Despite its many otherwise amazing attributes, Argentina is not a particularly tech friendly country.
For tech-geeks, early adopters and innovators, Argentina can be a frustrating place to live because it constantly lags behind developed countries – and even some developing nations – in terms of innovation and the adoption of new technologies.
This isn’t to say, of course, that Argentina has no innovators.
Indeed, quite the opposite is true. Just look at what Santiago Siri is doing over at Popego and at Meaningtool. He’s not only adopting new technologies, he’s creating them.
And yet, as Malcolm Gladwell elegantly noted in his book Outliers, geniuses and innovators aren’t born into a vacuum. They’re most often raised in social contexts that nurture their talents, and provide them with the means necessary to stand out.
Given this basic axiom (let’s assume it’s true just for argument’s sake), you’d think the government, which recently asked Congress to raise taxes on tech products, might consider doing exactly the opposite. You’d think it might consider doing everything possible to lower barriers to the acquisition of new technologies. (more…)
September wasn’t a particularly good month for crime in Argentina, according to a new study.
Torcuarto Di Tella University’s latest crime “victimization rate” survey indicates that both overall criminal activity and violent crime worsened last month.
Di Tella’s study, which surveys households in 40 urban centers around the country, shows that 32.7% of these homes said at least one household member was a victim of a crime within the past 12 months. That figure is up a bit from 31.6% the previous month and up from 29.3% a year ago.
The study said that victims violent crimes report them to the police only one third of the time, meaning that 2/3 of all violent crimes are never formally reported. That says a lot about society’s lack of trust in the efficacy of police and the judicial system. (more…)
Argentine President Cristina Fernández is the least popular president in the entire hemisphere, according to a recent poll of regional leaders.
The survey, organized by the Mexican consulting firm Mitofsky Consulta, puts Fernández at the bottom of the heap of 15 leaders in the Americas.
The data for Argentina were compiled by the Argentine polling firm Poliarquía, which in the last election proved itself to be the country’s most accurate pollster.
The poll puts Fernández’s approval rating at just 23%. That’s just below President Alan García of Peru, whose approval rating stands at 27%.
El Salvador’s President Mauricio Funes leads the list with an astonishing rating of 84%. He’s followed by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at 81%.
U.S. President Barack Obama ranked 9th at 52%.
The survey didn’t conduct polls in Canada, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic or in Venezuela.
After selling out their first concert set for December 2, the legendary rockers ACDC have added another night.
You can get tickets for the December 4 show here.
The Seattle-based caffeine supplier to the masses has opened a new store in the Galerias Pacifico shopping center downtown, bringing the total number of Starbucks in Buenos Aires to 12.
“It makes us very happy to have finally arrived at Galerías Pacífico, one of the most exclusive shopping centers in the country,” Starbucks Argentina General Manager Diego Paolini said in a statement. “This is a very important opening for us because it marks not only the opening of 12 stores, but it also is the eighth opening so far this year.”
Starbucks is also about to open a 13th store in the Unicenter shopping mall in Martínez.
Starbucks is evidently having much more success than many of its foreign fast-food predecessors. Other companies that have crashed and burned in Argentina include Dunkin’ Donuts, Dominos Pizza, Pizza Hut, Fuddruckers, Subway Sandwiches, Schlotzskys, and Wendy’s.
You can find all of the local Starbucks locations here: (more…)
*Photo of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Barack Obama at Friday’s G20 meeting in Pittsburgh.
It’s long been reported that President Cristina Fernández has been seeking – unsuccessfully, so far – a one-on-one meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama.
While Obama has met with regional leaders like Lula in Brazil and Bachelet in Chile, he has yet to sit down with Fernández.
There are reasons for this.
Among other things, the successive Kirchner administrations have trashed U.S. policies and American personalities on multiple occasions.
In 2007, former president Néstor Kirchner invited Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez – long a declared enemy of U.S. interests – to hold an anti-American rally in Argentina as former U.S. President George W. Bush was visiting neighboring Montevideo for a meeting with Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez.
