Tag Archive | "police"

Historic Verdict in Luciano Arruga Case

This is an exclusive English-language translation of the article ‘10 años de condena a Diego Torales por torturar a Luciano Arruga‘ by the Red Nacional de Medios Alternativos.

Those of us who walk the path of alternative, community, and popular media with great conviction, try not to avoid superlatives. Today, we ask for permission to ignore that rule. The verdict that sentenced police inspector Julio Diego Torales to ten years in prison for torturing Luciano Nahuel Arruga is historic, unexpected, unbelievable. How can a family that saw the state torture (and the state itself has admitted to this), kidnap, and disappear (though it still does not admit to that) a 16-year-old boy believe in justice? They can’t. But they bet on it. With the clear message of another Nunca Más (‘never again’), this time for real, they made a strong bet. And they won — just the first round, but it was a massive surprise.

The courthouse was full with people waiting to hear the verdict (photo: Facundo Nívolo/RNMA)

The courthouse was full with people waiting to hear the verdict (photo: Facundo Nívolo/RNMA)

The morning began too early, fused with the night that preceded it. No one who was looking forward to this special day was able to sleep. For logistical reasons, we first had to go past the former police station where the events unfolded on that fateful 22nd September 2008. Logistics and a bit of a taste of victory as well. Because that place, very slowly, like everything the ‘Family and Friends of Luciano Arruga’ do, is turning into a memorial space named after him.

We had to pick up some banners, cables for the open radio, and paint to cover the walls that border the San Justo courts with the emblematic face of that kid, who is so many other kids. Let us imagine as well that we went and picked up Luciano to take him to the trial; allow us, just for today, such an absurdity. We know Luciano is not here. We notice, not in his absence, because we never met him, but in the faces of [his sister] Vanesa, of [his mother] Mónica, of his grandmother, of those who lost him inexplicably and who feel it every morning when they get up and every night in their dreams. It’s difficult to go there, to walk through that kitchen that served as a torture room. Hopefully, it will always be difficult to go there, even if it becomes a space for the kids in the neighbourhood to try and avoid the future that this perverse system imposes on them.

The former police station turned Space for Memory (photo: Facundo Nívolo/RNMA)

The former police station turned into a memorial (photo: Facundo Nívolo/RNMA)

This place, a typical middle-class house in a neighbourhood like Lomas del Mirador, was turned into an area of confinement to appease the souls of those who still believe they need to fear the kids who wear a cap, a sports jacket, and faded jeans, rather than the mafias that control them. Some day, maybe, they will understand that the subject of their fear should be someone else. Maybe they will think that what happened to Luciano could have happened to one of their kids. For now, that’s not how it is. The thought that “they must have done something” still prevails, and it’s followed by “it won’t happen to me”.

For [Luciano’s sister] Vanesa Orieta, the morning was hard, even more so than other times. You can see it on her face. It started very early, because her compañeros had arranged a live interview with a TV channel first thing in the morning. She went to the park where they’d arranged to meet and waited, but the reporter never showed up. When they called the producer, he told them the agenda had changed. Boca-River, the pepper spray incident… they forgot to let her know. That’s how it works when the news come before the people. That’s what makes us different as well. For us the news, the stories we tell, are firstly people who feel, who generally suffer, because those are the stories we choose to tell.

We’re finally before the court house, the humidity turns into heat and the heat turns into people. More and more people arrive, knowing they won’t be able to enter the building, that the space is as small as the ruling will be historical.

We need power for the open radio. Only the greengrocer’s in the corner can help us. Fermín goes round, explains the situation, asks them, and the sound appears. People keep coming. As well as the families of Luciano and Torales, there will only be room for 16 people. That doesn’t include us journalists, who generally do our utmost not to look like people. Sixteen people and journalists, we could put it like that. Some 600 people wait outside. They trust we can bring them the sounds of the justice being made inside.

After a long wait, we manage to get in. The room is small. The judges’ bench is on the back wall, there’s barely any room for the lawyers on the sides. A wooden fence separates us from them. We run to the first row, to give them a hug, like the young fans who pile up against the stage when their favourite band is playing. Clearly, the judiciary is not our favourite band, but today they will play a fantastic gig.

