A few days ago, I wrote down one of my reflections about my thoughts on my arrival in Argentina. I’ve decided to go on with this idea. In this way, after having spent two months in the Argentinian Northwest observing and learning from the way of life of the communities in the area of Jujuy and Salta, I decided to spend my last days in Buenos Aires again. I wanted to reconcile with the city, to find positive things and take advantage of its cultural offer. In this city, moreover, there are always marches, like Las Madres de Mayo, there are camp protests, as camp Felix Díaz, but besides these almost permanent actions, there are often other events of protest in the street. Therefore, wandering around Buenos Aires is a great opportunity to get to know the people and the various problems and struggles that they face.
My first tour was down the large 9 de Julio avenue. There, between the City Hall and the Ministry of Social Development, I encountered a demonstration and a camp of a fairly large group of people. I went to the tents and asked them which was their protest. In banners it was said “Barrios de pie, Mr Kicillof, poors are millions”. Kicillof is the Minister of Economy…
Judith, Coordinator of the Community Center Las Hormiguitas, came to talk to me. The conversation was quite long and intense. She lives in one of the shantytowns, the Villa Inflamable. In this place, there is a petrochemical company that generates many health problems to the inhabitants of the area, because of the water and air pollution and, according to Judith, no one is responsible for the diseases or the prevention of these people: “in the shantytown there is not just crime and drugs, there are humble people, people who built their homes with effort and we are camped here to show that when the Minister says that the poverty rate has declined, he is liying“. The economic aid that people of these areas receive do not serve to alleviate poverty, she says that it is a help, but the solution is not to give a portion of money and put a veil to the actual situation of extreme poverty and malnutrition in which many families living in the shantytown are found. Therefore, Barrios de Pie demands a meeting with the Minister of Labour, Carlos Tomada, to negotiate, to teach him the reality. “Poverty rates have not come down; we are still in a precarious level of life, in which they deny us many of our rights.”
I show you a piece of video that I filmed during our conversation, I hope that you find it interesting: