Friday, November 04, 2005

Summit of Americas Protests -- Mar del Plata, Argentina

Like I said in one of my previous posts, I was curious as what kind of protests would turn up in protest of the Summit of Americas, especially with George Bush in attendance.

It's hard to believe that I was in this city, Mar del Plata, about 3 months ago...


Mar del Plata protests

I hopped on an empty bus with my boyfriend Sean from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata. Empty because it was off-season. We stopped at the Mar del Plata bus station, found the El Rapido heading in the direction of Balcarce, to go climbing at a remote, serene place called Sierra la Vigilancia. In Mar del Plata, we went to a bakery about a block and a half away from the bus terminal and bought medialunas and sweets. The lady there, curious about our background, asked us where we were from. She was extremely excited to have us, Americans, in her shop. She was extremely sweet and caring. She told us to be careful of the pick pocketers...


A guy kicking in the window of a bank(?)

Boy, I'm glad I'm not in Argentina right now at this very moment. Anti-US and anti-Bush sentiment was high when I was down there. Whenever I told people I was from the US, it was one thing, when I told people I was from Texas, oh man...did I have some explaining to do!

I spoke with many locals, and despite the large anti-US and anti-Bush sentiment, we were able to find common ground. I believe that I was able to convey that not all Americans are evil, money hungry, power whores. How? Well, when I was down there, I was so curious about their country, I left mine behind. I wanted to know more about their history, their political issues, their thoughts...

Right before I got my camera stolen in Plaza de Congreso in Buenos Aires, I was talking with an Argentinian couple in their early 20's. We talked a lot about politics..politics of the US and politics of Argentina. Damien and Maria told me that the presidents and the government rob the people of so much. They complained, pleaded to me. But they said that right now, it wasn't as bad as it has been...that Kirchner is corrupt and takes from the people, but not as badly as past leaders have.

Two different worlds. Two different political systems. Both littered with problems.

It was hard to communicate what I really wanted to learn. I go to other countries with an open mind, to hear what the people have to say, what they think. But I'm limited by my lack of bi-lingual abilities. I am very curious as to what others think of Americans in general because of our latest political issues on the world front in the past few years...ie. basically the Bush years. It's good to get the word out that not all Americans support the ideals of Bush either. Hey, I sure as hell didn't vote for him! I went to the polls for the first time in my life, so that I could vote against him...

When I went to the Madres de Plaza de Mayo march, a peaceful protest once a week in Buenos Aires, I encountered anti-Bush sentiment as the Madres gathered by the statue post-march. One of the Madres has a speakerphone, gives a speech defending the revolutionary ideals that their children fought for during the Dirty Wars...their children had "disappeared" during that era. The Madres speak for the support of communism, and speak out strongly against Bush.

In many places in Argentina, I was confronted with anti-Bush sentiment. Anti-American sentiment on a lesser level. It's always an open discussion.

I've only skimmed a few articles, with Western views, about the Summit protests. I just hope that it doesn't portray Argentina as this land of lawlessness, a land of revolutionaries, a land of chaos..as show the pictures coming in from the media. Despite the bad things that happened to me in Argentina, I still view Argentinians as wonderful people, Argentina as a beautiful country so varied in landscape. I met the most amazing people in various parts of Argentina -- truely selfish, caring, and kind. Many who greeted me with warmth when they learned that I wanted to explore their country.

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