WHO or WHAT? Politicians or Ideologies?

There is something about the way people treat politics that I have never fully understood. More specifically, it bothers me how easily people blame all their problems on politicians.
We demonize them, accuse them of sinning against humanity, make them responsible for absolutely all our troubles, and peek into their private lives to condemn them for their mistakes.

Now, while I won’t deny many politicians deserve a mob to raid them off their priviledged positions… Guys, it seems like we’re forgetting the whole meaning behind democracy. WE choose our representatives in the government.

My thoughts regarding the subject started when I was very young. I usually talk a lot about the 90’s and 00’s, when everything here went to hell.
I remember watching people on TV curse the president(s) with all their might, call for the people to go to Plaza de Mayo (from where the president governs), and manifest there, bring the people responsible out. In 2001, Fernando de la Rúa had to leave the place in a helicopter.
“Que se vayan todos” came to be the words by which that time in history will be identified forever -at least to me. “We don’t need politicians”, “they are all corrupt”, “we’re better off without politics”.

Now, granted, those were times of terrible social drama. Many people crossed the poverty line during that time. The manifestations were incredibly violent, and many people died at the hands of the repressive police body.
It was such a traumatic experience for everyone, to the present day there are still social groups that claim to be a-politic with pride holding their heads up, as if that was a compliment to their honor.

Again, I’m not defending the bastards that lead my country to its worst crisis; nor the rest of the corrupt people governing the world through history, and even right now. But I must admit that it’s shocking how people lay the blame so easily on the most visible faces, before looking a themselves and thinking “well, I did vote for the bastard”.

Moving away from my country for a little, where things now are anything but a-political, I find people behave in similar, yet slightly different ways in places like, for example, the US.
Just the other day I found an article that presented the readers with the following question: “how can the people trust a political leader that is known to have cheated on his/her marriage?”. It seemed odd to me that anyone would connect both issues.

I don’t care about this or that politician’s marital life. I care about them being politically honest and similar to my views, and to act according to their ideology. Whatever happens between they and their partners is honestly none of my business.
People might argue: “ah, but if he isn’t loyal to his/her wife/husband” -or something of the sort- “then how can you expect him to be loyal to his ideals?”. Well, since when do they have to be related? If you learned that the cashier at the supermarket is cheating on his wife, would you stop going to that supermarket?

People seem to forget all too often that the political life of politicians is their job. Sure, it’s a complicated world, there is a lot at stake, and they have a lot of personal involvement on it. But it is separated from what happens inside the walls of their homes.

And yet, the media obsesses with stuff like that.

The reason I’m bringing this up, is because I whole-heartedly believe that this way of thinking truly hurts politics. It ends up personalizing political ideals, and that is the worst thing you can do -and one of the points where I differ from peronism.
I think that it’s good to admire politicians, and to support them -but what you really need to fight for is not a leader, but an ideology. People are finite, and imperfect. Ideals can embrace people through generations and bring them together for the future. Depending on a single person is not a smart strategy on a long-term basis.

We need to stop treating politicians as celebrities, as saints, as demons, and start seeing them as what they’re supposed to be: representatives of a political party of this or that ideology.

I don’t know, this really bothers me.
During the year I was chosen to be the student’s centre’s president, I attended many reunions with lots of other centres, and their representatives. There, I saw the same mistake being committed over and over again, only in a slightly different way: the question they wanted to answer was “who are we fighting against?”.
I would usually stand up in the middle of heated discussions of blame being thrown here and there, only to say that looking for an enemy was what a short-sighted organization would do. That we need to find an ideology that represented all students, objectives to fight towards. Sure, it’d be more difficult, because building is always more complicated than destroying. But, in the end, it would be worth it…

Of course, I was epicaly ignored by most people, who only cared about pushing their parties’ structure further into our students’ organizations. Now-a-days these organizations are a mess, and I’m fully convinced that this way of approaching the political fight is one of the main reasons that’s true.

I guess that seeing how that worked was what has kept me from joining a party and working inside it. I love politics, and I want to contribute, but… Being smart.
If political involvement will mean being told who to idolize and who to demonize, then I’m better off walking my own path, even if alone.

What do you think? Is politics all about the ideas, or all about the face who’s representing it? Why?

Thanks for reading my mess,
-Mila.

Here starts the cycle of hate

Today, I wanted to talk about my experience in a little nice cafe in the center of Buenos Aires, and about my thoughts on “certified exams” such as the CAE, which I’m taking today and tomorrow.
But, unfortunately for that very interesting topic, something else caught my eye today.

Rusia, shame on you. This phrase will open and close the topic.
I’m part Russian. My great-grandfather and his wife were Russian, and that shows now-a-days in my very pale complexion, blond hair, and clear grey eyes. His name was Leon, and I really admire his story, as told by my grandma.
Apparently, he was born in a very small town in the big and cold country, with very few people, even fewer kids, and a single teacher who went from neighbor towns to his’ during the week to teach. There, the man discovered that Leon was an incredibly intelligent kid, faster than most children his age, and also eager to learn. His speed usually got him to the point where he wouldn’t have anything left to do while the rest of the kids were still stuck halfway-through, so he got quite bored in class, and soon enough lost all interest in that small school.
You see, Leon wanted more. He wanted to see what was beyond his parents’ field, where they worked all day; he wanted to discover how the world looked like -not by books, but through his very eyes. He wanted to grow as a person and become a successful and knowledgeable man. And, you know what? I’ve felt the same since I was a little kid.

So, as you can see, I really feel I have a strong connection with this man I’ve never met, but who inspires me so. He is almost the only reason why I feel some sort of longing towards Russia, as if something mysterious was tying me to that place.

And, as if he wasn’t enough of a reason, there’s also my father. Did you know he was a militant communist until 1989, an year before the destruction of the Berlin Wall? Even during his teenage years, when the military practically prohibited anything that was red, my father and his parents still read about communism, discussed it, and dreamed of the most widely shared utopia in the world. Russia, for them, was the place where the dreamed land could come true.
Of course, we know how that ended up; but, nonetheless, there’s no denying that Russia was one of the very first communist experiments, and that adds some sentimental value to it.

Once, so far ahead its time. Now, it lives in the middle ages again.

