Patagonia governors show unity with new regional agency

The provincial leaders will make the announcement in an upcoming summit

Governors from Patagonian provinces will announce a new regional autonomy initiative at the Thursday 7 summit in Puerto Madryn, following brushes with the government over federal tax shares. 

The summit will serve as a starting point to announce a shared agenda of development and growth along with a strong gesture of autonomy, embodied by a new Patagonian Development Agency focused on the exploitation of local resources — mainly hydrocarbons, energy, fishing, and mining, among others.

This initiative to represent regional interests already has the support of governors Ignacio Torres (Chubut), Sergio Ziliotto (La Pampa), Rolando Figueroa (Neuquén), Alberto Weretilneck (Río Negro), Claudio Vidal (Santa Cruz), and Gustavo Melella (Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica, and Southern Atlantic Islands). 

The governors have been analyzing options per the Constitution and moving forward with the legal scaffolding to structure the project. The initiative will result in a regionalization of the provinces, with powers delegated by each of the districts’ legislatures. The end result will be a rebirth of the Patagonian Parliament as a regional discussion body instead of its current role. 

The goal is to correct asymmetries, form a unity that overcomes partisan origins, and propose a joint defense of provincial interests. Between now and Thursday, technical details will be finalized, given that the political issues have already been agreed upon.

The announcement will carry a subliminal message: all the governors of the southern provinces are open to a dialogue with Javier Milei’s government. But in order to seal a true federal pact that is legally binding, the impulse must come from the provinces themselves and not from a centralist imposition. The items proposed for the May Pact are now being viewed suspiciously. This new Patagonian agreement also beats the other one to the punch. 

This format will have an impact on the markets where it operates, which increases expectations about the governor’s announcement this week.

A criminal complaint in federal court

The clashes between Milei and the governors appear to have calmed down, at least on the surface. Their spat, however, is set to continue in the courts. Several NGOs will file a criminal complaint regarding the social media attacks against provincial leaders who disagreed with Casa Rosada.

An investigation detected common elements of the troll campaign, and the person behind it may have been identified. That is why the Comodoro Py federal court will receive a judicial presentation and a request to investigate the traceability of the financing behind these attacks. The funds could have come from the secret expense account of an official structure. This is one of the reasons why the legal actions will be based in Buenos Aires City, where the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) is located.

The threats made against several of the leaders who clashed with the government are not the only concern. They are crimes and will be reported to the judiciary. But the incident also has similarities with the Lali Espósito episode, and suspicions are rising regarding the costs (in U.S. dollars) of this type of negative campaign on social media. These campaigns also add discriminatory, homophobic elements with very violent contents that can be viewed by minors. 

The aforementioned political leaders could also join the complaint filed by the NGOs to try and expose the organizers of the attack and whoever gave them the order and resources.

It could be the beginning of a scandal with unsuspected implications. 

Originally published in / Translated by Agustin Mango


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