I intend to “massage” this blog into another piece to submit to Huffington Post. With that in mind, I would appreciate your leaving a comment suggesting on how to best improve this for submission.
Imagine telling a person who has been blind since birth to describe the color blue. Never having seen it, what would they say.
They might know that blue is the color often associated with cold, but that’s not what is asked. The question is: Describe the color blue. It’s a big enough challenge for a sighted person, but if a blind person had never seen blue, what would they say?
That is similar to the problem and challenge I have in trying to accurately and completely describe the situation here in Argentina.
If you’ve never lived in a developing country that is in a constant state of economic and political turmoil, how do I describe it so that you can understand and comprehend?
The economy is going down the crapper. Each day is worse than the day before. Inflation hovers between 25% and 30% and that hits almost every week. The government “solves” the problem by printing more and more money, and that floods the market with increasingly depressed currency.
Today it costs 10 pesos to buy what cost 1 peso 4 months ago. As more and more currency is printed, the value of the existing currency is pushed down more and the spiral continues.
And while the populace struggles, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, continues to send money out of the country. Just this week, her former personal secretary, told about seeing bags of cash around Casa Rosada (Argentina’s version of The White House). The plastic bags full of cash are continuously shipped to a friend and ally of Kirchner who then ships the money out of the country on private planes.
This isn’t idle speculation on my part. It’s all part of the record. Do a Google search, or better yet, start reading The Buenos Aires Herald (Argentina’s largest English speaking newspaper) each day.
The interview with the former secretary was aired on television and it prompted the Attorney General to order an investigation AND ordered around-the-clock protection for the investigator who has received at least two threats to kill his young daughters should the investigation go forward.
Why do Argentines tolerate this? The short answer is they just don’t know what to do.
Democracy here is only 30 years old. In many ways, the populace here is kind of like the dog that’s been chasing the car. Once he catches the car he doesn’t know what to do with it.
From 1976 – 1983, Argentina experienced what has become known as The Dirty War. During these years while the military dictatorship ruled, approximately 30,000 people disappeared. Journalists, writers, opposition leaders and anyone else that didn’t like the dictatorship were done away with.
Within 5 miles of where I am setting right now is the building which was instrumental as a detention center during the Dirty War. People who spoke out against the government were kidnapped right off the street, or taken from their homes in the dead of night, and carried to the detention center where they were tortured. When the military was tired of them or felt the victim had outlived their usefulness, they were then stripped naked, drugged and carried out over the river, La Plata, and thrown out.
And remember, this is NOT ancient history. The dictatorship started in 1976 — the same year that America was celebrating it’s 200th birthday; well within the memory banks of most people reading this
Before I left Washington, DC, I had a firm offer to freelance for Grupo Clarin, the country’s largest media conglomerate. However, the first week I was in Argentina, Clarin was hit with a government injunction threatening to take control of the company. With that over their heads, Clarin put a freeze on all new hires — including me. Clarin lost round one of that battle and will be nationalized this week, thus silencing the most prominent watchdog there is.
There is tangenital evidence that even this rambling blog of mine is monitored and censored. I don’t know about that, but the fact that it is totally believable is indicative of the atmosphere here in South America’s second largest country.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
First, educate yourself about the situation here on the ground in Argentina. Become familiar with the politics and corruption that we see every day. In many ways, Argentina is already at the place towards which America is already heading.
Second, pray like hell. Many in the media here agree with me that Argentina could be the next Egypt. With revolution on the horizon a bad situation is about to get worse.
Please remember to post a comment and let me know how I can improve this for submission to Huffington Post
- Argentina Economics: Too hot for The Huffington Post to Touch (journeyamerica.wordpress.com)
- Reporter Remembers Fear in Videla’s Argentina (abcnews.go.com)
- Former Argentina dictator Videla dies in prison (irishtimes.com)
- Fly (really far) South for the Winter (flipkey.com)
- Argentina’s Former Military Dictator Videla Dies in Jail at 87 – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Jorge Rafael VIdela, Argentina’s Dictator Dies in Prison at 87 (kjmmyblog.wordpress.com)