Intersection of "Political Discussion" and "Imminent Disaster", por favor!

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 6 › view all entries

    Riding home from the flamenco show, Derek, Phil, and I encountered an unexpected wealth of political opinion in our boisterous cab driver.  I don’t know if it was the fact that I’ve been in the country for a few weeks or the fact that he was yelling at the top of his lungs, but I managed to understand almost all of his Spanish.  He certainly had plenty of opinions about US, Argentine, and Chilean policy and he made sure we knew about them.  I figured it would be best to include a transcript of the conversation from what I recall.

(After 5 minutes of complete silence)
Driver: ¿De donde son?
Derek: Estados Unidos.
Driver: ¡AY!  ¡AMERICANOS!
Derek, Phil, and I: …Sí.
Driver: AY, UH... “BOOSH”!
Us: Haha sí, “Boosh”.
Driver: HAHAHA!  ¿VAN A GANAR LA GUERRA?  (Shows thumbs up)
Me:  Sería una buena cosa.
Driver: ¡¡HAHAHA AY SI!!
Me: ¿Te gusta Bush?
Driver: ¿MÍ?  NO, PUES ÉL ES MUY POPULAR EN LOS EE.UU. ¿NO?
Us: Uhhh… no.
Derek: Solamente treinta por ciento tienen gusto de él.
Me: Es como Kirchner en 2003, ¿no?

Driver: HAHAHAH
Phil: Why the hell does he keep laughing…
Me: Haha I don’t know.
Driver: KIRCHNER ESTÁ MUY POPULAR COMO PINOCHET ESTUVO EN
            CHILE, ¿EH?

Me: Is he seriously comparing a democratically elected president to a dictator?
Derek: Sí, pero Pinochet fue una dictadura.
Driver: ¡AY, PERO ÉL MEJORADO COSAS EN CHILE!
Me: (thinking) While killing thousands of people…

By this point we had arrived at the residencia and I didn’t know enough Spanish political terms to tell him how confused he was.  As seemingly silly as this discussion was though it did provide a fairly good barometer of how Argentines view U.S. policy and beliefs.  Even though he clearly didn’t care for “Boosh” and referred to the Iraq war with complete sarcasm he didn’t turn the three of us into the bad guys.  This is pretty consistent with similar encounters I’ve had with a few other Argentine citizens.  As much as they may disapprove with U.S. actions abroad they know they do not have the first-hand view of political actions and decisions that we have at home (and the same goes for us here) and therefore are not too quick to judge.  Most of the people I talked to do speak their opinions however, but I have found that they are usually much more informed than our good friend the taxi driver who was most likely just trying to push our buttons.  Whatever the case may have been, it was an unexpected yet surprisingly enjoyable “discussion.”  And best of all, disaster was averted.

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