Chávez is the same Kirchner ally who previously had given a speech at the United Nations that was extremely critical of Bush. As CNN noted at the time:
“The devil came here yesterday,” Chavez said, referring to Bush, who addressed the world body during its annual meeting. “And it smells of sulfur still today.” (more…)
In a country famous for its predilection for psychotherapy, Argentines have done a good job of living up to their reputation:
Almost one third of Argentines have visited a psychologist or psychiatrist for treatment, according to a new survey released this week by TNS Gallup.
According to the study, women (37%) are more likely to have visited a shrink than are men (27%).
Meanwhile, wealthier people are more likely to have visited a therapist than are poorer people. Indeed, 51% of wealthy Argentines have been to a psychotherapist while just 24% of poorer Argentines have done so.
There’s been much ado recently about the Argentine government’s legislative effort to reform a media law dating back to the military dictatorship.
Advocates of the legislation, submitted to Congress recently by President Cristina Fernández, say reforms are overdue and that this new bill will allow Argentina to modernize its laws and therefore allow for the advance of technology.
But critics, and there are many of them, say the legislation could curtail free speech by weakening media companies so much that there will be fewer voices and less consumer choice.
As currently written, the bill could also give the Executive Branch too much power over the destiny of media companies. As a result, critics say, the government could indirectly gain control over some types of content. (more…)
The legendary rock & roll band ACDC will play Buenos Aires on December 2.
The Australian rockers will offer a live debut of their latest album, Black Ice, and other classics, at the River Plate stadium.
Beginning September 29, you will be able to get tickets for the show here.
El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Juan Jose Campanella’s new film starring Ricardo Darín is “simply mesmerizing,” according to a recent review of the movie by Variety magazine.
From the review:
“A deeply rewarding throwback to the unself-conscious days when cinema still strove to be magical, “The Secrets in their Eyes” is simply mesmerizing. While it packs two generation-spanning love stories, a noirish thriller, some delicious comedy, a pointed political critique and much food for thought into more than two hours’ compelling, grown-up entertainment, the film is still more than the sum of its parts. Repping a change of direction for Juan Jose Campanella, whose “The Son of the Bride” also starred Ricardo Darin, this is an altogether darker, more complex piece of work, as well as Campanella’s finest film.
In Argentina, the mid-August release has met with unusual critical and commercial acclaim; “Eyes” is likely to shine similarly in a range of offshore territories.”
You can read the complete review here.
Juan Jose Campanella is an Argentine-born director of both local and international TV and films. He is perhaps most famous for directing El Hijo de la Novia, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2001, though he has also directed episodes of U.S. TV shows such as House, 30 Rock and Law & Order.
Link: Official Movie Site
Link: YouTube Trailer (why it’s not available in HD is beyond me)
Almost half of Argentina feels pessimistic about 2010, according to a survey published Tuesday by the polling firm Ibarómetro.
The survey shows that 47% of people polled said they think next year will be worse than this year while just 12% think “the situation will be better.” About 27% of those surveyed said they think things will remain the same,
When asked about their “personal situation,” Argentines were a bit more optimistic. Around 25% said they think their personal situation will be worse next year but almost 20% said it will be better. Around a third of people polled said their situation won’t change.
In general, people in rural areas are more pessimistic about the future while people in the city are a bit more optimistic.
Females are more pessimistic than men (51.3% of women think things will become worse while just 42.6% of men feel that way). Meanwhile, people aged 30-44 are more pessimistic than people in any other age group.
People who are over 60 are the most confused about the future, with 31.2% of them saying they “don’t know” what’s going to happen. Perhaps that makes them wiser than anyone else?
As the A/H1N1 swine flu virus scared people away, international tourism plummeted in July, leading to Argentina’s worst month in ages. Fearful tourists avoid the country like the plague.
The Brazilian government even warned its citizens to avoid Argentina. Many of them did.
The number of people visiting Argentina tumbled by almost 39% from July 2008, making this the tenth consecutive annual decline.
July’s numbers were terrible, but they were tempered slightly by news that outbound tourism was up 11%. That’s partly because many Argentine families took advantage of extended vacation time for millions of school children whose classes were suspended amid mass hysteria about the flu epidemic. (more…)