000 dollar suitcase brought into Argentina by Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson. (If you’re interested in that story, click here for the latest English-language update.)
In South America the least corrupt country was Chile, which ranked 5th in the Americas and 23th in the world. Denmark ranked No. 1. overall.
Wall Street Journal correspondent Matt Moffett had an excellent story in last week’s paper about one woman’s efforts to teach hooligans “how to play nice.” The story, which landed on the front page of the printed paper, got a bit lost amid all the chaos surrounding global financial turmoil. But in typical Moffett fashion, it’s a finely crafted and reported story and is well worth your time. You can check it out here.
The Grammy Award winning American pop band Maroon Five will play Luna Park November 11 at 9:30pm. Tickets are on sale here. Prices range from about 100-300 pesos. The band is perhaps best known for its 2002 album Songs About Jane.
Argentines are more worried about the global financial crisis than any other problem on people’s minds these days, according to a new survey by the consulting firm Ibarómetro. “The world financial crisis has become a central topic and concern for Argentines,” Ibarómetro said Friday in a report. Around 28% of people polled said they were more concerned the financial crisis than anything else. Almost 23% said they were mainly worried “other” things, though Ibarómetro did not elaborate on this. It was not clear if Ibarómetro gave respondents a range of options or if it simply recorded the top concerns.
Other polls have shown crime to be a major concern. In any case, around 20% of those polled said their top concern was the national statistics agency, or INDEC, which stands accused of lying about inflation data. Just under 10% said they were most worried about the recent mafia-style murder of three businessmen widely believed to be invovled in drug trafficking, while another 6% said they were mainly concered about the Venezuelan suitcase scandal. Almost 8% said their main concern is a trial over the 2004 Cromañon nightclub tragedy in which 194 people were killed.
In a separate poll, almost 40% of respondents said Argentina would be affected a lot (“mucho”) by a worldwide financial crisis while 42% said such a crisis would have little (“poco”) impact on the country.
Inflation has been eating away at Argentina’s comparatively low prices in recent years, but the cost of a gallon of gas here is still relatively inexpensive compared with many countries. The average price of a gallon of gas in July was $3.56, according to a global survey by Portfolio.com. That’s much higher than the 12 cents it costs in Venezuela (the cheapest in the world) but much less than the $11.18 paid in Turkey (the world’s most expensive).
The average price in South America is $3.96 while in Uruguay it is $6.44 and in Chile it is $5.18. In Brazil a gallon goes for $6.38.
In the U.S. a gallon is $3.73 while in Canada it is $4.66. In Europe the average cost is $7.52, with the highest price being $9.97 in The Netherlands and the lowest $3 in Greenland.
Portfolio.com has an excellent interactive graphic that allows you to hover over each country and look at its gas prices as well as its per capita GDP. You can see the map here.
Friends of The Argentine Post over at ThisIsNotAGallery this week will introduce the world’s first solar-powered portable art gallery. “One of the objectives of the project is to place art modules in public places all over the world so people can enjoy free art in their everyday life,” ThisIsNotAGallery said in an ad promoting the new environmentally friendly galleries.
The modules will contain portable DVD players showcasing the work of various artists – including Brazil’s Leticia Ramos and Argentina’s Los Angeles-based Juan Bobillo – whose work appears in video format. ThisIsNotAGallery aims to promote both art and the use of clean energy, so help them out by checking out their work this week at BA Art Week.
BA Art Week or La Semana Del Arte Where: Everywhere around the city Here you will find maps of the various city barrios and summaries of what’s happening in each. When: Sept. 21 through September 27
More info here (in Spanish)
One of the great pleasures of walking around downtown Buenos Aires is that occasional encounter with the talented musicians who often perform at the corner of Florida and Diagonal Norte. Sometimes it’s a soloist, other times it’s an entire band playing Beatles covers or original songs. Last night it was Tapy, a solo drummer who plays three nights a week at the corner. He’s usually there by around 7pm or so Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Tapy has been playing the drums for 20 years, and it shows. He has an excellent sense of timing and his percussive rhythms- as well as his constantly shaking head – will entertain and take you into another world, even if just for a few moments. You can check him out here in the latest Argentine Post video.
The Buenos Aires Province Legislature last week approved a ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags used at supermarkets. Most supermarkets will have one year to eliminate use of the bags, which are considered to be wasteful and bad for the environment. Smaller markets that specialize in selling food will have two years to get ready for the new rules. Stores that do not comply with the new law will be subject to fines and could even be closed.
Other cities and countries (including San Francisco and Ireland) recently have banned plastic bags to curtail waste and environmental degradation.
U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama has again out polled John McCain in a survey of local political preferences.
