Argentina: A Sociedade sem Sexo nem Gênero?

O governo liderado por Cristina Fernandez oficialmente apoia mudança de sexo e terapia hormonal para transsexuais e éfinanciará o programa com dinheiro arrecadado com impostos.

POR LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | 14 MAIO 2012

Os adultos que querem uma cirurgia de mudança de sexo ou terapia hormonal na Argentina serão capazes de fazê-lo como parte de seus planos de saúde público ou privado segundo uma nova lei de direitos de gênero que foi aprovada quarta-feira.

O projeto também dá às pessoas o direito de especificar o gênero como aparece no cartório, quando suas características físicas não correspondem à maneira como se vêem.

Os senadores aprovaram a Lei da Identidade de Gênero por uma votação de 55-0, com uma abstenção e mais de uma dúzia de senadores que se declararam ausentes – com a mesma margem aprovou-se uma lei em favor de uma “morte com dignidade”.

A presidente Cristina Fernández deu seu apoio à lei e deve assina-la em breve. Ela disse várias vezes que tem orgulho que a Argentina se tornou a primeira nação latino-americana a legalizar o casamento gay há dois anos, permitindo que milhares de casais do mesmo sexo tenham os mesmos direitos que casais heterossexuais.

Para muitos, os direitos entre os sexos era o próximo passo.

Qualquer adulto agora é capaz de mudar oficialmente seu sexo, nome de nascimento e imagem sem ter que obter a aprovação dos médicos ou juízes – e sem ter que passar por mudanças físicas com antecedência, como muitas jurisdições dos EUA exigem.

“É como dizer que você pode mudar seu sexo legal sem ter que mudar o seu corpo. Isso é ultrajante “, disse Katrina Karkazis, uma antropóloga da Universidade de Stanford, quem também é bioeticista médica e escreveu um livro intitulado” Arrumando o Sexo “sobre os aspectos médicos e jurídicos que surgem quando as características físicas não correspondem inteiramente com sua identidade de gênero.

“Há um conjunto de critérios médicos que as pessoas devem ter antes de mudar seu sexo nos EUA, e isso dá valor e autoridade ao indivíduo sobre a maneira em que quer viver. É realmente incrível “, disse ele.

Quando os argentinos queiram mudar seus corpos, as empresas de cuidados de saúde, deveram dar a cirurgia ou terapia hormonal. Estes tratamentos estão incluídos no “Plano de saúde obrigatório”, o que significa que ambos os planos privados e públicos e os prestadores não poderão cobrar dinheiro adicional para usar esses serviços.

“Este projeto permitirá para muitos de nós ver a luz, sair da escuridão, e aparecer”, disse o senador Osvaldo Lopez de Tierra del Fuego, o único legislador abertamente gay na Argentina.

“Há muitas pessoas em nosso país que merecem existir”, disse Lopez.

As crianças também têm uma voz na lei: os jovens menores de 18 anos que querem mudar de gênero ganham o direito de fazê-lo com a aprovação de seus guardiões. Mas se os pais ou responsáveis querem uma mudança de identidade de gênero e não têm o consentimento da criança, então o juiz deve intervir para garantir que os direitos das crianças sejam protegidos.

Argentina não precisa se preocupar com um grande número de pessoas buscando mudanças de sexo, Karkazis prevê.

“Isso não vai criar uma grande demanda no sistema nacional de saúde para estes procedimentos. Eles são difíceis, dolorosos e irreversíveis. E é por isso que muitas pessoas não fazem “, disse ela.

Mas porque a lei diz que as pessoas podem mudar legalmente sua identidade sem ter que se submeter a cirurgia genital ou terapia hormonal, essas mudanças podem ser mais benignas e reversíveis, mesmo se um dia você muda a sua auto-imagem.

Outros países vizinhos como Uruguai, adotaram leis de direitos de gênero, mas a Argentina “está na vanguarda do mundo” por causa desses benefícios que ela garante, disse Cesar Cigliutti, presidente da Comunidad Homosexual Argentina.

