Thursday, March 27, 2008

Recoleta Protest: Cristina's speech didn't calm things here.

Young-Protester.jpg
Young protester with her dad joining the crowd on Pueyrredon

Just returned from the protest here in the Recoleta tonight. It was much bigger than the night before. When talking with people in the crowd, it appears that Cristina didn't do anything to calm the emotions of the middle class here in the Recoleta. (OK...maybe some were well above middle class status.)


Protest Turning onto Santa Fe

The cacerolazo started soon after Cristina's speech. People headed to their windows and balconies and started banging on pots and pans to announce the start.

People then started gathering on the street. I went up a block to the corner of Callao and Quitana where everyone from my neighborhood seemed to gather each night. There was a pretty good crowd, although not as big as the previous night.

When enough had gathered to block the road, everyone marched up to the corner of Santa Fe and Callao. This was the area where all of the groups from Barrio Norte would meet up before marching on to the Obelisco the other nights.

I left the crowd about 9:00 and headed home for dinner.

About 10:00 we heard a large bang of fireworks and the tin of the Cacerolazo approaching our apartment. I grabbed the camera and raced downstairs. I was surprised to see a very large march down Callao.


Protest moving up Santa Fe

I guess the pro-government supporters had occupied the Obelisco and Plaza de Mayo all day. So the Cacerolazo decided to march through the streets tonight.

It was a great tactic. The group drew more and more participants as it marched down Callao. I followed the group of about 3,000 people. down Callao and onto Ave. Libertador. From Libertador, the crowd moved up Av. Pueyrredon and back up to Santa Fe.

All along the way the crowed grew bigger an bigger. And when they reached the intersection of Santa Fe and Callao again the crowd was easily 5,000. Later, they broke out in the national anthem before many left for home around 11:00. It was very moving.


Protest heading to Callao and Santa Fe

The mood was more like being in a parade than a protest. There were families with small children, older couples, soccer mom types, and a large number of young adults. As we passed down the street, the balconies would fill with people banging pots or throwing confetti down on the crowd.


Cristina Maria Antonieta

One thing is clear. The middle and upper classes do not like the Kirschners. They are tired of the bad government and the fact that they have no real congress to stand up for them. They feel the cacerolazo is the only way they can be heard.


I've got a ton of great video. It just takes forever to upload to YouTube. I'll post more as I get it uploaded. I promise.

I'll leave you with a moving video of the singing of the National Anthem:


Right before the Protest Broke up

14 comments:

Roxanne said...

Mr. Dave, I want to thank you for posting all these videos.
I'm coming to Buenos Aires in six weeks but after reading stories of this becoming a civil war I can't say I'm 100% sure about coming and being safe.
Your videos have really eased my nerves since they show how peaceful the protesting really is. Keep posting! :)

Pablo said...

Roxanne,

Buenos Aires is one of the safest places in South America, you don't have to be afraid, just be cautious like any large city in the world.

There won't be any civil war any time soon.

Roxanne said...

Thanks Pablo! I'm definitely a worrier, but who wouldn't be if you're traveling alone to a country on the other side of the equator?

Longhorn Dave said...

Roxanne:

Pablo is right. It should not lead to civil war. The farmers just went on TV to say would lift the roadblocks for 3 hours to let food through and gave Christina until 8:00 to open dialog with them.

However, if things did get violent, you would still be very safe here. Most violence would occur at certain key points like Plaza De Mayo or the Obelisco. And then only at night during the protest.

Please come down. I know lots of single women who are expats here. Just take the same precautions as you would in any large city as Pablo said.

You don't hear a lot about violent crimes (rapes murders etc.) The worst is being mugged on a dark street in a bad neighborhood or pick pocketed on the subway.

Roxanne said...

Thanks for the encouragement!
I'll be living in Recoleta this May through the end of July. Will I be near the Plaza De Mayo or the Obelisco? I've been trying to get GoogleEarth to work so I can figure out where things are.

The Travel Addict said...

