It’s Friday again!
And it’s been a weird week in Argentina. Politically speaking, it’s mostly been a mess.
Not much has happened in the non-political world. Kids have gone back to school so now we have to avoid the little spoiled brats while they’re running down the street again.
Surprisingly there are no shocking videos this week. No Big Brother jokes either. No soft porn! How tragically disappointing.
No, this week has been mostly about politics, and it has propelled the Argentine population into doing a little soul-searching about the current political scenario.
That’s right folks, today it’s gonna be one of those “mostly about politics” column, so you’re welcome to close this window and go back to enjoying some videos about kittens on You Tube.
It’s like one of those “Choose your own adventure” books, where you could end up dead if you made the wrong choice.
If you wanna be an asshole and blatantly disregard the current political shit storm affecting the country you’re living in so you can keep looking at kittens, go here. If you have the balls to keep reading go… well just keep reading.
Good for you!
Now, as I was saying: this week has been about the Malvinas/Falklands sovereignty issue, the tragic Once train accident that still haunts millions of commuters and what exactly is the role President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is supposed to play in our lives.
And it mostly culminated yesterday afternoon, when the President gave an impassioned three-hour speech as she opened the 2012 legislative year in Congress and she tried to remind everyone in this country why she’s the Head of State.
Is this all too hard for you to understand? Am I going too fast?
Well maybe if you gave up pot it wouldn’t be. Just saying.
Ready? Here we go.
This is what you need to know:
After the Once railway accident, President Fernández de Kirchner disappeared. Well, she didn’t disappear. She just went away to her Santa Cruz retreat for the long weekend without even making a statement or calling the families of the victims. This of course infuriated the population. Even her most hardcore supporters began saying that it was wrong for her to ignore such a tragic event. “We were there for you when your husband died, where are you now that WE need you?” they said. Tongue-in-cheek “Wanted” posters showed up on Facebook and Twitter, urging the President to return to Buenos Aires and address this mess directly. She didn’t, since last Sunday would have been her late husband’s birthday and she chose to stay away from the public eye.
- (Technically this is last Friday’s news, but it happened a few hours after I posted last week’s WNR.) Once all the 50 victims of the railway crash were identified, there was still one person unaccounted for. 20-year old Lucas Menghini Rey was nowhere to found. He wasn’t in any hospital and he wasn’t in the morgue either. His parents, who had been told by a fireman that he had been evacuated alive, began this desperate crusade throughout the city to find him, aided by the media and the entire country’s population who kept posting his photo on Facebook and Twitter. On Friday evening, and by mere chance, the police finally found his body compacted between the third and fourth cart of the train. He had been lying there for two days but everyone had failed to notice. The outrage was immediate and it sparked a very violent protest outside the Once station. People set the place on fire while the always-present opportunists began ransacking nearby stores. The police responded with teargas and closed the station until the situation was once again under control. People kept asking for the President to address this situation personally in order to bring calm to the situation, but she never showed.
- Then last Monday the President returned to the spotlight in Rosario, right in front of the National Flag Memorial, where she gave a speech to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first hoisting of the Argentine flag.
- First thing she did? She sang of course. And completely out of tune I might add.
- Then, to save face after some complicated week, she began reminding everyone of all the many nice things her Government has done since 2003. She conveniently left out rampaging inflation, unstoppable corruption and questionable table manners.
- Then she discussed the Once tragedy and said she hoped the culprits were found in no longer than 15 days. “I will not accept that some people blatantly try and exploit the dead in order to score a few political points,” she said, apparently forgetting that that is exactly what she’s been doing since her husband passed away.
- And just like that everyone got over the infuriating rage that had been invading them for several days. Yay, politics! Now do you understand why I’m such a cynic? Machiavelli would be proud.
- If you thought this whole mess would mean that the Government would
forget about the Malvinas/Falklands, think again. This week, the Tierra del Fuego government banned two cruises from docking at one of its ports. The local Government also contacted Argentina’s twenty largest companies and asked (ASKED, not ORDERED. ASKED. You get that, Daily Mail?) them if they could stop buying British goods until the UK decided to comply with the UN and discuss the islands’ sovereignty with Argentina. The UK of course, was not amused and responded with some generic politically correct bullshit like “well, that’s not good” or something like that.
