Archive for the ‘Argentina’ Category

In Argentina, judges believe crimes deserve lower sentences if victim has been abused before

May 20, 2015

Judges are privileged and protected in all societies. Of course each has his own foibles and is subject to pressure. In many countries they are subject to political agendas and their decisions can be seen to have political dimensions. Often they are just part of a corrupt system where “justice” is for sale. Their ivory towers are meant to help isolate them from undue influence so that they can dispense justice objectively and evenly. But lately, whether in India or in the US or in the EU or in Egypt I perceive a reduction of “common sense”. Maybe it is the privileges and protection itself which warps their minds?

In this case – from Argentina – it is the judges – not in this case the law – who appear to be asses.


Two Argentine judges are facing calls for their impeachment after reducing the sentence of a paedophile on the grounds that his six-year-old victim had been abused before. The ruling was made last year but only came to light this week.

Mario Tolosa, a sports club official, was originally given a six-year sentence, but the judges halved it.

Among the arguments they used to justify this was a claim that the boy showed signs of transvestite conduct. The Interior Minister, Florencio Randazzo, said the ruling was “an embarrassment”. He said: “It’s repugnant to say that the presumed sexual orientation of an abused six-year-old boy is a reason to reduce the sentence of the abuser.”

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s cabinet chief, Anibal Fernandez said the two judges, Horacio Piombo and Benjamin Sal Llargues should be “hauled before an impeachment hearing”. he said the country was “in the hands of morons” and that it was “one of the biggest disgraces we’ve ever seen in this country.”

Tolosa had been vice-president of a neighbourhood football club in Buenos Aires. He was convicted of abusing the boy in the club’s bathrooms in 2011. ………

The Argentinian judges have been defending their decision and claim they are being politically attacked. Maybe so, but they are certainly lacking in common sense.  Just as with some EU judges who put greater weight to protecting the “right to family life” of criminals than in prosecuting their actions. Or Indian judges who are blinded by the aura surrounding Bollywood stars.

I note in passing that the “sanctity of the law” is an entirely false concept. The law is just a tool which is shaped to suit the dispensing society. The laws of man (or god) are only as “good” as those men who formulated them. Whenever the “sanctity of the law” is invoked, I suspect the supposed “principle” is being used to defend a lack of common sense. If there is any sanctity associated with a law, it lies in the law’s own ability to ensure compliance. The law of gravity, I note, needs no police force or judges or priests to ensure compliance.

Argentina joins the shale gas bandwagon

April 8, 2013

The shale gas bandwagon is now truly rolling and countries all across the globe are scrambling to catch up. The wide-spread reserves mean that, more than any other energy source, shale gas has the potential of making concerns about energy security and reliance on foreign sources a thing of the past. South America also has its share of gas bearing shale. Argentina and Brazil have substantial shale deposits which the EIA estimates could give 774 and 226 trillion cubic feet of gas respectively. Even Chile and Bolivia have substantial deposits. The Argentinian deposits are only smaller than those in the US and China.

Shale Gas deposits South America SOURCE: USGS

Shale Gas deposits South America SOURCE: USGS

In April last year Argentina nationalised the YPF unit of Spanish Grupo Repsol which in turn had been acquired by Repsol on privatisation of YPF in 1999. There is a dispute ongoing between Repsol and the Argentinian government regarding the compensation for the nationalisation. One of the reasons for the nationalisation was a perceived reluctance from Repsol to invest in Argentina. While Repsol acquired YPF in 1999 for $15 billion, the nationalised assets of YPF are now valued at only around $9 billion.

OilPrice: Argentina shale gas reserves exceed its 13.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf) conventional proven gas reserves. The largest shale play is the Neuquen basin with more than 250 TCF. YPF discovered 4.5 TCF of shale gas in the Loma de la Lata Field of Neuquen in December 2010. Gas transportation and field services infrastructure are already in place making it attractive for further development. There are also additional Argentine shale deposit reserves in Chubut and Santa Cruz provinces near the Golfo San Jorge in the Atlantic southeast part of the country.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says Argentina’s technically recoverable shale gas reserves are the third largest in the world after the United States and China at 774 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) with more than half of that in the Neuquén Basin on the western side of the country. ….