You may be wondering why on earth am I talking about Russia and what connects me to it. To that I answer that you should read the news more.
Today, a law censoring “non-traditional sexual relationships propaganda” towards the Russian children, was passed by the country’s legislative representative, with almost an unanimity.
Now, I won’t talk about how the lack of semantic specificity allows for abuses of this law; I think that’s pretty obvious in and of itself.
This, as you might guess, was an anti-LGBT project.
What Russia is doing, is preparing the way for a generation of hateful human beings to take up the country in the future. And hateful citizens make for hateful countries.
Under the excuse of “protect the children from deprivation”, and using the church as a shield, homophobic groups have put enough pressure on the country’s agenda and representatives to make sure that their children will be able to happily live inside a bubble of racism for the rest of their childhood. Good for them, uh?

“Ignorance is power”, Orwell chose as one of 1984’s fascist government’s mottoes. Like this, Russian kids will grow up separated from those depraved beasts, focusing only in the good ol’ bible’s handful of traditions and morals, and will, thus, have the excuse of ignorance to hate unreasonably on the LGBT community. This is no different from making kids read about how Jews are all greedy and mean, and how they all have big noses with a big nasty hairy spot where they end; the result is the same: blind, unjustified fear. And with fear, comes hate. With hate, comes violence. And then, the cycle of blood starts.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the next nutzo to claim unlimited power in the world and declare war against humanity, had a specially harsh speech against the LGBT. Neither would it surprise me if he/she was Russian.

I’m disappointed, and worried about the future of the children in Europe. With this, and the episodes of violence occurring lately in France, I seriously think any LGBT member in that continent, or any person who supports them there, is going to have some though times ahead.
Be strong. Even though there shouldn’t be a need to even have to explain why everyone deserves the same rights and privileges, you shall. And, as you are speaking from love and respect, you know your arguments will hold up to those who only preach hate towards what they can’t, or refuse to, understand.

Have faith, not in an invisible god, but in the will of those who understand. Look upon Latin America and it’s example of inclusion, and thrive for a similar future for your people.

Oh, and:
Shame on you, Russia.

Thanks for reading.
Mila.

Who shows you what you see?

Ok, so I’ve been “accused” many times of being a kirchnerist by my friends. Now, this isn’t by any means a bad word. It just means you are in favor of the current government. Or, at least, it should mean that.
If that was its only definition, then I would probably say, “yes, I kind of am”. But that’s not what my friends mean when they say that to me. I deny it, and I’m going to explain to you just why I do so, and how this came to be.

Another of Clarín's first pages from those times.

“New Government” Referring to the three representatives of the military that took the power after kicking the democratically elected president.

I’ve talked about the media here, haven’t I? The general picture is: the little group of people that have all the money, also control all the mainstream media. I think some of you must be familiar with this concept, right?
Anyways, that’s how it works here, and how it’s been working since… Well, I’d say since the beginning of this country, but honestly, it only got this bad after the last dictatorship.
The Clarín Group, managed by the Noble family (yes, that’s their family name. I find it ironic), took a hold of Papel Prensa, the biggest producer of paper for the press. How? Oh, you know, by torturing its rightful owners into signing the selling papers.
They are currently on trial for this.
Now, for this to happen, they needed the brute force of the army, which was in the power at that moment. They got to their good side by siding up with them.

Clarin's first page right when the coup d'était started.

“The Militay Council is the State’s supreme organ”

By tricking the population into thinking nothing was going on, and that this was only a peaceful and transitory government, and convincing them that they wanted the military on the power because of the “terrorist threat”, they managed to make a lot of people oblivious of what was going on.
Sounds familiar, whatever US citizen reading this? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you. After all, the US military had a lot to do with the military getting a hold of the government, and of their violent methods once there; but I’ll talk about that some other day.

Anyways, by seemingly becoming one of these people’s tools, they were able to use them to their advantage. After all, one of the people in charge of making the paper producer’s owners to sign, was one of the most important functionaries of the military council (who is now in trial, yes).

Not much later…

And yet another of Clarín's front pages.

“Videla (illegitimate president) inaugurated the Papel Prensa plant”. There, you see Videla, with the Noble couple, re-opening the plant after they ‘bought it’.

Wait, I had a point here…
Ah, yes of course!

After buying the plant which produced the paper for each and every one of the newspapers and magazines of the country, they were legally able to set prices at will. So, for their own newspaper, Clarín, its cousin, La Nación, and to every other newspaper or magazine they liked, the prices were minimal.
But, for newspapers which didn’t share their views, the price was… Slightly… Definitely higher. This meant that Clarín was much cheaper, making it more accessible for the common man.
And that, kids, is how Clarín got so popular, and grew SO big in such little time.

They got so good at what they did, and so close to the government, their lies started becoming more and more reckless.
During the Malvinas War, they actually helped convince the general populi that our country was actually winning! Our country. Extremely unprepared for war. Sending teenage boys with no training over there. With lack of food. Against England. It didn’t take a mastermind to figure out that was pretty fucking impossible.

Guess what?

“Imminent recuperation of the Malvina Islands”. No doubt there.

I’m losing my track of thoughts again…
Oh, righ.

Ok, back to present day. Now that you have a general, very subjective, and extremely opinionated idea of where this group comes from, you can slightly understand what they do, why, and how.
(Seriously, guys, I only know this part of the story. I do encourage you to investigate and let me know what comes across your path).

So, yeah, as you can imagine, they’ve been manipulating the population the same way ever since. They helped to economically overthrow the first democratic government after the process; pushed candidates like Menem into the government; pushed Ministers of Economy like Cavallo into the Ministry (ask Ecuador how much good HE did over there); they were the ideological responsible for the neo-liberal policies applied in my country, and for the epic economical crash of 2001. You might have heard about it.

The minute they saw what ideologies Nestor Kirchner, who assumed as president right after that, held high in sight, they understood he meant trouble for their wallet, and empire.
I don’t think there has been a single day passing without the Clarín newspaper, or any of its branches, badmouthing, criticizing, and aggravating him and his wife, our current president. Sometimes the critics were spot-on. And sometimes it was just someone throwing shit at them for no good reason, other than the rage they felt.
And, being this the most popular newspaper, news channels, and celebrities magazines in the country, their ideas spread fast.

