Three Argentina stories

Three Argentina-related stories coming out of the Mercosur summit that I mentioned yesterday.

First, the tragic suicide of an aide to President Kirchner led to the suspension of the summit agenda. President Kirchner, who has some minor health problems, required medical attention when she heard the news that Deputy Commerce Minister Ivan Heyn had taken his own life in his hotel room in Montevideo.

Second, as the summit gets back on track, one of the big items to come up will be a Mercosur rule banning Falkland-flagged ships from their ports. While Argentina already has this rule in place, a full Mercosur rule would significantly isolate the ships as they could not dock at Brazil or Uruguay. Whether the rule can be enforced is questionable, but it is a big step for the organization that raises tensions with the UK. (UPDATE: IPS summary of other items decided at the meeting).

Third, while the president was out of the country, authorities raided the offices of Cablevision. The media company is owned by Clarin, which has had a long-running feud with the president. The government says it is investigating unfair competition while Clarin claims it is part of an intimidation and harassment campaign by the government to pressure them into less negative coverage of government policies.