January 17, 2018
Friday, July 14, 2017

Argentina in brief

Security forces violently evict workers from PepsiCo plant

Members of the police and security forces yesterday violently evicted laid-off workers from a PepsiCo snacks plant in the Vicente López district of Buenos Aires province, raising labour tensions and eliciting a promise from the CGT umbrella union for a mobilisation in August. After being laid-off last month, workers had occupied the plant since June 26 and Pepsico eventually filed a complaint alleging invasion of private poverty. The company has decided to relocate its operations to Mar del Plata, leaving about 600 people out of a job. Some of those have given new jobs and others have agreed to compensation packages.

The operation lasted more than two hours, and resulted in injuries to 15 police officers and three arrests according to provincial Security Minister Cristian Ritondo, who also defended the actions carried out by the officers.

More than 500 Border Guard agents and Buenos Aires policemen worked jointly in the operation that started at 8.20am when they advanced with shields, teargas and rubber bullets, on the demonstrators who surrounded the entrance door of the factory. In response, the dismissed workers who had taken over the plant and watched from the roof, began to throw bricks and objects against the police forces. Meanwhile, in the surroundings, political and union demonstrators struggled to resist the eviction. PepsiCo has said that it regretted that people had been injured in the eviction.

After incidents occurred outside the premises, security personnel finally managed to transpose a vehicular access gate and took control of the property.

Leftists lawmakers and leaders such as Nicolás del Caño, Claudio Dellecarbonara, Luis Zamora, Cristian Castillo and Vilma Ripoll, later approached the site to condemn the “violent police repression.” Del Caño rebuked the police superintendent when minutes later, the press claimed that during the coverage of the events, police personnel had assaulted press workers.

In response, the CGT umbrella union’s three leaders have denounced the violence against the PepsiCo workers and against the Macri government’s economic policies.

Labour Minister Jorge Triaca in the near term is expected to be summoned by the Senate to explain the layoffs and the government’s response, including the eviction.


Ciccone trial given final green light

The final barrier to the trial of Amado Boudou ad the other defendants in the so-called “Ciccone case” has been cleared by the Criminal Cassation Court, paving the way for a start date to be set.

The country’s highest criminal court yesterday rejected appeals by defendants José María Nuñez Carmona and Alejandro Vandenbroele against the prosecution, the Anti-Corruption Office and the Financial Information Unit.

As such, Judges Gustavo Hornos and Juan Carlos Gemignani confirmed the decision by Judge Ariel Lijo to close the investigation into allegations that Boudou, then Economy minister to ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and others improperly acquired the Ciccone printing press. Núñez Carmona is a friend and associate of Boudou’s and Vandenbroele has been accused of being a frontman for the former vice-president.

Boudou was indicted along with five other defendants — including the founder of the printing company and his son-in-law — in June 2014 for carrying out negotiations that were incompatible with a public office, as had been demanded by prosecutor Jorge Di Lello. Boudou was vice-president at the time of the indictment.

Lijo ruled that Boudou and his friend José María Núñez Carmona bought Ciccone Calcográfica which was in bankruptcy while he was Fernández de Kirchner’s Economy Minister. Lijo believed Boudou and Núñez Carmona wanted the company in order to sign a deal with the state to print peso bills and that as Economy minister Boudou used his influence to have the bankruptcy lifted.

Boudou and Núñez Carmona had several meetings — including one in the studios of the Telefe television network — with in order to arrange lifting the bankruptcy, which had to be accepted by the AFIP tax bureau agency in order to get the company to start printing again.

Lijo ruled that a trial should be held in May of last year and a court has been prepared to begin hearing arguments despite the upcoming judicial recess.


Prosecutors files complaint against ANSES head

Prosecutor Gabriel de Vedia, head of the UFISES social security crime unity, has filed a complaint against ANSES social security head Emilio Basavilbaso and others over the purchase of bonds issued by Pampa Energía, a company with businessmen with links to the Mauricio Macri administration.

In March of this year the Executive Committee of the ANSES Sustainability Guarantee Fund (FGS) unanimously decided to sign on to US$15 million in bonds issued by Pampa Energía. The UFISES then verified that Marcelo Mindlin is president and primary shareholders of Pampa Energía and that he has a business relationship with Joseph Lewis, whose companies also have a stake in the company. Mindlin acquired the SACDE construction company in March 2017 from Angelo Calcaterra, a cousin of Macri’s and Lewis is a friend of the president.

De Vedia wrote in his complaint that the FGS Executive Committee should be investigated for buying the Pampa Energy bonds “and not others that could have been more beneficial to the fund.” The ANSES uses the FGS fund to make investments in order to pay its commitments to pensioners.

“The preliminary investigation showed that due to a decision of the Executive Committee of the FGS bonds issued by Pampa Energía, in an operation that would represent a significant benefit for its shareholders, composed by among other people Marcos Marcelo Mindlin and Pampa Holdings LLC, which in turn has as one of its shareholders a business linked to Joseph Charles Lewis” said De Vedia.

He added that this is not the first time that the Executive Committee may have benefitted the same business and shareholders and operations that may have been irregular. — Herald with Télam

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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia