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Sat Apr 24, 2021, 06:44 PM

Argentine Transport Minister Mario Meoni dies in road accident

Argentina's Transport Minister Mario Meoni has died from serious injuries after his car overturned in a road accident Friday evening. He was 56.

Meoni was driving alone in a Ford Mondeo, and was reportedly on his way to Junín to see his family. The accident took place on National Route 7 near San Andrés de Giles, a small town 67 miles NW of Buenos Aires and 100 miles from his destination.

According to initial reports, he lost control of the vehicle at around 9:30 pm near the Kilometer 112 marker. It is believed he crashed into railings and the car overturned; the cause of the accident is unknown.

A former mayor (2003-15) of Junín, a small city in the Pampas plains, Meoni was a prominent “K Radical” - members of the centrist Radical Civic Union (UCR) who supported center-left former Presidents Néstor and Cristina Kirchner.

Turbulent waters

Earlier in the day, he had been in Rosario, where he attended meetings and a public event with President Alberto Fernández and Santa Fe Province Governor Omar Perotti.

They had discussed infrastructure projects and agreements - the most contentious of these topics being the strategic Paraná-Paraguay Waterway in NE Argentina, which carries over 100 millions tons of freight (including 60% of the nation's exports).

Fernández (and Meoni) had thus far resisted calls from many in his Front For All coalition to nationalize the 500-mile waterway - managed since 1995 by a consortium led by local firm Emepa and Belgium's Jan de Nul.

The president has instead called for new bids this September for the concession - worth over $300 million in freight charges, and over $3 billion in dredging and signal charges.

China's state-owned Shanghai Dredging Company (SDC) has expressed interest in the upcoming bidding - which former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had referred to as “China's (using) CCCC and other state-owned companies as weapons to impose a expansionist agenda.”

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/argentinas-transport-minister-mario-meoni-dies-in-road-traffic-accident.phtml

Argentine Transport Minister Mario Meoni at his Buenos Aires office.

President Alberto Fernández referred to Meoni's death as “the loss of a thorough, tireless and honest politician. An exemplary official.”

The tragedy comes amid a difficult month for Fernández - including a Covid diagnosis on his birthday (April 2nd), a four-fold jump in new daily Covid cases that prompted new restrictions, and the right-wing mayor of Buenos Aires' refusal to enforce these restrictions.

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Reply Argentine Transport Minister Mario Meoni dies in road accident (Original post)
peppertree Apr 2021 OP
Judi Lynn Apr 2021 #1
peppertree Apr 2021 #2

Response to peppertree (Original post)

Sun Apr 25, 2021, 02:10 AM

1. Bad news for the administration, as well as Meoni's loved ones. What a shame.

His participation in the upcoming negotiations would have been centrally important, it appears, from this article. He was clearly needed as a principal part for the President.

Looked for images of the enormous, complex project site in google images, was astonished at the actual vast area, and the amount of movement involved. Here is the link to views of the waterway, the traffic, maps, it's unbelievable:


The timing does look questionable, as this man's input would be invaluable in this project. It does throw a wrench in the works to lose him now. He would have been looking forward to this powerful accomplishment for the country.

So disgusting the Trump den of gargoyles was keeping many close ugly eyes on it all along, too. It really wasn't their place to be announcing their opposition to whom Argentina chooses as business partners in mega-projects. None of their slimy business.

It's also bad news to learn the current Buenos Aires mayor is a hard-right idiot who seems to be following Trump's position on Covid-19, bumbling around and leading the huge city into a far more desperate struggle through his ignorance and hatefulness.

Hope Fernández is fully recovered and vaccinated appropriately now, and personally out of harm's way. He probably wasn't expecting to lose a key member of his closest appointees. Best wishes to him in completing the project successfully.

Thanks for expanding our awareness on Argentina, peppertree.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Sun Apr 25, 2021, 12:49 PM

2. Amazing context. Thank you, Judi.

Personally, I think he should nationalize the waterway - rather than keep it under private management (even with a new, more economical contract).

A new concession bid would almost certainly be won by China's SDC, which could strain relations with the U.S. (it shouldn't - but neocons still hold great sway in the State Dept, sadly).

Nor would a new contract solve the real problem with the privatized waterway: agricultural contraband (for tax evasion), mainly by way of re-exports through Paraguay and Uruguay.

This was among the reasons often cited to nationalize soy processing giant Vicentín (bankrupted by Macri's friend Alberto Padoán, you'll recall) - that it was using a Paraguayan subsidiary to re-export up to $200 million a year sub rosa in grains and oilseed, and that the privately-managed waterway made this possible.

Would renationalizing the waterway (or Vicentín) solve those problems? That, too, is far from certain - and it's politically risky (with a capital R).

Thanks again, Judi. And Godspeed to Mr. Meoni; he was not only a good and talented man but very likable as well - an uncommon combination, as you know.

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