Intense Fear

bigbadwolf

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"Marc" said:
Neither do I believe that most Argentine people live in dire misery. Yes, I've seen the Villas Miserias. But does that represent most Argentines? I think not. Yes, the street begging is a shock at first, particularly the very very young children.
According to the government's own statistics, 20% of the population (about 8m people) lives on less than one US dollar a day:
http://www.aquilanoticia.com/nota.asp?IDNoticia=6781
http://www.eldiarioexterior.com/noticia.asp?idarticulo=10451
These are levels of poverty only to be found in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. I don't know how these people keep body and soul together. Only 5% of the households, as I believe someone told me, takes in more than 5000 pesos a month (i.e. 1700 USD). That's your middle class. The other 95% is simply poor, though here of course we make distinctions between the desperately indigent (the bottom 20%) and those less so. What is said of Haiti can be said of Argentina: poverty is a condition people aspire towards.
What continues to amaze me is that most foreigners I've encountered in Argentina are blissfully oblivious of what life is like for the locals. Look around you in Buenos Aires: street vendors who stand the whole day selling scarves, socks, whatever, and never seem to make a single sale: it suggests how difficult life is for people, and the lack of viable economic alternatives.
I'm not trying to present an excessively negative picture, but Argentina's prospects are bleak. And this didn't just come out of nowhere, from the meltdown of five years ago. It reflects, rather, the inability of Argentina to modernise itself throughout the 20th century, to make the transition from an agrarian to an industrial economy -- partly because of domestic problems, and partly because of international circumstances beyond Argentina's control. It is a national tragedy. This is the real reason why Argentineans look so beaten and fatalistic at times.
Earlier this year, a book titled "A History of Argentina in the 20th Century" was published in Argentina; the author is Luis Alberto Romero; the book can be found in local BsAs bookshops both in Spanish and English (cost: 32 pesos). I recommend it to foreigners living in Argentina: it affords a historical perspective on the country's present predicament, of which lawlessness and indigence are particular symptoms.
 

bigbadwolf

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"Gearjammer" said:
With all of the fear going around, one thing that I don't get is seeing women walking around alone late at night. You'd think if it were really that dangerous you wouldn't see this. This is in Palermo and Recoleta mostly that I'm talking about. It might be different in other areas.
Recoleta -- and presumably Palermo -- is heavily policed. Again, this police presence is there for a reason. But many outlying areas have scant police protection and things are much more dicey there.
 

Gearjammer

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"bigbadwolf" said:
With all of the fear going around, one thing that I don't get is seeing women walking around alone late at night. You'd think if it were really that dangerous you wouldn't see this. This is in Palermo and Recoleta mostly that I'm talking about. It might be different in other areas.
Recoleta -- and presumably Palermo -- is heavily policed. Again, this police presence is there for a reason. But many outlying areas have scant police protection and things are much more dicey there.
There is a significant police presence on the corners during the day, but not late at night. But even in good neighborhoods in the U.S., you don't see attractive women walking around alone late at night. I guess since most people here don't have cars that partly accounts for it. And from the sound of some of the previous posts, there are some rougher areas where this might not be as common. I feel safer here than I do a lot of places in the U.S. My job there took me all over the country. I got robbed at gunpoint in downtown Charlotte. When the police came to interview me they said there had been numerous murders in that neighborhood over the past couple of weeks. On a couple of occassions, armed individuals even shot at firemen, and paramedics, who happened to be the first responders. I don't hear of anything like that here.
 

chris

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Gearjammer, Don't deceive yourself. There is violent crime here - murders, rapes and mutilations. There have been a number of major demonstrations here to protest the crime situation. The organizer is a man whose son was killed by kidnappers. One of the ugliest phenomena here is the practice of severing fingers of victims.
 

Bairesgirl

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I read some of these posts and it seems to be as if nobody here had lived anywhere else in the world.... really.... should Argentina be the first country you move to? why not move to France? or california? or Switzerland? you can´t afford to? well get a life and stop complaining, maaaan...
I lived in London several years, and I remember there were some very very dangerous parts indeed. In fact I remember passing through several bus stops which had large posters that were appealing for witnesses of stabbings, rapes and such that had taken place on a saturday night at 10 pm for example (on a main street in south london!!) There is plenty of crime in developed countries, (drug related, etc...)
and many people on very very low incomes.....it is just that they are usually illegal aliens who do not count to statisticians because they are not citizens.....
 

bigbadwolf

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"Gearjammer" said:
And so do I. But to compare Argentina with the US, I'd have to discuss the real roots of US crime and doing this -- because of the suffocating atmosphere of political correctness -- would get me into heap big trouble right here on this forum. So let sleeping dogs lie. En passant, look at what happened in New Orleans last year, in the wake of Katrina.I feel safer here than I do a lot of places in the U.S. My job there took me all over the country. I got robbed at gunpoint in downtown Charlotte. When the police came to interview me they said there had been numerous murders in that neighborhood over the past couple of weeks. On a couple of occassions, armed individuals even shot at firemen, and paramedics, who happened to be the first responders. I don't hear of anything like that here.
 

JG

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The argentines in the BA metro area, lets limit it to that, live in intense gripping fear. that was my original point. Washington dc and baltimore have lots of crime and murders. I dont live in fear there and i dont live in fear here. when i visit my nephews in La matanza, i go alone on the bus and have taken the train as well. In short, ive been around.
sure this is a poor country dont be fooled, thats why the busses spew black smoke choking the streets and roar like airplanes, louder i think than the normal airplane. Yet it's all tolerated and permitted. I can't believe the things i see each day.
The fact that they throw their garbage everywhere has nothing to do with being poor in my opinion, just being dirty. They are not clean as i see it each and every day and my entire day is surrounded by litter and trash.
But the original point again: they live in fear, the security shacks on every corner in the suburbs, the lingering memory of when secret police forces ripped family and friends off the street (Where is Lopez?), the intense fear my neighbors in all my buildings have had of my nephews, that spooked freaked out look in the porteños sad, sour faces. BOOOO!
 

chris

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Bairesgirl, I don't think anyone is disputing that there is crime in other cities around the world. Of course there is crime in London or Charlotte. North Carolina. The point I was trying to make is that BA has more than its fair share of crime, contrary to the views of some expats who seem to view Argentina with rose tinted glasses. Having said that I should point out that there is a difference: in London (and presumably Charlotte) you can trust and rely on the police who, for the most part, are competent, honest and polite. The reputation of the police force here (it's far worse in the Province of BA) is not quite the same as that of the London Metropolitan Police. I'd also point out that kidnappings are not too common in the UK or US, nor are restaurant holdups (old West style robberies of customers and staff), nor are robbery related mutilations. Those who choose to live here should try to adapt to the environment, enjoying the positive and trying to cope with the downside. I can't see, however, why expats should have to shut up or go back to their native countries just because they have some critical observations to make about Argentina. Would you say that to a (legal) Pakistani living in the UK or a (legal) Mexican in the US? It seems to me that any legal immigrant who obeys the laws of his/her adopted country has a right to his/her own opinion. I am all for diversity of opinion and welcome all informed views. I listen to these ideas and form my own opinions.
 

Gearjammer

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"chris" said:
Gearjammer, Don't deceive yourself. There is violent crime here - murders, rapes and mutilations.
I still think it's far worse in the U.S. Of course I haven't been to all the neighborhoods yet.
Back to the original topic. Fear is like a magnetic for trouble. Because the history of what's happened here in the past, people may be given to fear. But it only makes things worse and empowers the criminal elements.
 
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