Monday, July 11, 2016

A tale of two heroes Maradona and Gaza.

2:34 PM John Boyle
It won't be long now. One day soon we will wake up to the news that the wayward footballer Paul Gascoinge has died. His body will have finally given up the ghost and his sad pathetic fight against alcoholism will be over. People will say how sad it was and that there was nothing that could have been done to help him. But is that really true?.
  I have lived the last 12 years in Buenos Aires and in those years another wayward star has almost managed to drink himself to death on two occasions. You may have heard of him Diego Maradona.
On both occasions he was so close to deaths door that the state stepped in. They sectioned him and shipped him to rehab in Cuba under the watchful eye of Fidel Castro.
   Although he fell off the wagon the first time the second time was a success and he has gone on to manage the national team aswell as a string of coaching contacts in the Middle East.
   Is Gazas life so worthless that no one will step up. He was hailed to the heavens when he was scoring wonder goals. And now people and the state and his old drinking buddy's Chris Evans and Danny Baker just look the other way.
This is not just a tale of two wayward footballers but also of two different cultures and how they deal with certain issues. Sadly for Paul he is past his sell by date and of no political value so he faces a sad lonely death.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Argentinas sad past and new beginning.

10:18 AM John Boyle
 In November of 2015 Argentina ended 12 years of Kirchnerism and Peronism with one mighty blow and returned the economy back toward the free market and away from protectionism.
The government of Cristina Kitchener had sailed against the wind for 8 solid years and 12 if you count the four years of her husband Nestor before her. She followed the ideology of Jaun Peron to the letter and financed it with shameless corruption. In order to keep the poor on board she ran the printing presses day and night printing an endless supply of pesos to meet pay demands. The flood of pesos led to rampant inflation and more pay demands which were met with more freshly printed bills.
   Meanwhile any hard currency US Dollars that came into the country were being milked off and dished out in kick backs to all the peronists bigwigs and hangers on.
   But things were about to unravel, slowly at first but in the end a tidal wave of corruption allegations would sweep her from power.
   One of the first major blows to her government came on 22 of Feb 2012 when a commuter train pulled into Once train station with more than 1000 passengers on board. It's entire breaking system failed and the train plowed into the buffers leaving 51 dead and more than 700 injured. 
  The public were outraged and the transport minister Ricardo Jaime was thrown to the wolves. 
It was quickly discovered that despite coming from a humble beginning that he had acquired his own private jet and Yacht  and that his wife and daughters had inexplicable amounts of money in their bank accounts. The health and safety funds of the rail network had been embezzled.
  The government liked to stall all investigations by handing them to their own in house judge (Oyabide) and he would do just that "Investigate " all told he investigated cases endlessly, so endlessly that none ever reached a court room. When the new government took office he quickly resigned and ran off with his ill gotten gains.
   Now Nestor Kirchner hailed from the province of Santa Cruz 0.4 % of Argentinas population live in this province but 12% of government building contracts were issued from here. 
   And mostly to Nestor Kirchners friend former bank clerk Lazaro Baez. The Kirchners used Baez as a means to embezzle untold millions out of the country into tax havens. To give an idea of how much may have been involved Baez has now been found to own more than 140 homes many of these are large estancias. And he is not the top of the food chain,those above him took far more.
  But it is the latest revelations that have really called time on the Kirchner ideology and even has it most ardent supporters screaming for blood.
  One of the heads of planning for the full 12 years of the Kirchner government Jose Lopez was in the small hours of the 14th of June 2016 caught trying to hide almost 9 Million dollars and a machine gun in the grounds of a monastery in the province of Buenos Aires. His paranoia had got the better of him and he become convinced the police were going to raid his house so chose to try and bury his illicit gains some where safe. Unfortunately for him a neighbor alerted the police to a man throwing sacks of money into the grounds of the convent at 3am. And the rest is pure soap opera.
   Meanwhile the new president Mauricio Macri has taken over and is desperately trying to calm the inflation and balance Argentinas books. Argentina has a huge amount of its economy under the table so to speak. So raising taxes would only hit those who are already paying taxes. So he has gone for a catch all approach and has hit water electricity and gas as well as petrol and cigarettes.
  The result has been a sharp contraction in spending from everybody on everything. The Macri honey moon is clearly over and the people are wondering if the medicine will cure or kill the patient. Argentines are not accustomed to thinking long term. But the first green shoots are beginning to appear as the long dead housing market is beginning to recover. Macri plans to be able to issue a million mortgages in his four year term. This in itself will transform Argentina.
He has also removed the hated U$D160 dollar visa fee the US citizens had to pay to enter Argentina.
And cruise ship passengers will now pay the Argentine port entry fee of U$S14 only at one port and not each port of call.
  Further good news for next year comes in the form of budget airline Ryanair buying Andes air to create Argentinas first budget airline. Prices for flying here internally have always been an outrage.
   It is also estimated that as much as 400 Billion dollars of Argentina money has been filtered out to safe havens or is in Banco de La Mattress as Argentines say. Macri plans an amnesty to allow this money to return and with interest rates in the US and Europe at record lows he may be very successful. Argentina has everything but the confidence of its own people and Macri will have his work cut out to change that way of thinking. But the alternative is the return of the corruption and the peronists. There is a saying here that rings very true.
That the peronists love the poor so much that they keep creating more of them.
And that in a nut shell is why Macri must succeed.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The British Invasion of Buenos Aires 1806 - 1807 and Argentinas claimto the Malvinas / Falkland Islands.