“Is she under psychiatric treatment?”. Noticias magazine, under the Clarín Group’s management, accusing Cristina Kirchner, then first lady, of having a bipolar disorder, without proofs, without consulting any of her doctors, without her consent, without anything. Obviously, it was a lie. But the idea was installed in society ever since. This is the power and impunity of the media.

Now, let me make this very very clear. There is nothing I find better than someone making a thoughtful critic about a certain government, policy or ideal, and discussing it with other people. But, and I’m not just talking, this is serious, most people who right-out HATE the Kirchner couple, have memorized this speech, repeated it all over the place, and to themselves, until they believed it, and couldn’t think in any other way. Sometimes this is applied literally. I am not joking.
Most people don’t even realize how deep in their brains some concepts have been carved.

Repetition, impunity, power. These are the elements they have to make people think what they want them to think. They give new concepts to every word they use, and make it so that it’s actually used in a daily basis.

They’ve made words like ‘officialism’, ‘kirchnerist’, and ‘officialist’ into insults. And what I mean by that is that people have actually tried to insult me by calling me all that in debates and forums.
They have divided this country into “K” and “Anti-K”, and then accused the actual government of being responsible for this bipolarity (though they haven’t done much to fight that, really).

By calling yourself a ‘kirchnerist’, some people around you automatically think you are a poor brainwashed person who blindly follows the current government. By calling yourself an ‘oppositor’, some people around you think you are a hateful human being who blindly follows the commands of the Clarín Group.

But, of course, the world isn’t black and white; it’s full of greys, and, quite frankly, that’s probably the only thing that makes it bearable.

I like greys. I enjoy watching them, and I enjoy belonging to them. My thoughts belong to the grey zone. My ideologies aren’t just that or what, they are a combination of ideas, concepts, and knowledge. My way of thinking is unique, and so is everyone else’s.
What bothers me the most about these people, is not only that they claim to be the voice of the whole population, nor really their bloody past, though these things do bug me. What bothers me the most is the fact that they imply you can either be on one side or the other. They deny the greys. And that is not healthy for society, not in the least.

And not only is it unhealthy, it’s proven to be fatal. This is not the first time people like this have tried to divide the society of my country. They have tried, and succeeded before. And every time they did, guess what happened in the end? War. And, in the worst cases, civil war.
Realists vs Autonomists, Federalist vs Unitarians, Conservatives vs Radicals, Peronists vs Gorillas, K vs Anti-K. Our history is marked by the rivalry between two completely opposite groups. And, most of the times, things heated up enough to escalate to wars.
Divide and conquer, you know. As we are too distracted fighting between each other for no real reason, the people who orchestrated all that, swim in their impunity. And money.

By labeling themselves, they usually give up to the possibility of looking at the good attributes of the other side, and actually constructing. Together. Like people who live in the same country. Together.

Taking on definitions like those means not wanting to accept the rest.

Labeling is… Well, I’m short for words. Labeling is stupid. Specially when it refers to political ideologies. It blinds us from our real problems, and from the people we should be looking at with special care.

And that’s why I don’t do that. There.

Well, thanks for putting up with my ranting again.
Take care of yourselves, and remember to pay attention to what you read, what you think, who you side up with, and who you’re really against. What are you not seeing from the general picture? And, who is blocking your sight?

-Mila.

We won’t give in

Yes, yes, I know, I didn’t post last Friday. I’m not a responsible person, yet I made a promise. So I apologize. But gee, have things been crazy here!

So, remember my Staying Strong post? That one was more of a ‘keep it up’ post; in this one, though, I plan on expanding on what’s really going on.

Now, please take in mind, this whole thing may have been happening since this year, but, after all, I’m not in the middle of the conflict, and the information I get is a lot, different, and always confusing. So I’ll act as a filter for you guys, and try and pick from what I know not to make you as confused as some of us are.

To start with, most of us students know since last year about a curricular change in the whole country’s education. It’s a national program that will change the way we study and see school, as well as our preparation for when we finish it. It consists of many new things, but the part that concerns us is the ‘specialization’ of graduations, and their ‘equalization’.

Back in the 90’s, at the peak of neo-liberal policies here, education was seen as a ‘extra spent’ for the central state, for which reason the national government of that time decided it wouldn’t spend any more money on national schools, and would make the provinces take care of them. From there on, national schools ceased to exist, to be replaced by provincial schools. This was awful for education, as there wasn’t a unified curriculum anymore, and people from one province would end up knowing totally different things from people from another. It also meant lesser founds for schools.

This ‘equalization’ program plans to bring the ‘national’ idea of a school back, with the additive of different specializations from each school, that would bring up graduates prepared for specialized jobs.

There are many things right and wrong with this project; but it’s not my job to analyze the national bit of it any further.

You see, every province is meant to apply this to its schools as it sees fits. The Autonomic City of Buenos Aires counts as such too, so it is expected to oblige.

The thing is, the way they’re doing stuff here, isn’t precisely ‘the right way’.

The city’s government has already presented its action plan to apply this measures at the beginning of the year. Without any kind of consultation with the educational community in the least. This isn’t how things are supposed to/have been working all this time. Not only were we not consulted over how we thought they should proceed, but also, their plan of action makes the schools that were ALREADY specialized to lose part of their special education, leaving their graduates with a title that doesn’t let them work when they get out of school.

And yes, some types of specialized schools survived the 9o’s. Technic schools here are of much prestige, and VERY hard to finish. People who graduate from a technical school are ‘Technicians’, men and women prepared to lead a construction efficiently, and halfway-through becoming an engineer. They are pretty hardcore, yes.
There are also commercial schools here, with its students being prepared for basic tasks a public accountant can perform.

Now then, why would someone go through that kind of education? Isn’t it enough to just go to a basic secondary school and THEN go to university? They’d end up with a higher title anyways, right?

Well, yes, but there are many kids here who either come from a humble family, or have to start taking care of themselves, or simply don’t want to attend university, which is fine. These schools make sure that, if that’s their thing, they can at least get a well-remunered job doing specialized stuff. Also, in a country which is developing its industry and construction further, having good technical schools is important.

