Argentina: President Cristina Fernández suffers brain haematoma

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Cristina Fernández suffers brain haematoma; Argentina prolongs its fiscal amnesty program faced with disappointing results; Mexico’s Grupo Elektra to exit the country

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Cristina Fernández suffers brain haematoma

Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, will take a month off as she has been diagnosed with brain haematoma, forcing her to stop campaigning for the congressional elections and implying she will not pursue a third mandate.

Aged 60, Fernández de Kirchner, who has been President since 2007, had her thyroid glands removed in 2012 after she was diagnosed with cancer. Her recent health issues had been noticed in August but it is only now that doctors have prescribed her to rest. It is as yet not sure if she will stay in Buenos Aires for this rest-period or if she will go to her residence in Calafate in the Santa Cruz Province.

Her Vice-President, Amado Boudou had to suspend his visit to Brasilia and fly back to Buenos Aires as he has been chosen to temporarily take over her presidential duties.

However, the second main state executive is a controversial figure in Argentine politics. In 2012, he faced accusations of influence peddling, money laundering and illegal enrichment.

The President’s rest will last until 5th November 2013, a very important deadline, as it is a week before the congressional elections campaign, which are due on 27th October 2013 and will determine the control of Congress.

Fernández de Kirchner’s party already suffered a harsh defeat during the primaries in August, and her recent health issues cast doubts over the future of the party.

As for 2015 presidential elections, Cristina Kirchner said her party had not yet designated a successor, but she made implied she would not pursue a third mandate.

Argentina prolongs its fiscal amnesty program faced with disappointing results

Argentina’s government decided to extend for three additional months the fiscal amnesty program aimed at attracting investors who own undeclared dollars.

Argentines who had undeclared dollars in case to protect themselves from the peso’s instability have now until the end of the year to legally declare this money.

This controversial program aims to stem a dollar deficit in the South American country. After three months, the program finished this Monday and generated less than US$400 million, 10% of the amount the government was expecting.

This disappointing result is partly due to the lack of trust Argentines have in the government. Plus, it seems rather difficult to ask Argentines to legalise their dollars in a country where restrictions over the green bills’ acquisition is so strong and the difference between the legal exchange rate and the black market one is so high.

Mexico’s Grupo Elektra to exit Argentina

The Mexican firm Grupo Elektra, part of Grupo Salinas declared it would leave Argentina and liquidate all its operation in the Southern Cone country.

Grupo Elektra announced its departure was due to a unhealthy business environment, with excessive exchange rate control, a non-pay culture and an abusive trade union culture.

The Argentine Embassy in Mexico responded coldly to the decision but considered it was unfair to attribute their departure to the macroeconomic situation. The Ambassador argued that Argentina had created a favourable environment for consumers, especially towards the poor and that Grupo Elektra has not been able to take advantage of this market.

Grupo Elektra responded that its operations in Argentina were small compared to the company’s size and the success the group has abroad.

The group had inverted $60 billion dollars in 2007 to open more than 30 stores in Buenos Aires. Their departure comes in the context of a shivering Argentine economy, characterised by a 16% depreciation of the dollar and an estimated 25% inflation.

A transgender six-year-old is granted a girl’s identification

A six-year-old transgender girl from has been given a female identification even though she was born a boy named Manuel.

From a young age she identified as a girl and will now be able to register in her gender of choice.

This decision comes after a liberalisation of gender change in Argentina. Last year, the government allowed citizens to alter their gender on their official documents without needing a psychiatric diagnosis or surgery.