Monday, July 30th 2012 - 19:51 UTC

Argentina again manages to delay the dredging of a shared canal with Uruguay

Uruguayan president Jose Mujica said on Monday it “is not useful” for foreign ministries to publicly exchange letters following Argentina’s latest message accusing Uruguay of not collaborating in exposing claims of alleged bribes involving the works planned for the widening and deep-dredging of the River Plate access canal Martin Garcia.

Timerman Argentine diplomacy reverts the game: from victimizer to victim

Uruguay wants the Martin Garcia canal, one of two main accesses to the treacherous River Plate, widened from 32 to 39 metres and deep dredged to 34 feet so that bulk carriers operating in the country’s main grains, oilseeds and pulp export port can operate fully loaded, which is not the case currently.

However Nueva Palmira has become a strong competitor of the port of Buenos Aires and other terminals in the heartland of Argentina along the river Parana and Paraguay, and Argentina prefers to have the Mitre canal leading to the Argentine capital well dredged and maintained.

The problem for Uruguay is that the River Plate, rather an estuary is jointly managed with Argentina and all decisions are based on consensus through the River Plate administration committee, CARP, and the Argentine government despite public statements to the contrary has kept to its long established policy of privileging the Mitre canal to the detriment of Martin Garcia which is more exposed to the sedimentation from the Parana-Uruguay rivers basins.

CARP depends directly from the foreign ministries of Argentina and Uruguay.

The latest incident surfaced when after months of negotiations and yielding from Uruguay, both sides agreed to the tender terms for the widening and dredging of the Martin Garcia canal which had a several stages timetable for interested parties with the first up on Monday July 30.

But some time ago the company currently dredging the River Plate and which has been doing so for years by extension of contracts, Riovia, a subsidiary of the Dutch company Boskalis, tried to approach Uruguayan officials saying it was much faster and effective than having a new bidding process to simply make a further extension of the ongoing contract.

Uruguayan delegates who had been invited to a friendly lunch, got up and left when the insinuation of a million dollars bribe and so reported it to the Foreign Ministry, The host and emissary of such a meeting for the ‘fix up’ at a posh restaurant in Buenos Aires was none else than the Argentine delegate at the CARP committee, ambassador Roberto ‘Bobby’ Garcia Moritán.

“Bobby” as he is known by his friends had to resign in 2008 as Deputy Foreign Minister because of his involvement in a scandal over expensive imported cars for diplomats free of tax which were sold to private Argentine citizens. He was later indicted for “illicit enrichment” when it was discovered he had a bank account in Switzerland with half a million dollars which he never had declared. However it seems his Kirchner militancy rewarded him with the job in CARP.

Three Uruguayan officials confirmed the attempt before a secret committee in Parliament but later publicly dismissed such an incident in the hope of having the long awaited and cumbersome tender for the Martin Garcia canal take off.

But Uruguay’s independent Government Audit Office had to give its approval to the documents for the bidding of the canal and reported that in effect there had been “some improper activities” surrounding the whole process although it did not specify names or reference facts but effectively pointed to the contract extension of Riovia (until the final tender is awarded) as a source of “doubts”.

Once the news broke out Argentina immediately said it was banning Riovia from any River Plate tender or bidding process and later demanded Uruguay make public details of the alleged bribe attempts.

Under the heading of “Who’s protecting Ríovia? Argentine Minister Hector Timerman on Sunday night accused Uruguay of not collaborating in the investigation into the alleged bribe attempt to benefit Boskalis to keep dredging Martin Garcia.
 

“Less than 24 hours before the opening of the bidding process for the upkeep of the Martin Garcia Canal, Argentina has not been able to achieve the collaboration from Uruguay to clear responsibilities about the alleged ‘improper actions’ claimed by the Uruguayan National Audit Office based on secret documents to which Argentina has not been able to access”, says the release.

Further on it recalls that on December 2010 it was Uruguay that demanded to analyze the direct contracting of Riovia for the dredging and deepening of the Martin Garcia canal. The release from Timerman then claims there was a media campaign in Uruguay focused on the alleged bribe attempt to Ambassador Francisco Bustillo (Uruguayan delegate at CARP) and recalls statements from ambassador at large Julio Baraibar who confirmed that Bustillo had told him about the incident as well as to Deputy Minister Ricardo Conde.

