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Friday, October 18, 2013

Buenos Aires Bird Poop Scam

4:32 PM Unknown

       I have heard of this happening 3 times recently. Once on Arenales street once in front of the Shereton Retiro and most recently beside the plaza de Mayo.
The scam begins with the victim being squirted with very smelly liquid which is squirted up in the air and comes down on them as though it were bird droppings.
     Immediately two well dressed men about 50 appear (sometimes they have a woman with them) They have tissues and a bottle of water and set about cleaning the poop off you. They are friendly and keep looking up and saying pajaros (birds) as though to explain the origin of the poop. But their main objective is your wallet or phone. With in seconds a taxi pulls up they get in and are gone. 
    They know that the penny will drop very quickly that something is not right and that you will realise you are being robbed that is why they have the taxi getaway as part of the scam.
    If this happens to you shout scream make as much noise as possible, they don't want to be violent they just want to robbed you and be gone. Get the number plate of that cab. And CALL THE POLICE.
The tourist police of Buenos Aires are located on Corrientes 436

Tel 43465748 or 08009995000

They have more than 30 officers that speak English French Italian and even Japanese.

Tourism has become a huge source of income for Argentina and these police officers are there to protect and look after the tourists.
The bottom line is if you don’t call them they can’t help you.

 Kind Regards
John Boyle

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Argentine football for tourists (not anymore)

1:57 PM Unknown
     As a football fan and a club member of C.A. Tigre the AFA plus card is a great idea in theory.
    The idea behind it is to register all football fans and make it easier to keep out the Hooligans (Bara Brava's).  But to actually get one of these cards is proving to be very difficult. You need to attend your club on a Saturday morning and join a cue that stretches for many blocks. Once you reach the front of this line they give you an appointment to come back and do it all again on another day. But if you did not join the line early enough you are screwed because they only hand out so many appointments every Saturday. All of these appointments are for weekdays when you are very likely to be working, or don't wish to spend the early evening in a cue outside a football stadium when you should be home with your family.
   All of this is to gain the prize of an AFA plus card which contains all the latest hi tec bio metric info and is approved by the FBI and in use by many top European clubs including Real Madrid. Well if its so bloody hi Tec why can't a person ask for their appointment over the internet.
   Today I went to Tigre's ground and was told no more turns would be given out until Saturday. When I pointed out that half the people in the office were actually sitting there doing nothing the girl said I really don't know what to say to you and suggested I try and get a card from AFA at Ezieza.  Ezieza is 43km(26 miles) from my home. Is this really what football fans have to go through to see a match?.

   I am a foreign person living in Buenos Aires and when I first moved here almost 10 years ago I did as many tourists do and signed up to go to a match with a tour company. I went to the superclassico of Boca at home to River.
But under these new rules that will either be impossible unless the clubs have no intention of enforcing the use of these cards. One or the other it can't be both.
   Will Boca and River have separate doors for foreign tourists?. Will Tigre just not allow them in?. I have brought scores of foreign fans to Tigre matches over the last few years and yet I find myself not even renewing my club membership at the moment because I am unprepared to jump through idiot hoops to get one of these dam cards.
    Millions of tourists visit Buenos Aires every year and 10's of thousand's of them do or would love to attend matches. That door now appears to be closed to them.
Basically if every day fans are having trouble getting these cards what chance does a tourist have.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Argentina's Debt Crisis The End Game (Maybe)

9:25 AM Unknown

    Argentinas debt crisis continues to roll through the courts in New York, but in order to explain where we are today one needs to go back in time and explain the various stages of the economic meltdown and bounce back of the Argentine economy.

December 21 2001
   Argentina defaults on 100 Billion U$S Dollars of debt and the economy which is at that time pegged to the U$S Dollar at a rate of 1 U$S Dollar = 1 Arg Peso collaspes.
The currency peg breaks and all Argentines with saving in the banks see their savings decimated losing roughly 70% in one day as the peso goes into free fall.
   Food kitchens spring up accross the country and millions lose their jobs. Argentina become a pariah nation and is excluded from borrowing on the international markets.
   The economy is left bobbing along almost dead in the water, but for a small silver lining, Argentina has just gone from being one of the worlds most expensive citys to one of its cheapest.
    By 2005 Argentina had recovered to a point where it was able to offer payments to the bond holders although with heavy discounts. The offer amounted to about 29cents on the Dollar plus interest and was accepted by the majority of bondholders.
   The key to note here is that those who were against the debt restructure were not forced to accept the haircut as in Greece Spain Cyprus and other countries where debts have been restructured. In Argentinas case the holdouts have continued fighting in the New York Courts seeking to receive 100 cents on the dollar. Another point to note is that almost all of the holdouts are Vulture funds who purchased the bonds at only cents on the Dollar at the time of the Argentine melt down.
  The battle has raged on it the courts and in 2010 Argentina reopened the offer to the holdouts. With this they managed to reduce to holdouts to only 7% of the bondholders.
  But the tail is still wagging the dog and the vulture funds have been trying to seize Argentine assets around the world ,most notably the frigate Libertad which was held in Ghana for several months last year.
    So the stage is now set for New York.
Argentina has once more opened the offer so that the vulture funds can climb aboard.
It is widely expected they will reject this.
    So what are the options for the courts and what could be the responses.
1) The courts could order Argentina to pay the bondholders in full. Approx U$S1.3 billion.
But if Argentina were to accept this then the 93% of bondholders that have accepted the haircut could then claim they also want the full amount.
The result would be almost instant default and nobody would be paid.
2) Argentina could ignore the New York courts and continue paying the 93% of the bondholders by using European or Asian clearing banks.
This would cause a technical default. IE Some would claim Argentina is in default and Argentina would say " No we are NOT".
3) The courts could come down in favour of Argentina and say that 7% cannot demand to be treated differently to the 93% who accepted the haircut. After all in Greece Ireland Cyprus Portugal Spain ect the haircut was enforced on everybody in order to save the countries from bankruptcy.  Imagine if 7%  or even just one bond holder were allowed to stop the bail outs in there tracks.
    It would mean that no country could ever default again and no debt could ever be restructured.
  The very factors that led to world war two would now be enshrined in international law.
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