I swear, I had this post written up and ready to go yesterday, but it slipped my mind! Sorry for the delay in news (good thing I’m not a news agency, eh? You’d be getting the news with a 2-day delay). Two days ago, radio MC Ángel Pedro “Baby” (pronounced b-ah-by, not b-ay-by) Etchecopar and his family were assaulted by three robbers in their home in San Isidro, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Baby’s son was approaching his home when three robbers got in the car and forced him to go in his father’s home at gunpoint. Baby was shot in both legs, which caused an exposed fracture, as well as in the lower back. His son was shot three times in the thorax, and one bullet perforated his lung. Both are in the hospital in San Isidro. Also at home were Baby’s wife and pregnant daughter, both (due to the lack of news) seem to be fine physically. One of the assaulters was shot and killed, while the other two got away in Baby’s Mercedes (which was later found abandoned in the surrounding San Isidro area).
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the SUBE, the pre-paid card that can be used for buses and the subway, is no longer free. You will now be able to purchase your very-own SUBE (which, up until a mere 3 days ago, was free) for 10 pesos. Yup, the Secretary of Transportation announced on March 3 that the card can be purchased for 10 pesos and in the case that it is lost, will cost 17 pesos to renew. How does THAT make sense? Pay 17 pesos to renew the card, or just get a new one for 10. #SchiaviLogic
Many of you know that there was a terrible accident yesterday (February 22) at 8:33AM, at Once station in Buenos Aires. I passed right by Once about ten minutes after the accident, on a bus, and grumbled grouchily at the unusually large number of people getting on my bus. Little did I know… Fifty people died, and approximately 700 more injured after a train coming from Sarmiento crashed into hydraulic bumpers in the station coming in at 20 km per hour (about 13 mi/hr). The cause of the tragedy is yet to be known, and the government hasn’t come up with an official statement as of yet—while some point to the fact that the brakes weren’t working, others (the head of the train company) believe it was due to “human error.”
Apologies for delays on posting. I’ve been a lazy blogger. Also I’ve been busy working on a new post on small businesses (one in particular—hint, it’s a hot topic, hee hee), and that is sort of eating up my normal posting time. Unfortunately, you will have to wait for that one until next week. For now though, let’s talk about something that has been buzzing around annoyingly in the news for a while: the Malvinas.
As previously mentioned in my post on Cris’ return, the Malvinas issue has surged in political discourse once more. And it’s becoming more intense. Now that Argentina has been pushing to sit down with Great Britain and talk things through, GB responded saying, well, first of all, no, and that second of all, Argentina’s actions are far more “colonialist” than they ever were. Good one, David.
Marita Verón (María de los Ángeles) was kidnapped in front of her house in Tucumán Province on April 3, 2002. She was 23. Ten years have passed and they still have not found her. Her mother Susana Trimarco, the main force behind her investigation, believes she is still alive. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the trial of 13 people for alleged involvement in sex trafficking in Tucumán Province.
María Jesús Rivero, one of the women on trial, is suspected of giving the order, as she was the owner of the taxi service Cinco Estrellas (Five Stars), which provided the car to kidnap Marita. Marita was allegedly transported under the eye of Daniela Milhein. Both women are ex-wives of Rubén “ La Chancha” Ale, the ex-president of the soccer club Club San Martín de Tucumán. She was then transported to La Rioja Province, where she was forced to prostitute herself through the prostíbulos of Lidia Irma “Liliana” Medina, the “grand madame” of the Province. Then she disappeared without a trace.
The investigation pointed to Córdoba Province as a potential place of her death. However, the police have yet to find a body. After the disappearance of her daughter, Trimarco founded the Foundation María de los Ángeles, an NGO that fights against sex trafficking in Argentina. The Foundation educates the public on the issue, provides a physical space for women who were forced into sex trafficking, and provides legal guidance, among other services. Since its foundation, the NGO is known to have saved 129 victims from sex trade.
While prepping for this post, I tried to find some information on sex trafficking in Argentina. But I couldn’t find anything concrete and up-to-date. Most sex trafficking occurs in Eastern Europe and South Asia. While many women are kidnapped and transported to different countries in these aforementioned cases (from Asia to the US for example), in Argentina, many are kidnapped and forced in the domestic market. Also many women from the countries along the border of Argentina, especially Paraguay, are victims of sex trafficking in Argentina.
I feel like even the visibility of sex trafficking in Argentina is very different from the US. I remember when doing research on sex trade in the US, people told me that many women were kept captive in “any place with a bed,” for example, massage parlors. But here the women you see in the pictures of the tiny pieces of paper that are stuck to the bus stop are the victims. They are parts of a service with registered phone numbers that only offer that service. May be I was blind in the US, but it would be nice to have a stronger network of organizations against sex trafficking (and with more concrete numbers) in Argentina, even if it is a smaller market in relative terms.
Famatina. Heard of it? It’s a tiny town in La Rioja Province. For the past few weeks, there have been at least a few articles on Famatina in every newspaper in Argentina. The teeny town located in a department of less than 6,000 residents became famous because of a sudden uproar against a mining project by Canadian mining firm, Osisko.
Osisko planned to begin exploring (key word, exploring) the area on January 16. Beginning on January 2, Famatina residents began to gather in protest, barricading all entry and exit points to the mine. The firm obviously didn’t show on the 16th. The interesting thing about this protest is how such a tiny town could put up resistance on such a huge scale.