Political Climate of Argentina
- By Indu Shanmugam
- Published 06/30/2008
Indu Shanmugam is a 20-something, college student from Oregon, USA. She is majoring in English literature and language. She also studied Theology for a short period. She wants to be a teacher. As a literature enthusiast, she enjoys literature of all types and from writers of various backgrounds from the classics, French realists, Christian writings like C.S Lewis and South Asian literature. As for her own writings, "I am still trying to find and develop my own voice." She sees the art of the written word as a way to speak about Christ and explore truth. Before she met Jesus Christ, she has been searching for the meaning of life through experimentation of other religions, philosophies and ideas. At the age of 17, she accepted Christ after a powerful encounter with God through a miracle. God's presence and deep truths in the Bible fuel her creativity. She is involved in church activities and has a love for the church and would like to see every believer grow, become closer to God and live fruitfully. She loves traveling, sipping bubble teas, theatre, music, films and hanging out with friends and has a weakness for cheesecake.
I asked Mariela and a few other locals their opinions and questions about Argentine politics. My Spanish is not fluent enough to engage in a deep conversation. At the moment, Argentina has it´s second female president Cristina, who is the wife of the previous president. She is not at all popular or well-liked.
While walking through the streets of Rosario, I´m seeing many posters and wall stencils of The socialist party of Argentina with pictures of Che Guevarra. I found out that Che Guevarra was born in Rosario and his residence was actually 5 blocks from where I´m living. Mariela is indifferent to Che. She neither supports or is against him. She doesn´t agree with everything he says or does. Even others have said that they respect him but don´t fully agree with him.
The two major political parties here are the Peronista and Socialist party. Mariela says she considers herself a moderate socialist. She does not like the Peronista party and doesn´t like Cristina or Eva Peron. She said it´s because they take a lot of money from people. She said that she thinks Cristina is a dictator. From what I understand from conversations, Peronista party is the right-wing party.
At the moment, there are protests in the country by farmers about taxes and other things. Sometimes, roads are blocked. Another group of students said that on last Sunday, when they were traveling through Bueños Aires to Rosario, they had to take another bus or deviate a bit because protestors blocked roads. Last afternoon, two other guys (American students) said that they were in a cafe and then all the sudden it seemed that a riot broke out right outside the street. They saw commotion and people throwing stones. Then police came and quickly calmed it down and arrested a bunch of people.
While walking through Rosario, on Monday we saw another group of protestors marching through the street. Matú one of the staff from the college was with us and told us that these protestors are protesting against lack of healthcare, high taxes and things in that nature. Some of them are homeless and poor.
These things are going on but I wouldn´t say Rosario is a dangerous place. I don´t think the program would send us there if it was that bad. Of course, we have to use street smarts and be careful. During the day, I have walked outside without any problems but always stay with a group later at night. And if anyone uses common street smarts, they will be fine.
So far, I haven´t had any problems or felt unsafe. I could pass for a native. And skin color discrimination is not here but it´s rather by social class. I didn´t get any dirty looks or really bad ogles by men. Yes, a few people turn and look at me while walking on the street. I got a few smiles and whistles and ¨cat-calls¨by some men but just like anywhere else, if I ignore them or act as though they don´t exist they usually don´t do anything more. At least the men are not as aggressive or ¨Eve tease¨like back in the homeland (some of you know what I mean). That sort of thing is unheard of here just like the US. Eva, my host mom´s friend told me that very dark black hair or deep brown eyes like mine are not as common.
I´m not sure because when I looked around, most of the people look more Italian and I saw some people with darker skin and dark hair like mine. They would fit in well in India. For the most part, I could blend in but my accent and lack of Spanish fluency makes it obvious that I´ma foreigner.