To exploit its shale potential Argentina needs the active participation and assistance from large international oil field services companies and deep pocket investors. … Argentina’s shale resource potential is large enough to attract the biggest companies. But in the rapidly changing world of global shale development there are many places where investors can participate in the growth of shales without the risk Argentina presents. 

In any event Argentina is looking to make YPF a flagship for the country in the Oil & Gas space (with Petrobras across the border as an example to follow). And YPF will need both fracking technology and investment if they are to make something of their vast gas shale reserves in the Neuquén basin. There are a number of potential suitors from the US and even from China who may be prepared to take on the perceived country risks of Argentina, but Dow Chemical seems to be the first:

Chemical & Engineering NewsWith eyes on what could be the first shale gas project in Argentina, Dow Chemical has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Argentinian oil company YPF to develop a gas-rich area of the country.

The memorandum envisages YPF ceding Dow a 50% stake in a shale formation in Neuquén province. Dow and YPF also would explore expanding petrochemical capacity in the country on the basis of additional raw material supply. The firms are still negotiating the terms of the deal.

In the U.S., abundant shale-based feedstocks are leading to a renaissance in the petrochemical industry. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and consulting firm Advanced Resources International, Argentina has 774 trillion cu ft of recoverable shale gas reserves, the third-largest amount after the U.S. and China. But energy companies are so far only drilling exploratory wells in Argentina.

Dow already operates an ethylene cracker and polyethylene plants in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. In 2001, the company completed $720 million in expansion projects at the site.

And Dow is involved in chemical feedstocks in the country. In Bahia Blanca, it has a 28% interest in Compañía Mega, a natural gas liquids fractionation joint venture with YPF and Brazil’s Petrobras. The venture takes in natural gas liquids from Neuquén and supplies the ethane to Dow to feed its ethylene cracker.

The U.S. firm has been keen to expand its polyethylene business in the region but has been stymied by feedstock supply. Dow recently delayed a plant in Brazil that would get its ethylene from sugarcane-derived ethanol.

Surprise! 99.8% of Britishers on the Falklands wish to stay British!!

March 12, 2013

While there seems to be very little merit in the Argentine claim to the Falkland Islands (they didn’t discover the islands, they didn’t settle there permanently and they haven’t invested there), the results of the vote by the Falklanders showing that 99.8% wish to remain British is little more than an exercise in packaging.

The numbers for the referendum are interesting:

  • Population – 2841
  • Registered voters – 1649
  • Turnout 92%
  • Votes counted 1517 (excluding 1 spoiled vote)
  • Votes for 1514 (99.8%)
  • Votes against 3

But this reminds me of a Sales Manager I once worked for who managed to convince his new bosses during his annual performance review that he was due a massive bonus because he had achieved a “100% market share of his market”.  He taught me a great deal about what “selling” was all about!

But there is no denying that 99.8% of Britsishers on the Falklands wish to stay British.

I don’t suppose it would be very difficult to identify the 3 people who voted against.

(Alex Salmond should learn his lesson for the referendum on Scottish independence due in the autumn of 2014. As of now only some 20% of the expected electorate are likely to support him in breaking away from the UK and having to reapply to the EU for membership. If he can just make sure that non-permanent residents (say people with less than 3 or 5 generations born in Scotland) and those who have the majority of their assets outside Scotland don’t get to vote, he could  get a much larger market share of his market. He does not stand much chance unless he manages  – more by crook than by hook – to restrict the vote to just his supporters and even if he does – he still won’t win.)

Of course the real interest in “owning” the Falklands – for Argentina and for Britain – is the proximity to Antarctica, the basis it provides for territorial claims and the access it ensures. Territorial claims in  Antarctica have been frozen since 1961 till when 7 nations had registered claims. Currently the entire Argentinian claim falls within the British Antarctic Territory and it must be terribly frustrating for Argentina to find the UK leveraging its ownership of the Falklands all the way to the South Pole.

Antarctic territorial claims(graphic -

Antarctic territorial claims
(graphic –

falklands and antarctica (BBC)

falklands and antarctica (BBC)

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