“If the Uruguayan government really wants to investigate the facts that involve Ambassador Bustillo and the Riovia company, it could begin by asking why a few days before the final drafting of the document for the international tender for the Martin Garcia canal, a barrage of articles on the alleged bribe attempt, which apparently occurred two years ago to which neither ambassador Bustillo or Minister Luis Almagro ever referred, nor informed the Justice nor did they consider them serious enough to communicate it to the Argentine authorities”.

In the last paragraph the Argentine ministry states that with less that 24 hours for the opening of the bidding process, if the company Riovia presents an interest, Argentina will confirm its objection and requests Uruguay does the same”.

The final Argentine Sunday communiqué was the culmination of a previous public exchange of letters in which Uruguay stated it did not support or favour any specific bidder and only demanded a transparent process, plus recalling that CARP decisions are not unilateral in reference to Argentina’s banning of Riovia.

Nevertheless the Uruguayan foreign ministry said that if the bidding process does not advance it will be the responsibility of Argentina and hoped that the issue could be definitively resolved in coming contacts between the presidents and the foreign affairs ministers.

End of the day, Argentina again managed to delay the bidding process for the widening and deepening of the Martin Garcia canal.

 

50 comments Feed

Note: Comments do not reflect MercoPress’ opinions. They are the personal view of our users. We wish to keep this as open and unregulated as possible. However, rude or foul language, discriminative comments (based on ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation or the sort), spamming or any other offensive or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. Please report any inadequate posts to the editor. Comments must be in English. Comments should refer to article. Thank you.

1 Pirat-Hunter (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 08:35 pm Report abuse
LOL maybe Uruguay should make up their mind, will they open up legal actions or do they want to just cause problems, simple.
2 toooldtodieyoung (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 08:44 pm Report abuse
You can always count on Argentina not to do the right thing............
3 redpoll (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 08:45 pm Report abuse
WHO is causing the problems?
4 Truth_Telling_Troll (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 08:49 pm Report abuse
Why is Mercopress focusing on news articles about how Argentina is causing problems for Uruguay (canal), Chile (industrial plant), Paraguay and Brazil (restrictions), Falklands (drilling near their waters?)?

I think its OK if Argentina is concerned only with itself and no one else, not her neighbors, and much less countries in Europe or North America. We are not concerned about their well being.
5 toooldtodieyoung (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 08:55 pm Report abuse
4 Truth_Telling_Troll

..........and that kind of attitude is exactly why no one in the Falkland Islands wants anything to do with Argentina. Then... now or ever.

By the way, If you and SussieUS want to go on and keep f**king yourselves in public like this then please go right ahead.... I have always been a fan of those live S&M shows.
6 Truth_Telling_Troll (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 08:57 pm Report abuse
@5

That's fine, the only ones in denial about their geography between them and us is not us. :)
7 The Cestrian (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 09:04 pm Report abuse
So much for South American unity.
8 David Cameron (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 09:05 pm Report abuse
Just saw Team GB beat Argentina in the Hockey, trounced the cheats 4-1 should have had better training facility's other than a war memorial Argys. Give my regards to Chrissy.
9 Pirat-Hunter (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 09:08 pm Report abuse
#4 I couldn't have said it better myself, it's hard to trust any comment from outsiders when their only intentions is to abuse, insult or attack your country men. For this reason I don't get distracted or even curious reading their nonsense. By the way Argentina invited Uruguay to open legal actions but Uruguay refuses to share evidence. To me it means nothing happened.
10 Truth_Telling_Troll (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 09:12 pm Report abuse
@9