Vanesa Orieta, Luciano's sister (photo: Facundo Nívolo/RNMA)

Vanesa Orieta, Luciano’s sister (photo: Facundo Nívolo/RNMA)

We have two aims: to project the audio outside the courthouse and to broadcast live so that those who couldn’t make it can listen to it through the radio. We achieved both. The room is overflowing with people and with sweat. We’re crowded together as if we were in a football match. On the other side, the lawyers of CELS [Centre for Legal and Social Studies] and APDH La Matanza [Permanent Assembly for Human Rights] with three members of Luciano’s family: mum Mónica, sister Vanesa, and grandmother Marta. Moni cries, she can’t take it anymore. Vanesa and Marta are rigid, almost completely still, with their backs upright against the wood that corners them. Vane’s sight is lost in a memory that only she knows. That’s how it will be throughout the reading of the ruling. A long wait.

Torales and the judges of the Oral Tribunal number three of La Matanza — Diana Volpicina, Gustavo Navarrine, and Liliana Logroño — are yet to arrive. On her way in, Navarrine walked through the crowd and waved to those of us who know her with a smile. It was a good sign of what was about to come. We managed to say it on the radio, maybe looking for some hope in the midst of so much anxiety.

But now they keep us waiting. They close the door behind us. We’re even more cramped than before. This is not a good sign. Didn’t they realise that there would be more people than in the previous hearings? Surely they knew. The small room makes us think that maybe they didn’t want a lot of people to listen to what they were going to say, but outside the sound spreads.

Torales walks in. They take off the handcuffs, as usual. He sits in the only empty spot, reserved for him to listen to the verdict. Behind him is his family. The judges walk in. The few people who weren’t already standing, stand up. The secretary begins to read. We can quickly guess the result. ‘No’ to the charges for false testimony against Vanesa and Juan Gabriel Apud, Luciano’s friend. ‘Yes’ to the torture charges. Now the state is saying it. It’s no longer an exaggeration by the family. ‘Yes’ to the physical torture and mental duress. The prison term is still to come, but the arguments are based on the plaintiff’s request. The court recognises that Luciano was barely a child. That he was tortured and that Torales is responsible for it. Ten years. Yes, ten years. End of the trial. Vanesa had requested that there be no applauses. Nothing to celebrate. Someone rips his throat calling the name of Luciano Arruga, present, now and forever. Ten years. Who would have thought?

Hugs wet with tears and we have to go down the stairs one floor on our way out. The first thing we see is the semicircle that becomes a full circle when Vanesa arrives. Every kid’s sister, again. She shouts, she denounces, she convinces. She warns that her brother is not the only one. That they were able to break the perverse enclosure that surrounds the huge number of sad stories of those who suffer without any microphones close by. Mónica also becomes strong and turns into that mother who takes a little bit of justice in her back pocket, back to her home in Villa 12 de Octubre. Outside, the warmth of the people.

Mónica talks on the open radio (photo: Facundo Nívolo/RNMA)

Mónica talks on the open radio (photo: Facundo Nívolo/RNMA)

After the encounter with the big media, it’s time to share with their equals. The open radio expands. Mónica takes over the microphone, which according to the handwritten piece of paper stuck to it, belongs to ‘Studio 3’. It’s the only one amplifying her voice, and it’s more than enough. She names others who are no longer here. It’s not just her ‘Lu’. “For all of those who didn’t get justice, for Daniel Solano, for Kiki Lezcano, for Facundo Rivera Alegre, for Otoño Uriarte, for Gonzalo Rivera, for Atahualpa Martínez Vinaya, and if I forget anyone it’s because there’s so, so many of them… but know that I think about each one of you, because all of you are Luciano. Justice for all our kids and let’s not forget about Jorge Julio López.”

Vane shows up. She breaks the silence with the anguish of her voice: “The most important thing for the family is that we have shown that what we were saying was true. When we began denouncing the case, Luciano was the ‘leader of a mafia’, he was ‘into drugs’, he was the ‘worst of the worst’. We were on our own, trying to make the case visible. We started on our own, but it was everyone’s effort that made the case visible, so that they couldn’t talk about a 16-year-old kid as if he were responsible for his own disappearance. We were able to defeat the media’s disinformation.”