Well, Buenos Aires city’s government’s plan of action makes sure that kids that graduate from these schools no longer have the possibility to access such job positions, making it almost obligatory for them to go to university to get them again. Not cool, is it?

Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if the government just listened to our complaints once and said ‘oh, my bad, come here and I’ll explain what this is about’.
Their attitude, though, was more of a ‘lol, you wanna know? Well too bad! I’ll tell this to you, and this to you, and make you fight over the confusing information I’ve given you. Also, about the participation on the measures? Keep on dreaming, lololol’.

Yeah… Kinda like that.

Since the beginning of the year, technical schools’ students have been protesting in front of the city’s legislative building, and in front of its Ministry of Education, aside from the usual manifestations the students always do. They haven’t been answered- scratch that, they haven’t even been heard yet.

After many months of failed attempts to have a word with the government, of  manifestations and protests, they were pushed to take the most extreme measures: take the schools.

I’m sure I’ve already said so before, but taking a school isn’t pretty, nor fun. It’s exhausting, and very difficult to do properly. The mass media attacks you constantly, not to mention your health goes from bad to worse every passing day, between having to sleep on the cold and hard floors, the crappy food, the staying up arguing in assemblies, etc. Not a nice experience. But sometimes, it’s the only way to make these people listen.

This week, the taken schools counting reached 56. Fifty-six taken schools in all of Buenos Aires. That’s a lot, believe me.

And, as I saw coming, the option to take MY school came up too. These last three days there have been assemblies, discussions, and voting; at the end of the day, the ‘not-taking’ option won, but now, the whole school is movilized by the situation. Yesterday’s students’ centre reunion was quite exciting, honestly.

So yes, that’s pretty much what’s been happening. These last few days, full with fun and interesting debates -of which I clearly took part- and many ideas floating around, only made my decision on life clearer. I really love all this. Call me crazy, I know.

Yesterday, we cut a big avenue and made a music festival there to let people know about what’s going on. Right now, I’m about to leave for a massive march with people from every taken school, and many more, as well as people from universities. Wish us luck!

1- Bellas Artes (Rogelio Yrurtia)
2- Bellas Artes (Lola Mora)
3- Bellas Artes (Manuel Belgrano)
4- Cerámica 1 (Bulnes)

5- Cerámica (Fernando Arranz)
6- Danzas 1 (Nelly Ramicone)
7- Danzas 2 (jorge Donn)
8- Teatro 1
9- Música (Juan Pedro Esnaola)
10- Comercial 8 “Patricias Argentinas”
11- Comercial 11 (Peralta)
12- Comercial 16 (Gabriela Mistral)
13- Comercial 23 (Doctor Luis Agote)
14- Comercial 30 (Doctor Esteban Agustín Gascón)
15- Escuela de Comercio Nº 33 D.E. 18 “Maipú”
16- Liceo 4 (Remedios de Escalada)
17- Jardinería (Cristóbal María Hicken)
18- Lenguitas
19- Lenguas vivas
20- Larroque
21- Juan B Justo
22- Media 1 (Cortázar) D.E. 12 – Bogotá 2759
23- Media 2 (Che Guevara) D.E. 13 – Lacarra 1151
24- Media 2 (Rumania) D.E. 17 – Manuel Porcel de Peralta 1437
25- Media 3 (La Padilla) D.E. 7 – Padilla 1051 :)
26- Media 3 (Antonio Devoto)
27- Media 4 (Nicolás Avellaneda)
28- Media 7 (Falcone) D.E. 9 – Yerbal 25
29- Nacional 3 (Mariano Moreno)
30- Nacional 17 (Primera Junta)
31- Nacional 19 (Luis Pasteur – El Nacho)
32- Normal Superior 6 (Vicente López y Planes)
33- Normal Superior N° 7 “José María Torres
34- Normal Superior 8 (Julio Argentino Roca)
35- Normal Superior 10 (Juan Bautista Alberdi)
36- Normal 11
37- Normal Superior en Lenguas Vivas 2 (Mariano Acosta)
38- Normal Superior en Lenguas Vivas (Sofía Esther Broquen de Spangenberg)
39- Técnica 1 (Otto Krause)
40- Técnica 2 (Magnasco)
41- Técnica 6 (Fernando Fader)
42- Técnica 8 (Paula Albarracín de Sarmiento)
43- Técnica 9 (Ingeniero Luis Augusto Huergo)
44- Técnica 11 (Manuel Belgrano)
45- Técnica 13 (Ingeniero José Luis Delpini)
46- Técnica 17 (Brigadier General Cornelio Saavedra)
47- Técnica 27 (Yrigoyen)
48- Técnica 30 (Norberto Piñero)
49- Técnica 32 (San Martín)
50- Técnica 35 (Ingeniero Eduardo Latzina)
51- Técnica 37 (Hogar Naval Stella Maris)
These are 51 out of the 56 schools taken right now. Keep it up guys! Almost every student in the city supports your cause, and is fighting right beside you!
Thanks for reading.
-Mila.

Ok. I’m mad.

You can mess with the city, and get away with it. You can mess with the schools, and get away with it. You can mess with political parties in general, and get away with it. But don’t you fuckin’ dare mess with politically active children, ’cause you’re messing with me, mate.

During the last dictatorship here, more than 30.000 people DISAPPEARED. They weren’t just killed on the spot, they were taken away by the military government, never to be seen again. They were sent to detention camps were they were tortured in every inhuman way possible. They killed people in cold blood. If a pregnant woman ended up there, they waited for her to give birth, and take her kid away. Those babies ended up being taken away from their real identities, being raised by their parents’ murderers.

Along the many people kidnapped, abducted, by the factic state, were teenagers. LOTS of teenagers. Underaged brilliant kids, taken away and killed cruelly only because they fought for what they believed was right; only because they were part of their school’s students’ center; and then their phone-books were revised, and their friends were taken away as well, only for being their friends. Every 16th of September here, it’s a day of sadness and memory, as it’s the anniversary of  ‘La noche de los lápices’ (The pencils’ night), when many students, most of them MY AGE, from La Plata city, were taken by the military, most of them never to be seen again.
Many of these ‘subversive’ kids were spotted by making the directors of their school make lists of ‘rebellious’ student, so the military could know where to look.

