BBC News – Argentina restricts online shopping as foreign reserves drop

35% tax on foreign credit card purchases and 50% tariff on any foreign purchase over $25. The real kick in the nards? Los Argentinos get to stand in line at a customs office for the privilege of paying these taxes. Curious to see how this plays out. Local businesses may benefit but black market will likely grow to fill void of foreign products.

BBC News – Argentina restricts online shopping as foreign reserves drop.

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Argentina @ the Vanguard of Gender Rights

Sweeping Transgender Bill of Rights Approved in Argentina

As a younger dude, Argentina’s transgender community stood out to me because they would frequent the same clubs as the straight and gay …and not stand out. They might have tended to be a tad taller and a few years older than the coked up kids bouncing around the dance floor but there was no real substantive balkanization along gender lines. Buenos Aires nightlife was more or less democratized and the porteños -who can be so damn neurotic in so many other walks of life- seemed to form a kind of socially libertarian zeitgeist when it came to gender politics. That street level sense of equality has now percolated through the Argentine political apparatus and landed in the Casa Rosada. The pending legislation doesn’t just grant marriage rights to transgender citizens, it’s a comprehensive bill that includes medical coverage for procedures ranging from plastic surgery to hormone therapy. Images of the drug trade, cacerolazos, and Kristina’s [Pyrrhic] victory over Repsol make it easy to forget that economics aren’t the only benchmarks for progress and begs the question as to who’s really stuck in the third world. Right about now, shit’s looking pretty medieval on this side of the frontera.

Los Narco Boludos: Argentina Breaks Bad

A recent article in Foreign Policy outlines the rapid proliferation of drug trafficking in Argentina – a problem compounded by the geography of exposed borders, a strong European market, a strong domestic market, and the displacement of northern cartels from the continuation of militarized crackdowns in Mexico and Colombia. And as HELA discussed last month, the continued insistence of the US to stick to a painfully outdated and counterproductive drug policy that refuses to consider legalization has created breakdowns in cross-border cooperation between Argentine and US enforcement agencies.

Some highlights:

The new chorizo.

#1 in Customer Service: 95% of shipments reach their destination.

Busts over the past two years suggest that Spain is an especially popular entry point for drugs dispatched from Argentina. In April 2010, Spanish officials seized 800 kilograms of cocaine from a truck disguised as an official support vehicle for the Dakar Rally off-road race, later affirming that the drugs were loaded in Argentina. Last January, an executive jet piloted by two sons of Argentine dictatorship-era air force generals arrived in Barcelona from Argentina laden with 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, with the ties to the military piquing concern about institutional corruption. These busts suggest a clear transit route between the two countries and raise questions as to how such a high volume of drugs are exiting Argentina undetected. According to an official report compiled by Martin Verrier, a security advisor for Argentine congressman Francisco de Narvaez, 95 percent of the cocaine shipped from Argentina safely arrives at its destination. “In Argentina, the situation is such that narcotraffickers enter and exit without inconvenience,” laments Claudio Izaguirre, president of the Argentine Anti-Drugs Association, a Buenos Aires-based NGO.

Our prices can’t be beat! …and it’s great for tourism. Your study abroad stipend now covers a weekly six pack of Quilmes AND a daily dime bag of yayo. Sigue leyendo

No es casualidad que las argentinas son divinas

Yerba maté — The umbilical chord that stretches from Buenos Aires to Los Ángeles, that keeps lovely argentinas californicanas como nuestra querida Sabrina eternally connected to the land of their Papi.

Keep your ojos alertos en 2012 for the debut EP from Good Year Charlie – Sabrina’s musical collaboration with guitar maestro Alex Jessup. A good example of what happens when you mix una voz divina del sur with the pozole de influencias that are the música del norte. [Read more for video]

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