“Este é verdadeiramente um direito humano: o direito à felicidade”, disse o senador Pichetto Miguel durante o debate “.

Argentina: La Sociedad sin Sexo ni Género

Gobierno liderado por Cristina Fernández apoya oficialmente cambios de sexo y terapia hormonal para las personas transgénero y lo financia con dinero recaudado de los impuestos.

POR LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | 14 MAYO 2012

Los adultos que quieren una cirugía de cambio de sexo o terapia hormonal en la Argentina serán capaces de hacerlo como parte de sus planes de salud públicos o privados bajo una ley de derechos de género aprobada el miércoles.

La medida también da a las personas el derecho a especificar como su género aparece en el registro civil cuando sus características físicas no coinciden con la forma en que se ven a sí mismos.

Los senadores aprobaron la ley de Identidad de Género por una votación de 55-0, con una abstención y más de una docena de senadores que se declararon ausentes – con el mismo margen se aprobó una ley en favor de una “muerte con dignidad”.

La presidenta Cristina Fernández lanzó su apoyo a la ley y se espera que la firme pronto. Ella ha dicho a menudo lo orgullosa que está que la Argentina se convirtiera en la primera nación de América Latina en legalizar el matrimonio gay hace dos años, permitiendo a miles de parejas del mismo sexo casarse y disfrutar de los mismos derechos legales que las parejas heterosexuales casadas.

Para muchos, los derechos de género fueron el siguiente paso.

Cualquier adulto ahora será capaz de cambiar oficialmente su género, imagen y nombre de nacimiento sin tener que obtener la aprobación de los médicos o los jueces – y sin tener que someterse a cambios físicos de antemano, como muchas jurisdicciones de Estados Unidos requieren.

“Es como decir que usted puede cambiar su sexo legal sin necesidad de cambiar su cuerpo en absoluto. Eso es inaudito “, dijo Katrina Karkazis, una antropóloga de la Universidad de Stanford médica y bioeticista que escribió un libro titulado “Arreglando el Sexo “, sobre el tratamiento médico y legal de las personas cuyas características físicas no corresponden plenamente con su identidad de género.

“Hay todo un conjunto de criterios médicos que las personas  deben tener para cambiar su género en los EE.UU., y esto le da al individuo una cantidad extraordinaria de autoridad sobre la forma en que queremos vivir. Es realmente increíble “, dijo.

Cuando los argentinos quieran cambiar sus cuerpos, las compañías de cuidado de la salud tendrán que dar cirugía o terapia hormonal. Estos tratamientos se incluirán en el “Plan Médico Obligatorio”, que significa que tanto planes privados como públicos y los proveedores no podrán cobrar extra por los servicios.

“Esta ley va a permitir que muchos de nosotros veamos la luz, salgamos de la oscuridad, y aparezcamos”, dijo el senador Osvaldo López de Tierra del Fuego, el único legislador nacional abiertamente gay en la Argentina.

“Hay muchas personas en nuestro país que también merecen el poder de existir”, dijo López.

Los niños también tienen una voz en la ley: Jóvenes menores de 18 años que quieren cambiar sus géneros ganan el derecho a hacerlo con la aprobación de sus tutores legales. Pero si los padres o tutores quieren un cambio de identidad de género y no tienen el consentimiento del niño, entonces el juez debe intervenir para garantizar que los derechos del niño están protegidos.

Argentina no tiene que preocuparse de un gran número de personas que pidan cambios de sexo, Karkazis prevee.

“Esto no va a crear una gran demanda en el sistema nacional de salud para estos procedimientos. Son difíciles, dolorosos e irreversibles. Y es por eso que muchas personas no lo hacen “, dijo.

Pero debido a que la ley dice que la gente puede cambiar legalmente su identidad sin tener que someterse a una cirugía genital o la terapia hormonal, estos cambios pueden ser más benignos y reversibles, incluso, si algún día la persona cambia de autoimagen.