I can't say I'm not nervous... we've been to BsAs twice so I'm no stranger to the city. Still, the protests aren't comforting since we'll be traveling with our 7 month old baby. That kind of worries me and makes me reconsider our trip. If it was my wife and I, that would be one thing.

Admittedly, we were involved in an armed robbery during our first trip... it was our first full day in town. Didn't stop us from enjoying our vacation or coming back for a 2nd (and soon to be 3rd time).

Anyway... thoughts?

Cecilia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Longhorn Dave said...

Travel Addict:

come on down. The farmers have lifted the strike for 30 days. all of the protest in the Recoleta are very peaceful.

The gov't protest are staged with a rent-a-crowd groups that support the government and are usually in the Plaza de Mayo.

I don't think their will be any more soon though. The farmers have lifted the strike for 30days.

I am sorry to hear you were robbed the first time. You have to take cautions here as you would in any big city.

Please bring the baby. Even if there was a protest or two, they are nothing really to be scared of. If you are concerned, just avoid the area of the protest while it is going on.

The only thing you need to worry about are the bad sidewalks you will be trying to navigate a baby stroller down. That will be your toughest nightmare.

Longhorn Dave said...

Cecilia:

I have never deleted a comment on my blog. I like to hear arguments from all sides and encourage debate.

However, your comment is very long and most of my readers are from the US and can't read spanish/castellano.

Could you please post a more concise version? I want to make sure you are heard.

If anyone is interested in her original post, I will gladly email it to you. But for now I am deleting it in hopes she posts a shorter version. It was only slightly shorter than War and Peace and in Castellano.

Cecilia said...

i'm sorry!!!
you can read (in spanish)
a different version of this conflict:
www.lucascastro.com.ar
www.homo-economicus.blogspot.com
bye!

The Travel Addict said...

The robbery was a great case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time... my wife and I were in a business when three armed gunmen came in posing as customers. It's a long story but it was 9 of us (the two of us as tourists and 7 employees) held up for an hour and then locked in a half-bath for 45 minutes until the police broke in. It was in an office bldg. off of Maipu... random and unavoidable.

That was our first full day in BsAs. Afterwards, we went to the police station to give our statements. When all was said and done, we walked out of the station and said, "Okay then... let's go get lunch!" What are you going to do? Obviously, we decided to come back to BsAs not once but twice.

I guess you just get more cautious once you have a baby.

The Travel Addict said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

I enjoyed reading your blog and wanted to know if you could give me some information. I am recently divorced with a small son and am considering a move to Recoleta from Washington, DC. I visited for few months while in undergraduate school several years ago and fell in love with the city. I remember only good things about my time there and the family I stayed with however, I have lost contact with them. Now as a mother of a small son, I am wondering if you could give me some information about how you feel minority American's are accecpted? I did have a few "strange" experiences while there including odd looks etc. although nothing extreme. But because now I have a small son, I would like to be careful because I wouldn't want him to be discriminated against in a strange country, just because I am looking for a fresh start. I am just wondering if you could share anything you have noticed, maybe a good neighborhood or schools or anything? I don't want to take prejudices into another country but I dont' want to make a life altering decision and be in harms way. Any information you could give would be appreciated.

Longhorn Dave said...

Anon:

My four year old loves it here in BA/Recoleta. He often says he likes it here better than in Texas.

Minority Americans seem to be accepted just fine. My wife is mexican-american. Most Porteños are "white" not dark skinned— or like to think of themselves as white.

My wife was worried that she was going to be looked down upon or mistaken for someones maid. But that hasn't been the case.

African-Americans do stand out. When we do see African Americans we are sure that they can speak english so we are a little quicker to strike up a conversation with them.

However, I would think most Porteños would be less discriminatory just because someone was "black" than people in the US.

The only discrimination you see here is "Class" discrimination. I don't know that I would even call it discrimination, more of a culture thing.

This is just my opinion based on my observations. Say take it with a grain of salt. It might not match reality.

Click on the email link below my picture on the blog home page to email privately and I can feel you in on schools. How old is your child?