Entries in Argentina (14)


President of Uruguay Criticized Following Open Mic Gaffe

Dorling Kindersley RF(MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay) -- President José Mujica of Uruguay is in hot water after he was overheard on an open mic making disparaging remarks about Arentinian President Cristina de Kircher.

Mujica called de Kirchner an old hag, and described her late husband, who she succeeded, as a cross eyed man.

Argentina has made a formal protest, though Mujica has failed to issue an apology and denies that he was talking about the Kirchners. He has not, however, offered an explanation as to who he was referring to if that is the case.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New Pope Faces Old Accusations in Argentina's Dirty War

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(BUENOS AIRES) -- Human rights activists say Pope Francis, formerly Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, may have turned a blind eye to some atrocities, then later denied knowing about those atrocities despite his own testimony to the contrary and that ultimately as head of the Catholic church in Argentina, he did little to open the church's archives to reveal the truth about its complicity.

The testimony of Argentine war criminals in tribunals showed that Catholic priests and chaplains played a central role in the torture and murder of dissidents by blessing torture chambers and absolving troops of their sins after they had thrown dozens of bound and drugged dissidents from a plane into the Rio de la Plata.

There were also allegations that Father Bergoglio knew where two of his Jesuit priests were held and tortured for five months by the junta, but did little to help them.

On Friday, Rev. Federico Lombardi rejected all those charges, saying instead that "there have been many declarations of how much he did for many people to protect them from the military dictatorship."

Pope Francis has never been implicated directly in any actions, but many in Argentina who support him, including 1980 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Adolfo Perez Esquivel, said that "he was not complicit in the dictatorship but he lacked courage to accompany us in our struggle."

The controversy has dogged Pope Francis throughout his entire career. As late as 2010, in a case brought against the church, he was grilled by attorney Myriam Bregman about what he knew about the eradication of almost the entire the de la Cuarda family.

Another human-rights attorney, Luis Zamora, questioned then Cardinal Bergoglio about the existence of church records that among aspects could potentially help reunite missing children with their actual families.

"Zamoro; Does any archive exist in the CEA (Episcopal Conference of Argentina) Bergoglio: I suppose yes, but I don't know Zamoro: is that archive under your jurisdiction Bergoglio: The Central Archive of the CEA is under the jurisdiction of the CEA Zamoro: And who presides over the CEA? Bergoglio: I do"

Bergoglio said he would possibly look into the records, but the Catholic Church has yet to hand over any documents about their role in the Dirty War.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Hispanics Celebrate Argentinean Pope Francis

ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP/Getty Images(VATICAN CITY) -- For Hispanics packed into St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, there was one word to describe the feeling of seeing one of their own appear on the balcony as the next leader of the Catholic Church.

“‘Orgullo‘ -- Proud,” Santiago Gonzalez Cutre of Argentina told ABC News.

As Pope Francis addressed the faithful in his native tongue, there were cheers and tears of disbelief.

Francis, 76, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first Latin American to lead the Catholic Church.  He is also the first Jesuit to become pope.

According to Pew, the largest share of the world’s Catholics -- 39 percent -- is located in Latin America and the Caribbean.  In Argentina, 90 percent of all Christians are Catholic.  The country has the 11th largest population of Catholics in the world.

Some said on Wednesday that Francis’ selection signaled a powerful change and the promise for a new future.

“I think he has a good base -- especially Latin America has a large Catholic community down there so I think he will be impressive,” said Tom Jackson, a San Diego resident studying abroad in Rome.

Victor Nunez de la Rosa, who was in Rome on vacation, said he’d never dreamed a fellow countryman would become pontiff.

“I still don’t believe it,” he said to ABC News.

“It is a celebration,” said John Kukula of Dallas.  “It is just phenomenal.  Seeing something like this and the crowds and the sheer joy of people of all nations, literally, the Catholic Church is alive and well.  I think it is one of the best things that can be happening at this time -- almost a new beginning. … That feelings of hope and a page turning.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Billionaire Holds Argentinean Navy Ship Hostage

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- So you’re a super-rich American investor and a large South American country owes you $1.6 billion, which it refuses to pay in full.

You can take a partial settlement that others have taken – which reportedly would get you just 30 cents on the dollar – or you could do something a little more drastic and, say, seize a high-profile naval vessel belonging to the offending country. What do you do?

Such was the real-world problem facing billionaire Paul Singer before he decided on option B, and his company convinced a small African nation to seize Argentina’s Libertad frigate.

