It’s Friday again!
And let’s deal with the ongoing Malvinas clusterfuck so we can get that out of the way fast, yes?
I know you’re tired of reading about it but when the missiles start coming and you need the location to the closest fallout shelter you will be thanking me.
Now be a good boy/girl and read.
This is what you need to know, in a nutshell:
Sean Penn visited Argentina. Yay! Sean Penn! He came here to ask for money because he’s a goodwill ambassador for Haiti and those people need dollars to fix their country after the devastating earthquake that left their nation in ruins two years ago. But then Sean Penn criticized the British government for not wanting to return the Malvinas/Falklands to the Argentines and now the Brits are offended. Argentines, on the contrary, are delighted with Sean Penn. Some of them have even said he should run for president of the United States! Of course the truth is that had he said the opposite and defended the UK, most Argentines would have said “¿Qué mierda se tiene que venir a meter este yankee de mierda en temas que no le importan?”. I know it, you know it, we all know it.
- Two fighter planes escorted a small Cessna plane to the islands. That’s it. It’s a non-issue. But the media (that’s us) needs to sell, so the day after, newspapers were basically going: “OH MY GOD, LOOK! LOOK! LOOK AT WHAT THEY ARE DOING! THEY DID THIS NEW TOTALLY NON-THREATENING THING BUT WE’LL SPIN IT SO IT SOUNDS TERRIFYING, LOOK!! YOU SHOULD BE MAD!!!” And people got mad. *sigh*
- Also, Argentina accepted the UN’s offer to act as mediator in the conflict, but that doesn’t sell so there’s not much to say about it.
- Last bullet point about Malvinas, I swear: Have you ever noticed, while taking a stroll down Plaza de Mayo, that there is some sort of camp set up on its south side, with white flags asking the President for official recognition? Well those are former soldiers that have been camping there for years, hoping that the Government will consider them war veterans, even though technically they are not. You see, those former soldiers were on active duty during the Malvinas War, but they were never sent to fight. They were dispatched to Patagonia and remained there for months, but they never fired a single shot or engaged in combat, because the war took place entirely on the islands. Probably the most dangerous situation they had to endure was trying not to die of boredom. So since they are not war veterans they do not get a veteran’s pension. Simple, right? No, nothing is simple in this country. They still want their pension no matter what, so this week they resorted to (what else?) interrupting traffic on the 9 de Julio Avenue hoping to draw some media attention. In response, the government responded with (what else?) rubber bullets and tear gas. Considering for a moment the 9 de Julio Av. looked like a fucking battlefield, I’d say these guys are now entitled to their pensions. See? It all works out in the end.
- And to think that all this is because of those two little islands that neither Britain nor Argentina really care about, no matter what they say.
- You’re probably aware by now that the shit has hit the fan in the northwest of the country and the population of Catamarca, San Juan and La Rioja have risen against the oppressive tyranny of the mining companies which apparently pollute the environment but the National Government doesn’t give a fuck because they rake in the big bucks. You’re not? Well, I’m not surprised. Anyway, the Fernández de Kirchner administration has been under severe scrutiny after the police fired teargas and rubber bullets at the environmental activists who were protesting the mining activities. So the President thought it would be a great idea to give a speech on live television in which a helmet-wearing miner thanked her for supporting the mining industry, which creates lots of jobs and totally doesn’t poison the land. “I know a lot more than those environmentalists because I spend all day working in the mines,” he said, and everyone was happy and cheered and laughed. And then one day later the media learned that the helmet-wearing miner was not really a helmet-wearing miner, but a non-helmet-wearing political activist from outside Buenos Aires who had just pretended to a helmet-wearing miner to make the protesters look bad. This is democracy, people. I told you it sucks.
- And speaking about democracy and new ways of curtailing your constitutional rights, another scandal has just exploded right on the face of the National Government, after the media found out about this so-called “Project X,” an intelligent-gathering database that according to sources in the National Gendarmerie “is used as an analytical tool and guideline in court cases, like informational support to Operative Units.” Which we all know is bullshit for “spying on you.” The Government of course has said that it would not comment on the matter until it finds some half-baked explanation that gullible voters will buy no matter what. Well they didn’t say it like that, but that’s what they meant.
- The Argentine population is fuming after word got out that national lawmakers and senators had agreed on a 100% salary hike for themselves, effectively going from earning 15,000 to 30,000 pesos a month. And every major political party was in favor of it (of course). Hey, don’t judge! Non-existing inflation is hard to deal with, you know? Especially when you’re a hard-working politician. I mean look at these guys! They are so exhausted from working they pass out on their seats in Congress. Right?
