The good thing about having a blog is I can rant about whatever I want and no one can stop me. SO unless you want to hear me complain about how much I detest the U.S. sometimes I would advise you just ignore this post!
So today I had my favorite class, Drugs & Violence in Latin American Literature and Art. This is a three hour class that meets once a week, but I don’t mind spending my Monday nights at IES for this class. It is so interesting and every week continues to open my eyes to things I had no idea were going on in this world. Today we discussed las villas miserías which literally translates to misery villages. These are the slums of Buenos Aires and nearly half a million people live in these terribly unsanitary “villages.” Our homework last week was to discuss the villas with Buenos Aires natives, and so last night (yes, procrastinating…) I asked Nora about them. She gave me a good description of the villas and what caused them (many people in the middle to upper class will blame the Peron administration, but my teacher told us that is just a well-circulated opinion of the richer porteños and that not all of it is factual information). However, nothing she said helped me fully understand the importance of the slum problem in Buenos Aires until class tonight.
We learned about neoliberal policies, something I never heard about before. Neoliberal policies are basically big international/political programs like the IMF that give funds to countries with failing/failed economic systems in order to help boost their economies. However, in return the countries have to adopt certain political policies that are in favor of these international organizations. These policies include but are not limited to SAPs or Structural Adjustment Programs. These SAPs cause major cuts in public spending, like healthcare and education. The “reason” for the SAPs are to encourage cheaper labor which will create a more competitive economy in the world and encourage governments to only fund essential programs. The IMF, the neoliberalism ‘champion’ as my teacher called it, considers health and education unnecessary (pardon my language, what the eff???). In case you didn’t already know this, Argentina practically collapsed in 2001, and this is how. People literally lost all their lifetime savings because the peso inflated 200% because it attached itself to the U.S. dollar. Everything increased in price because government spending practically came to a halt all because a neoliberal movement in the government came to play.
So for the weekend we also had to read an essay that this American named Mike Davis wrote, and he basically said that neoliberalism causes ecological and health crises which cause political conflicts which turn into war, and claims that the Pentagon is aware of this problem and is training soldiers to fight inside of slums in case of a possible uprise.
Call me an anarchist but I wouldn’t blame the impoverished if there was a “slum” uprising. It’s ridiculous that a government can cause so much damage just to get itself out of a kilombo while in turn forcing hundreds of thousands of its citizens to literally live in their own shit.
One thing I love about Argentina is the free healthcare and free education. The neoliberal policies would have taken this away if it had stayed in the government. Students can get a supreme education at UBA for free, where I’m stuck in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt back in the States just to get a quality education. It pisses me off! And I know everyone is freaking out about the new healthcare system in the States, but honestly the U.S. is NOT POOR like everyone makes it sound like. In comparison to here, a TON of people can afford a quality healthcare. I just can’t believe how much Americans blow our problems out of proportion when there are countries that would literally kill to have a nation like ours. If I could change one thing about the U.S. is how much of a bubble we are in. I have never in my life learned about another country’s problems (with the exception of maybe a European country or Canada) without having to do extensive research. It pisses me off how ignorant our country is. (Not most of the people I know, but some citizens in general. Sorry if I offend anyone.)
I have had some built up anger with the U.S. prior to traveling here and getting an outside look of our country, but tonight was just the cherry to top it all of. I apologize if any of my information is inaccurate, I know some people get touchy over the small details but this is just what was on my mind.
On another note Tati and I touched noses today.