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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

US Cuba Talks Open

Friday's session focuses solely on opening embassies in Washington and Havana as quickly as possible
More

Mexico Arrests Drug Lord 'La Tuta'

Mexican federal police captured Knights Templar drug cartel leader Servando 'La Tuta' Gomez, one of the country's most wanted fugitives
More

Embassy Reopenings Top Americans' List in Cuba Talks

Cuba has said it will be linking embassy issue to whether US drops it from State Department's list of sponsors of terrorism
More

Argentina Passes Bill to Revamp Spy Agency After Prosecutor's Death

President Cristina Fernandez says new state security body will be more accountable but government opponents say legislation does little more than change name of spy agency
More

US, Cuba Set for 2nd Round of Talks on Diplomatic Ties

Negotiations in Washington, which follow initial meeting in Havana in January, to include discussion on reopening embassies
More

Obama Defends Immigration Plan

During Town Hall at Spanish language station Telemundo in Miami, US president insists he was within his rights to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation
More