These were rotten methods for rotten ends, and speak of the cruelty, inhumanity, darkness of those shameful years for Argentina.

Lately, though, Mauricio Macri, Buenos Aires city’s governor, and his Education Minister, Bullrich, have been applying similar policies to the ones I described up there, to ‘keep an eye on politically active students’.

If you read My Political Reality (II), then you must already know I take an important part in my school’s students’ center, and was even the President of it for a complete year. And, if you read this blog, then you might’ve already guessed that politics take a very important part in my life, and that I have strong opinions on this matter.
Not only this, but I know every single person in the students’ center, and even the new president, a bright but tiny boy from third year, is a very good friend of mine (or more like my protected).

So try to imagine my fucking RAGE, at the beginning of last year, when Macri asked for every public school’s director to hand in lists of students that are politically involved in their respective schools.
I kid you not.

Of course, this was all a part of his ‘children-are-just-children-and-don’t-know-what-they-want-so-let’s-protect-them’ policy. But you can clearly see some resemblance with his idols, the leaders of the last dictatorship.

But this wouldn’t stop there, oh no, oh no.

He REFUSED to let us in and talk about the city’s public schools’ problems, most of them caused by him, alleging that we were all in agreement with the National Government (who he hates), and thus, making us, secondary school students fighting for our rights, his political enemies.

BUT OH WELL. We can live with that. We just went on with the organizations, reunions, reclaims, etc., ignoring his paranoia, and claiming for his attention.

Is it? Is it all well?

Well, not NOW.

He crossed THE FUCKING LINE.

I don’t even understand what the fuck is going on in his little head. AND NO, I have no political nor intellectual respect whatsoever for this guy, as he really DOES NOT deserve it. The moment he starts behaving like the city’s governor, and drops the ‘rich-cool-dude’ attitude, then I might reffer to him respectfully.

So, what’s this line I’m talking about?

Oh, well, basically, HE SET UP A FUCKING RAT PHONELINE.

The name? “0800-INTROMISION” (MEDDLING). ‘For students, teachers, and parents to call, and denounce political meddling in schools’. I’m not making this up, I swear.

THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. THIS IS POLITICAL PERSECUTION TOWARDS TEENS AND KIDS!

School isn’t a political-free environment. There’s NO FUCKING WAY it can be so. Why? BECAUSE IT’S A PUBLIC FUCKING SPACE.
Politics, discussion about them, debates, information, etc., is one of the best parts of going to a public school here! It’s the perfect exercise of reasonal and critical thinking, it teaches us tolerance towards those who think differently from us, and it teaches us to be responsible and informed citizens in the near future.

But, of course, that’s not convenient for the kind of interests this dude represents: the interests of big, multi-millionaire empresses who find it convenient to have stupid, ignorant, uninformed, and therefore malleable populations for them to manipulate and use to their ass’ wishes.
HE himself is a fucking millionaire, owner of SEVERAL multi-national empresses, and the son of one of Latin-American’s richest man. It’s not a surprise he thinks like this!

The surprise is, that people actually voted for him. People actually thought he was good for the city, and voted for him. Not once, but TWICE. Two fucking times! Why?
Well, he didn’t do anything right. And I mean it, he did NOTHING right. But, he IS a strong opposition to the National Government of Cristina Fernandez, whom middle-class and upper-class from Buenos Aires seem to hate (even though they’ve never been better than with her economic policies), and they convinced the poor people from here, who are a vast majority, that Macri is good for them too. How?
THEY OWN THE FUCKING MEDIA.
Just google ‘Grupo Clarín’, and you’ll find out. The most important TV channels, ratio channels, magazines, newspapers, etc., are managed by the same group of people, people who only think of their own well-being; people who got a hold of these properties by making illegal deals with the last dictatorship’s bosses, while they celebrated the coup d’état, and flat-out LIED to the people -both then, and now.

That’s how you get a guy who thinks youth politic is ‘dangerous’ for society, to be Buenos Aires’ governor.

So yeah, I just wanted to write all this down, cause this pisses me off like no other thing in the world.

Si sos de Buenos Aires, y votaste a Macri, entonces tengo sólo una cosa que decirte: sos un hijo de remil puta, y te merecés los sucesivos aumentos del ABL, los paros del Subte, y el que la ciudad se te venga abajo por este inútil.
Felicidades, has sido engañado por los poderosos de siempre. Otra vez.

Sorry about the ranting, but this just… ARRGHHH.

-Mila.

Transgenics

Every time I read a north-american or european report on nutrition, agriculture, or food’s business, the topic of transgenics rises up. It seems that the northern world is afraid of them.

The last year, countries like Germany started a debate over the honey they were importing from Argentina, claiming that the bees used to fabricate it took the pollen from genetically modified cultivation around the zone they were working on, and thus, the honey was dangerous.

You see, according to lasts years’ numbers, Argentina is the world’s second regarding honey production, and the world’s first regarding it’s exportation, as 95% of it’s production is meant for the external market. The principal destinies are: Germany, the UK, the USA, Italy, Canada, Japan and Australia (source).

So, if our principal client for this product claims that he won’t be accepting our products anymore, as long as it has traces of genetically modified species, how do you think that’d affect us?

The problem between the europeans and transgenics, has a common purposes and ideals with enviromental ONGs. In fact, if you dig up in the laws and statements behind the prohibition of transgenics in some countries in europe, you’ll stumble upon this organizations’ fighting and pressing for it to happen.

Argentina has three different transgenic cultivation approved by the nation’s standards: cotton, corn, and soy. Those three are cultivated through-out the whole country, are perfectly safe, and commercialized inside and outside of Argentina.

I think most people’s fears for transgenics are funded. Let’s look over some facts:

  • Definition: “Transgenic plants are plants that have been genetically modified by inserting genes directly into a single plant cell. Transgenic crop plants modified for improved flavor, pest resistance, or some other useful property are being used increasingly” (source).
  • The fact that they are more resistant to pests, means the usage of dangerous pesticides is lowered, as they are not needed. In other words, less chemicals needed for transgenic cultivation.
  • To start freely selling and cultivating transgenic seeds, they must be first approved after going through very strict tests and exams, as well as fulfilling every single requirement asked by the law. In Argentina, the process to approve a finished seed can last for around 5 years before finally being legalized. So go figure.
  • Transgenical seeds are sometimes modified to have more resistance to extreme weathers, so they can grow in places where it would’ve been impossible for them to grow before. This is incredibly helpful for countries that are not geographically or metheorologically beneficed for agriculture.
  • It adds to the value of the final product, the seed, as it has been injected with knowledge developed by a country’s fourth kind of industry. This is important for countries that are developing, like mine.

So, with all of this said, we can get to a conclusion. Transgenics makes it possible to cultivate on zones where it was impossible before, expanding the limits of most countries’ agropecuary capabilities, it allows for the less usage of what could be dangerous chemicals, as they’re not needed anymore for the plant now defends itself, making the cultivation healthier, and it allows countries with an agro-exporter economy to get more money for their products, while they have also been proved to be completely safe.

What universal issue do you think transgenics help to solve, knowing all this?

Exactly.

HUNGER.

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are a key part of what will be the fight for a solution for the most endemic situation in the whole world. And this is why the largest interests don’t like them very much.

You see, a country deep in hunger and desperation, is a country with accessible workers, who’d work for nothing if that lets them have some more food, and can be easily replaced by others like them. This is what has been happening in Africa, the south of Asia, and Latin-America for the last centuries, and to the day. And this is why those interests don’t want you to like, or even know, about transgenics.

If you are against GMOs, and have been fighting against them ’till now, then I urge you to look for information elsewhere. Close that book your favorite ONG gave you, and look for scientific facts. You’ll find them if you truly look for them.
You will probably also find, that you have been consuming products that, at some point, had something to do with GMOs, without you even knowing. In the USA, for example, transgenic cotton is approved, and being cultivated freely. Some of your favorite clothes may have been done with it.

So, what are your opinions on this subject? Were you aware of some of the things said here?

-Mila.

Think twice!

So, going around WordPress’ ‘Reader’, I decided to check on the ‘Argentina’ tab, wich I do occasionally to get a hold of news regarding my country on the exterior, or maybe the tales of tourists who have been/are here, as I find it interesting to read. It’s always nice to see  many kinds of opinions about Argentina, specially in a free space as this, the internet.

Today, though, I found something that made me want to punch a wall. Why? Oh, you’ll see.
Of course, I’m not that fond of violence, as I am fond of the word. I’ve always thought it was a much better tool to defend oneself, and this has proven itself right during my life.

What I found, was an article. An article on Argentina’s current government, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government.
Who is this woman? Let me give you some facts about her:

  • She is the first woman to be elected, and re-elected as president for the Argentinian Republic in all its history.
  • She succeeded her husband, Nestor Kirchner, president from 2003 to 2007. Ever since they took over, Argentina’s growth in PIB, PBN, productivity, and the like, was the biggest in the history of the country.
  • They are Peronists. Wich means they take after the ideals of Juan Domingo Peron. Look him up on the internet, and use your critical eye when reading about him.
  • They have politics oriented on social assistance.
  • They assumed as leaders after 2001’s crisis, and have taken us out of it.
  • Many economists say that our country’s way of dealing with crisis is the role-model countries like Greek should take, instead of making adjustments, that only lead to less internal market and demoralization of its people.
  • Also, the mortality on kids, the analphabetism, and the poverty have lowered in numbers (wich doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist anymore. It does, and there should be more answers for them).

If there’s something I’ve forgotten to mention to make all I’m about to rant on make sense, then I’ll be adding it as I advance.

The article I stumbled upon was this: http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/publication/22238/lesson_in_crony_capitalism.html

Read it, if you can and have the time, and don’t take anything for granted.

To make you all understand why this makes me mad, and being the nice person I am, I will now proceed to analyse and explain the parts of this article that make me dubious of its objectivity, informativity, and other ivities.
I am NOT an expert, I am NOT a graduated from Harvard, and student from Cambridge and Trinity Universities as the guy who wrote that is. I am just a teen, with my own opinions, so you should understand that anything coming along is only my subjective point of view, and that you shouldn’t take anything I say as a stated fact, unless I clarify it is, and give you the sources to check on it.

So, this is how the article starts:

Jorge Luis Borges used to say that the Argentine people suffered under “too many messiahs.” Their current president, Cristina Kirchner, certainly preaches like one.

With that alone, I now know where you’re standing, buddy. Jorge Luis Borges is a well-known, and self-proclaimed anti-peronist -or, as we call them here, ‘gorilas’ (gorillas). He’s in for the conservatives and the oligarchy of our society.
Quoting Jorge Luis Borges at the beginning of an article about a Peronist politician, and using his quote to make a characterization of said politician, means you are not too fond of Peronists either. So, from starters, I know you agree with the conservative view on the matter. So I can already guess how fond you are of social assistance, and the like, huh?

(I want to clarify, though, that even though Borges was an anti-peronist, he was an artist, one of Argentina’s finest. He had his prejudices as a member of the oligarchy here, but he is to be taken with the lightness of a feather. I’m only using his contextualized views on peronism, and the fact that a quote of his’ was chosen to start the article, to state the intension in that. Nothin else. I love Borges. He rocked).

From here, I can even guess what you’re going to say about this government. But let’s go on.

and at the last G-20 summit in June she attempted to reignite the Falkland Islands dispute with Great Britain.

Well, that’s an interesting choice of words. Tricky as well. So she wanted to ‘reignite’ the dispute.
Guys, what do you think when you think of the word ‘ignition’? And ‘reignite’? Yes, exactly, fire, something exploding. War.
Mister Barbieri, are you suggesting president Fernandez wants to start a wat against Britain? Or are you trying to make this woman appear as a threat to peace between these two nations, and of military power, when you know our military forces are poorly armed?

This is part of a speech by the president of my nation, in front of the UN:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mCsnd7nUAc

What she says is that the people within the Malvinas Islands (I refuse to call the Falklands Islands) are illegally withdrawing natural resources that naturally and legally belong to Argentina’s marine and sub-marine territory. She says that it’s not necessary to remark that it’s not reasonable to claim for territorial right over an island that’s more than 14000 kms away from your natural territory.
She then insists for the UK to fulfill the UN’s resolutions (there are many resolutions from this organization saying that Britain HAS to seat down and negotiate with Argentina, but the UK has been ignoring them as it pleases). She also talks about the many provocations the UK has been performing, such as missiles essays on May and July of the year of the speech, that were denounced to several supra-guvernamental organizations in charge of controlling all this.
She then reaffirms that Argentina has interest in only dialogue and proper negotiations, and that it doesn’t want to let many years pass before the matter is settled.
She says that Argentina has no intention to make this issue worse, but that it calls for the attention of the UN and UK to make the resolutions be fulfilled properly.

