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Montevideo, May 24th 2024 - 17:30 UTC



Business forum in Bariloche to be attended by Presidents of Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay

Wednesday, April 17th 2024 - 10:36 UTC
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Milei attended last year's gathering as a candidate. Hotel Llao LLao Milei attended last year's gathering as a candidate. Hotel Llao LLao

Presidents Javier Milei of Argentina, Luis Lacalle Pou of Uruguay, and Santiago Peña of Paraguay are expected to be the three most important participants of the so-called Llao Llao Forum starting Wednesday in the Patagonian resort of Bariloche in the Argentine province of Río Negro.

The event is designed for businesspeople from the world over to discuss the latest regional and international developments, including Argentina's siding with Israel after last Saturday's attacks from Iran. Russia's invasion of Ukraine is also to be discussed.

The organizers have not yet confirmed whether any head of state would be meeting one-on-one with either of the other two. Should all three of them be together at any given time, it would be the gathering of Mercosur's conservative/rightwing sector, with leftwing leaders such as Bolivia's Luis Arce Catacora and Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva out of the picture.

The event kicks off Wednesday over lunch and continues until Friday when Milei is due to deliver the closing speech, according to Buenos Aires' Clarín.

Between 70 and 100 entrepreneurs are expected to convene as they do every year under strict confidentiality rules and a rigorous protocol.

Among the Argentine business leaders whose attendance has been confirmed are Agustín Otero Monsegur (San Miguel), Carlos Miguens (Central Puerto, San Miguel and Patagonia Gold), Carolina Castro (Industrias Guidi), Federico Braun (La Anónima), Guibert Englebienne (Globant), Karina Román (Roman), Luciano Nicora (entrepreneur), Marcos Galperin (Mercado Libre), Martín Migoya (Globant), and Verónica Andreani (Andreani).

The Llao Llao Forum dates back to 2012 when Endeavor Argentina and Grupo GAM celebrated Bariloche's recovery from the ashes of the Puyehue Volcano. In 2015, the meetings were formalized.

The event takes place at the exclusive Llao Llao Hotel in Bariloche owned by Eduardo Elsztain (IRSA Group) and David Sutton (Alvear Group). Each participant bears the cost of his or her stay, except in cases of special guests, such as President Milei, who attended last year's gathering when he was still a Congressman running for the Casa Rosada job. At the time, current Security Minister Patricia Bullrich was chosen by over 60 businesspeople out of around 100 attendees as the most suitable candidate.

”We have proven that the meeting and dialogue model is the most effective for generating social impact. From the experience of the Forum, initiatives such as 'potencia(a)rgentina,' Argentina Debate, the Observatorio Argentinos por la Educación and many other projects of proactive transformation for our country have arisen,” Elsztain said.

However, the success of this year's event might be marred by the State Workers' Association (ATE) union's plans to boycott it in a move to show its rejection of Milei's policies which have rendered millions of Argentines poorer. Hence, Bullrich insisted that traffic must never be blocked and therefore her anti-picketing protocol might be enforced.

“The President has to know that in our province he is persona non grata. On the day of his arrival, all the roads in Bariloche should be cut off. He is only interested in talking to businessmen with tax exemptions,” a labor leader from ATE's local branch was quoted as saying.

“He is persona non grata and we have to prove it to him,” Rodolfo Aguiar insisted. He also highlighted Milei's apparent intention to repeal the land law and “deepen the surrender of Patagonia to foreign powers.”

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