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Argentina: The Return of ‘Cacerolazos', Pot-banging Protests

On May 31, 2012, the cacerolazo –a protest where people bang pots and pans– returned to Argentina as a measure of social protest. The same happened in 2001 [es] when citizens got President Fernando De La Rúa to resign from his position. The protest, organized through social networks, focused on insecurity, corruption and the recent measures taken by the government regarding foreign exchange, particularly the United States (U.S.) dollar.

On Twitter the hashtag #cacerolazo [es] became a local trending topic, but the hashtag had been gaining popularity since May 28, as we can see in Camilo's (@ cegooo) [es] tweet, where he asks:

 Dicen que se viene un #cacerolazo‬, es posta??

They say a cacerolazo is coming, is it true??

Quique Rosito (@ocupadisimo) [es] also asks:

Che avisen a que hora arranca el #cacerolazo‬ Es contra el hambre en el mundo? Por mas insumos en hospitales? Ah no? Es para comprar dolares?

Hey, tell us at what time the cacerolazo starts. Is it against hunger in the world? or is it about more medical supplies in hospitals? oh, no? is it for buying U.S. dollars?

Twitter users have been sharing this image to call for a cacerolazo on June 1

New measures for foreign currency

Since October 2011, the Argentine government has been launching a series of policies to regulate the currency market as a measure to control inflation and the outflow of foreign currency. The latest policy affects tourism for Argentinians as well as foreign residents who want to travel outside the country and will need to buy other currency. The RG 3333 [es] (General Resolution) says:

Los sujetos residentes en el país que demanden la adquisición de moneda extranjera para atender gastos en concepto de viajes al exterior por razones de salud, estudios, congresos, conferencias, gestiones comerciales, deportes, actividades culturales, actividades científicas y/o turismo, deberán cumplir previamente con el régimen de información que se establece por la presente.

Subjects living in the country that require the purchase of foreign currency to meet expenses for travel abroad for health reasons, studies, conferences, business, sports, cultural activities, scientific and / or tourism activities, must comply previously with the regimen of information established by this resolution.

Through Official Newsletter 3300 [es], the Federal Public Revenue Administration communicates the new measure and the reasons behind it:

Esto es un paso más en el desarrollo de un nuevo paradigma de control, mediante la implementación de herramientas informáticas con el objetivo de “anticipar” el control sobre las operaciones de los contribuyentes, buscando un funcionamiento ex-ante de la Administración Federal.

This is another step in the development of a new paradigm of control, by implementing tools in order to “anticipate” control over the operations of the taxpayer, seeking a prior performance of the Federal Administration.

The Official Newsletter [es] also explains the information that will be required through this new tool:

La herramienta informática solicitará información de los paquetes turísticos que venden los operadores, debiéndose detallar en qué moneda se concertó el pago del paquete, en cuantas cuotas y el CUIT del operador turístico, entre otros datos.

Esta información permitirá conocer en detalle la matriz del negocio de los operadores turísticos y, de esta manera, fiscalizar adecuadamente la renta declarada por los principales contribuyentes del sector, máxime considerando que estos pueden acceder al mercado de cambios sin limitación alguna y luego exigen a los turistas la cancelación en moneda extranjera del paquete.

The software tool will request information from the tours sold by tourism operators. It must clarify which currency was used to buy that tourism package, in how many installments it was paid and the CUIT (taxpayer ID) of the tourism operator, among other information.

This information will reveal in detail the array of business and tourism operators, and thus allow the adequate supervision of the income declared by the main contributors to the sector, especially since they can access the exchange market without restriction and then require the tourists to cancel in foreign currency the cost of the package.

Reactions to the new measures

On May 31, officialist Senator Anibal Fernandez made statements to the press that generated controversy between citizens and opposition parties. Cadena3 [es] publishes the Senator's declarations:

Al ser consultado sobre por qué posee sus ahorros en dólares mientras pide a los ciudadanos que “piensen en pesos”, el senador dijo: “Porque se me antoja, ¿no me acaban de escuchar? Porque se me antoja, es mi derecho, hago lo que quiero con mi plata”.