- Then yesterday the President went to Congress to open the legislative year and spoke on live television for 195 minutes (that’s like watching Titanic AND one episode of Robot Chicken altogether!) and reviewed her administration’s greatest hits while leaving out the inconvenient truths. She then cried some more about how hard it is for her to keep going (she’s a widow, in case your forgot) and then, in a surprise move, she announced that she wished to reinstate commercial flights between Buenos Aires and the Malvinas Islands as a gesture of good will to show that Argentina is a nation of peace, not war (she’s right about that one). So she said she hoped the matter could be discussed with the British government and people could start flying there again soon. Yay, politics!
- Yeah, about that… the Malvinas governor has replied and said said “no.” So… no.
Mayor Mauricio Macri decided to return the Subte to the National Government. That’s right. Remember two months ago when-OH MY FUCKING GOD LIONEL MESSI JUST PERFORMED A HAT TRICK IN A FRIENDLY MATCH BETWEEN ARGENTINA AND GREECESWITZERLAND* AND EVEN THOUGH IT HAS NO RELEVANCE BECAUSE IT’S JUST A FRIENDLY MATCH THE ENTIRE COUNTRY IS GOING INSANE! OMG! OMG! OMG!
- You think that’s funny? Because that’s exactly what happened on Wednesday. As Macri was announcing that the subway system was entering legal limbo, people (and the mainstream media) were more interested in a relatively irrelevant football game than the fate of millions of commuters. Once Macri’s press conference was over, one journalist uttered these words on live television: “Well, that was intense. Now back to the game…”. So as I like to say every week: fuck football.
- Since we’ve already discussed the important stuff – Messi’s hat trick - we can go back to discussing more trivial stuff, like the fact that Mayor Mauricio Macri decided to return the Subte to the National Government. That’s right. Remember two months ago when the City took over the management of the subway system and the fare went up to $2,50 and there was this whole scandal over it? Don’t lie. You DON’T remember because you were not here. You were partying like crazy back in your home country while I was basically writing for myself here, so stop lying you transparent fool. Well, but that’s basically it. The City took over the subway for two months, but then Security Minister Nilda Garré announced she would be withdrawing all Federal Police presence from the subway stations because crime prevention down there was up to the City’s Metropolitan Police. So Macri said “Fuck it, I don’t want it. Now take it back.” Yeah, that’s how grown ups do business here.
- After Macri’s announcement, the President replied: “You can keep the Federal Police down there for 30 more days. Now shut the fuck up and grow a pair.” Macri, however, apparently hasn’t grown a pair and declined the President’s offer to keep the subway and returned it. “Returned the subway.” Ha! I love this country.
- Oscar-nominated and Argentine-born actress Berenice Bejo, that girl who starred in “The Artist” and was glorified as the most Argentine thing to happen to Argentina since the invention of dulce de leche even though she couldn’t even remember where she was born because she left the country and moved to France when she was three, lost the competition last Sunday to The Help’s Octavia Spencer. The media immediately began referring to her as “that French girl who lost.” Oh well, at least we still have this video featuring San Lorenzo-fan and hobo-looking Viggo Mortensen. He was Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, you know!
- Once upon a time, back in the 1970s (or 60s, or one of those, whatever) there was this really big British band called Pink Floyd that sang about politics and war and stuff. Also something about a wall, but this is all from the Cold War era (if you clicked on Cold War, you should know you disgust me) and I’m sure you don’t give a shit about it. Anyway, the band’s lead singer, a man who goes by the name of Roger Waters, is scheduled to perform nine shows this month. 400,000 people from all over the country have purchased their tickets to go see him. That’s 1% of the country’s population. That’s right, 1% of the country is going to go see this guy, that’s how big he is. And since he’s such a big star here, when asked about the Malvinas/Falklands clusterfuck during an interview with the Chilean press, he just said it categorically: they belong to Argentina. I know what you’re thinking: “Such an opportunist!”. But in Mr. Water’s defense, he has stood by Argentina’s claim ever since the Malvinas War. He even wrote a song about it! So shut up.
Have a great weekend everyone!