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Paying Homage to Nestor Kirchner: The Official Video

October 29th, 2010 | 07:00 PM

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On the night of his death, Argentina’s government released this video in homage to former president Néstor Kirchner, who died Wednesday after suffering a massive heart attack.

More than a dozen doctors and staff tried to revive the former president, according to multiple local media reports, which cited unnamed hospital officials.

After about an hour of trying, they gave up, apologizing to the former president’s wife, Cristina Fernández, who had been at his side the entire time.

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Photo Post: “Nestor Forever”

October 29th, 2010 | 06:23 AM

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This one’s for those of you who don’t live in or around the City of Buenos Aires.

Less than 24 hours after former president Néstor Kichner died Wednesday, the government’s media machine started placing propaganda posters all over the City of Buenos Aires and nearby suburbs, indicating that, even as the president herself was still mourning the death of her husband, her political machinery was already back at work.

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Nestor Kirchner, Dead at 60

October 27th, 2010 | 08:23 PM

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Early Wednesday morning, at his home in Calafate, on a day when most Argentines were at home and able to pay close attention, Néstor Carlos Kichner, the country’s all-powerful political leader, suffered a heart attack.

Accompanied by his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the former president was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died at around 9:15am, sending the country into a state of shock.

His death has rocked the nation, but in some ways it came as no surprise.

Countless commentators and political pundits had warned the former president that his cardiac trouble, Type A personality, vigorous work schedule and nearly constant march toward political confrontation, was potentially a prescription for disaster. In retrospect, it was. (more…)

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Al Jazeera Video on Nestor Kirchner’s Death

October 27th, 2010 | 06:40 PM

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Needless to say, this was a big day in Argentine history, a sad day for many Argentines and a momentous event in Argentine politics.

I’ll have more commentary about this in a separate post.

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Cristina Gets Her Own YouTube Page

October 27th, 2010 | 05:52 AM

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President Cristina Fernández, or CFK as she calls herself, now has her own YouTube page.

You can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/casarosada

Her first video launched to the amusement of people in homes and offices across the country.

That seems to be due to the way the president presented herself in an unusually light-hearted manner in the video. Her gestures are playful and loose, her smile broad, smirking even, with one corner of her lip arched. It’s the opposite of the serious, sometimes angry impression that president gives in many of her daily televised speeches.

Here in this video the president is exuberant, ebullient, entirely without worry.

What do you think of her YouTube debut? Would you describe it as a success? A joke? A brilliant PR move? A Saturday Night Live-like gaffe? None of the above?

Contrast the president’s video here with the following YouTube video from U.S. President Barack Obama.

The comparison clearly is unfair. Obama’s video aims to prevent gay kids from killing themselves. Cristina’s simply aims to welcome people to her new YouTube site.

Still, because Obama’s presentation falls within the boundaries of how most people expect a president to behave, the odds seem to be that that his video will be judged for its content, not his theatrics. In contrast, because Cristina’s style is unusual, more down-to-earth, the chances seem higher that people will focus on her style more than anything else.

Perhaps that’s the point. After all, she has no particular message other than to say something akin to, “Hey, check me out. I’m CFK and I’m here to stay, on YouTube.”

And if her only message is to draw attention to her YouTube page, then perhaps the eccentric, outside-the-box debut is exactly what she needs. After all, it seems clear that people will be talking about this video. The question is, for how long and for what reasons.

I’m curious to know what you think.

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Argentina to Create National Fiber-Optic Network

October 18th, 2010 | 08:41 PM

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President Cristina Fernández on Monday pledged to marshall investments totaling $2 billion to create a nationwide fiber optic network so that everyone in Argentina can access the Internet.

Fernandez called access to information “a universal right” and said the plan will prove to be a “historic milestone” like the creation of public television here was 59 years ago.

The announcement is also part of a plan by the government to provide free, nationwide open-air HDTV signals to households around the country, even in areas that have never had access to cable TV or other broadcast signals.

The HDTV network will have a total of 16 channels, including one dedicated to showing Argentine films, Fernández said.