- Vice-President Amado Boudou, who as we all know still insists on pretending to be young and hip even though he’s not, grabbed a guitar and climbed on stage all sweaty and fat and started rockin’ it out with La Mancha de Rolando. But my favorite part was seeing him wearing a t-shirt that read “Clarín miente” (Clarín lies), which we all know is kind of true sometimes but he should be acting like a vice-president and not like a patronizing, rebellious teenager.
- Yeah, that was it. I know it’s not really news. I just wanted to show what a douchebag he can be sometimes.
- In case you didn’t know, Argentina’s version of Adolf Hitler, former de facto President and current Monster of the Black Lagoon General Jorge Rafael Videla (cue this music whenever he enters a room) is not dead, even though we all wish he were. And from time to time he gives some random interview from his tiny prison cell just to remind us all that he may somehow kill us in our sleep. For those who clearly don’t give a shit about Argentine history or otherwise they would know about it, this is the guy who staged the 1976 coup d’état that sparked the country’s darkest era to date since it included torturing pregnant women, stealing their babies and making political dissidents “disappear.” When democracy returned in 1983, 30,000 people had been “disappeared” and 500 babies had been stolen. However, Videla does not agree with history, so once again he has crawled out of his dark, moist cave to accuse the Kirchners of being “vengeful,” and to assure that it’s not 30,000 people who were killed but merely 7,000. Well. Maybe we should throw him a parade then? Agh, just die already.
- Oh-oh. You may want to call your parents before they hear about this from somewhere else: Germany, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil are all raising their warning levels for travelers coming to Buenos Aires. And after last week’s incident in Plaza San Martín, can you blame them? However, I feel like I need to be fair here and come out in defense of Buenos Aires. First of all, most of you don’t leave Recoleta, Palermo or San Telmo, where the worst thing that can happen to you is getting stabbed, and that would probably be your fault for deciding to take a stroll at 3 in the morning. You just have to be careful, period.
- Yeah, I know. I said “first of all” so there should have been a “second” part but I totally spaced out and lost my train of thought. So whatever.
- Also, I’m not trying to freak you out or anything, but a few days ago there was a near collision between two passenger planes in Aeroparque. Technically they “grazed” each other on the tarmac, which means they were two millimeters away from killing 400 people. So… you know. Fingers crossed next time you’re flying to the Iguazú falls or Punta del Este or wherever it is you like to go.
- Well, we all knew it was bound to happen sooner or later: a wachiturro
has been arrested in Chile on terrorism charges. Yeah, that’s right: a wachiturro. In case you’re not familiar with their horrendous –yet ridiculously popular- music, here’s a sample of their most famous single “Tirate un paso.” Anyway, one of the wachiturros, apparently referred to by some people as the “Scary wachiturro,” (just like one of the Spice Girls, although for entirely different reasons), had no better idea than to say, after going through the metal detectors in a Chilean airport, that he was happy security “had not been able to find the bomb he was carrying.” Bad move, Scary Wachiturro! Within a few seconds he was arrested by the airport police and I really don’t know what happened after that because I found the story to be extremely dull and stopped reading. Maybe he’s been released; maybe he’s been shipped off to Guantanamo. Who cares?
- Here, have some fun with the new map that’s been making the rounds on Facebook, Twitter and maybe Friendster. It’s a map of the city of Buenos Aires according to the “cool Palermo crowd” (you know who you are). So wrong, yet so true.
- And yes, the Malvinas clusterfuck has now reached the rock bottom part of this column, usually reserved for anything football-related because that’s how much I care about that idiotic sport. However this is kind of fun, so read on: in an effort to push stupidity to the max, the AFA decided to name the Clausura Tournament “Crucero General Belgrano” in honor of the eponymous Argentine warship that was sunk by the Royal Navy during the Malvinas/Falklands War in 1982. Who knows what kind of amorphous monster could result from such a manic combination of shallow nationalism and dangerous fanaticism? Well we may never know because the FIFA is now considering sanctioning the AFA since it may have incurred in “political discrimination.” Why? I don’t know, I’m just happy this is all happening.
- Ah, now here’s a manly sport that I respect because at least no one is trying to sell you that whole “sportsmanship” crap that no one believes in anyway (like football). You see, what I like about Boxing is that basically you have to kill your opponent, and the cathartic process seemingly helps satisfy the bloodlusting-crowds. Well, except for last week in Mar del Plata when Filipino boxer Johnriel (“Johnriel”? Really? OK.) Casimero
killedknocked out Argentine boxer Luis Lazarte (sorry, no Wiki page. I guess he’s not that important) and all hell broke loose, with the audience jumping into the ring and trying to kick Johnriel’s ass. Don’t believe me? Here, it’s all caught on tape.