Wow, that was just scary. You could feel the killing intention within her eyes, couldn’t you?
Catch the sarcasm?

The truth is, Argentina would NEVER EVER agree to a military issue, much less to war. No Argentinian would NEVER allow the government to do that (well, yeah, there are exceptions), and I dont think Kirchner is interested in something like that either.

At home, Mrs. Kirchner’s turned a law intended to broadcast key announcements into a permanent political platform. She’s constantly on TV speaking on issues both important (like her seizure of the oil company YPF from Spain’s Repsol), and banal (videoconferences featuring zealots on the government payroll).

Yes, the president appears a lot on TV. It’s called political publicity, and it’s the duty of a responsible government. The state has the responsibility and duty to let the people know of what they’re doing. That’s why there are signed acts of EVERYTHING, accessible for the average citizen.
Mister Barbieri, if you were more comfortable with the times when the politicians appeared in TV only to make more adjustments to their disastrous economies, or to appear in Susana Gimenez’s shows (a very well-known TV host and actress), then the one who should be adapting is you.

Take a look at this video, from TVR, a popular TV-reviewing show, taken also from Susana Gimenez’s show, in 2000:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8UJ4IP0bBk

Minute 1:04. The blonde is Susana Gimenez. The bald guy, is Fernando De la Rúa. If you read my post Argentina’s Political Reality (I), then I’m telling you, this is the president that had to take off the presidential house in an helicopter, because his, and the previous presidents’, economical measures had taken the society to manifest itself against politicians, and to social chaos. Mhmm.
At first, Susana explains that she had received a call from the Casa Rosada (Pink House, the presidential house), saying that the president himself wanted to make an appearance in those rough times, to talk to the people ‘normally’ and ‘without a political speech’, about the situation. Then Gimenez makes her usual misogynist comments, but I wont go into that now.
De la Rua then says that there isn’t really a crisis, because the president is fully active, and because he’d make sure to fulfill his time in the government -he’ll be escaping before getting caught by the riots of the Plaza de Mayo a few months later. After that, he says something along the lines of  ‘there have been many unthinkable situations going on’. Susana tries saying something like ‘yeah, like what happened at the senate, or-‘, but she get’s interrupted by the president himself, who says ‘no, I’m talking about there not being anymore hake at sale’.

I’m sorry, but I certainly prefer my president appearing on TV when inaugurating high-tech factories, announcing the payroll, or the new factories of chocolate Milka in Argentina that will give thousands of people a new job, that going to Susana’s to talk about how there’s no more hake in a time of crisis.

And I certainly would feel disgust for a politician who goes anywhere to speak ‘without a political speech’. Are you kidding me? That’s just taking us for idiots, I’m sorry.

Also, the reason why Fernandez needs to appear on television while on her presidential duties, is to contrarest what is a real pain in Argentina, as well as in most of South-America: the monopolyzed media. Most of the newspapers, tv channels, radio channels, magazines, etc, are owned by the same group of very rich people, who aren’t really happy with a government that wants to take a little more out of them, for, you know, fair taxes. So Fernandez, as well as many popular presidents (and I mean ‘popular’ as in ‘from the people’), is shamelessly, cruely, and constantly critized mostly for stupidities or amarillism, only to make their public image go down. I’m not going into enough depth regarding this issue, but I may will in future posts.
So there.

As the U.S. gears up for an important presidential election, Argentina is a sad reminder of how government takeovers and crony capitalism are the enemy of genuine development.

Uh, look at the numbers again, mister Barbieri. The companies and economic groups that have grown the most in the last years with this governments, and that are the most powerfull now, are in oposition to Fernandez de Kirchner.
Sociedad Rural, Grupo Clarín, different banks, most oil companies. Just check on their numbers for the last years, and the ones before Kirchner, and you’ll clearly see a big jump. This is no secret.
So please, explain again how this government is ‘the enemy of genuine development’?

Amid the boom, the Kirchners denounced corrupt “neoliberalism,” promising to “free the people” through revitalized government. So while Peru and Colombia deepened structural reforms, Argentina expanded bureaucracy and eschewed liberalization.

Usually, when a neo-liberal talks about ‘structural reforms’, he means wild adjustments to the public wages (spending less  in medical care for people, public schools, public institutions, firing thousands of public employees, etc. You know, those measurements that makes a society go down, like what happened in Argentina in 2001, and what’s happening in Greece and south Europe now).
I’m pretty glad we’re not following that example right now, if I can be honest.

Indec, which has lied about inflation so blatantly that The Economist magazine now refuses to print its cooked numbers. Indec’s falsified low inflation reports minimize indexed payments to retirees, as well as underrating poverty figures. Yet children starve in the rural provinces regardless of what the government chooses to print.

Yes, I give you that. The Indec’s numbers aren’t reliable, wich is not acceptable. One point for you.

These lies help cover up more pernicious government meddling. In March, Mrs. Kirchner destroyed the Argentine central bank’s independence, rewriting its charter to allow the government unlimited use of the bank’s reserves to pay its debts—a surefire recipe for still more damaging inflation and a debased currency.

Oh, you mean the debt we owe the northern countries and loaning parties because of the neo-liberal policies from the dictatorship to the end of the 90’s?
You see, we decided to pay those debts with out own money, instead of doing what his school of thought proposes: lending more money from other loaners, to pay the debt to the rest. But then, you own these loaners, so you have to get indebted again to pay these ones. You know, what ‘real countries do’.
They’re kind of mad at us, because as we’re taking care of our debts with our own resources, we can invest in the developing of the consume and internal market, leading to more earnings for the state. Then, it divides the earnings between savings, and money to pay the debts. Also, this gives us the freedom to invest in whatever we want, whenever we want, cause the loaners and countries we’re indebted with can’t pressure us because of that.