The broadband plan also calls for free WiFi hotspots in plazas and other public places around the county, as well as the creation of cyber libraries.

It’s unclear exactly how the new fiber-optic network will be built, though Fernández said it will be partly a private and public sector project. It’s also unclear what kind of download speeds the network will offer. (more…)

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Argentina Faces ‘Really Worrisome’ Dengue Problem

October 17th, 2010 | 03:01 PM

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Argentine Health Minister Juan Manzur warned Friday that the mosquito transmitted illness dengue could become a serious problem for the country this summer.

“We’re facing a situation that is much graver in magnitude than it was a year ago because of the presence of dengue in countries on our border,” Manzur said at a meeting of provincial health ministers. “The dengue situation is really worrisome.”

Manzur, who said “health has no borders,” has been working in the triple frontier region in a bid to prevent the spread of mosquitos that transmit the illness to people in Argentina.

Given the presence of dengue in neighboring countries the most important thing we can do is prevent the spread of mosquitos that transmit the infection to people.

As of September 9, Brazil had about 942,000 cases of dengue, including 367 deaths, Argentina’s Health Ministry said, citing data from the Pan American Health Organization, or PAHO. (more…)

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Argentine Tourism Soars In August

October 17th, 2010 | 01:55 PM

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The number of people visiting Argentina soared in August.

Around 233,000 people flew into Argentina in August. That’s up almost 71% from the same month a year ago, when the global economy was mired in a deep financial crisis.

That’s good news for hotels, restaurants, milongas and tango shows that cater to tourists. It’s good news in general for the entire economy.

While here, tourists spent around $287 million, up almost 82% from a year ago, the national statistics agency, INDEC, reported Friday.

The average tourist spent almost $103 day, up 36% from the previous year.

Brazilians spent the most per day ($192) while other Latin Americans spent $105. Chileans spent about $175 a day while Americans shelled out $98.

On average tourists stayed almost 12 days in Argentina. Brazilians remained here an average of almost six days while Europeans were here for almost 25.

Four out of 10 visitors to Argentina in August were Brazilian.

The number of Argentines who traveled outside the country rose 19% in August, indicating people may have more money to travel – or at least are more willing to spend it – than a year ago.

INDEC’s measurement is based on the number of non-resident visitors who arrive to the country via Ezeiza and Aeroparque airports.

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New Book Aims to Shed Light on Argentina’s VP

October 13th, 2010 | 07:09 PM

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By Javier Arevalo Rendall

In the run up to the October 2011 presidential election, Argentina’s political arena has been stirred up by more than one publishing success. The first potential presidential candidate to get in an un-authorized biography was ex-president Nestor Kirchner.

In El Dueño, Luis Majul strives to show the “other side” of Kirchner. The result, albeit rather unsurprisingly, is a less-than-flattering portrayal of “the most powerful man in modern Argentine history.” Journalist and politician Gabriela Cerruti’s El Pibe did the same thing with Mauricio Macri.

The next politician to take a blow at the hands of the press will be Julio Cobos, the vice president once chosen and blessed by the Kirchners. But Cobos has now become one of their biggest critics.

Mendocinean journalists Analia Boggia and Javier Polvani have written Cuidado con Cobos –Beware of Cobos. It is an unauthorized biography of the vice president that promises to shock readers by showing the former mayor of Mendoza in a different – and certainly illuminating – light. In this interview, co-author Analia Boggia tells the Argentine Post about the ins and outs of writing about a major political figure.

The Argentine Post. What prompted you to approach Cobos from this, a rather more critical point of view? I think you have certainly strived to portray an aspect of his life that you don’t usually find in the national press.

Analia Boggia. Well, the idea came to Javier (the co-author) and me at around 2 in the morning, when that amazingly-long voting session took place in the Senate. [This was back in July 2008, when Cobos cast the tie-breaking vote against an unpopular new farm tax law proposed by the Kirchners. His vote dealt them a major political defeat.] We thought about it completely on our own, individually, but it was only when we met the following morning at the newsroom that the idea started to look feasible. Javier and I realized then that the national press was starting to pay attention to this man. (more…)

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