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‘US-led effort to isolate Russia failed’

Samizdat – August 5, 2022

The US-led drive to isolate Russia through sanctions has not succeeded, as half the countries in the Group of Twenty leading global economies refused to sign on, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

According to the publication, senior officials from leading Western nations are surprised by the lack of support within the wider G20, despite their efforts to make the case for restrictions against Russia.

Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Turkey have not joined the sanctions that were adopted by the US, UK, EU, and their allies Australia, Canada, Japan, and South Korea. Some nations, like China and South Africa, have openly criticized the restrictions. The G20 nations account for around 85% of global economic output.

According to Bloomberg, the reasons for the lack of support include strong trade ties, historical affinities to Moscow, and a distrust of former colonial powers.

August 5, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US asks Argentina to confiscate aircraft linked to Iran

MEMO | August 3, 2022

The US Department of Justice said on Tuesday that it has asked the government in Buenos Aires for permission to seize an Iranian plane that was sold to new owners in Venezuela but is being held in Argentina on suspicion of being linked to international terrorist groups.

The unannounced arrival of the plane in Argentina on 8 June raised concerns within the Argentinian government about its relations with Iran, Venezuela and companies that the US has imposed sanctions on. The Justice Department said that the seizure request followed the disclosure of a warrant in the District Court for the District of Columbia dated 19 July to take the aircraft for violating export control laws.

According to the department, the US-made Boeing 747-300 is under sanctions because Iran’s Mahan Air sale to Emtrasur last year violated US export laws. Both companies are subject to US sanctions over their alleged cooperation with terrorist organisations.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division said that, “The department will not tolerate transactions that violate our sanctions and export laws.” Mahan Air faces sanctions for its ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, which the US has listed as a terrorist organisation.

There were 14 Venezuelans and five Iranians travelling on the aircraft when it landed in Buenos Aires. Seven of the passengers are still being held by the Argentinian authorities.

August 3, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran and Argentina apply to join BRICS

Samizdat | June 27, 2022

The Islamic Republic of Iran has officially submitted its application to join the group of five emerging economies made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, the foreign ministry in Tehran announced on Monday. The move comes after the Iranian president addressed the BRICS summit last week.

While BRICS is not a treaty bloc, it has a “very creative mechanism with broad aspects,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday, according to the Tasnim news agency. He added that Tehran has already had “a series of consultations” with BRICS about the application.

Iran’s membership would “add value” for everyone involved, said Khatibzadeh, noting that BRICS members account for up to 30% of the world’s GDP and 40% of the global population.

On Friday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addressed the BRICS virtual summit hosted by China, and expressed Tehran’s readiness to share its capabilities and potentials with the group.

Argentina has also applied to join BRICS. President Alberto Fernandez on Friday urged the creation of cooperation mechanisms that could represent the alternative to ostensibly private institutions run by – and in the interest of – the West.

During the session on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the five-member group was working on setting up a new global reserve currency “based on a basket of currencies of our countries.”

June 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Argentina Requests BRICS Membership

Samizdat – 24.06.2022

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández requested BRICS membership for his country during the 14th summit of the international organization, which the Argentinian leader attended among other high-ranking guests.

“We aspire to be a full member of this group of nations that already represents 42% of the world’s population and 24% of the global gross product”, the president said.

Fernández noted that his country could supplement the union of five countries as a reliable supplier of food, as well as a recognized player in the field of biotechnology and logistics. He further stressed Argentina’s ability to train specialists in various fields, as well as provide various services on the international scale.

The president expressed an eagerness for his country to join the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) during its 14th summit, which is taking place in a videoconference format this year. It formally kicked off on June 22 and has continued through June 24.

Its members meet to discuss acute political and economic trends and mildly coordinate their own political and economic policies. They also discussed how to jointly navigate the currents of global trade and exercise their considerable influence (24% of global GDP) to change them.

June 24, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Plan Puma: When Argentina Ran Military Drills at the Behest of the US to Invade Venezuela

By Julian Cola | MintPress News | March 1, 2022

BUENOS AIRES – Argentina’s Defense Minister Jorge Tayana and his Venezuelan counterpart, Minister of People’s Power for Defense Vladimir Padrino López, have agreed to cooperate in pursuing their investigation of Puma, a series of military exercises conducted in Argentina in 2019 with the aim of invading Venezuela and overthrowing the government. The military drills – which were overseen by Argentina’s former rapid deployment force army commander and current head of the army, General Juan Martín Paleo – were undertaken between April and July 2019, during the presidency of Mauricio Macri.

