Your fearless scoopster here was at the Retiro train station early in the morning, filming an upcoming video for The Argentine Post, when, suddenly, out of the blue, a dirty, freaky-lookin’ homeless man started yelling.
I hadn’t seen the guy and wasn’t sure what was happening. By the time I realized what was going down, it was already too late. The result, which I just happened to record, was not cool.
The man came at me in full force, with a cup full of God-knows-what, which he threw at me. Adrenaline pumping, I fled, not wanting to do battle with a street kook just before going to the office.
I got away, but not before being completely doused with some kind of noxious mixture of coffee and, I’m afraid to say, chunks of vomit. It was pungent, sticky, and all over me.
I’m putting this post in the “humor” category, assuming that, at some point in the future, I will look back on this moment and find it funny.
“The Internet in Argentina is going through some hard times,” according to Pedro Less Andrade, and he should know. As director of Public Affairs In Latin America for Google, Andrade knows a thing or two about the Internet.
The problem, Andrade says, isn’t Argentina’s agonizingly slow broadband. It’s more profound: Argentine officials are trying to block access to online information about themselves. In a post on Google’s Official Latin America Blog, Andrade said officials are using the courts to impede free speech and access to information.
A global financial crisis may be thrashing world markets, but Argentine consumers don’t seem too worried. They hit the malls en masse this weekend, casting aside any notion that a pessimistic global outlook would prevent them from shopping as usual. The photo above shows how one of Argentina’s biggest malls, El Unicentro, was packed in elbow-to-elbow shopping madness all weekend.
Economists have lowered their forecasts for Argentine economic growth next year, saying that inflation is causing demand for goods and services to slow. This, along with lower global demand for Argentine goods, is expected to push economic growth down to around 2.5%, according to Banco UBS Pactual. UBS had expected the economy to grow by 4.4% in 2009, compared with more than 8% annually since 2003.
Shopping center sales have been surging each year since 2003. And while economists say sales are now slowing, confirmation of this was nowhere to be found at urban malls this weekend. Meanwhile, the massive display of consumer confidence, even if it was only a momentary blurb, contrasted starkly with comments in La Nacion this Sunday by one of Argentina’s leading political analysts, Joaquín Morales Solá, who wrote:
“People who are scared do not go shopping. They don’t even go window shopping.”
If Solá’s assertion is correct, it would appear that while investors around the world are worried about their future, Argentines, who are old pros at dealing with crisis, are not afraid of anything at all.
On Sunday, October 19th, at 12:00am, residents and visitors here will have to move their clocks forward one hour as part of a government plan to save energy. The daylight savings plan, which is similar to one enacted last December amid an energy crisis, is set to last through mid-March, though an official start and end date has not been formally announced.
In its typically cryptic and unpredictable manner, the government, less than a week before the time change is supposed to take effect, has not formally announced its plan. But in off-the-record conversation, officials have said the government plans to announce its decision this week.
To the new Argentine Post, that is. Take your shoes off, take a seat, kick back and relax.
This is now our new home for online news and views on all things Argentine. The new Argentine Post is now located at www.argentinepost.com, so please take note. If you have linked to The Argentine Post on your own site, please update the link to reflect this new address. Meanwhile, please let me know if I need to update my link to your site. I will be adding links and updating others in the days ahead. I’ll also be adding in more interactive features and making other improvements.
Among other things, this new site includes a better search engine for finding older stories, as well as a new hover-over, pop-up menu that shows you the most recent entries in each category (politics, culture, sports, etc.). The Best of The Rest feature, located in the right-hand sidebar, is like a mini Drudge Report of sorts. I will update it often to include the most recent and interesting stories about Argentina from across the web. If you know of a good article or post that should be included, just send me the link and, if it would be interesting to most readers, I’ll add it.