She also remembered those other kids, “who have the same face Lu had, the same clothes, the same way of talking, of walking, the same persecution and discrimination.” And there’s more: “When my brother disappeared, I promised I wouldn’t stop, first until I made the case visible, then clean up his image, and then throw the scum that made him suffer in jail. Let this be an example that it’s good to be here, listening to the judges and criticising their rulings when they’re not fair.”

She left the microphone, only to take it back a few seconds later. “I want to thank all the family members who were with us in this moment, your presence is very important to us. A big hug also to the alternative, community, independent media as I call them, who have been here from the beginning, helping us make this struggle visible; and an endless hug to the lawyers Juan Manuel Combi, Maximiliano Medina, and María Dinard.” Next up is Pablo Pimentel, leader of APDH La Matanza, who says that “from the first day that Vanesa approached the APDH, 45 days after Luciano’s disappearance, still desperate, we never saw an act of revenge.”

The president of the tribunal, Judge Volpicina, comes out. She walks among the crowd, which is no small thing. It has been an intense day. A lot more moving than expected. Here we are again, writing an article. This time, it’s about the end of a historic trial, of a dimension that, probably, we are still unable to grasp. The tears, again, fall on the keyboard. But the fingers carry on. It has been an unforgettable day.

Translated by Celina Andreassi.


Posted in Current Affairs, Human Rights, News From Argentina, Social IssuesComments (1)

The Indy’s Weekly Review – 28th November 2014

Coming up on this episode of The Indy’s Weekly Review:

We analyse the mining lobby in Argentina after Wednesday’s release of a polemic photo, we speak to Juan Pablo Hudson of the Club de Investigaciones Urbanas about drugs, violence and police corruption in the city of Rosario, and we look at the media uproar over the Uruguayan president calling Mexico a “failed state”.

All that, plus the main news headlines from Argentina and Latin America and a preview of the new album by this week’s featured artist, Los Animales Superforros.

(Click on ‘Descargar’ to download)

Presented by: Kristie Robinson & Celina Andreassi
Editing: Pablo Fisher

We will be looking to continually improve and add to this podcast, and we’d love to hear your feedback on it, as well as suggestions for any additional stories or content you’d like to hear in it in the future. Send us an email at info@argentinaindependent.com, or comment on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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Police Acquitted over Parque Indoamericano Deaths

Police approach the blocked road (Escalada) and pass through the barrier to the park (Parque Indoamericano). (Photo: Kate-Sedgwick)

Police approach Parque Indoamericano in December 2010. (Photo: Kate-Sedgwick)

On Friday 41 police officers were acquitted over their role in the December 2010 deaths of Bernardo Salgueiro and Rossemary Chura Puña during the clearing of Parque Indoamericano.

The National Chamber of Appeals of the Criminal and Correctional Court confirmed that the deaths were caused by police action during the eviction of the park, but did not hold the federal and metropolitan police officers responsible. The Court concluded the perpetrators to be unidentified police officers who had acted on their own.

The pair were killed and five others were injured during a police operation to evict 5,000 people from Parque Indoamericano in the south of Buenos Aires, who had occupied the terrain to protest the lack of city government action in providing social housing solutions for the many residents of the city’s shantytowns. The occupation lasted for ten days, with occupiers facing hostility from local residents, whilst the city and national governments showed reluctance to find a solution, both claiming the problem to be out of their jurisdiction, before a joint operation eventually cleared the park.

Friday’s verdict did not analyse the police operation itself nor the context in which it developed. However, investigations prior to the trial did prove that the police acted in coordination, and in a violent and illegal way with the “uncontrolled use of lethal force”.

Lawyers from the humans rights group CELS, which is representing the parents of Chura Puña, have said that they will appeal the decision.

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Dozens Injured and Detained after Violent Repression in Chaco

Dozens of police were involved in the crackdown on the protest (photo: Germán Pomar/Télam/ddc)

Dozens of police were involved in the crackdown on the protest (photo: Germán Pomar/Télam/ddc)

Over 30 people have been injured and a dozen detained after a march was violently repressed yesterday in Resistencia, the capital of Chaco province.