As an active member of the Lima Group, Macri’s government demonstrated an interventionist attitude in relation to Venezuela,” said Tayana.

With the overall goal of overthrowing the Bolivarian Revolution, the objective of the military drills was to train a swift action battalion ready and available to the U.S. military’s Southern Command. Seven military exercises were conducted at the Campo de Mayo garrison and by videoconference. Participants included Córdoba’s Parachute Brigade, the Tenth Mechanized Infantry Brigade of La Pampa, and commandos from Argentina’s Special Operations Force, also located in Córdoba. After the initial incursion into Venezuelan territory, a multinational task force would follow to provide military support and consolidate the occupation.

The Communist Party of Argentina has called for Paleo’s removal.

Revealed by Argentinean journalist Horacio Verbitsky, operation Puma also uncovered maps of Venezuela with military installations and positions. Not so unassuming codewords and acronyms were used to describe different countries in the region. “South America is called South Patagonia. Venezuela is referred to as Volcano and its officials in conflict are NM and JG, otherwise, Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó,” said Verbitsky. The map also showed Colombia referred to as “Ceres”; the two Guyanas and Suriname are “Tellus”; Brazil is “Febo”; Peru and Ecuador are “Fauno”; Chile is “Juno”; Uruguay is “Baco”; and Paraguay and Bolivia are nonexistent.

It also has been noted that the first Puma military exercises were conducted in April 2019, just 15 days prior to Operation Liberty, a failed attempt to seize a military base east of Caracas. The operation was coordinated by the disgraced former president of Venezuela’s National Assembly and self-proclaimed president, Juan Guaidó, and opposition figurehead Leopoldo López.

WITHDRAWAL FROM LIMA GROUP

Macri was a regional head of state who recognized Guaidó as president of Venezuela. He also was a signer to the Organization of American States’ (OAE) Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance. During heightened tensions against the Venezuelan government, this treaty made it permissible to activate the armed forces of regional countries if any member state suffered an attack.

Venezuela’s National Assembly has approved an agreement, signed by the government and opposition, on three principal aspects regarding the protection of its national territory: (1) Coordinate and reject any pretense of military intervention; (2) Incentivize investigations to determine responsibility and impose sanctions on those who attempt to undermine or weaken the national territory; (3) Strengthen internal laws related to security and defense of the national territory.

Argentina’s current president, Alberto Fernández, withdrew from the Lima Group in March 2021. “The Republic of Argentina has formalized its withdrawal from the so-called Lima Group, considering the actions promoted by the group internationally, to isolate Venezuela and its representatives, have achieved nothing,” noted Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The official press release also stated that the Lima Group was composed of “Venezuelan opposition members,” as if they were equal parties to the group. Their presence has “led to the adoption of positions that our government can’t undertake and will not support.”

Established by 13 countries – including Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru – with support from the United States, the Lima Group’s stated purpose is to “denounce the rupture of the democratic order in Venezuela.” Despite not officially being a participating member, the U.S. government attended several Lima Group conferences via videoconference.

“In May 2019, as Paleo commanded the second and third sessions of the Argentine Armed Forces exercise to invade Venezuela,” said Verbitsky, “[t]he (U.S.) Southern Command published” a white paper entitled “Enduring Promise for the Americas.” The publication of the document coincided not only with Operation Puma military drills but also an official visit by the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, Craig Faller, to Argentina in June 2019. During his stay, the career military official convened with Venezuela’s former Minister of Defense Oscar Aguad to discuss issues involving cyber-defense, narco-trafficking, and organized crime.

March 2, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

Update on ivermectin for covid-19

By Sebastian Rushworth, M.D. | May 9, 2021

Back in January I wrote an article about four randomized controlled trials of ivermectin as a treatment for covid-19 that had at that time released their results to the public. Each of those four trials had promising results, but each was also too small individually to show any meaningful impact on the hard outcomes we really care about, like death. When I meta-analyzed them together however, the results suddenly appeared very impressive. Here’s what that meta-analysis looked like:

It showed a massive 78% reduction in mortality in patients treated with covid-19. Mortality is the hardest of hard end points, which means it’s the hardest for researchers to manipulate and therefore the least open to bias. Either someone’s dead, or they’re alive. End of story.