Otros países vecinos como Uruguay, han aprobado leyes de derechos de género, pero la Argentina “está a la vanguardia del mundo” debido a estos beneficios que garantiza, dijo César Cigliutti, presidente de la Comunidad Homosexual Argentina.

“Este es verdaderamente un derecho humano: el derecho a la felicidad”, dijo el senador Miguel Pichetto durante el debate “.

Traducido del artículo: The ‘Gender-free’ Society Sets Foot in Argentina

The ‘Gender-free’ Society Sets Foot in Argentina

Cristina Fernandez’s led government has officially endorse government-sponsored, taxpayer-financed sex changes and hormone therapy for transgender people.

ASSOCIATED PRESS | MAY 10, 2012

Adults who want sex-change surgery or hormone therapy in Argentina will be able to get it as part of their public or private health care plans under a gender rights law approved Wednesday.

The measure also gives people the right to specify how their gender is listed at the civil registry when their physical characteristics don’t match how they see themselves.

Senators approved the Gender Identity law by a vote of 55-0, with one abstention and more than a dozen senators declaring themselves absent — the same margin that approved a “death with dignity” law earlier in the day.

President Cristina Fernandez threw her support behind the law and is expected to sign it. She has often said how proud she is that Argentina became Latin America’s first nation to legalize gay marriage two years ago, enabling thousands of same-sex couples to wed and enjoy the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples.

For many, gender rights were the next step.

Any adult will now be able to officially change his or her gender, image and birth name without having to get approval from doctors or judges — and without having to undergo physical changes beforehand, as many U.S. jurisdictions require.

“It’s saying you can change your gender legally without having to change your body at all. That’s unheard of,” said Katrina Karkazis, a Stanford University medical anthropologist and bioethicst who wrote a book, “Fixing Sex,” about the medical and legal treatment of people whose physical characteristics don’t fully match their gender identity.

“There’s a whole set of medical criteria that people have to meet to change their gender in the U.S., and meanwhile this gives the individual an extraordinary amount of authority for how they want to live. It’s really incredible,” she said.

When Argentines want to change their bodies, health care companies will have to provide them with surgery or hormone therapy on demand. Such treatments will be included in the “Obligatory Medical Plan,” which means both private and public providers will not be able to charge extra for the services.

“This law is going to enable many of us to have light, to come out of the darkness, to appear,” said Sen. Osvaldo Lopez of Tierra del Fuego, the only openly gay national lawmaker in Argentina.

“There are many people in our country who also deserve the power to exist,” Lopez said.

Children also get a voice under the law: Youths under 18 who want to change their genders gain the right to do so with the approval of their legal guardians. But if parents or guardians want a gender identity change and don’t have the child’s consent, then a judge must intervene to ensure the child’s rights are protected.

Argentina need not worry about vast numbers of people demanding sex changes, Karkazis predicted.

“This isn’t going to create a huge demand on the national health system for these procedures. They’re difficult, painful, irreversible. And this is why many people don’t do it,” she said.

But because the law says people can legally change their identities without having to undergo genital surgery or hormone therapy, these changes can be more benign and even reversible, if some day the person’s self-image changes.

Other countries, including neighboring Uruguay, have passed gender rights laws, but Argentina’s “is in the forefront of the world” because of these benefits it guarantees, said Cesar Cigliutti, president of the Homosexual Community of Argentina.

“This is truly a human right: the right to happiness,” Sen. Miguel Pichetto said during the debate.”

Pension Scandal Shakes up Venezuelan Oil Giant

Reuters
August 17, 2011

Venezuela received an enviable honor last month: OPEC said it is sitting on the biggest reserves of crude oil in the world — even more than Saudi Arabia.

But the Venezuelan oil industry is also sitting atop a well of trouble.

The South American nation has struggled to take advantage of its bonanza of expanding reserves. And a scandal over embezzled pension funds at state oil company PDVSA has renewed concerns about corruption and mismanagement.

Retired workers from the oil behemoth have taken to the streets in protest. Their beef: nearly half a billion dollars of pension fund money was lost after it was invested in what turned out to be a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme run by a U.S. financial advisor who was closely linked to President Hugo Chavez’s government.

The fraud case centers on Francisco Illarramendi, a Connecticut hedge fund manager with joint U.S.-Venezuelan citizenship who used to work as a U.S.-based advisor to PDVSA and the Finance Ministry.

Several top executives at PDVSA have been axed since the scandal, which one former director of the company said proved Venezuela under Chavez had become “a moral cesspool.”

Pensioners are not the only ones still wondering how such a large chunk of the firm’s $2.5 billion pension fund was invested with Illarramendi in the first place.

The question cuts to the heart of the challenges facing PDVSA, one of Latin America’s big three oil companies alongside Pemex of Mexico and Brazil’s Petrobras.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries issued a report last month showing Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest holder of crude oil reserves in 2010.

PDVSA is ranked by Petroleum Intelligence Weekly as the world’s fourth largest oil company thanks to its reserves, production, refining and sales capacity, and it has been transformed in recent years into the piggy-bank of Chavez’s “21st Century Socialism.”

The timing of the scandal is not good for Chavez: the charismatic, 57-year-old former coup leader underwent cancer surgery in Cuba in June and is fighting to recover his health to run for re-election next year. He needs every cent possible from PDVSA for the social projects that fuel his popularity.

MULTI-TASKING

The company does a lot more than pump Venezuela’s vast oil reserves. Tapped constantly to replenish government coffers, PDVSA funds projects ranging from health and education to arts and Formula One motor racing. From painting homes to funding medical clinics staffed by Cuban doctors, the restoration of a Caracas shopping boulevard and even a victorious team at the Rio carnival, there’s little that PDVSA doesn’t do.

Jeffrey Davidow, a former U.S. ambassador to Venezuela who now heads the Institute of the Americas at the University of California, San Diego, points to the occasion when PDVSA senior executives turned down invitations to a regional energy conference at the last minute back in May, saying they were too busy because of PDVSA’s leading role in the government’s “Gran Mission Vivienda” project. It aims to build two million homes over the next seven years.

“In poorly-managed societies, national oil companies tend to be the most efficient organizations, so the government gives them more work to do, instead of letting them focus on being better oil companies,” Davidow told industry executives in the ballroom at a luxurious La Jolla hotel.

That’s the kind of criticism that Chavez, who has nationalized most of his country’s oil sector since he was elected in 1999, says is rooted in a bankrupt “imperial Yankee” mind-set.

He purged perceived opponents from PDVSA’s ranks in response to a crippling strike in 2002-2003 that slashed output, firing thousands of staff and replacing them with loyalists. Since then, the company has endured one controversy after another.

There was the “maleta-gate” affair in 2007, so-called after the Spanish word for suitcase, when a Venezuelan-American businessman was stopped at Buenos Aires airport carrying luggage stuffed with $800,000 in cash that U.S. prosecutors said came from PDVSA and was intended for Cristina Fernandez’s presidential campaign in Argentina. Both Fernandez and Chavez denied the charge.

There have also been persistent allegations by industry experts and international energy organizations that Venezuela inflates its production statistics — which PDVSA denies — and a string of accidents, including the sinking of a gas exploration rig in the Caribbean last year and a huge fire at a giant oil storage terminal on an island not far away.

In a big blow to its domestic popularity, tens of thousands of tons of meat and milk bought by PDVSA’s importer subsidiary, PDVAL, were left festering in shipping containers at the nation’s main port last year, exacerbating shortages of staples on shop shelves. Opposition media quickly nicknamed the subsidiary “pudreval” in a play on the Spanish verb “to rot” – “pudrir”.

In an apparent damage-limitation exercise after the pension scandal, five members of the PDVSA board were relieved of their duties in May, including the official who ran the pension fund. They were replaced by Chavez loyalists including the country’s finance minister and foreign minister.

Gustavo Coronel, a former PDVSA director in the 1970s and later Venezuela’s representative to anti-graft watchdog Transparency International, said the fraud had been going on right under the noses of the PDVSA board.

