News / Americas

Argentina's Fernandez Returns from Surgery, Names New Economy Minister

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez poses with her dog at the Olivos Presidential residence in Buenos Aires in this Nov. 18, 2013 handout supplied by the Argentine Presidency.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez poses with her dog at the Olivos Presidential residence in Buenos Aires in this Nov. 18, 2013 handout supplied by the Argentine Presidency.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Argentine President Cristina Fernandez burst back on the scene on Monday after a five-week absence following surgery, naming as economy minister the government's point man in its 2012 seizure of the country's biggest oil company.
 
The promotion of leftist economist Axel Kicillof, who had been deputy economy minister, was announced by government spokesman Alfredo Scoccimarro in a televised address just minutes after Fernandez appeared for the first time since early October.
 
Kicillof, a charismatic and polarizing figure, steered the administration's expropriation of a controlling stake in energy company YPF from its former parent company, Spain's Repsol .
 
The YPF takeover enraged Argentina's trading partners from the European Union, but was welcomed by many Argentines as a defense of national strategic interests.
 
Known for his fiery speeches in defense of Fernandez's  unorthodox economic policies, Kicillof spent most of his career in academia, giving classes and writing about the theories of economists such as John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx.
 
He replaces Hernan Lorenzino, who was named ambassador to the European Union.
 
Fernandez had an operation on Oct. 8 to remove blood that had pooled on the surface of her brain after she fell and bumped her head. She had not made an official public appearance or speech until earlier on Monday evening, leaving a five-week political vacuum in Latin America's third biggest economy.
 
“Thank you ... to the thousands of Argentines who have been praying for me,” a smiling Fernandez said in a televised address. Sitting on a sofa, she appeared healthy. On a table was a vase of red roses she said had been sent by a well-wisher.
 
She briefly held a small white dog she said was sent to her by one of the brothers of Hugo Chavez, the late left-wing leader of Venezuela and a political ally of Fernandez.
 
The president's absence had been conspicuous in a country accustomed to her centralized leadership style and frequent speeches.
 
Her office said her agenda on Monday was confined to meetings with senior officials. She has not been cleared for air travel and is scheduled for another medical checkup on Dec. 9.
 
Appointment 'Won't be Welcomed by Markets'
 
As she enters the final two years of her second term, Fernandez faces possible new protests from farmers who say her policies hurt their profits. High inflation, estimated by private analysts at 25 percent, rising crime, an overvalued currency and dwindling foreign reserves are also concerns.
 
Fernandez's supporters suffered heavy losses in congressional elections on Oct. 27 that ended her chances of securing a change to the constitution that would have enabled her to run for a third term in 2015.
 
“The appointment of Kicillof is not going to be welcomed by the markets,” said Ignacio Labaqui, local analyst for New York-based consultancy Medley Global Advisors.
 
“It confirms that government policy will not be altered by the results of the midterm election,” he said. “It increases the likelihood of a dual exchange-rate scheme, which Kicillof has been advocating, and we can expect that the central bank will continue to be the main source of financing for the Treasury.”
 
Despite his youthful appearance - local media sometimes make as much of his sideburns as of his policymaking -  Kicillof is a traditional leftist who shuns the tenets of 21st century globalism and believes Argentina must find its own way to industrial prominence.
 
Also on Monday, Argentina designated Carlos Fabrega as the country's incoming central bank chief and Carlos Casamiquela as agriculture minister.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support
More

Colombian Novelist Garcia Marquez Dies at 87

Author of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982
More

Salsa Legend Cheo Feliciano Dies in Car Crash

Police say singer was alone in his jaguar when he hit a post before sunrise Thursday
More

NY Times: US Deportation of Illegal Immigrants Declines

Obama has come under increasing pressure from immigration advocates who have accused him of moving too slowly on immigration reform
More

Argentina's Fight with Bondholders Reaches US Supreme Court

The case concerns whether investors can force banks with which Argentina does business to disclose information about the country's non-US assets
More

As Fires Die Down, Chileans Return to Ravaged Valparaiso

Many of victims in the city, part gritty port and part colorful retreat, were poor people in houses perched high on the city's remote hills
More