You would have thought that this strong overall signal of benefit in the midst of a pandemic would have mobilized the powers that be to arrange multiple large randomized trials to confirm these results as quickly as possible, and that the major medical journals would be falling over each other to be the first to publish these studies.

That hasn’t happened.

Rather the opposite, in fact. South Africa has even gone so far as to ban doctors from using ivermectin on covid-19 patients. And as far as I can tell, most of the discussion about ivermectin in mainstream media (and in the medical press) has centred not around its relative merits, but more around how its proponents are clearly deluded tin foil hat wearing crazies who are using social media to manipulate the masses.

In spite of this, trial results have continued to appear. That means we should now be able to conclude with even greater certainty whether or not ivermectin is effective against covid-19. Since there are so many of these trials popping up now, I’ve decided to limit the discussion here only to the ones I’ve been able to find that had at least 150 participants, and that compared ivermectin to placebo (although I’ll add even the smaller trials I’ve found in to the updated meta-analysis at the end).

As before, it appears that rich western countries have very little interest in studying ivermectin as a treatment for covid. The three new trials that had at least 150 participants and compared ivermectin with placebo were conducted in Colombia, Iran, and Argentina. We’ll go through each in turn.

The Colombian trial (Lopez-Medina et al.) was published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) in March. There is one thing that is rather odd with this study, and that is that the study authors were receiving payments from Sanofi-Pasteur, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, Janssen, Merck, and Gilead while conducting the study. Gilead makes remdesivir. Merck is developing two expensive new drugs to treat covid-19. Janssen, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, and Sanofi-Pasteur are all developers of covid vaccines. In other words, the authors of the study were receiving funding from companies that own drugs that are direct competitors to ivermectin. One might call this a conflict of interest, and wonder whether the goal of the study was to show a lack of benefit. It’s definitely a little bit suspicious.

Anyway, let’s get to what the researchers actually did. This was a double-blind randomized controlled trial that recruited patients with mildly symptomatic covid-19 who had experienced symptom onset less than 7 days earlier. Potential participants were identified through a statewide database of people with positive PCR-tests. By “mildly symptomatic” the researchers meant people who had at least one symptom but who did not require high-flow oxygen at the time of recruitment in to the trial.

Participants in the treatment group received 300 ug/kg body weight of ivermectin every day for five days, while participants in the placebo group received an identical placebo. 300 ug/kg works out to 21 mg for an average 70 kg adult, which is quite high, especially when you consider that the dose was given daily for five days. For an average person, this would work out to a total dose of 105 mg. The other ivermectin trials have mostly given around 12 mg per day for one or two days, for a total dose of 12 to 24 mg (which has been considered enough because ivermectin has a long half-life in the body). Why this study gave such a high dose is unclear. However, it shouldn’t be a problem. Ivermectin is a very safe drug, and studies have been done where people have been given ten times the recommended dose without any noticeable increase in adverse events.

The stated goal of the study was to see if ivermectin resulted in more rapid symptom resolution than placebo. So participants were contacted by telephone every three days after inclusion in the study, up to day 21, and asked about what symptoms they were experiencing.

398 patients were included in the study. The median age of the participants was 37 years, and they were overall very healthy. 79% had no known co-morbidities. This is a shame. It means that this study is yet another one of those many studies that will not be able to show a meaningful effect on hard end points like hospitalization and death. It is a bit strange that studies keep being done on young healthy people who are at virtually zero risk from covid-19, rather than on the multi-morbid elderly, who are the ones we actually need an effective treatment for.

Anyway, let’s get to the results.

In the group treated with ivermectin, the average time from inclusion in the study to becoming completely symptom free was 10 days. In the placebo group that number was 12 days. So, the ivermectin treated patients recovered on average two days faster. However, the difference was not statistically significant, so the result could easily be due to chance. At 21 days after inclusion in the study, 82% had recovered fully in the ivermectin group, as compared to 79% in the placebo group. Again, the small difference was not statistically significant.