“What this scandal shows is that Venezuela has become a moral cesspool, not only restricted to the public sector but to the private sector as well,” he wrote on his blog.

“Money is dancing like a devil in Venezuela, without control, without accountability. Those who are well connected with the regime have thrown the moral compass by the side Venezuelan justice will not move a finger. Fortunately, U.S. justice will.”

SHOW ME THE MONEY

U.S. investigators say Illarramendi, the majority owner of the Michael Kenwood Group LLC hedge fund, ran the Ponzi scheme from 2006 until February of this year, using deposits from new investors to repay old ones. He pleaded guilty in March to multiple counts of wire fraud, securities and investment advisor fraud, as well as conspiracy to obstruct justice and defraud the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He could face up to 70 years in prison.

By those outside the circles of power in Venezuela, Illarramendi was seen as one of the “Boli-Bourgeoisie” — someone who was already wealthy but grew much richer thanks to the “Bolivarian Revolution,” named by Chavez after the dashing 19th century South American independence hero Simon Bolivar. In one widely-circulated image, Illarramendi is seen overweight and balding, wearing a dark blue overcoat and clutching a blue briefcase as he left federal court in Bridgeport, Connecticut after pleading guilty.

An ex-Credit Suisse employee and Opus Dei member in his early 40s who lived in the United States for at least the last 10 years but traveled frequently to Venezuela, Illarramendi is on bail with a bond secured on four U.S. properties he owns.

He was close to PDVSA board members and Ministry of Finance officials, but is not thought to have known Chavez personally. The son of a minister in a previous Venezuelan government, Illarramendi did enjoy some perks — including using a terminal at the capital’s Maiquetia International Airport normally reserved for the president and his ministers, according to one source close to his business associates.

His sentencing date has not been set yet, but a receiver’s report by the attorney designated to track down the cash is due in September. In June, SEC regulators said they found almost $230 million of the looted money in an offshore fund.

That was just part of the approximately $500 million Illarramendi received, about 90 percent of which was from the PDVSA pension fund, according to the SEC.

PDVSA has assured its former workers they have nothing to worry about, and that the money will be replaced. But what concerns some retirees are allegations the company may have broken its own rules for managing its pension fund, which should have provided for more oversight by pensioners.

A representative of the retirees should attend meetings where the use of the fund is discussed, but no pensioners have been called to attend such a meeting since 2002.

PDVSA’s investment in capitalist U.S. markets may seem to be incongruous given the president’s anti-West rhetoric, but the scale of such transfers is not known, and the investment options for such funds at home in Venezuela are sharply limited, not least by restrictive currency controls.

Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez told Reuters that Illarramendi only had an advisory role with PDVSA, and that it ended six years ago. So quite how he came to be managing such a big chunk of the pension fund is a hotly debated topic. Ramirez said the pension fund had been administered properly, and that the losses were of great concern to the company.

In July, PDVSA boosted pension payments to ex-employees by 800 bolivars a month, or about $188. The government also allocated nearly half the income from a new 2031 bond issue of $4.2 billion to the company’s pension fund — probably to replenish deposits lost in the scandal.

Still, ex-PDVSA worker Luis Villasmil says his monthly stipend barely meets the essentials for him, his wife, a diabetic son and a niece. One morning in April, he rose early and met several dozen other PDVSA retirees to march in protest to the company’s local headquarters in Zulia, the decades-old heartland of Venezuela’s oil production.

“I never thought we would be in this situation,” the 65-year-old told Reuters with a sigh. “I think PDVSA should show solidarity with the retirees and pay their pensions whatever happens because it is responsible. But that’s not the heart of the issue, which is to recover the money if possible.”

Ramirez, who once proclaimed that PDVSA was “rojo rojito” (red) from top to bottom, says the firm’s 90,000 staff have nothing to worry about. “Of course we are going to support the workers,” he told Reuters in March. “We will not let them suffer because of this fraud. We have decided to replace it (the lost money) and to make ourselves part of the lawsuit (against Illarramendi).”