Among the wounded was journalist Mónica Kreibohm, of newspaper Norte, who was hit by rubber bullets when she tried to prevent a woman who had fainted from being arrested. Police officials have also said that some ten officers were injured, and four of them are in a serious condition.

The protest involved members of unions, social movements, campesino organisations, and indigenous groups who had travelled from El Impenetrable. The protestors, numbering around 3,500, had marched peacefully to the provincial government house in Plaza 25 de Mayo to demand better wages and improved welfare programmes.

A little after 1pm, violence erupted after members of the demonstration threw “missiles” at the police, according to the provincial government. The organisers deny any objects were thrown to spark the violence, and say the government ordered the heavy-handed crackdown on their freedom of expression, which involved a truck with a water cannon, teargas, rubber bullets, and some 50 police on motorbikes and 40 on horseback.

The Partido Obrero has reported that the police were also firing lead bullets, an accusation that has been denied by the government, who say the bullets were shot by demonstrators who had brought home-made guns to the march.

The organisers are now considering a second march in the coming days to demand the resignation of Acting Governor Juan Carlos Bacileff Ivanoff, noting that a peaceful march last month also ended in similar violence.


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Brazil: Police in 14 States Go On Strike

Federal Highway Police take part in an assembly in Rio (photo: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

Federal Highway Police take part in an assembly in Rio (photo: Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil)

Police in 14 Brazilian states are striking today, demanding improvements in their working conditions. The 24-hour strike comes just 22 days before the beginning of the football World Cup.

Later on today, at 3pm local time, police unions will stage a protest in the capital city of Brasilia, where they will be joined by the federal police. The military police have announced they are not joining the strike or the protest.

It is estimated that, in some states, up to 70% of police agents could join the strike. The states affected are Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Pernambuco, Amazonas — all of which will hold World Cup games — Alagoas, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Pará, Paraíba, Rondônia, Santa Catarina, and Tocantins.

Upon announcing the strike, Janio Gandra, secretary general of the Brazilian Confederation of Civilian and Police Workers, said: “Do you know what will be the legacy of the World Cup for public safety? None. Crime rates will go down during the event and then everything will return to normal.” He accused the government of not having “a safety project aimed towards the interests of citizens, those who live here and pay their taxes, and they will remain unsafe” after the World Cup.Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo had said on 30th April that “the armed forces cannot legally strike. For that legal reason and because I don’t think that policemen who have sworn to respect their nation will want to expose their country to an unacceptable situation before the world, I don’t think they will strike during the World Cup.”

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Peru: Trial Opens over 2009 ‘Baguazo’

Presidents Alan García and George W. Bush. The clashes erupted as a result of laws passed as part of the free trade agreement between the US and Peru (photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Presidents Alan García and George W. Bush. The clashes erupted as a result of laws passed as part of the free trade agreement between the US and Peru (photo: Wikipedia Commons)

The trial started today over the so-called ‘Baguazo’, a 2009 political crisis that took place in the region of Bagua in the north-Peruvian Amazon, which led to dozens of deaths and one disappearance.

The crisis resulted from on-going opposition to oil development in the rainforest, which was opened up to private investment as part of the US-Peruvian Free Trade Agreement. Local indigenous groups, led the Peruvian Jungle Interethnic Development Association (AIDESEP), by a coalition of indigenous organisations, lead the resistance movement to exploitation of the rainforest.

Things culminated when, after a year of opposition and advocacy, and over two months of civil disobedience, in June 2009 the government of then-president Alan García suspended civil liberties, declared a state of emergency, and sent in the police and military to quash the protests. This intervention, referred to as the ‘Baguazo’, resulted in two days of bloody confrontations in which 23 soldiers and estimates of 30 indigenous people, including three children, were killed. Police were accused of burning bodies in an attempt to hide the actual death toll, and still the official death toll of the indigenous is put at ten.

The 53 defendants include 23 awajún-wampi people, who face charges of murder, disturbing the peace, and stealing weapons and ammunition from the armed forces, charges that carry from six years to life imprisonment.


