Argentina: Macri Had A Dream. It’s Fading Fast.

When Argentina's President Mauricio Macri first took office in 2015, he told the country that "a dream is being achieved." Elected with a strong mandate for change, he was poised to move Argentina beyond a generation of boom-and-bust economic mismanagement, even if that meant imposing a little pain along the way.

Just over three years on, that dream is looking more like a nightmare.


His early reforms – floating the country's currency, cutting subsidies, and reducing government spending – weren't popular, but they started to drag the country out of a recession by 2017, and things were looking up.

But when investors began to worry that things weren't as rosy as they seemed, Argentina was plunged into a fresh currency crisis early last year. Mr. Macri was forced to seek help from international lenders, recalling precisely the past humiliations he had promised to avoid.

Now, as he looks ahead to elections this October, his approval rating has fallen from 71 percent in 2016 to just 30 percent today. Nearly one-third of Argentines are living below the poverty line, the highest figure registered in recent years. Last week, the government introduced nationwide price controls on basic goods and public services in a somewhat desperate bid to shore up political support.

One big question is whether all of this will help out former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is looking to return to power despite a slew of corruption charges against her. Her left-wing, protectionist policies were ruinous economically, but Ms. Kirchner enjoyed strong support from the working class and rural poor. Argentina's lousy experience under Macri means she could pose a stiff challenge if she makes it to the runoff in November.

The lesson: Democratically-elected reformers are always making a gamble that short-term pain will give way to better days ahead of the next election. That could still be true for Macri, but he is running out of time, fast.

The Business and Market Fair that recently took place in Sanzule, Ghana featured local crops, livestock and manufactured goods, thanks in part to the Livelihood Restoration Plan (LRP), one of Eni's initiatives to diversify the local economy. The LRP program provided training and support to start new businesses to approximately 1,400 people from 205 households, invigorating entrepreneurship in the community.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

It's been two months since President Trump abruptly ordered the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, paving the way for a bloody Turkish offensive in that region. (See our earlier coverage here.) What's happened since? A guide for the puzzled:

No "end date" for US troops in Syria – US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said this week that the United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria. Back in October, President Trump pledged to withdraw the roughly 1,000 American troops deployed there. Since then, some American troops have left Syria altogether, while others were redeployed to defend nearby oil fields from ISIS, as well as from Syrian government troops and Russia. Now, there are roughly 600 American troops dispersed around Syria, and the remainder have been deployed in Iraq to stave off a potential ISIS resurgence. It's not clear if any troops have returned to the US. When asked about the chaotic comings and goings of US troops in Syria in recent months, the commander of US Central Command said frankly: there's no "end date" for American troops stationed there.

More Show less

Turkey's government has captured many thousands of ISIS fighters as a result of its operations in northern Syria. Many of these prisoners have already been deported to some of the more than 100 countries they come from, and Ankara says it intends to send more. There are also more than 10,000 women and children – family members of ISIS fighters – still living in camps inside Syria.

These facts create a dilemma for the governments of countries where the ISIS detainees are still citizens: Should these terrorist fighters and their families be allowed to return, in many cases to face trial back home? Or should countries refuse to allow them back?

More Show less

What's the difference between Alphabet and Google?

Well, Google is the search engine, YouTube, all the stuff you probably think of as Google. Alphabet is the parent company that was created four or five years ago. And it contains a whole bunch of other entities like Jigsaw, Verily - the health care company that Google runs, Waymo - the self-driving car unit. Also, it's important to know Google makes tons of money. Alphabet, all that other stuff loses tons of money.

More Show less