Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bienvenidos a Malos Aires

San Diego Wildfires sound familiar to anyone? The smoky, toxic smelling air that filled southern California just 6 months ago has cleared, yet many are still recovering their lives, homes and normal way of life. Now that same smoky, nasty air is haunting the people of the province of Buenos Aires. For the last week, the fumes of wildfire have clouded the city leaving many people with medical complaints including respiratory problems, sore eyes, etc. Argentina's health ministry has said the smoke is not toxic but does contain high levels of carbone monoxide. Oh, that's just great, we all love inhaling carbon monoxide on our way to work or class. The walk to the offices yesterday morning was a perfect example, the visibility was not more than 2 city blocks in downtown and upon arrival I had a headache an a nice cough to accompany it. How we love our Buenos Aires.
The cause?

Remember the farmers' strike? Well, the farmers called a stop to the strike and warned the goverment to have a resolution by the end of the month. The fires that are turning Buenos Aires into malos aires have been started outside of the city in grasslands supposedly by farmers clearing the land to graze cattle. My first thought several days ago was, 'hmmm, must be farmers' revenge!' Now this is the thought of everyone including the government, as it has said it will prosecute anyone they find responsible for lighting the fires. Of course, the farmers are denying any such action. I'm sticking to my opinion that this is a case of the farmers striking back at the government, yet risking the health of the 13 million providencial residents. If this hypothesis proves true, the farmers sure have a way of standing up to the government. First they cut distribution of food to the butchers and markets then follow up by burning the hell out of the grasslands.

Que se yo? In translation, this means 'what do I know?' This could be a false hypothesis but the way I've seen things happen in my four months as an Argentine, anything is possible especially when the government is involved. What's with the pessimism Robin? Wow I am truly evolving into a local with my political unrest. Please don't confuse my foul attitude with my sheer joy of South American lifestyle, however some distrust in the political system comes with Argentine immersion. Wait, isn't that a world-wide custom?

view from our terrace