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Buenos Aires Travel Blog

 › entry 9 of 30 › view all entries
A SWEEEEEEEEEEET TOUR!!!  Man did I learn a lot about Argentina and its politics!  I love it!  Unfortunately I was a bit tired and out-of-it with the first day of bad weather (S.A.D. - Jen you know what I’m talking about).  We went tons of places:  

- River Plate stadium (Boca Junior’s archrival football team)

- Parque de la memoria (a park in honor of los desparecidos - those who “disappeared” during Argentina’s internal “dirty war” back in the 70’s - early 80’s dictatorship)

- Evita museum

- CGT, Confederación General del Trabajo, donde encontramos un viejo que lloraba mientras hablar de Evita... it was so moving and was such a good example of the cult of personality that the people attached to Peron and especially Evita.  The people just absolutely loved (and for about half the population, still love) her, it is hard for us to comprehend.  I think I have been given glimpses of why the people loved her so much - bringing them dignity and making them more important that the upper classes, making their needs important - but I have also been shown the reasons why other classes of people (not all upper classes) absolutely hated her.  The couple was entirely undemocratic (at least at the beginning) and acted unilaterally with their power, disallowing any pluralistic influences.  They accomplished great things for the workers with that power, so I am not necessarily against their abusive use of power.  But, from one point of view, it seems that it is very possible that Perón did not genuinely care about the people, but was actually an astute politician who saw an opportunity for power in the masses and took advantage of it.  Also, his policies did not help the country in the long term.  I cannot remember all the details now, but he spent lots of money on social projects and (along with Eva), gave lots of hand-outs.  Arguments about his policy of heavy handed state control of union negotiating, etc. is another argument entirely, but I will say that (as discussed in class?) this could be one reason for the current mass-lobbying culture where protests and strikes are the frequent norm.

- Plaza de Mayo (donde fui con mi madre nuestra primer día acá) and “the pink house” - the seat of government.  I participated in the Thursday march of the “madres de los desparacidos” who began their weekly protesting back in the 70’s  - without missing a week since - to lobby the government for information about their “missing” loved ones (most killed by the government after being kidnapped).  There were a lot more people than the few old women with white scarves on their heads making a few laps around a statue in the plaza - some of the more radical mothers (who created a rift in the group) have turned their protest into an event that supports all sorts of radical social issues, with some young hippie-looking/Che Guevara-looking folks making the rounds as well.  I found it very powerful and meaningful to participate in an event which has so much history and which I have done so much reading about.  Another protest I participated in - against the School of the Americas - is talked about much in the books and articles I am reading for classes, because many of the bloodiest military-men in the Argentine military during the Dirty War were trained there.  It makes me feel connected with history, actually part of this crazy world!

Gabriel was our amazing guía on the trip, what a great guy!  He came to the asado with us the next day and showed off his sweet dancing skills.    :)   Can't wait for our next tour on Tuesday!

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