Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Viva la Patria

Long live the motherland. That's how la presidenta Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner ended one of her pre-election speeches. Which is a perfect segue into discussing the enchanting quirks of this paradoxical country.

Let's start with swine flu. (I'll insert here that I feel qualified to opine on this because I was a victim of the Harvard Commencement Swine Flu Epidemic in early June 2009.) Argentina has the 3rd largest amount of cases of swine flu and everyone is freaking out (I saw so many face-masks on my way to work today). They cancelled two weeks of school, adding them to the traditional winter recess, so kids here get the entire month off, lucky bastards!

Now let's move on to politics. Legislative "midterm" elections were held on Sunday and CFK and her husband (and alleged power behind the throne) Nestor Kirchner took a beating. Still, this country is far to into personalistic leadership (though as an Obamaphile, perhaps I'm not exactly one to talk). However, robust and sustained party-building would do a lot to strengthen political institutions and finish consolidating a still-young democracy. At least there hasn't been a coup. (Too soon?)

Oh yeah, and Buenos Aires is awesome. I rode a horse for the first time in my life; it was great! And slowly, ever so slowly, I feel myself becoming more of the person I want to be. Life is good.

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