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Sat Apr 24, 2021, 06:45 PM

Argentine Transport Minister Mario Meoni dies in road accident

Argentina's Transport Minister Mario Meoni has died from serious injuries after his car overturned in a road accident Friday evening. He was 56.

Meoni was driving alone in a Ford Mondeo, and was reportedly on his way to Junín to see his family. The accident took place on National Route 7 near San Andrés de Giles, a small town 67 miles NW of Buenos Aires and 100 miles from his destination.

According to initial reports, he lost control of the vehicle at around 9:30 pm near the Kilometer 112 marker. It is believed he crashed into railings and the car overturned; the cause of the accident is unknown.

A former mayor (2003-15) of Junín, a small city in the Pampas plains, Meoni was a prominent “K Radical” - members of the centrist Radical Civic Union (UCR) who supported center-left former Presidents Néstor and Cristina Kirchner.

Turbulent waters

Earlier in the day, he had been in Rosario, where he attended meetings and a public event with President Alberto Fernández and Santa Fe Province Governor Omar Perotti.

They had discussed infrastructure projects and agreements - the most contentious of these topics being the strategic Paraná-Paraguay Waterway in NE Argentina, which carries over 100 millions tons of freight (including 60% of the nation's exports).

Fernández (and Meoni) had thus far resisted calls from many in his Front For All coalition to nationalize the 500-mile waterway - managed since 1995 by a consortium led by local firm Emepa and Belgium's Jan de Nul.

The president has instead called for new bids this September for the concession - worth over $300 million in freight charges, and over $3 billion in dredging and signal charges.

China's state-owned Shanghai Dredging Company (SDC) has expressed interest in the upcoming bidding - which former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had referred to as “China's (using) CCCC and other state-owned companies as weapons to impose a expansionist agenda.”

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/argentinas-transport-minister-mario-meoni-dies-in-road-traffic-accident.phtml

Argentine Transport Minister Mario Meoni at his Buenos Aires office.

President Alberto Fernández referred to Meoni's death as “the loss of a thorough, tireless and honest politician. An exemplary official.”

The tragedy comes amid a difficult month for Fernández - including a Covid diagnosis on his birthday (April 2nd), a four-fold jump in new daily Covid cases that prompted new restrictions, and the right-wing mayor of Buenos Aires' refusal to enforce these restrictions.

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