4:11 PM John Boyle
One of the forgotten wars of Britains past came in 1806 when they stormed Buenos Aires and initially took the city. The spanish had not wanted to arm and train the locals as they feared them as much as any potential invaders. After the initial success the British redcoats found themselves surrounded in the city and had to fight their way back out suffering huge losses on the way. But they did not go far, they crossed the river-plate (Rio de la Plata) and dropped anchor outside Montevideo. There they waited for reinforcements and laid siege to the city and stormed it. The then moved along the northern shore of the river-plate before once more crossing it (26 miles 42km) and laying siege to Buenos Aires once more.  But this time the portenoes (people of the port) had had a year to prepare. And were wise enough to know you don't fight the redcoats in the open field. They had prepared a defensive ring around the Plaza Mayor (now the plaza de Mayo) and along what is now know as defensa street.
The redcoats divided themselves into many groups of between 250 and 600 men depending on the objective at hand. They then launched many simultaneous attacks hoping to overwhelm the defenders, but found themselves charging head long at cannons packed with grapeshot (shrapnel). Many of the attacks floundered immediately and very quickly the redcoats had lost 2500 men either dead wounded or taken prisoner. By this stage the portenoes were firing down on them from every roof top from in front and behind them. the redcoats were trapped again. They finally had to plead for terms of surrender which were delivered to them written on the hide of a donkey. They finally had to leave Buenos Aires once more on condition that they sailed straight back to England. 
  In Buenos Aires jubilation turned to rebellion and 3 years later it would be the turn of the Spanish to flee. The Spanish fled in 1810 and the nation of Argentina was born. Part of the land signed over to the new Republic was the Malvinas Islands which the British know as the Falklands. Britain knew now that seizing Buenos Aires was out of the question but with naval superiority they knew they could size and hold the islands. And 23 years later in 1833 that's exactly what they did. But by this time the islands had and Argentine governor and a population, it was part of the sovereign territory of Argentina.
And that is why the Argentines feel very strongly that Las Malvinas Son Argentinas.
The photos below show the shrapnel damage to the church tower in defensa street 400 in the centre of Buenos Aires and inside the church are the battle standards of the British redcoats.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Buenos Aires Tourism (One stop everything)

10:15 AM John Boyle
 If you are planning to visit Buenos Aires you will probably be researching online to try and make all your plans come together in the most seamless manner.
  Well that's where we can help. Over the last few years we have expanded and added to our business not what is best for us but what is best for you the tourist.
   On our website we have more than 260 fully furnished apartments for rent. All in the best locations of Buenos Aires and all available for short and long term rentals.
   We can collect you from the airport with our company and personally make your check in. All of our drivers are English speakers.
   We also offer city tours and delta trips and days out at Estancias (ranches)
   And if you are planning to travel around Argentina but do not wish to take all your luggage with you we also offer luggage storage via .
Our aim is to help you get the most out of your visit to our wonderful country.

  • MY SPACE BA: Clara and John Boyle
  • Phone: (54-11) 4793-3496
  • Cel: (54-9-11) 3261-8904
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