In terms of the hard end points that matter more, there were zero deaths in the ivermectin group and there was one death in the placebo group. 2% of participants in the ivermectin group required “escalation of care” (hospitalization if they were outside the hospital at the start of the study, or oxygen therapy if they were in hospital at the start of the study) as compared with 5% in the placebo group. None of these differences was statistically significant. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t real. Like I wrote earlier, the fact that this was a study of healthy young people meant that, even if a meaningful difference does exist in risk of dying of covid, or of ending up in hospital, this study was never going to find it.

So, what can we conclude?

Ivermectin does not meaningfully shorten duration of symptoms in healthy young people. That’s about all we can say from this study. Considering the conflicts of interest of the authors, my guess is that this was the goal of the study all along: Gather together a number of young healthy people that is too small for there to be any chance of a statistically significant benefit, and then get the result you want. The media will sell the result as “study shows ivermectin doesn’t work” (which they dutifully did).

It is interesting that there were signals of benefit for all the parameters the researchers looked at (resolution of symptoms, escalation of care, death), but that the relatively small number and good health status of the participants meant that there was little chance of any of the results reaching statistical significance.

Let’s move on to the next study, which is currently available as a pre-print on Research Square (Niaee et al.). It was randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled, and carried out at five different hospitals in Iran. It was funded by an Iranian university.

In order to be included in the trial, participants had to be over the age of 18 and admitted to hospital because of a covid-19 infection (which was defined as symptoms suggestive of covid plus either a CT scan typical of covid infection or a positive PCR test).

150 participants were randomized to either placebo (30 people) or varying doses of ivermectin (120 people). The fact that they chose to make the placebo group so small is a problem, because it makes it very hard to detect any differences even if they do exist, by making the statistical certainty of the results in the placebo group very low.

The participants were on average 56 years old and the average oxygen saturation before initiation of treatment was 89% (normal is more than 95%), so this was a pretty sick group. Unfortunately no information is provided on how far along people were in the disease course when they started receiving ivermectin. It stands to reason that the drug is more likely to work if given ten days after symptom onset than when given twenty days after symptom onset, since death usually happens around day 21. If you, for example, wanted to design a trial to fail, you could start treating people at a time point when there is no time for the drug you’re testing to have a chance work, so it would have been nice to know at what time point treatment started in this trial.

So, what were the results?

20% of the participants in the placebo group died (6 out of 30 people). 3% of the participants in the various ivermectin groups died (4 out of 120 people). That is an 85% reduction in the relative risk of death, which is huge.

So, in spite of the fact that the placebo group was so small, it was still possible to see a big difference in mortality. Admittedly, this is a pre-print (i.e. it hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet), and the absolute numbers of deaths are small, so there is some scope for random chance to have created these results (maybe people in the placebo group were just very unlucky!). However, the study appears to have followed all the steps expected for a high quality trial. It was carried out at multiple different hospitals, it used randomization and a control group that received a placebo, and it was double-blinded. And death is a very hard end point that is not particularly open to bias. So unless the researchers have falsified their data, then this study constitutes reasonably good evidence that ivermectin is highly effective when given to patients hospitalized with covid-19. That’s great, because it would mean that the drug can be given quite late in the disease course and still show benefit.

Let’s move on to the third trial (Chahla et al.), which is currently available as a pre-print on MedRxiv. It was carried out in Argentina, and funded by the Argentinean government. Like the first trial we discussed, this was a study of people with mild disease. It literally boggles my mind that so many researchers choose to study people with mild disease instead of studying those with more severe disease. Especially when you consider that these studies are all so small. A study of people with mild disease needs to be very large to find a statistically significant effect, since most people with covid do well regardless. The risk of false negative results is thus enormous. If you’re going to do a small-ish study, and you want to have a reasonable chance of producing results that reach statistical significance, it would make much more sense to do it on sick hospitalized patients.

The study was randomized, but it wasn’t blinded, and there was no placebo. In other words, the intervention group received ivermectin (24 mg per day), while the control group didn’t receive anything. This is a bad bad thing. It means that any non-hard outcomes produced by the study are really quite worthless, since there is so much scope for the placebo effect and other confounding factors to mess up the results. For hard outcomes, in particular death, it should be less of a problem (although we wouldn’t expect any deaths in such a small study of mostly healthy people with mild disease anyway).

The study included people over the age of 18 with symptoms suggestive of covid-19 and a positive PCR test. The average age of the participants was 40 years, and most had no underlying health issues. A total of 172 people were recruited in to the study.