First Argentina,
Second Argentina,
Third Argentina,

No fourth.
11 Pirat-Hunter (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 09:24 pm Report abuse
#5 you are welcome to go back to UK anytime you wish. We Argentines don't like or trust illegal aliens in Islas Malvinas Argentina neither, but we know how much you envy our land Even if your queen names it coca-cola-land for lemmings.
12 Clyde15 (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 09:33 pm Report abuse
#11
Why should we envy your land. For God's sake, it's full of Argentinians Imagine, a country populated with people like you - it doesn't bear thinking about.
13 Pirat-Hunter (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 10:35 pm Report abuse
#12 I call it as I see it, british illegal aliens don't even want to come home but rather be trashed by Argentine's and live like ilegal aliens in Islas Malvinas Argentina then go back to the shiat hole called UK. Even calling themselves coca-cola-land or any other fakland then UK. Lol maybe envy is too settled for you, obsession is more like it.
14 Condorito (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 10:55 pm Report abuse
What does Guzz, the resident Uruguayo, (or any other Uruguayos) make of this?
15 Anbar (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 11:41 pm Report abuse
“How to lose friends and alienate neighbours” - a post-graduate course taught by Cristina Kirchner widely recognised as the most self-destructive leader in the modern world.
16 Pete Bog (#) Jul 30th, 2012 - 11:49 pm Report abuse
A great example of the fabled South American unity.
17 redpoll (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 01:38 am Report abuse
@14 condorito: This is just the culmination of harassment that has been going on for years. Both channels are administered by the CARP (Comision Administradora del Rio de LaPlata) composed of both Uruguayan and Argentine delegates and decisions are by consensus. So Uruguay could also say “no more dredging of the Mitre channel either” . Acording to troll the isolationist that would not bother them as they would no longer need the port of Buenos Aires or the river ports for international trade. The Martin Garcia channel is entirely within recognized Uruguayan waters, so once Argentina has broken the traty once again Uruguay would be fully entitled to do the job themselves
18 Lord Ton (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 05:11 am Report abuse
Poor little Uruguay - the only democratic country in South America !
19 Conqueror (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 10:11 am Report abuse
And so argieland continues to breach yet another treaty. Perhaps the argie government should dig out their copy of the Treaty between Uruguay and Argentina concerning the Rio de la Plata and the Corresponding Maritime Boundary 19 November 1973 and read it. Worth noting that, in Article 8, it says: The Parties hereby undertake to maintain the facilities which they have thus far accorded one another for access to their respective ports. Argies are in breach of this article. Then, in Article 10, it says: The Parties shall be entitled to use, on equal terms and in all circumstances, all channels situated in their shared waters. Again, the argies are in breach. Should we mention Article 14?: All regulations governing channels situated in shared waters and their substantial or permanent modification shall be enacted following consultation with the other Party.
In no case and under no circumstances may any regulations cause significant damage to the navigation interests of either of the Parties. Anybody think this convenient regulatory issue from the argies might “cause significant damage to the navigation interests of either of the Parties.”? Is that the argies in breach, again? Argies just can't abide by any law, agreement or treaty, can they?
20 LEPRecon (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 12:07 pm Report abuse
Personally the Uruguayan Government should grow a pair, tell the Argies to feck off, and cede from the treaty which Argentina appears to be completely ignoring anyway.

Then they should dredge the Martin Garcia channel themselves, and deposit the sediment into Mitre channel. That'll learn 'em.

Then tell the Argies to feck off again. All Argentina will do is shout, threaten and then cry when they realise that they are completely impotent.
21 Conqueror (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 12:37 pm Report abuse
@20 ICJ. It's provided for in the treaty. Article 87. Just have to wait 180 days.
22 redpoll (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 01:45 pm Report abuse
@21 Its useless to take RG tothe ICJ. They took Uruguay to ICJ over the pulp mill and have not complied with the courts stipulation regarding the publishing of pollution levels in the Rio Uruguay. These results have been blocked from publication by the RG delegates on CARU (Comision Administradora del Rio Uruguay) the binacional body concerned.
23 GeoffWard2 (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 02:19 pm Report abuse
”Why is Mercopress focusing on news articles about how Argentina is causing problems for:

Uruguay (canal),
Chile (industrial plant),
Paraguay (restrictions) and
Brazil (restrictions),
Falklands (drilling near their waters?)?” (TTT #1)

Is Mercopress being partial?
Or is this just the reality of the situation?
I think the latter.

I am persuaded that there is a 'fogging campaign' designed to further delay the dredging, and that the non-innocent party is Argentina.

Conq. quotes Art. 8, 10, & 14.
These are pertinent and directive. They are superior to (fogging) allegations of 'corruption' that 'need investigating'.