As reported by, the ship’s seizure is the latest salvo in a standoff between Singer, a hedge fund kingpin and one of the largest GOP donors this election season, and the government of Argentina. The two have been locked in a global dispute over the reported $1.6 billion debt claim that resulted from the country’s nearly $100 billion default a decade ago.

Caught in the middle this time is the historic frigate ARA Libertad and the West African nation of Ghana. The stately, three-mast ship was seized three weeks ago after it docked in Ghana, where a local court ruled the ship could be held on behalf of NML Capital, a subsidiary of Singer’s investment group, Elliot Management Corp. More than 300 Navy sailors stayed with the ship until the Argentinean government ordered them to abandon it earlier this week. They returned home Thursday.

Top Argentinean officials have reportedly accused the Ghanaian government of violating rules of diplomatic immunity and likened NML Capital’s actions to a “vulture fund” involved in international extortion.

In a Braveheart-worthy declaration earlier this week, Argentinean President Cristina Kircher said on national television, “They may keep our frigate, but not our freedom.”

Argentina’s Foreign Minister, Hector Timerman, said Thursday he was confident the nation would get its ship back without negotiating with NML Capital, noting that such seizures had happened before – an astounding 28 times.

On Friday the Buenos Aires Herald listed several notable seizures including the grounds of the Argentinean ambassador’s residence in the U.S. in 2004 and the president’s private jet in 2007. Each were eventually returned. The frigate is estimated to be worth just one percent of the outstanding debt, Bloomberg reported.

As ABC News previously reported, Singer has made a name for himself in the high-dollar game of political donations. He has donated millions to Republican candidates in the last two election cycles but his most important role may be as a “bundler” for Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He helped Romney raise $5 million with a single Manhattan fundraiser in May.

Bloomberg reported the Libertad’s sailors were flown out of Ghana on a French commercial jet. Apparently the Argentinean government was afraid that if any Argentinean assets were sent to retrieve them, they too would be seized.

A call for comment on this report from Elliot Management Corp were not immediately returned. Representatives for NML Capital, which is listed on its website as being based in Cyprus, also did not immediately return after hours requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Six Argentine Police Officers Arrested in Connection with Torture Video  

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SALTA, Argentina) -- Six police officers in Argentina have found themselves on the other side of the law as they were arrested, as part of an investigation into a video which recently surfaced, and appears to show two suspects being tortured by a group of police officers.
The video shows the suspects stripped down to their underwear, hands tied and being interrogated by the officers. At one point an interrogator is seen placing a plastic bag over the head of one of the suspects and tying it around the man's neck. The video also shows water being poured on a suspect during the ordeal.
The six officers arrested are reportedly members of a drug investigation unit in the city of Salta, the BBC reports, and their arrests come after a "quick investigation," says security minister Eduardo Sylvester.
The security minister is quoted in the BBC report saying, "they are not policemen, they are criminals."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Argentina: Grieving Parents Find Baby Alive in Morgue

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Five doctors at Perrando Hospital in northern Argentina have been suspended for declaring a baby stillborn, nailing her inside a coffin and placing her in a refrigerated room at the hospital morgue for 12 hours, Argentine media reported.

The child, who was named Luz Milagros, or "Light Miracle," was found inside a coffin at the hospital in Chacho, a half day after her April 3 birth.

"We were told that the baby had hypothermia and that this may have weakened her heartbeat, which would have been accentuated because [her] heart rate was already low before birth," the baby's father, Fabian Veron, 31, told local newspaper Clarín.

The baby's mother, Analia Bouter, 29, who has four boys, said she never had a chance to say goodbye to her first daughter, since she'd been sedated during the birth, which came three months premature.

The grieving mother and father visited the hospital morgue 12 hours later. The couple was led into a refrigerated room and shown a tiny coffin that was nailed shut.

"[My husband] used a lever and opened the coffin," Bouter told the local newspaper, Diario, in Chaco.

The mother, expecting to find closure, instead came face-to-face with her daughter, who was wrapped in a white blanket and looked as though she was just waking up, said the mother. The baby stretched and let out a cry.

The mother of five said she fell to her knees.

"This is a message ... a miracle," she told Diario.

Rafael Sabatinelli, the undersecretary of health for Argentina's Chaco province, told the news site Chaco Día Por Día that his office had opened an investigation into the matter.

"Every member of the team that was involved has some responsibility, so they will have to answer for this," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rare Glacier Collapse Enthralls Argentina

Archival photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SANTA CRUZ, Argentina) -- A glacier collapse in Argentina Sunday wowed tourists lucky enough to be on hand to witness the rare sight.

Large chunks of the Perito Moreno glacier in the country's National Park Los Glaciares began sliding off nearly seven days ago.  As the breaks began to occur, tourists gathered on large platforms to witness the phenomenon.