The researchers chose to look at how quickly people became free of symptoms as their primary endpoint. This is enormously problematic, since the study, as already mentioned, wasn’t blinded and there was no placebo. Any difference between the groups could easily be explained by the placebo effect and by biases towards treatment benefit among the researchers.

Anyway, the study found that 49% in the treatment group were free of symptoms at five to nine days after the beginning of treatment, compared with 81% in the control group. However, the lack of blinding means that this result is worthless. The methodology is just too flawed.

No data is provided on the number of people who died in each group. Since it isn’t reported, I think it’s safe to assume that there were no deaths in either group. Nor is any data provided on the number of hospitalizations in each group.

So, what does this study tell us?

Absolutely nothing at all. What a waste of time and money.

Let’s move on and update our meta-analysis. The reason we need to do a meta-analysis here is that none of the trials of ivermectin is large enough on its own to provide a definitive answer as to whether it is a useful treatment for covid-19 or not. For those who haven’t heard of meta-analyses before, basically what you do is just take the results from all different studies in existence that fulfill your pre-selected criteria, and then put them together, so as a to create a single large “meta”-study. This allows you to produce results that have a much higher level of statistical significance. It is particularly useful in a situation where all the individual trials you have to work with are statistically underpowered (have too few participants), as is the case here.

In this new meta-analysis, I’ve included every double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial I could find of ivermectin as a treatment for covid. Using only double-blind placebo-controlled trials means that only the highest quality studies are included in this meta-analysis, which minimizes the risk of biases messing up the results as far as possible. In order to be included, a study also had to provide mortality data, since the goal of the meta-analysis is to see if there is any difference in mortality.

I was able to identify seven trials that fulfilled these criteria, with a total of 1,327 participants. Here’s what the meta-analysis shows:

What we see is a 62% reduction in the relative risk of dying among covid patients treated with ivermectin. That would mean that ivermectin prevents roughly three out of five covid deaths. The reduction is statistically significant (p-value 0,004). In other words, the weight of evidence supporting ivermectin continues to pile up. It is now far stronger than the evidence that led to widespred use of remdesivir earlier in the pandemic, and the effect is much larger and more important (remdesivir was only ever shown to marginally decrease length of hospital stay, it was never shown to have any effect on risk of dying).

I understand why pharmaceutical companies don’t like ivermectin. It’s a cheap generic drug. Even Merck, the company that invented ivermectin, is doing it’s best to destroy the drug’s reputation at the moment. This can only be explained by the fact that Merck is currently developing two expensive new covid drugs, and doesn’t want an off-patent drug, which it can no longer make any profit from, competing with them.

The only reason I can think to understand why the broader medical establishment, however, is still so anti-ivermectin is that these studies have all been done outside the rich west. Apparently doctors and scientists outside North America and Western Europe can’t be trusted, unless they’re saying things that are in line with our pre-conceived notions.

Researchers at McMaster university are currently organizing a large trial of ivermectin as a treatment for covid-19, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. That trial is expected to enroll over 3,000 people, so it should be definitive. It’s going to be very interesting to see what it shows when the results finally get published.

May 9, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | Leave a comment

Argentine Government to Launch Legal Action Against Ex-President Over IMF Loan

Sputnik – 10.04.2021

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez issued a decree instructing the country’s special legal body to act as a plaintiff on behalf of the state in a case against his predecessor Mauricio Macri, stemmed from his decision to take a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the amount of $50 billion.

“Prosecutors representing the state as the claimant are ordered to pursue the case, ‘Mauricio Macri and others, fraud against state bodies’ … and to facilitate the advancement of the criminal process in order to determine those responsible for the crime,” the decree says.

The document further states that the case is related to Marci’s decision to take a loan from the IMF in the amount of $50 billion in 2018. The current government has repeatedly spoken about the difficulties surrounding paying off the debt and began negotiations with the IMF on a new assistance program.

In addition, lawyers were instructed to initiate actions leading to compensation for possible losses incurred as a result of the actions of the previous authorities.

The decree was signed by the country’s current president, prime minister, and ministers of economy and justice.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Cristina Fernandez Scores Major Win on Google’s Defamation Case

Vice President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Buenos Aires, March 20, 2021. 

Vice President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Buenos Aires, March 20, 2021. Photo: Twitter/ @thesunpostnews
teleSUR | March 20, 2021

In May 2020, Google defamed the Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner by calling her “Thief of the Argentine Nation” instead of making reference to her position.

Argentina’s Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by Google against the ruling which forces the company to keep the defamatory information against Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Last year, Cristina filed a petition with her country’s justice system demanding that U.S. tech giant Google preserve the data naming her as “Thief of the Argentine Nation.”

The nickname appeared on Google’s platform replacing the information about her current positions when entering the Vice President’s name. The result was displayed without referring to any third-party website but under the sole responsibility of Google.

The Supreme Court ruling forces Google to keep the data associated with Fernandez from May 17, 2020, until the end of the investigation process, which will allow to get proofs and assess the defamation.

“Google’s reach in the world is immeasurable, so the damage generated in this opportunity is difficult to calculate without the results of the expert evidence,” said the former president’s lawyer Carlos Berardi.

Former president Cristina Fernandez (2007-2015) declared that if she wins the defamation case and there is compensation for the caused damages, the payment will be donated to the “Sor Maria Ludovica” Children’s Hospital in La Plata.

March 20, 2021 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Argentina Denounces Presence of US Submarine

A United Kingdom aircraft from the British Independent Overseas Territory (BIOT) Falklands Islands recently collaborated with USS Greeneville (SSN 772) in the South Atlantic open ocean, demonstrating the global reach of both nations’ forces.

teleSUR | February 13, 2021

The Argentine Foreign Ministry, through an official statement published on its website expressed Friday its “serious concern” about the presence in the South Atlantic of the U.S. nuclear submarine USS Greeneville.

“The Argentine government expresses its serious concern over information that emerged from the official Twitter account of the Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, by which it is pointed out that they would have recently operated with British support in the South Atlantic,” the Foreign Ministry expresses.

The statement also recalls that “carrying and using nuclear weapons” in the mentioned area contradicts resolutions of the United Nations Organization and urged to respect the region as a “zone of peace and cooperation.”

“The presence of ships capable of carrying and using nuclear weapons in the South Atlantic contradicts Resolution 41/11 of the United Nations General Assembly (Zone of Peace and Cooperation in the South Atlantic),” the communiqué stresses.

The official document recalls that the aforementioned resolution “calls upon States of all other regions, especially militarily important States, to scrupulously respect the South Atlantic region as a zone of peace and cooperation.”

“It is not the first time that Argentina” denounces “the presence of a British military base in the Malvinas Islands”, which is contrary to “various United Nations resolutions such as 31/49, which calls on the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to expedite negotiations on the sovereignty dispute.”

February 14, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 2 Comments

Brexit Could See the Return of the Falkland Islands to Argentina

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 19, 2019

The Islas Malvinas, or more commonly known as the Falkland Islands, archipelago was invaded by the United Kingdom in 1833 and its occupation has continued to date. Argentina’s claim for sovereignty through diplomatic means has been a state policy since the failed liberation attempt through military means in 1982. Although it lost intensity during the Mauricio Macri government, President Alberto Fernández of the leftist Justicialist Party, reinforced in October his commitment to “renew the claim of sovereignty” of the 750 islands of the archipelago. In a patriotic tone, the then presidential candidate criticized the relations Macri had with the United Kingdom during a debate that took place on October 13.

“In these years the government has been very busy doing business with the United Kingdom and has forgotten sovereignty [over] the Falklands. Over 700 soldiers have died there. In memory of them all I will make things different,” Fernández said during the first Argentine presidential debate.

Fernández will re-establish a Secretariat for the ​​Malvinas, demonstrating that he is taking the issue against the British very seriously. During his swearing in speech before the National Congress on December 10, the new president informed that he will create a Secretariat, with the participation of “all political forces,” the southern province of Tierra del Fuego that is closest to the Malvinas, representatives of the academic world and former fighters of the 1982 war, to concentrate on the reclamation of the occupied archipelago.

Fernández included the claim by the Falkland Islands in his speech when he assumed the presidency and said “there is no more place for colonialism in the 21st century.”

“We know that for this task it does not reach the mandate of a Government, but a medium and long-term State policy, so I will convene a Congress where all political forces participate,” he announced.

Fernández decision to re-establish the Malvinas Secretariat and to convene a Council on the subject restores confidence and firmness in Argentina’s demand against the British after complete servitude by Macri. The importance the new president has given to Argentina’s demand for sovereignty over the islands is a good sign and it is the first time a new president has spoken with such depth to the Malvinas issue when they first take office.

Fernández’s stance demonstrates that the Malvinas do not belong to any president, they are a state matter in which it is necessary to work as a state policy for not only the present, but also looking to the future. The establishment of the Secretariat is aimed to positively re-establish consensus on the basis of and essential demand for sovereignty, leaving the differing approaches in Argentina to the cause and the 1982 war conflict in the past with the aim of looking only towards the future.

It must be remembered that a new Sao Paulo-Malvinas flight opened on Argentine National Sovereignty Day on November 20, a massive slap in the face to the Argentinian veterans from the 1982 war, who did not hesitate to go out protest. LATAM inaugurated the flight which has a stop in the Argentine city of Córdoba. War veterans protested in front of the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires against what they described as treachery by Macri. Fernández has an opportunity to gain even more popular support by forcing the cancellation of flights by LATAM to the Malvinas and by ensuring the islands have no lifeline except with their colonial masters in London approximately 13,000 kilometers away.

Conservative Boris Johnson won the British election on December 12, which put the South American islanders on alert. The possibility of the definitive implementation of Brexit will harm the local economy, whose production has the European Union as one of its main markets. Brexit is a favorable situation for Argentina because in the view of the European Union, the Malvinas are an extracontinental territory, something that will complicate the local economy, just as what will happen with British-occupied Gibraltar on the Iberian Peninsula and areas in Cyprus.

In this context Argentina must start seeking new alliances with European countries and condemn the maintenance of a British colony on the complete opposite side of the Atlantic and with total impunity. With Spain wanting the return of Gibraltar and Cyprus wanting the return of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Argentina can very easily find new allies in the European Union willing to cooperate efforts to reclaim sovereignty over territory occupied by the British. Brexit therefore not only threatens the breakup of the United Kingdom with a push for Scottish independence and Irish unification, but it could potentially see the return of the Malvinas to Argentina.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

December 19, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | 1 Comment

Argentina to Freeze Gas and Electricity Rates

teleSUR | December 18, 2019

The Government of Alberto Fernández sent the draft law on Social Solidarity and Productive Reactivation to Congress on Tuesday morning, which, among other matters, plans to freeze gas and electricity rates for six months.

The bill also contemplates a “reduction of the real tariff burden on households and businesses by the year 2020”, a policy that will reverse the tariffs imposed since the Mauricio Macri regime took over.

The rates of these two basic services will be frozen for 180 days, while the executive branch begins a “renegotiation process of the current Comprehensive Rate Review” or “an extraordinary revision”.

Likewise, the bill authorizes the Argentine Government to intervene in the National Electricity Regulatory Entity (ENRE) and the National Gas Regulatory Entity (Enargas), for a period of one year.

The Solidarity Law seeks “the rate restructuring of the energy system with criteria of distributive equity and productive sustainability”, as well as “reorder the operation of the regulatory entities of the system”.

This latest bill is one of the first major moves by the Fernandez government to reverse the neoliberal policies of the previous regime.

December 18, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Fernandez Government Incorporating ‘Peronism’ to End Poverty, Misery – Argentine Lawyer

By Ekaterina Blinova – Sputnik – 11.12.2019

On 10 December, Alberto Fernandez was sworn in as the new president of Argentina. Gonzalo Fiore Viani, a lawyer and political analyst, outlines the major economic and foreign policy challenges faced by the new “Peronist” government.

Argentine Peronist leader Alberto Fernandez, who won the October presidential elections with 47.9% of the vote, unveiled his new cabinet on 6 December announcing that Martin Guzman, a 37-year old protege of prominent US economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, will become the country’s next economy minister. Guzman will have to deal with Argentina’s galloping inflation, rising unemployment and a $100 billion debt.

How Fernandez Gov’t Will Deal With Argentine Economic Crisis

Last year the dire economic situation prompted Fernandez’ predecessor, Mauricio Macri, to request a $56-billion IMF loan. As of yet, about $45 billion has been disbursed to the recession-hit country. While the loan fell short of breathing new life into Argentina’s economy, this year the country has to start repaying its debts. There are fears that Buenos Aires is teetering on the verge of a new sovereign default.