ICJ sounds applicable, but only if both parties agree to arbitration. This will not happen because it is not in one party's interests to achieve resolution (Funny, I seem to have heard this before.).
24 redpoll (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 02:29 pm Report abuse
I think RG would just love Uruguay to take them to the ICJ. It would give them and excuse for not doing any dredgng for possibly four years while the Court deliberates its judgement and if the decision goes against RG they would ignore it anyway
25 Conqueror (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 02:30 pm Report abuse
@23 ICJ is not dependent on both parties' agreement to arbitration. It is a requirement of the Treaty. Argieland needs to be PUNISHED.
26 GeoffWard2 (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 03:30 pm Report abuse
C. #25
Don't agree;
see 3.1 'Contentious issues' in en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Court_of_Justice.
G.
27 redpoll (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 03:39 pm Report abuse
@25 Icj is powerless to enforce its judgements. How many divisions has the Pope to quote Stalin
28 Truth_Telling_Troll (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 05:03 pm Report abuse
The hatred of Argentina is touching.
29 redpoll (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 07:13 pm Report abuse
No need to be touched troll.You are an isolationist so dont wish to be touched by anybody
30 ChrisR (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 07:26 pm Report abuse
As a resident in Uruguay, I have great problems understanding why the Dutch outfit are still dredging the river for anyone, including Argentina. Assuming of course that not one Argie is taking a backhander: and that is the problem.

Leaving CARP is not an option if you look at the channels and the boundary between the two countries.
31 redpoll (#) Jul 31st, 2012 - 09:56 pm Report abuse
Chris : why isnt leaving CARP an option? You live in Montevideo I think and are more attuned to the situation.
32 ChrisR (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 12:45 am Report abuse
There are two reasons as it has been explained to me:
1) To fully dredge the Uruguay channel involves entering Argentine waters and if Uruguay were 'on their own' can you imagine the hassle they would get from you know who;
2) Splitting the cost should have made sense but the cost of the backhanders (which Uruguay was unwittingly saddled with) made that irrelevant but there are those in government who are 'concerned' about taking the thing on alone. I thought this was an excuse but the debacle with Pluna (an Astori 'triumph) has made me think again.
33 Truth_Telling_Troll (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 04:46 am Report abuse
If Uruguay becomes Argentina's 24th province, then I'm sure the channel dredging would be no problem.

I would even support moving the capital from Buenos Aires to Montevideo, and going back to the name “Provinces of the South”, but instead of “united” use “ federated”.

Federated Provinces of the South, capital city Montevideo, largest city Buenos Aires, most liveable city Mendoza.
34 ChrisR (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 01:39 pm Report abuse
@33

Good job you will never be in charge of the thing you call a country then, isn't it?
35 Condorito (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 02:03 pm Report abuse
33
Nice idea.
Chris,
Are Argies and Uruguayos so different?
I find it hard to tell them apart, they have very similar accents, common history, similar ethnic background and so on.
Are the Scots and English so different? You were all the same people until the Romans built the wall.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace...

Is it nearly Friday?
36 ChrisR (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 04:25 pm Report abuse
@35

Are you saying nice idea for the Argies to invade Uruguay like they did the Falklands (there are STILL no Malvinas)? Only you addressed it to 33.
37 Condorito (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 07:06 pm Report abuse
@36
I wasn’t meaning Argentina should invade.
I was referring to political integration of the two countries?
If you put aside sporting rivalries and exaggerated idiosyncratic differences are Argies and Uruguayos not very similar?
Would it not be in their mutual benefit to be one country?

I imagine that the vast majority of Uruguayos surely cherish their national identity and would never entertain the idea, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its merits.
38 redpoll (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 08:44 pm Report abuse
Might I suggest that Argenchile might be better? That might have its merits also
39 British_Kirchnerist (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 09:41 pm Report abuse
#33 With Critina as President I hope =) And maybe Paraguay might want to come back too once its democratised

Honestly I don't think its likely at all, but it could make good economic sense, as does the further (and more likely) integration of the whole continent
40 Condorito (#) Aug 01st, 2012 - 11:22 pm Report abuse
@38
What a preposterous suggestion!
41 redpoll (#) Aug 02nd, 2012 - 02:30 am Report abuse
@37 @40 Well that answers you original suggestion condorito
42 ChrisR (#) Aug 02nd, 2012 - 05:24 pm Report abuse
Condorito

Don't like the thought of having The Mad Bitch Of Argentina in charge of your country? I don't blame you.