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Argentina News Roundup: 8th May 2014

argentina-passport-photosArgentina ‘Best Passport in Latin America’: According to a new Visa Restriction Index, Argentines have the best passport in Latin America, allowing them visa-free access to 147 countries. The index, developed by the International Aviation Transport Association and Henley & Partners, ranked the country 18th in the world, followed in the region by Brazil, ranked 19th with free travel to 146 countries, and Chile, ranked 21st with 141 countries allowing Chileans to enter without visas. The index also highlights that 20 more countries have dropped their visa restrictions for Argentine citizens in the past five years. The findings, which were based on 2013 figures, also showed Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Haiti to be the countries who had their travel most restricted, the latter able to travel to just 46 countries without a visa.


New Buenos Aires Taxi Fares Implemented: As agreed in February between unions and the city government, a 15% rise in taxi fares will come into effect in the coming days. The basic day fare will now cost $12.70 with each 200 metres – or each minute if the taxi is stationary – costing $1.27. The nighttime far (between 10pm and 6am) will start at $15.20, rising in increases of $1.52. It is expected that the government will meet with the unions again in September to discuss a further increase – expected to be around 15% – to be implemented in six months time. Last year the taxi fares rose 21%.


Police approach the blocked road (Escalada) and pass through the barrier to the park (Parque Indoamericano). (Photo: Kate-Sedgwick)

A night of the Indeoamericano occupation, with neighbours on the streets protesting(Photo: Kate-Sedgwick)

Police Charged over Parque Indoamericano Eviction: Judge Mónica Berdión today announced the move to prosecute 24 Metropolitan Police and eight Federal Police officers for “unlawful injury and manslaughter” during the December 2010 Parque Indoamericano eviction, which left three dead and five injured. Charges are being brought against both the leaders of the operation and various lower-ranking officers who were actually involved in the clearing of the terrain, located in Villa Soldati, in the south of Buenos Aires. The park had been occupied by some 5,000 people in protest of the lack of city government action in providing social housing solutions for the many residents of the city’s shantytowns. The occupation lasted for ten days, with occupiers facing hostility from local residents, whilst the city and national governments showed reluctance to find a solution, both claiming the problem to be out of their jurisdiction, before a joint operation eventually cleared the park. Judge Berdión has confirmed that the police will not be remanded in custody.



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Latin America News Roundup: 21st April 2014

The boardwalk in La Paz where the couple were arrested (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The boardwalk in La Paz where the couple were arrested (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Mexico – Gay Couple Arrested for Kissing in Public: Municipal police in La Paz arrested a pair of men for kissing on the promenade last night. Jorge and Alan, who were visiting the Baja California resort town, were accused of disturbing the peace and were then “violently” detained after resisting arrest. They were later released after each paying a 300 peso fine. “We were terrified, the officers who detained us were very abrupt, and we weren’t disturbing the peace. The La Paz police are homophobic, corrupt liars,” said Jorge of his ordeal. Upon hearing the news of the arrest, the Baja California Sur LGBT community, which includes more than 50,000 people, has said it will organise a “kissathon” on the promenade on 17th May, which is the International Day Against Homophobia. LGBT rights have been expanded in Mexico in recent years, and in 2001 a federal law was passed banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Same-sex marriage has since been recognised in various states, including the capital of Mexico City.

Brazil – World Cup Police Trained by Blackwater: The US mercenary firm Academi, formerly known as Blackwater, trained Brazilian police in anti-terrorism actions in anticipation of the forthcoming football World Cup, due to take place in June and July this year. Last week, a group of 22 police military and federal police agents, including members of the force’s special operations, returned from three weeks’ training at Academi’s facility in Moyock Academy, North Carolina. The course was paid for the the US government as part of a series of exchanges between the two country’s police forces. Blackwater became known in the 2000s after hundreds of the company’s mercenaries were called in to aid the US armed forces in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The firm gained notoriety after its employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians in a massacre in Nisour Square, Baghdad, in 2007, outraging Iraqis and straining relations between the government and Washington. In 2011 the company rebranded, changing its name to Academi.