ORINOCO FLOW

The latest scandal comes at a time when observers are focused on the future of PDVSA, given Chavez’s uncertain health, next year’s election and OPEC’s announcement on reserves.

The producer group said in July that Venezuela leapfrogged Saudi Arabia last year to become the world’s no.1 reserves holder with 296.5 billion barrels, up from 211.2 billion barrels the year before.

“It has been confirmed. We have 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves … we are a regional power, a world power,” Chavez said during one typical recent TV appearance, scribbling lines all over a map to show where planned refineries and pipelines to the coast would be built.

The new reserves were mostly booked in the country’s enormous Orinoco extra heavy belt, a remote region of dense forests, extraordinary plant life and rivers teeming with crocodiles and piranhas.

And there lies the rub. Not only is the Orinoco crude thick and tar-like, unlike Saudi oil which is predominantly light and sweet, it is also mostly found in rural areas that have little in the way of even basic infrastructure. It costs much more to produce and upgrade into lighter, more valuable crude.

So hopes now rest on a string of ambitious projects that Venezuela says will revitalize a declining oil sector, eventually adding maybe 2 million barrels per day (bpd) or more of new production to the country’s current output of about 3 million bpd, while bringing in some $80 billion in investment.

The projects are mostly joint ventures with foreign partners including U.S. major Chevron, Spain’s Repsol, Italy’s Eni, Russian state giant Rosneft and China’s CNPC, as well as a handful of smaller companies from countries such as Japan, Vietnam and Belarus. Even after the nationalizations of the past, investors clearly want a seat at the Orinoco oil table.

In June, Ramirez announced new funding for Orinoco projects this year of $5.5 billion through agreements with Chinese and Italian banks.

The question remains: will PDVSA have the operational capacity required as the lead company in each project, and will it be able to pay its share?

“Processing that extra heavy crude requires a lot of capital and equipment, and the climate is not good for that at the moment,” said one regional energy consultant who has worked with PDVSA and asked not to be named.

There may be billions of barrels in the ground, but the pension scandal will only underline the risks going forward for foreign companies with billions of dollars at stake.

Female Dictator Rules Argentina

Cristina Fernandez does not like criticism or free markets.  She prefers foreign corporations in control of her country.

AP

Argentina’s government on Friday ordered the closure one of the nation’s three leading Internet providers, demanding that Grupo Clarin immediately inform “each and every one” of its more than 1 million customers that they have 90 days to find new ways of getting online.

The order says Grupo Clarin—which has grown through mergers to become one of Latin America’s leading media companies—illegally absorbed the Fibertel company through its Cablevision subsidiary in January 2009 because it failed to obtain prior approval from the commerce secretary.

//

Cablevision denied that Friday, citing a previous approval obtained in 2003, and planned to appeal, accusing the government of continuing a campaign to stifle opposition viewpoints.

President Cristina Fernandez has made dismantling Grupo Clarin a priority of her government. A new law that has been challenged in court would force the company to break apart in a drive to dissolve media monopolies.

The immediate effect of taking Fibertel offline may actually reduce competition for high-speed Internet access in Argentina, where Cablevision competes with two major multinational telephone companies—Grupo Telecom and Telefonica SA. Together the three have roughly equal shares of an overall market that adds up to more than 4.2 million Internet connections.

While the government says there are more than 200 providers in Argentina, most have tiny market shares. Removing Fibertel would enable Telecom’s Arnet and Telefonica’s Speedy to reach nearly 90 percent of Argentina’s Internet users between them, and in many locations in the country, customers would only have one of those two companies to choose from.

Cablevision and Fibertel called the order “illegal and arbitrary,” and “one more step in a brutal campaign of persecution, attacks and hostility” that will result in a telecom duopoly.

Cablevision’s chief executive, Carlos Moltini, said he’s confident the courts will overturn the “crazy” order in an interview Friday with radio Mitre.