Last week in Argentina
Diputados (the "lower house" of the Argentine legislative body), gave half sanction to the 2004 national budget. The budget foresees expenditures for 59.708 million pesos out of 62.000 million pesos of income (assuming a 4% GDP growth rate and annual inflation between 9 and 11%). It also gives the executive branch plenty of flexibility to allocate resources, and a high degree of control over the all-important social assistance plans. The Senate is expected to pass the law tomorrow.
Also expected to be approved tomorrow is the extension of Duhalde's 2002 Economic Emergency Law, giving the President and his ministers extraordinary powers to modify or sidestep existing financial and legal regulations.
The government announced during the week that it was about to rescind the concession of the privatized national postal service, as the managing group hasn't paid the agreed canon (103 million pesos a year) since 1999. The move was put in effect today.
Last Friday security forces moved in force into "La Cava", "Carlos Gardel" and "Fuerte Apache", some of the most dangerous villas in the Buenos Aires zone. Their plan calls for a month of strengthened presence in these hot spots.