Acting Bogotá Mayor María Mercedes Maldonado (photo courtesy of Bogotá government)

Acting Bogotá Mayor María Mercedes Maldonado (photo courtesy of Bogotá government)

Colombia – New Bogotá Mayor Appointed: President Juan Manuel Santos appointed today the new mayor of Bogotá. María Mercedes Maldonado, who is replacing deposed mayor Gustavo Petro, will head the city’s administration temporarily, until elections are called. President Santos, who made the announcement on his way to Mexico this morning, indicated that no date has been set for the election yet, and that on his return to Colombia he will meet electoral authorities to define “at what time and under which conditions we will make the call [to elections].” With regards to his appointment of Maldonado, President Santos stated that she was chosen “because she’s in the cabinet, she’s familiar with city policies, is a well-prepared person, and also women have done very well as mayors.” Maldonado, a lawyer specialised in urban studies, is the city’s current Habitat Secretary. On her appointment, former mayor Gustavo Petro commented on Twitter that: “The progressive citizen’s movement that won the elections returns to the city government. María Mercedes, ‘Human Bogotá’ is in your hands.” Petro was removed from his post by the country’s Inspector General last December, and the decision was ratified by President Santos on 19th March.

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Argentina News Roundup: 7th April 2014

Governor Scioli and his cabinet declare a 'security emergency' (photo: Victoria Egurza/Télam/ef)

Governor Scioli and his cabinet declare a ‘security emergency’ (photo: Victoria Egurza/Télam/ef)

Scioli Declares Security Emergency in Buenos Aires: Governor Daniel Scioli declared on Saturday a ‘security state of emergency’ for 12 months in his province, with the aim of “applying the full weight of the state on criminals.” The measures to be applied to combat insecurity include the recall of up to 15,000 retired policemen who will be required to serve in the force for a year, and new requirements for motorcycle riders (such as the need to wear a helmet and reflective vest showing the vehicle’s licence number and the prohibition for two people to ride on a motorcycle at certain times and in certain areas). There will also be the construction of new prisons to hold up to 3,000 prisoners currently held in “relief police stations” awaiting trial, despite international regulations to the contrary. The Scioli administration has also pledged to introduce a bill in the provincial congress in order to limit the release of prisoners with a criminal record or those who used guns to commit a crime, and another one in the national congress to modify the current juvenile criminal regime.

The debate of a bill currently sitting in the provincial legislature which seeks to create local police forces in districts of over 70,000 residents will be accelerated and the government will create ten new specialised public prosecutors’ offices to handle drug trafficking offences. Finally, private security officers will be obliged to report any crime they witness whilst on duty (if they do not, their licences will be removed), and panic buttons will be included in mobile phones. The ‘state of emergency’ also gives the government the possibility to streamline certain processes and make purchases without having to call for public tenders. Scioli announced the purchase of 1,000 police cars, 30,000 bullet-proof vests, and 10,000 guns with ammunition for a total of $600m.

The governor received both support for the plan and criticism from the opposition. Frente Renovador’s Sergio Massa said that “we’re satisfied that the governor, being responsible for safety in the province, has recognised the severity of the situation (…) We’re ready to cooperate with our successful local experience, helping the provincial government find a solution.” PRO’s María Eugenia Vidal, the city of Buenos Aires’ deputy mayor, said that “it’s good that the provincial government is recognising the problem of insecurity. The measures are fine for the urgency, but we need a structural plan to solve the underlying issues.” Former deputy and president of GEN, Gerardo Milman, was critical of Scioli, saying that “the province doesn’t have an emergency, it has an unacceptable level of ineptitude and structural complicity. Governor Scioli’s state of emergency declaration is nothing more than a way to bypass controls and make purchases without public tenders.” The national government, in turn, kept its distance from Scioli and his announcements, with Chief of Cabinet Jorge Capitanich saying that “governor Scioli’s decision is part of his own agenda and taken within the use of his powers (…) He surely analysed the security issue and adopted the measures he considers appropriate.”

State of Emergency in Neuquén After Heavy Rains: A state of emergency has been declared in Neuquén after the province received 150mm of rain – the equivalent to a year’s rainfall – in just 12 hours. Schools across the province were closed today, and severe flooding in the provincial capital led to some 1,500 residents being evacuated from their homes. The worst-affected neighbourhoods in the north Patagonian city started the day under a metre of water, and although the flood waters are now starting to recede, much of the city remains without electricity. The storm is said to be the worst to have hit the city in 40 years, although residents were prepared after numerous warnings in local media and from the government to stay indoors. Heavy rainfall has wreaked havoc on various parts of the country. The first stage of the Desafío Ruta 40 rally, which was due to start today in the city of Bariloche, was cancelled due to the downpour, and Buenos Aires saw transit chaos after the Illia highway was closed due to the rains. The storms are set to continue throughout the rest of the day and into tomorrow.

