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Jul 8, 2015

Inside Palmasola prison, Pope Francis will find inmates rule

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia (Reuters) – Guards only secure the perimeter of Palmasola, Bolivia’s most notorious prison. Inside each unit, murderers, drug traffickers and rapists make the rules and run a lucrative criminal economy.

Money can buy inmates everything: a cell, a shower, drugs, protection, prostitutes and prime “real estate” as large as two-story houses, from which to run a business or simply live relatively well.

Jul 6, 2015

Bolivia eyes bond sale but U.S. rate hike uncertainty a snag

LA PAZ, July 6 (Reuters) – Bolivia may issue up to $1
billion in international bonds this year to help finance new
state-run industries and roads, but uncertainty over when the
United States will raise interest rates is complicating timing,
its economy minister said.

Luis Arce said the Andean nation wanted to broaden its
industrial base to add more value to natural resources already
being exploited and tap new mineral reserves. This would help
ease Bolivia’s dependency on gas exports and reduce its
vulnerability to global commodity prices.

Jul 4, 2015

In land of Pachamama, Bolivians hope for pope of ‘good intentions’

EL ALTO, Bolivia (Reuters) – At a “Witches Market” in the Bolivian city of El Alto, dried llama fetuses said to bring good fortune hang outside tin shack stalls while healers read the future in coca leaves and call on ancient spirits to cure ills.

When Pope Francis visits Bolivia next week, he will discover a nation that cherishes animal sacrifices and pagan worship and where relations between indigenous communities and the Roman Catholic Church have been strained. The country’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, has frequently clashed with the church.

Jun 22, 2015

Government programs coax Argentines to shop ahead of election

BUENOS AIRES, June 22 (Reuters) – Two septuagenarians who
have lived through countless ups and downs in Argentina’s
rollercoaster economy may have different views on the
government’s latest schemes to spur consumption, but they both
think it’s time to go shopping.

Rodolfo Ravioli, 72, is trading in his old fridge for a new
one at nearly half the price through the “Renovate Yourself”
initiative. He says Cristina Fernandez is the first Argentine
president he’s seen “really tackling the problems in the

Jun 17, 2015

Argentina’s Scioli wants president’s right-hand man on ticket

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Daniel Scioli, the front-running candidate for the ruling party in Argentina’s presidential election, said on Tuesday he wanted Carlos Zanini, an adviser from President Cristina Fernandez’s inner circle, on his ticket as vice president.

Scioli has billed himself as the candidate of “gradual change” against the backdrop of a stagnant economy with double-digit inflation and limited access to global credit markets.

Jun 10, 2015

Buenos Aires province exchanges bonds, eases refinancing pressure

BUENOS AIRES, June 10 (Reuters) – A week after its
successful bond sale, Argentina’s province of Buenos Aires said
on Wednesday it would swap $375.4 million worth of bonds
maturing in 2015 for notes due in 2021, further allaying looming
refinancing pressure.

Investors have shown strong appetite for Argentine debt in
recent months, despite the country being in technical default on
some bonds. The reason is double-digit yields and the expected
upside from a change of government after October elections.

Jun 1, 2015

Argentine election candidates plan to unwind president’s policies

BUENOS AIRES, June 1 (Reuters) – All three of the leading
candidates in Argentina’s election race plan to dismantle
outgoing President Cristina Fernandez’s web of currency and
trade controls and clean up government finances to boost the
stagnating economy.

Fernandez has ramped up state intervention in the economy
during her eight years in power, trying to shore up thinning
currency reserves while financing generous subsidies and welfare

May 29, 2015

New York’s Bienville Capital sees bargains in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s real estate, utility and agricultural sectors all offer a smart bet ahead of a change in government in December, said New York-based Bienville Capital Management, whose new Argentina-focused fund has raised about $250 million.

Foreign investors have shied away from Argentina in recent years as President Cristina Fernandez’s leftist government ramped up state controls. However, they expect elections in October will lead to reforms that reboot Latin America’s No. 3 economy.

May 24, 2015

Argentina’s president seeks arts legacy with concert hall

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – With less than a year to go in her presidency, Cristina Fernandez has sought her place in Argentina’s cultural history, unveiling Latin America’s largest arts complex, housed in Buenos Aires’s historic former Post and Telegraph Palace.

Named after Fernandez’s late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, the Kirchner Cultural Center’s focal piece is an avant-garde bulbous “blue whale” auditorium. With wooden slats on the walls evoking a whale’s ribs, it will house the nation’s previously homeless symphony orchestra.

Apr 24, 2015

Argentina boosts local debt sales to tame inflation; headache looms

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s central bank is ramping up issuance of short-term debt to soak up pesos and contain one of Latin America’s quickest inflation rates, but risks creating another financing headache for the next government.

So far this year, the central bank has issued far more short-term “Lebac” securities, which typically range from three-months to one-year in maturity, than in all of 2014.

    • About Sarah

      "Sarah covers economic and political news from Argentina as part of the Reuters Latin America reporting team. The focus this year is on a shift in policy ahead of key elections in late 2015 and signs of a slowdown in an economy marked by one of the world’s highest inflation rates. Sarah moved to Buenos Aires in 2014 from Berlin, where she reported on Europe’s largest economy for five years during the euro zone debt crisis. She joined Reuters as a graduate trainee in the London HQ in 2007 and has also done assignments in Frankfurt and Vienna. ..."
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