Categorized | Thoughts of a Foreigner

Weekly News Roundup, March 4th.

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It’s Friday Saturday again!

Oh, I see. You’re upset because this wasn’t uploaded yesterday? Get off my back! Have you got any idea of how much work goes into this column? I’ve got people in South Korea working 24/7 trying to look for the right You Tube video/ Wikipedia link so you can go “Oh!” every time I talk about someone you don’t know and are too lazy to look for yourself. You think that’s cheap? Maybe you can try coming up with new tongue-in-cheek remarks every Friday afternoon while I chug on a pitcher of beer in some dark San Telmo bar at 5 pm.

So put up or shut up.

Oh yeah, and this is what you need to know.

  • Vice-President Julio Cobos. Also known as Judas. (Photo/Wikipedia)

    Finally! After two and a half months of political inaction, lawmakers are back in Congress, ready to screw up our lives in many unexpected ways. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner inaugurated the congressional year with a 90-minute long speech that focused mostly on her administration’s achievements instead of her plans for legislation. And despite several important announcements, what everyone cared about was seeing how she would behave once she sat next to her nemesis, her Lex Luthor, her Darth Vader, her Giant Chicken (what, you never watched Peter Griffin fight the Giant Chicken?): Vice-President Julio Cobos himself. In case you didn’t know, in this country the President and the Vice-President hate each other, and if you care to know why, I’ll explain it to you on the next item. But going back to this week, things got kind of tense when the President, tired of being interrupted by a small crowd who wouldn’t stop chanting “Cobos for president,” tapped Mr. Cobos on the hand and told him, with a sarcastic smile: “try getting some education for your little crowd over there.”  Many applauded, others booed, I rejoiced.

  • OK, so the story with Cobos goes like this (if you don’t care about this, just skip it and shut up): when Fernandez de Kirchner announced she would run for president back in 2007, she said she would pick a running mate from a party other than her own since she was looking to form some sort of a coalition. So she picked Julio Cobos, who was from the UCR (Radical Civic Party. And before you go “radical!?!”, you should know that the word here doesn’t have the same negative connotation it has in English). So anyway, they both got elected and everything seemed to be perfect for them, until one fateful day in July, 2008. On that July 18th, after months of nationwide protests due to a bill pushed by the President that intended to raise grain export taxes, the Senate was supposed to turn it into a law. The voting was 36-36, so it was up to the Vice-President, as head of the Senate, to cast the tie-breaking vote. Cobos, who had mixed feelings about the bill, panicked. At midnight, he locked himself into his office and refused to get out. By 4:20 am, with the whole country still awake watching the news, he came out of his office, sat in his chair and said: “may History judge me. I vote against it.” Thousands celebrated in the streets, while Kirchnerites stood with their mouths open in horror, feeling betrayed.  Since then, the President and the Vice-President have barely spoken to each other, and Cobos is considered to be some sort of Judas. The end. Look at you, all learning about Argentina and stuff!
  • The opposition was in an uproar last week when lawmaker Diana Conti (labelled an “Ultra-K” for her strong support to the Kirchnerite agenda) said her sector would be pushing for a constitutional reform so they could have “an eternal Cristina in power” by reelecting her every four years. However, the President came out against that, saying that no only she wasn’t interested, but she would never gather enough votes for such a thing. And now Diana Conti looks like an idiot. Did I mention she’s still on trial over corruption charges? Because she is.
  • Ready to roll your eyes again? OK, here we go: when it was announced this week that Literature Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa would be visiting Buenos Aires for the International Book Fair in April, the same “Ultra-K” idiots who were pushing for a constitutional reform now decided that for Vargas Llosa to be present at the expo was wrong due to his political ideology and asked to have him removed. Granted, the writer is very right-wing and I understand why they don’t like him. But from there to actually censor the guy, specially when your party stands for democracy and freedom of speech sounds kind of idiotic. Fortunately, the President, who not only is hot but also smart, intervened and said that Vargas Llosa was not to be censored. However, if you wanna see these ultra-bullshit hypocrites in action, make sure you visit the Book Fair on the day he’s expected to speak. I assure you hundreds of losers who have never even read Vargas Llosa will be there, ready to protest and interrupt his speech. Don’t believe me? They’ve already done it to Hilda Molina due to her anti-Castro rhetoric. Mark my words, you heard it here first.
  • It seems that the war against the US continues, even though no one is listening  anymore. A report from the US