Sixty-four percent of Argentines polled said they want Obama to win the November election. Some 19% said they want McCain to win while 17% said they don’t know for sure. “Barack Obama is the preferred candidate among Argentines,” according to Poliarquia, the consulting firm that led the survey.
Poliarquia’s survey confirms the results of other local polls, which also have shown Obama to be much more popular than McCain. In addition, Argentina’s political preferences are inline with those of 22 other countries, according to a recent BBC poll.
In that poll, people in 22 out of 22 countries surveyed said they want Barack Obama to win the election. An average of just 12% of those polled in those countries said they want McCain to win while 49% want Obama to be the next U.S. president.
As he world’s richest man, Warren Buffet is a legendary investor. He is worth $62 billion, according to Forbes. Buffet is famous for his stock picks and pretty much every other investment he has ever made. For many investors, Buffet is a financial God, and his annual letter to investors in his company, Berkshire Hathaway, is their bible.
But even Buffet would be impressed with the investment savvy of former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner, who, like Buffet, hails from a small interior province (Buffet is from Nebraska, Kirchner from Santa Cruz). As an editorial Monday in the Argentine daily La Nacion tells it, Kirchner has an uncanny knack for spotting a great deal.
In 2006 Kirchner bought 20,000 square meters of land near El Calafate in Santa Cruz. He paid just $2.50 per square meter – una ganga, as a Spanish speaker might say.
Two years later, according to La Nacion and Crítica de la Argentina, which first reported the story, Kirchner sold the land for $120 a meter, giving him a 4,700% return on his investment.
The following is a breakdown of upcoming concerts (and links, where available, to ticket outlets) in BA, listed in chronological order:
Boy George – September 10 – Luna Park (likely top price 275 pesos) TIX Dave Matthews Band (with Fito Paez & La Portuaria) – October 3 – Pepsi Festival TIX The Cult – October 4 – River Plate (top price 300 pesos) Stone Temple Pilots – October 10 – Estadio Obras (top price 300 pesos) Mötley Crüe – October 11 – River Plate (top price 300 pesos)
Marky Ramone – October 11 – Teatro de Flores (top price 60 pesos) Judas Priest – November 8 – Luna Park (top price 132 pesos) TIX Cyndi Lauper - November 21 – Luna Park (top price 286 pesos) TIX Queen – November 22-23 – Vélez Sarsfield (NA) Madonna – December 6 – River Plate (true to her Material Girl spirit: top price 730 pesos) TIX Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – December 12 – River Plate (top price 230 pesos)
Link: Ticket Portal
Link: Ticketek (This site, which is only slightly better than complete crap, has been down recently.)
The following notices are from the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires:
Voting and Consular Services Offered in Córdoba
The American Embassy in Buenos Aires is pleased to announce that a team will be traveling to Córdoba, Argentina, September 15 and 16 to offer voting and consular services. The visit is being conducted as a service for U.S. citizens residing in the area who find it difficult to travel to Buenos Aires to visit the Embassy. Only American Citizen Services will be offered during this trip. No visa services or information will be provided.
U.S. Embassy representatives will provide voter assistance and process U.S. passport renewals, take requests for additional passport pages and record overseas births of American citizens (Consular Reports of Birth Abroad). Services will be offered at the offices of Cámara de Comercio – AmCham, Av. Rafael Nuñez 3612, 1 Piso Of. 48, Edificio Cerro Office, Córdoba. Appointments are required and should be made by sending an e-mail to BuenosAires-ACS@state.gov (Subject: “CONSULAR TRIP TO CORDOBA”), no later than September 12th.
All services must be paid with an international credit card that can be charged in US dollars. In addition, all applicants must bring originals and photocopies of required documents. No photocopying or picture taking services will be available. For further details on the documentation that you will have to provide, visit our website: http://email@example.com
Voting and Consular Services Offered in Córdoba
The American Embassy in Buenos Aires is pleased to announce that a team will be traveling to Mendoza, Argentina, September 18 and 19 to offer voting and consular services. The visit is being conducted as a service for U.S. citizens residing in the area who find it difficult to travel to Buenos Aires to visit the Embassy. Only American Citizen Services will be offered during this trip. No visa services or information will be provided.
U.S. Embassy representatives will provide voter assistance and process U.S. passport renewals, take requests for additional passport pages and record overseas births of American citizens (Consular Reports of Birth Abroad). Services will be offered at the offices of Amicana, Chile 987, Mendoza. Appointments are required and should be made by sending an e-mail to BuenosAires-ACS@state.gov (Subject: “CONSULAR TRIP TO MENDOZA”), no later than September 15th.
All services must be paid with an international credit card that can be charged in US dollars. In addition, all applicants must bring originals and photocopies of required documents. No photocopying or picture taking services will be available. For further details on the documentation that you will have to provide, visit our wesbsite: http://firstname.lastname@example.org