With the exception of Guzz, the rest of us would form a guerrilla movement to shoot anyone involved in taking over Uruguay. And to continue shooting them until thet left. Being the abject cowards that they are should mean it wouldn't be too long.

Pepe did this against the military. I think he must be in an advanced stage of senile decay with what he is doing at the moment with regard to TMBOA.
43 redpoll (#) Aug 02nd, 2012 - 07:34 pm Report abuse
Chris I made the comment to condorito just to show how cock-eyed his suggestion was. Need an adjutant? Bit to creaky for the front line at my age
44 Condorito (#) Aug 02nd, 2012 - 10:52 pm Report abuse
43
I was asking a cock-eyed question rather than making a cock-eyed suggestion.
But seriously, if you put aside sporting rivalries and exaggerated idiosyncratic differences are Argies and Uruguayos not very similar?
45 redpoll (#) Aug 03rd, 2012 - 01:22 am Report abuse
Yes we get on fairly well with visitors and investors from Argentina but that is beside the point. We value our democratic institutions and the relative lack of corruption. Some of us may not agree with the current government but they were fairly elected and all of us would defend them. Unlike some of our nieghbours, we have no pretentions to occupy anybody elses land. Perhaps you should read the first verse of our national anthem
46 ChrisR (#) Aug 03rd, 2012 - 11:07 am Report abuse
@44

I have only met middle class Argentineans so I cannot speak for the 40M of them.

The people I met were fine and my next door neighbour and his family are great. However, the 'gang' factor is real.

By this I mean when these people convened their meeting their attitude changed somewhat. Far more macho, far less willing to concede well made points.

My next door neighbour is clear about his countrymen: never trust them in business (he runs a medium sized family business in BsAs), never stop on the highway from the ferry unless it is at a formal break point AND NEVER walk alone ANYWHERE in the centre of BsAs.

I never have to think about any of this in Uruguay. This is changing though because of the drug dealers from Argentina are causing real grief with teenagers and committing many drug related gang murders.

So no, we are not similar at all. Let me ask you a question: are Chileans not similar to Argentinians, you are, after all, next door neighbours just like us?
47 redpoll (#) Aug 03rd, 2012 - 01:25 pm Report abuse
Another instance of bullying and harrasment: the banning of imports of Urugayan asado cuts. The volume of these cuts is infinitesimal and amounts to less than 0.1% of Argentine consumption, mainly consumed in the nieghbouring provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes, the other 99.9% being home grown in Argentina. Was that really necessary to save a handful of USD
There also increasing complaints of the truck drivers transporting exports to Chile of the delays in clearing customs on their route through Argentina
48 Condorito (#) Aug 03rd, 2012 - 02:40 pm Report abuse
46, 47
Thanks for clarifying that for me. I was interested to hear about some of the differences.
And Chris, the Chileans are not very similar to the Argies. Yes, we live next door, but we may as well be on an island. As you know we are separated from our neighbours by the second highest mountains on earth and the driest desert in the world. Chile’s has evolved separately from Argentina, while Uruguay is much more entwined with Argentina.

Don’t get offended, I am just saying that you seem to have very much in common with Argentina, but I am happy to accept that that is down to my own lack of knowledge.
49 ChrisR (#) Aug 03rd, 2012 - 03:06 pm Report abuse
@46

Thank you for your concern, but I was not offended.

I just wanted to put you in the same position as you put me (I am British).

Perhaps Chilians have more in common with the British as I know quite a few work on the Falklands (there are STILL no Malvinas). :o)
50 redpoll (#) Aug 03rd, 2012 - 04:31 pm Report abuse
Look condorito What the debate is about on all these threads is that people have a right be they Uruguayans, chilenos or Falklanders to choose thier own destiny. I am of Scots descent and am not personally in favour of independence for Scotland but if they vote for it its up to them and thier decision should be respected.The naked intentions of someof the trolls on this site is to incorporate our country in Agentina. Well there may be some wierdos like Guzzle who might like that but most of us would not. So put it to a referendum, just as the Falklanders are doing and abide by the result, though probably the porteños wont

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!

Advertisement

Get Email News Reports!

Get our news right on your inbox.
Subscribe Now!

Advertisement