    Writer Mario Vargas Llosa. Also known as Hitler. (Photo/Wikipedia)

    Department of State came out this week, calling Argentina “the second largest cocaine market in South America” after Brazil, which prompted Chief of Staff Anibal Fernandez (who else?) to respond. “They are trying to make us look like the black sheep. We’re just getting a small part in the cocaine market because mainly they (the US) are the ones buying most of it.” And yeah, he is kind of right (have you read this?), but still, are you people ever gonna get over the fact that Obama is not visiting? Please, I need some new material and this is getting old. Either set off a nuclear weapon or shut up.

  • Have you ever been to La Salada? Clearly you haven’t, otherwise your body would be washing ashore the Rio de la Plata by now after being savagely beaten to death. Haha! I’m joking of course. You would have been shot. But I digress.  La Salada is some sort of street fair in Lomas de Zamora known for selling contraband merchandise, some of them stolen and some of them counterfeit. Anyway, in yet another report by the US, the place was labeled an “epicenter of fraud and a safe haven for counterfeit merchandise.” OK, you know what US? Shut up already. We get it. Argentina has a long way to go. But at least this doesn’t happen here, gay people can get married, separation of Church and State is pretty clear and corporations are kept at bay. So think about that for a bit, hmm?
  • This week, in your inevitable Big Brother column: Finally, some action! After weeks of absolutely nothing happening (not even sex, and I’m not kidding), those brain dead kids seemed to come back to life briefly when a violent fight between two contestants took place. Unfortunately none of them was killed. In fact, no one even got punched, but it was nice to hear their little outburst. Now the audience can see who they really are: a bunch of money-hungry, fame-whoring racist teens whose abundance of ignorance makes us all blush whenever we admit we watch this shit. So there. Oh, and they also got a dog. Enjoy.
  • Did you remember to bring your expensive little walking shoes from whatever country you come from? Good, because as of this week, and thanks to the ever-powerful taxi drivers’ union, many of us will have to walk to our nightclub/party of choice unless we want to spend our entire salaries on cab fare. You see, since “there’s a lot of crime going on” and cab drivers “feel vulnerable” about it, a bill was passed so they’re allowed a 20 percent raise in fare from 10 pm to 6 am. A trip from Puerto Madero to Palermo? 50 pesos. So next time you wanna go out and party until sunrise, make sure the nightclub is inside a half a mile radius. If not, stay home and get drunk by yourself. I know, it’s lame, but at least you’re not giving your pesos to those money-hungry bastards.
  • Argentines are enraged with their justice system again (aren’t they every week?) after learning that former WBO world junior-lightweight champion and current criminal Rodrigo “Hiena” Barrios had done it again. Almost a year ago, after leaving a party in Mar del Plata completely drunk, the boxer got on his car and caused an accident that ended up killing a pregnant woman (her unborn child died too). He escaped but he was caught, only to be released a few hours later after he posted bail. So as he waits to go to trial for manslaughter, you would think he would behave, no? No. Early in the morning yesterday, a semi naked young girl was found crying for help close to his house, claiming that Barrios had kept her in his house and had tried to rape her. Ha! This guy, he’s like a local Charlie sheen. Oh, and did I mention that he was released after being questioned again? Because he was. So if you see this psycho, run for your life. You may get raped.
  • Bonus: Did you know Cindy Lauper was in town? I know, I thought she was dead too! But apparently she’s not, and she came to Buenos Aires for a concert or whatever.  The thing is, after she was done, she got to the Aeroparque airport in order to leave the city and learned that all flights were seriously delayed (as usual) due to the large amounts of people flying out for the long weekend, and passengers were about to burn the whole place down in anger. So what did she do? She grabbed a mike from one of the counters and began singing “Girls just wanna have fun,” calming everyone down. And with that disinterested act of good will, I forgive her for this.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Send Adrian your comments, thoughts or tips at adrianbono@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @AdrianBono

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