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.
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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Canadian Couple Accused of Spying in China Held in Near Isolation

Treatment of the couple, who are being held without charge at a remote facility in the border city of Dandong, has seriously strained China's ties with Canada
More

Mexico Governor Resigns After Student Disappearances

Students from a rural teachers training college went missing after a confrontation with police in the town of Iguala on September 26
More

World's Highest Ice Age Settlements Discovered

The settlements, 4.5 km above sea level in the southern Peruvian Andes, were inhabited at least 12,000 years ago
More

Haiti Cholera Victims Seek Damages from UN in US Court

Plaintiffs blame a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers for bringing disease to their nation after 2010 earthquake
More

Video Canada Capital Tense as Parliament Reopens

PM Harper says Wednesday's shooting, along with another incident this week that led to a soldier's death, are grim reminders that Canada is not immune to terrorism
More

Video US Political Parties Face Challenge Motivating Hispanics

As November 4 midterm elections loom, Latino activists, who are mostly Democrats, say they are disappointed and angry with president over immigration reform
More