This new site is a beta version and your feedback is important. So take look around, explore, and make yourself at home. Please let me know what you like and what you don’t. If something doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll try to fix it. If you’d like to see a story about something, let me know and, if the idea is good enough, I’ll investigate it.
Also, all of the Scooping Argentina videos are now located on the Video page of this site, so check those out too. New videos will be added soon.
Again, your feedback is important, so please share any thoughts you have, good or bad, that will help make the project better. Thank you for taking a look.
The Buenos Aires Province Health Ministry this week banned discos from offering free breast augmentation operations to patrons. Local discos had been raffling the operations as a way to get more girls into the clubs.
Last weekend Sunset, a popular club in the northern suburb Olivos, attracted more than 600 girls to such a raffle, according to this article posted on the Ministry’s site.
“Everything that is not prohibited by law is permitted,” Sunset spokesman Fernando Maldonado was quoted as saying here by the daily Crítica. “If this is law, of course we will obey it, and we will have a raffle that gives cash to the winner so that she can decide herself to have an operation if she wants.”
Dance clubs in the provinces of Cordoba, La Rioja and San Juan have also been raffling free boob jobs, says Crítica. The raffles, which had been marketed under the slogan, “I want my boobs,” are increasingly popular. Rodrigo Herrera, a PR agent for such raffles in La Rioja, was quoted this way: “People are tried of car and motorcycle raffles, and they’re looking for something new.”
UPDATE: This post has been updated to reflect new policy details available here.
As reported by your faithful scoopster at The Argentine Post Tuesday, the government will start charging tourists a reciprocal visa fee to visit the country. Beginning January 1, tourists will have to pay a visa fee upon arrival if they come from countries that charge Argentines a similar fee. In the case of the U.S., which charges Argentines US $134 to get a visa, Americans visiting Argentina will have to pay a similar amount upon arriving at Ezeiza, Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo announced Wednesday.
The Argentine government plans to require Americans and citizens of 115 other nations to pay for a visa to visit the country, the local daily Ambito Financiero reported Monday. “President Cristina Fernandez plans to sign a decree in the coming days (to impose the new requirement),” Ambito said. “The policy will be applied to 116 countries that charge Argentines such a visa fee.”
The Argentine Post tried to confirm the new policy with a Tourism Secretariat spokesperson Tuesday and got the following reply. “There is something to this,” the spokesperson said, but declined to provide definitive confirmation.
Stay tuned for updated information on this.
This Tuesday at The Saramento, El Salvador 5729, 8pm
If you’re looking for a place to watch the second U.S. presidential debate between Senators Barrack Obama and John McCain, look no further. Click on the photo for more details.
Wanna watch the historic Biden-Palin debate Thursday in a public space full of interesting people? If so, then head over to The Sacramento at El Salvador 5729 in Palermo. Admission is free, and political partisans of all types and styles are welcome. Yankqui Mike has even offered to buy guests a drink, at least as long as he can afford it. May the best candidate win.
The average annual inflation rate in Argentina between 1965 and 1989 was 284%, according to a 1992 research paper archived by the National Bureau of Economic Research. According to this paper by Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker, inflation surpassed 1,000% in both 1989 and 1990. And here is a Reuters story from 1984: “Inflation in Argentina, already the highest in the world, reached a record of 433.7 percent in 1983, the National Statistics Institute said today. The previous record was 347 percent in 1976.”
Now, who thinks setting records is always a good thing?
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez often boasts that poverty has declined impressively in recent years, thanks largely to government economic policies. And nobody doubts that for many years poverty was declining.
But not everyone thinks Fernandez is being fully forthcoming about the matter these days. Most economists think poverty is actually rising as inflation pinches purchasing power at a faster rate than wage hikes lift it. Inflation, economists say, is akin to a tax that flattens peoples’ wallets. Most of the debate over poverty centers on the impact of inflation. Is it the culprit? According to Fernandez, inflation is not a problem, and those who question this assertion are “irresponsible” partisans looking to penalize the government for its success.