Those who stayed amid the dark clouds and storm were rewarded with seeing a spectacle of nature that first occurred in 1917 and has only happened two times since.  The last time such a collapse occurred was nearly four years ago, in July 2008.

The Perito Moreno glacier is located near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, in the southern end of Argentina.

The glacier, which covers 97 square miles, flows nearly two miles per day into a lake known as Lago Argentino.  As it flows, the glacier cuts off the lake's feeder river and creates an ice dam.

Water pressure then builds behind the dam and eventually breaks the ice wall, as it did Sunday.

The fracture of the glacier might last two or three full days, according to travel experts.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Argentina Train Crash Leaves Dozens Dead, Hundreds Injured

JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images(BUENOS AIRES, Argentina) -- At least 49 people were killed and another 600 injured when a packed commuter train crashed into a retaining wall at the terminal in Argentina’s capital city at the height of rush hour Wednesday morning.

The crash at the Once train station in Buenos Aires happened around 8:30 a.m. local time when the train, carrying approximately 1,200 passengers, reportedly had braking problems and crashed into a barrier. The train is said to have been traveling from anywhere between 12 to 20 miles per hour at the time of the accident.

"There are people still trapped, people alive," Argentina’s transportation secretary J.P. Schiavi told reporters Wednesday, according to the BBC.

The first two cars -- and the passengers in them -- took the brunt of the crash. Traditionally, commuters pack the first few cars and move up as the train approaches its final stop, so as to get a head start in exiting the approaching station.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Argentina’s President: No Cancer After All

Ximena Barrettino/LatinContent/Getty Images(BUENOS AIRES, Argentina) -- After doctors removed her thyroid gland due to an initial cancer diagnosis, test results revealed Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, didn’t have cancer after all.

Her spokesman, Alfredo Scoccimarro, said she doesn’t need to take any radioactive iodine, something commonly prescribed after thyroidectomy to kill any residual cancer cells.  She will, however, have to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of her life.  Iodine is used in patients with papillary thyroid cancer and follicular thyroid cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Endocrinologists not involved in the president’s treatment told ABC News her situation is more the exception than the rule.

“These are called false positive cases, and they do happen, but they are the minority of cases,” said Dr. Antonio C. Bianco, professor and chief of the division of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

What generally happens, he said, is during a routine physical examination, a doctor or other health-care provider will examine a person’s neck and check for lumps, also known as nodules.

“If there is a nodule, the person will then go for an ultrasound to determine how big it is,” Bianco said.  “If it’s more than 1.5 cm. long, then it will be biopsied.”

The biopsy involves inserting a small needle and removing cells from the lump.  A pathologist will then examine the cells and determine whether there is cancer present.

Depending on the type of thyroid cancer, radioactive iodine may also be necessary.  Once the gland is removed and iodine treatment is complete, the cancer typically is gone.

But removing the entire thyroid requires a person to be on thyroid replacement hormones for life, since those hormones are essential for maintaining the body’s metabolism.

“If you take the hormone tablet, most people will live just fine -- about 85 percent of people do well,” Bianco said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Chilean Volcano Heaps Ash, Anxiety on Argentine Industries

CLARA PRIMA/AFP/Getty Images(NEUQUÉN, Argentina) -- Thick, gray dust is covering entire towns in Argentina as Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano continues to erupt, spewing ash that has disrupted more than airline flights.

Argentina's Agriculture Ministry has declared a state of emergency in three provinces after authorities discovered that the embers have disrupted tourism and endangered livestock.

An entire foot of ash has accumulated in one town called Villa La Angostura, located 24 miles from the volcano, which has reportedly caused major problems for Argentine farmers whose herds are now roaming in pastures covered with soot. Officials estimate that more than half of Patagonia's 2 million sheep have been affected by the ash.

The toxic ash has also made it difficult to drive on local roads, and Lake Nahuel Huapi, the country's largest lake, has become a sea of embers. Adding to the economic concern, the eruption started just as many mountain towns were preparing for ski season.

"Today, we can't anticipate the season's final results, but we can say that this has ruined the start of the winter season in the coming days," Mayor Roberto Alonso of Villa La Angostura said.

The residents in the town have been continuously working to clean up the ash but found it impossible to keep up with the volcano.

"The problem is the volcano keeps sending up ashes," business owner Alejandro Curiluck said. "In 15 days, we should be operating."

Authorities say the ash cloud from the erupting volcano has once again reached Chilean soil after completely circling the globe.

Many regional airports have been shut down for more than a week because of concerns about the ash, but Buenos Aires' main airports reopened Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio