G20: Buenos Aires, an armored city

All leaders of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Venezuela. Photo by Kremlin.ru

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (ViaNews) – If you were heading towards the city of Buenos Aires, it’s highly recommended to wait for the Group of Twenty Summit to come to an end on Saturday.

Being Argentina the current chair leader of the Group of twenty, the country is holding the Summit that for the first in its ten-year history takes place in a South American country.

In that order, the city capital of Buenos Aires has taken unprecedented security measures to welcome the 19 country leaders and the European Commission, representing the European Union.

  • Over 20.000 police agents have been deployed.
  • The metro and the regional trains services are suspended.
  • The domestic airport, Aeroparque, is currently closed to the public. It´s only open to the exclusive use of international delegations, the airspace around the city of Buenos Aires is restricted to a perimeter of 460 kilometers, and the Harbour is also closed.

“Security is one of the key elements in a meeting of this category, with the presence of the most important leaders of the world, so the security device is powerful, strong and appropriate to the challenge we are facing with this meeting,” stated the Minister of Security, Patricia Bullrich, talking to the press.

The G20 Summit

Ten years ago, at the first edition of the G20 summit, it was agreed that the forum would be held semi-annually, but since 2010 the twenty-member states reunite annually in different cities around the world to discuss on policies such as trade, climate, and global economy.

The 2018 meeting in Buenos Aires reunites the most relevant global economies in the world for two days.

These are the members of the group of twenty: President of the United States Donald Trump, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, President of France Emmanuel Macron, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President of Brazil Michel Temer, United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May, Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, China President China Xi Jinping, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, South Corea President Moon Jae-in, South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, Indonesia Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a severe problem with the official airplane she was travel in, having to return to Germany to then take an international airline (Iberia) flight in Madrid.

The inconvenient prevented the Chancellor to arrive in time for the annual picture, and Argentina President Mauricio Macri´s welcoming speech.

Also present at the summit is the permanent guest, Spain, represented by President Pedro Sánchez. Both, the President of Chile Sebastián Piñera and the President of The Netherlands Mark Rutte are also present at the summit as the host-guests, along with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chairwoman Christine Lagarde, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres, World Bank Group (WBG) President Jim Yong Kim, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.

4th Meeting of Finance and Central Bank Deputies at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Photo by: G20 Summit.
4th Meeting of Finance and Central Bank Deputies at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires. Photo by: G20 Summit.

Overall, about 15.000 people are expected to take part in the summit.

Despite the efforts regarding the security in the city, Canadian Professor, Director, G7 Research Group, G20 Research Group, John Kirton, suffered an incident on Wednesday, as he then twitted “Visiting journos beware: Just survived with minor injuries a mugging at the corner of Lavalle and Madero avenues — very close to where the shuttles will leave for the G20 summit. No security in sight.”

In another tweet, he added: “G20 media beware! I was just attacked and injured in Buenos Aires half a block from a summit site and police station. Police simply said “happens three times a day” so won’t follow up.”

But what made headlines in all tv station were the images of the President of France and the First Lady Brigitte Trogneux arriving at the International Airport of Ezeiza in Buenos Aires. Once the gates opened, the presidential couple realized that there was no one expecting them. They walked down the plane stairs to then reach the car that would take them to the hotel. It was only by then, that Argentinian vice-president Gabriela Michetti arrived, welcoming Macron and Trogneux, apparently, it was a problem of timing schedule.

On Thursday, President Mauricio Macri and the First Lady Juliana Awada meet with the Queen Máxima of the Netherlands at the Centro Cultural Kirchner. Máxima Zorreguieta arrived at Argentina on Wednesday, in quality of a special advocate of the UN Secretary-General for Inclusive Financing for Development. President Mauricio Macri also held meetings, with the President of France Emmanuel Macron and Italy Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Thursday at the presidential official working residence known as Casa Rosada.

In the evening, President Macri had dinner with the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau at the Quinta Presidencial de Olivos, the official residence of the President of Argentina.

DAY 1 – Not everything went according to plan

Friday began as a very unusual day for the Argentinian people. The government declared the day as a holiday with the President “encouraging” citizens to leave the city. In addition, an extremely rare earthquake of a 3.8 magnitude, has been registered in the morning but without consequences to the summit´s itinerary.

During the inaugural day, two plenary sessions took place, the first under the slogan “Putting people first” and the second, held in the afternoon, under the slogan “Building consensus”.

Several private meetings between mandataries took place on Friday.

On the agenda, the leaders will discuss The Future of Work, Infrastructure for Development, and A Sustainable Food Future.


For the first time since the Falkland Islands War (1982), a meeting between a British Prime Minister and an Argentinian President took place in the local soil. The meeting was short, fifteen minutes, but meaningful to both countries. According to local media reports, the Falkland Islands was not an issue on the table.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States Donald Trump, the President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto (this is his last act as president as Andrés Manuel López Obrador steps in on 1 December) and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed and signed a new commercial treaty (USMCA).

“Just signed one of the most important, and largest, Trade Deals in U.S. and World History. The United States, Mexico, and Canada worked so well together in crafting this great document. The terrible NAFTA will soon be gone. The USMCA will be fantastic for all!,” twitted President Donald Trumps minutes later.

Regarding the investigation on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, last October, the President of the European Council Donald Tusk twitted:

“The EU countries at the G20 Summit coordinated position on trade, climate. On Khashoggi, we agreed urgent need to establish what happened on 2 October. Given the outstanding nature of the case, the international dimension could enhance the credibility of the Saudi investigation.”

President Macri also held meetings with the President of the United States of America, as well as with the President of Spain Pedro Sánchez, at the Casa Rosada.

In the streets, social organizations walked from Av. de Mayo to Plaza del Congreso against the G20. At least eight people were arrested by local authorities.

"G20 2018 - Burn the city" Graffiti on a wall in Buenos Aires, made in the days leading up to the G20 summit in Argentina. Photo by Cambalachero.
“G20 2018 – Burn the city” Graffiti on a wall in Buenos Aires, made in the days leading up to the G20 summit in Argentina. Photo by Cambalachero.

A Gala dinner takes place in the evening at the famous Teatro Colón.

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