Guzman, a vocal critic of the IMF’s policies, is expected to hold talks with creditors to restructure Buenos Aires’ financial obligations.

“By 2020, Argentina has to face the fulfilment of obligations for almost $55 billion dollars”, says Gonzalo Fiore Viani, a lawyer and political analyst from Cordoba, Argentina. “Therefore the payment of capital and interest commitments must necessarily be suspended for a while. Martin Guzman, the new minister of economy, is a specialist in sovereign debt, so he can manage the central problem of the Argentine economy, taking into account the proposed suspension of payments, both due and due for two years.”Viani says that Argentina today has a liquidity and solvency problem, that is, shortages of pesos and dollars to face the payment of the debt amid the economic slowdown.

“Currently, inherited debt represents 90 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), in addition to a financial deficit that implies 5 percent of GDP,” he says.

Yet another issue the Fernandez government is going to deal with is poverty. According to the Catholic University of Argentina, about 40 percent of Argentines are considered poor. “The social situation is so serious that the government must act first in that regard”, the political analyst underscores referring to Fernandez’ idea of “ethics solidarity” to end poverty and misery in the country.

To solve these issues, Guzman is seeking to revive the country’s economic growth and boost production in the export sector. He argues against pouring the IMF’s money to service Argentina’s bonds and implementing the organisation’s austerity scheme. According to him, the IMF programme does not work while the deepening of austerity policies is only leading to greater recession.

According to Viani, Peronism, a political doctrine based on legacy of former President Juan Peron and sometimes described as “right-wing socialism,” is making a comeback in Argentina.

“Peronism returns with a heterogeneous coalition of government, with all its internal lines represented, I think it is a return to what was the first government of Nestor Kirchner. And Alberto Fernandez can become the new Kirchner, or even the new Raul Alfonsin,” the political analyst believes.

One Should Expect New Shift in Argentina’s Foreign Policy

Apart from upcoming changes in domestic policy, Viani also expects a shift in Argentina’s foreign strategy under Fernandez: “I think the international politics of the new government will be totally opposite to the one that Macri had,” he says. “Relations with Russia, almost inexistent during the Macri administration, will be now stronger”.

He highlights that “the election of Felipe Sola, a man with no diplomatic background but a very skilled politician, as foreign minister, has to do with the importance of international relations in a very complex world.”

Meanwhile, the centre-left takeover in Argentina has seemingly chilled relations between Buenos Aires and Brasilia with Jair Bolsonaro not attending Fernandez’ inauguration and then sending his vice president to the ceremony. Viani suggests that right-wing politician Bolsonaro’s move was driven by “ideological reasons.”

“But besides that, Bolsonaro wants to have a major role in the region, becoming the indisputable leader of Latin America, but that is impossible having a progressive government in Argentina,” the political analyst remarks.

Why Buenos Aires Needs Working Relations With Both China & US

Viani foresees that Buenos Aires will further strengthen economic cooperation with Beijing. The two countries have maintained close ties for quite a while despite political changes in Argentina.

Under Macri, the People’s Republic of China provided loans to Argentina and extended bilateral currency swap collaboration launched in 2009 by then President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Additionally, the country’s telecom sector is continuing cooperation with China’s tech giant Huawei, that has recently found itself in the cross hairs of the Trump administration.

Washington is obviously displeased with China’s growing influence in the region which the US has for many decades considered its backyard. In October 2018 US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo warned Latin American states: “When China comes calling it’s not always to the good of your citizens”, while commenting on the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Assessing the prospects of Argentine-American ties, the analyst opines that while “Fernandez and Trump’s relationship seemed to have started off with the right foot but quickly tensed due to cross-statements about the coup in Bolivia”.

To add to the controversy, on 2 December, Trump tweeted that he was going to restore steel and aluminium tariffs on Argentina and Brazil.

“With regard to Argentina, the rise in tariffs worries because it can serve as an advance for a tightening in US trade policy and in the renegotiation of the debt with the IMF”, the political analyst says. “In addition one of the big problems that the next government will face is the lack of dollars”.

According to Viani, while pursuing independent foreign and domestic policy Buenos Aires still needs to maintain working relations with Washington to solve the external debt problem.

“I believe that with a pragmatic policy, the new government can have good relations with the United States but also to maintain sovereign external policy to contribute to the development of the country,” he says.

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment