Leo Blog in Argentina

Česky: Vlajka Argentiny Español: La bandera de...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

South America is fascinating. Neither poor not rich; neither western nor exotic; near yet distant. To avoid sounding too much like a travel guide, I’ll elaborate on what I mean.

Here in the United Kingdom we rarely hear about news from South America. Foreign news is often about Europe, the USA and the Middle East – I suppose these are areas where we have an interest. African countries often make the news after all-too-often national crises, and the media watches China and India closely. Yet to a large extent South America evades our television screens and newspaper news pages. It is telling that the biggest news story from the continent over the last few years was that of miners trapped underground in Chile. This was in the same year as the February 2010 earthquake in Chile, which at 8.8 on the Richter scale is the sixth largest ever recorded by a seismograph. Yet this received significantly less attention. Whilst the miners were trapped underground, there was an attempted coup in Ecuador which also received little media coverage here. It sometimes feels like South America remains a distant and mysterious place for us in the West, not dissimilar to the setting of Gabriel García Márquez’s books.

I write all this because I am currently in Argentina. I hope to write some posts to go on here about observations I have, but I can’t promise to post regularly. It is an interesting time to be Argentinean. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who in a similar style to a certain London Mayor I saw referred to as ‘Cristina’ on news channel TN today, is the President (and her late husband was her predecessor) and has attracted international controversy, much like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Tensions have resurfaced over the Falkland Islands, with the 30th anniversary of the end of the war next month. Argentina also nationalised just over half of its biggest oil company, YPF, leading to Spanish threats. In domestic politics, there are worries about press freedom and Kirchner has been accused of denying independence to Argentina’s Central Bank and manipulating official statistics. Is all the criticism of her justified or partly opportunist attacks by those opposed to a left-wing government in Argentina?

Any Argentina-based posts will be tagged under the category “Argentina“, which you can view here or by clicking the link at the top of the page.

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4 thoughts on “Leo Blog in Argentina

  1. Am interested that you point our that a major earthquake and concerns about human rights play second fiddle to miners trapped underground (a good discrete human story) and the Falklands (always a good one to rouse those apathetic Brits) in stories we get reported in the UK about South America – look forward to reading future blogs from Argentina

  2. your blogs are interesting but do make me laugh sometimes.

    I am surprised however, that having been to Argentina, you have not commented on the virtually rabid dog obsession they have with their own form of history according to them.

    I mean, in my opinion, any discussions with an Argentinian is like trying to get a sensible conversation out of a three year old child.

    From issues such as the Falklands, financial responsibility, international co-operation and even the continued legal issues regarding the secret landing of German war criminals. Each matter can not be discussed without a huge exasperation of breath, waved hands then a lecture on how all matters are reported incorrectly outside Agentina, and only the Argentinian nation knows the truth, everyone else lies.

    Finance

    Take the financial situation, the world is beginning to stop trade with Argentina, as they have stolen Repsol’s shares and inflation is up near 30% and yet the country reports 9.5% to the international community. Even the local government services recognise the inflation rate and are insisting on pay rises to reflect the 30% inflation rate.

    International co-operation

    Argentina will claim they are part of the world events and interested in helping world matters, but when have you seen the UN with an Argentinian soldier helping in poor countries, when do you see Argentinian peacekeeping ships in Antarctica. Never, why, because it is not in their self interest.

    Falklands

    The Argentinian people believe that the British stole their islands in 1833 (even though Argentina did not exist) and teach their children this issue. This even goes to the extent of brain washing Malvinas lessons at school. The children are never shown the whole picture where Britain laid claim to the islands in 1765 and only left when they had to use resources in America.

    A common british view is that Argentina would be better claiming someone’s car, that had been left empty of a couple of days as it carries more weight than their Falklands argument.

    German war crimes

    Finally, it is common knowledge that many german war criminals fled germany to hide in south america, and indeed many countries openly admit this. However, Argentina has always been a little quiet on this issue. Many believe alot of gold and works of art travelled by submarine to Argentina and this has helped the political views of the nation down a certain line. Indeed, I believe Christina’s grandmother was German. Is this the real power behind the peronists?

    This is only a brief personal view, however, it takes a few minutes to ponder.

    Andy Skinner
    http://www.cruising4holidays.com

    1. “your blogs are interesting but do make me laugh sometimes.”

      Thanks, I’ll take that as a compliment…

      “I am surprised however, that having been to Argentina, you have not commented on the virtually rabid dog obsession they have with their own form of history according to them.
      I mean, in my opinion, any discussions with an Argentinian is like trying to get a sensible conversation out of a three year old child.
      From issues such as the Falklands, financial responsibility, international co-operation and even the continued legal issues regarding the secret landing of German war criminals. Each matter can not be discussed without a huge exasperation of breath, waved hands then a lecture on how all matters are reported incorrectly outside Agentina, and only the Argentinian nation knows the truth, everyone else lies.”

      I think to a large extent we all see issues through the prism of our own media and shared national experience, and we must allow ourselves to see things from different perspectives. I have to say I did not notice Argentinians being particularly obstinate.

      “Finance
      Take the financial situation, the world is beginning to stop trade with Argentina, as they have stolen Repsol’s shares and inflation is up near 30% and yet the country reports 9.5% to the international community. Even the local government services recognise the inflation rate and are insisting on pay rises to reflect the 30% inflation rate.”

      Some of what you say is true. However, I should point out financial policy probably goes above the head of the average Argentinian, and what I did pick up whilst in Argentina was that there is much dissatisfaction with Kirchner’s government. You could also argue we in the West have been self-delusional about our economies, and are now struggling.

      “International co-operation
      Argentina will claim they are part of the world events and interested in helping world matters, but when have you seen the UN with an Argentinian soldier helping in poor countries, when do you see Argentinian peacekeeping ships in Antarctica. Never, why, because it is not in their self interest.”

      OK, I’ll take your word for it, but I think lots of less economically developed countries do not provide much military aid in comparison to their richer Western counterparts.

      “Falklands
      The Argentinian people believe that the British stole their islands in 1833 (even though Argentina did not exist) and teach their children this issue. This even goes to the extent of brain washing Malvinas lessons at school. The children are never shown the whole picture where Britain laid claim to the islands in 1765 and only left when they had to use resources in America.
      A common british view is that Argentina would be better claiming someone’s car, that had been left empty of a couple of days as it carries more weight than their Falklands argument.”

      My views and experiences are expressed in these two links here:
      https://leoleoleoblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/observations-on-las-malvinas/
      https://leoleoleoblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/who-has-to-right-to-own-the-falklands-las-malvinas-a-response-to-responses/

      “German war crimes
      Finally, it is common knowledge that many german war criminals fled germany to hide in south america, and indeed many countries openly admit this. However, Argentina has always been a little quiet on this issue. Many believe alot of gold and works of art travelled by submarine to Argentina and this has helped the political views of the nation down a certain line. Indeed, I believe Christina’s grandmother was German. Is this the real power behind the peronists?”

      Quite a bit of speculation and conspiracy here. It’s an interesting story if true, but I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to allude to here. You may have a point…

      “This is only a brief personal view, however, it takes a few minutes to ponder.”

      Thanks, I’ve tried to respond briefly here.

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