Government Extends Price Agreements: Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and Domestic Trade Secretary Augusto Costa announced today that the ‘Precios Cuidados’ price agreement will be extended to include new items and new supermarkets. In large supermarkets, 108 products will be added to the existing agreement, bringing the number of items sold at an agreed price to 302. In smaller supermarkets the increase will be of 98 items. ‘Precios Cuidados’ will now include gluten-free products and will be extended to include wholesalers. Minister Kicillof, who called the programme “a success”, explained that “some prices within the agreement will increase ever so slightly and other products will enter the agreement at much lower prices.” The second phase of the programme will come into effect within the next seven to ten days.

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Argentina News Roundup: 20th February 2014

Human rights organisations joined civil society outside the Masacre de la Carcova trial in San Martín. (Photo: Gustavo Amarelle/Télam/lz)

Human rights organisations joined civil society outside the Masacre de la Carcova trial in San Martín. (Photo: Gustavo Amarelle/Télam/lz)

‘Masacre de La Carcova’ Trial Begins: The trial against Buenos Aires Province policemen Gustavo Rey and Gustavo Vega opened today in San Martín, Greater Buenos Aires. The pair are accused of having killed two teenagers who they believed were involved in the looting of a train than had derailed in La Carcova, José León Suárez in 2011. Franco Almirón and Mauricio Ramos, aged 16 and 17, were both killed in the incident on 3rd February 2011, and their friend Joaquín Romero, 19, was seriously injured. The police are also accused of covering up the killings. Investigations by the Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS) human rights organisation unveiled that on the day of the incident, the three friends were riding their bikes to look for cardboard in the nearby CEAMSE rubbish dump and had stopped to see what had happened as the train had derailed. When they tried to get close to the train, officers responded disproportionately by shooting at them. Romero was injured, and Almirón and Ramos took cover behind a pile of junk. But after a tear gas cannon was fired they were forced out of their cover, and were both shot fatally whilst attempting to flee the scene. CELS, whose investigation revealed the police cover-up, has called for a case to be opened into the officers’ disproportionate response to the lootings and also that more senior officials, likely to have given the orders to the policemen to use deadly force, also be charged. The trial is expected to last until 11th March.

Western Union Announces Changes to Ease Money Sending: The local subsidiary of Western Union has increased the amount of money it is possible to send to some countries from $1,150 per month to $4000 – or US$500 – per day. The countries included are the United States, Canada and the rest of Latin America. However, tighter restrictions remain for those wanting to send money to other continents, who are limited to $1,800 per day. Tourists and foreigners living temporarily in Argentina will not be able to use the new system, and are advised to go to the tax office AFIP to send or receive money. Argentines and permanent residents must take a photocopy of their CUIT or CUIL and a copy of their DNI. Those wishing to send money will have to pay 35% commission on the value of the money being sent, which would mean a cost of $10.90 per dollar, higher than the official exchange rate, which is hovering around $8, but lower than the ‘blue’, which is nearer $12.

Man Forced to Pay Damages for Leaving Pregnant Ex: The Supreme Court of Corrientes province has ruled that a man must pay damages to his former partner for the “moral damage” he inflicted after suddenly leaving her while she was pregnant. The ruling sets a new precedent in the province, although judges Guillermo Horacio Semhan, Fernando Augusto Niz and Juan Carlos Codello have yet to calculate the level of damages that will be awarded. In their decision, they highlighted that the woman “spent the entire pregnancy without the company or spiritual support of the progenitor”, and that the man had demonstrated “abandonment, denial of paternity, irresponsibility, and bad faith”. They highlighted that these were things suffered by the mother, and that their daughter was not the victim in this case.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

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As a possible ‪Grexit‬ looms in the old continent, we revisit Marc Rogers' article comparing Greece's current situation to Argentina's own 2001-2 crisis.

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