That’s right, we’re breaking the chain of dependence the first world’s countries wants us in. Boohoo.

The institutional deterioration permeates far and wide and is only getting worse. This week, the Kirchner government announced plans to expropriate the company that prints its currency, the Argentine peso.

Oh my god! Why would the government, the one that orders to make more money as they have more funds, own the printing factory for bills!?!? …wait a second… Oh, I guess it DOES make sense when you actually think about it.

Middle-class Argentines have sought to save in dollars to protect themselves. But as of late last year, the government introduced draconian currency and trade controls.

Actually, the middle-class in Argentina couldn’t be better. Maybe you can’t see it cause you left to study at Harvard so many years ago, but well, I’m middle class. My mom is a scientific investigator, and has never had so many approved projects by the state. My dad is a lawyer… Well, lawyers are lawyers I guess.
They’re doing so well, we even gave up on the state’s help to pay for electricity and water, cause we don’t need that anymore. Middle-class has never been better here.
The thing is, Argentina is obsessed with dollars. They like them, but not to make them flow, to spend them. They like them under their beds, in the banks, where no one can reach to them. This is a HUGE problem for a country that has to pay debts. You know, debts are paid in foreign exchange, and if it doesn’t run through the country, if it’s stuck, then the state can’t pay for them.
That’s basically one of the reasons why there has been so many restrictions to buy dollars, unless you really needed them.
Also, Im sorry, but I don’t see why an average Argentinian should be needing more than three thousand dollars with him (wich is the estimate per capita here), if the official coin is ARG peso. You just don’t. So let them flow in the market, for god’s sake!

Manufacturing survives only through inefficient import tariffs. So, predictably, productivity lags. An iPad in Argentina, for instance, costs more than anywhere else in the world.

Yeah, that’s called protectionism. And I know you liberals think that is a bad word, but it actually is helping in developing our national industries, wich is what we need if we want to become a developed country, right? I mean, no country becomes rich and equitative, living off just agriculture or ganadery. Am I wrong?

And, oh god, I can’t access to an iPad. These people just deserve to die. -___-.

Even worse, authoritarian controls have bred multiple exchange rates: If you are a friend of the government, a dollar costs 4.5 pesos. For anyone else, it is more than six. Instant arbitrage makes cronyism profitable.

Uh, no. If you need dollars, and go buy them legally, and are permitted to buy some, then it’s 4.5 pesos. If you buy them illegally, in what’s called the ‘blue market’, the it’s gonna cost you 6 pesos. And you’d be a criminal as well. Now that’s what  I call a good business!

Social security funds have also been funneled into nationalized businesses like the seized YPF.

Haha, yeah. We got back our oil company from foreign hands, so now we can have oil at the real prize, and administrate those public jobs better. Seized YPF? Lol.

But when management is trusted to cronies rather than experts, the unfortunate mix of corruption and ineptitude guarantees losses for both social security and company employees. Not surprisingly, no foreign oil company—not even Russia’s Gazprom or China’s Sinopec—has invested in YPF.

Actually, YPF was going bankrupt. That’s why the state interviewed, to save those jobs, and the company. That’s why other companies wouldn’t invest. It’s not a wonder.

With a toxic mix of inflation, authoritarianism and corruption bringing the economy to a standstill, Mrs. Kirchner has been touring the world for new friends.

‘Standstill’? What part of ‘record growing in history’ didn’t you get?
And I’m sorry, our ways of doing business is by, you know, negotiations. We don’t bomb them, not our style.
I’d also like to know where is it you see this toxic authoritarianism.

Oh oh oh! Here comes my favorite part! Read closely, if you will:

The architect of Argentina’s economic radicalization, neo-Marxist Axel Kicilloff, often labels critics as “reactionaries” while praising Keynesian aggregate demand management.

‘The architect of Argentina’s economic radicalization’. Uhm, nope, wrong. He only got to the guvernamental spot this year, with Fernandez’s re-election. So I’m pretty sure he wasn’t the mastermind behind all this.

‘neo-Marxist’. Oh, don’t you love these people? So, what’s this adjetivization supposed to be?
An insult? I don’t know how agreeing with Marx’s ideals for the economy is insulting to anyone with an open mind.
A warning to us all? ‘Oh, look out, he’s Marxist. No- NEO-Marxist’. So he’s a leftie in the government of the Peronism? Did you even stop to think about that? Peronism was basically created to stop socialism and communism (Marx) from advancing in Argentina by giving social comfort, so the proletarians couldn’t complain.
Also, he has already openly declared he’s not a Marxist. Next!

‘while praising Keynesian aggregate demand management’. I don’t know where have you been looking so far, but Peronism and Keynes have many things in common. They both made public buildings, created public jobspots, and incentivized social assistement to get their countries going. So, what’s the critic?

And yet Mr. Kicillof’s friends—now in leadership positions in newly nationalized businesses and throughout company boards because of social-security investments—have benefited handily from this “revitalized government.”

You know, you could at least quote a source for that. You know, you can’t affirm that without any kind of responsibility. It’s almost like you’re only trying to make us see him as a monster… Oh wait.

At a time when most of Latin America is implementing promising institutional reforms, Argentina needs less televised lecturing and more action to address the crony capitalism that pervades its government. Like other false prophets, the Kirchner government has come to represent the very evil it purported to fight. Argentina deserves better.

Again, ‘promising institutional reforms’, refers to adjustments to its budget to let more people off the system, and more money for the banks.

‘the Kirchner government has come to represent the very evil it purported to fight’. Can I lol? LOL.

‘Argentina deserves better’. Sure. We also deserved better in the 90’s, where the people you probably defend destroyed this countries’ economy to shreds, only for their own greed.
We ARE better now. And not thanks to people like them.

Yes, there are many, MANY things wrong with this government. You only got to touch two in this article: the Indec’s lack of credibility, and the corruption in some states of the institutions. That’s it. The rest, you were looking at it from behind your Harvard, USA’s,  liberal mask, not wanting to see the improvement in people’s lives and freedoms, because you don’t like these people.

I hope you didn’t find this as insulting as I found that article.

This is my own opinion and analysis over this. I hope this leaves you with a thought or two.

-Mila.