When asked why he has his savings in U.S. dollars while he asks citizens to “think in pesos,” the senator said, “Because I feel like it, didn't you hear me? Because I feel like it, it is my right, I do as I please with my money”.

On Twitter Claudia Rucci (@claudiarucci) [es] reacts to the senator's statements:

Anibal Fernandez, con sus declaraciones, es un gran movilizador de masas…ajenas. Cada palabra es una invitación al #cacerolazo‬. Qué busca?

 Anibal Fernandez, with his remarks, is a great mobilizer of the masses… of others. Every word is an invitation for a ‪#cacerolazo. What does he want?

YouTube user gloysanty shared a video of the May 31 cacerolazo in Buenos Aires:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGEpcL88AA4

Gerardo Fernández analyzes the protests in his blog Tirando al Medio [es]:

Podríamos hasta llegar a la cuenta de que llegan tarde estos cacerolazos que, además, fueron de una tibieza que asombra. Faltos de ganas, de fe, de convicción. Gritos de viejas crecidas al calor del golpismo gorila, espasmos de  hijos de empresarios del campo domiciliados en las zonas acomodadas de la capital federal.

We might even say that these cacerolazos came in late, and that they were a very “light” protest. Lacking desire, faith, conviction. Cries from women who grew up in the warmth of coup sympathizers, spasms from children of businessmen domiciled in the affluent area of ​​Buenos Aires.

Fernández continues reflecting on the use of pots and pans as a way of protest:

Si tenés que agarrar la cacerola y salir al balcón es porque no tenés una puta herramienta política a mano y las elecciones de renovación parlamentaria no hacen más que preanunciar que el oficialismo las vuelve a ganar.

If you have to grab the pan and go out to your balcony it is because you do not have a f***g political tool on hand and the renewing parliamentary elections only serves to herald that the official party will win again.

While the hashtag #cacerolazo [es] was the leading local trend, reactions started emerging against the cacerolazo with a new hashtag: #yoapoyoamipatria [es] (“I support my country”). Geraldine Panno Burs (@geripannoburs) [es] tells opponents:

Busquen ideas para dos mil quince y en las urnas nos veremos opositores! mientras sigan disfrutando del gobierno popular!#YoApoyoaMiPatria‬.

Search for ideas for 2015 and at the polls we will see each other, opponents! in the meanwhile keep enjoying a popular government #YoApoyoaMiPatria‬

Likewise, Totoro (@hcaenrique) [es] writes:

Mira que yo no coincido en casi nada con el gobierno, pero el #cacerolazo‬ de anoche fue una payasada mayúscula. Eso.

Look, I do not agree with government in almost anything, but the #cacerolazo‬ last night was a big  joke

And Jose Ruben Sentis (@joserubensentis) [es] says:

#YoApoyoaMiPatria‬ Justa, Libre y Soberana. Ellos al dólar.

#YoApoyoaMiPatria Fair, free and sovereign. The others can turn to the U.S. dollar.

After reflecting on the events of May 31 and the call through social networks, the blog Lo que pasa [es] concludes:

lo que vale es el voto y si uso la cacerola me es difícil cocinar, ojala alguna vez aprendamos a crecer…

what counts is the vote and if I use the pan it is difficult to cook, hopefully one day we will learn to grow …

But, just in case cacerolazos continue, Martin Machuca (@martinmachuca) [es] jokingly promotes a new model of cooking pans:

Vendo Olla automática Rebel Chick 2.0: Mas de veinte ritmos. Programable. Integrada con Twitter, Facebook, iPhone vía Bluetooth. #cacerolazo

I'm selling an automatic pan Rebel Chick 2.0: More than twenty rythmns. Programmable. Integrated with Twitter, Facebook, iPhone vía Bluetooth. #cacerolazo‬

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