My name is Martin and I am from Latvia.
You have been writing a great blog! I read almost half of it some weeks ago - it gave me a lot info I needed and a lot to think about.. And now I have some specific questions.
Maybe you have heard something about Latvia, but I will give very short info on whats happening here.
There are many similarities between Latvia and Argentina. We also had privatization boom in 90ties. There is also very much corruption. Also our currency - Lats is pegged to euro, the same as Peso was to dollar. In last years we also imported MUCH more than we exported. Big foreign companies invested a lot in Latvia. We have borrowed a lot too..
And now in short my country is fallowing Ukraine and its semi-failed economy very fast. We borrowed ~5 billion lats [7.5 billion euros] from IMF, EU, Sweden etc. which are being used to save our one nationalized bank and are invested in other banks, so they would give out money in credits [it's not working of course]. For comparing - our government budget in 2008 was 6.5 billion Lats. There is NO way we can repay that till 2013, especially in situation of worldwide crisis. Plus our national debt - citizens + businesses + government debt - is by now at least 26billion Lats. And now Latvia is on a verge of bankruptcy. It will happen if not this spring, then next autumn for sure. We have [the same as in Ukraine] no real opposition in our government and our people are divided and confused by bullshit main mass media and politicians are talking.
Yet there is still some hope. I am working in small independent internet news portal (www.TautasForums.lv). We, and a union of other independent media, organizations, are trying to enlighten people about what is coming, because most of Latvians believe that some miracle is going to happen - somehow economy will be fixed and it wont be 'that bad'. But meanwhile crime and suicide rates are climbing. Budget to health care, police is cut!! GDP fell 10.5% in 2008 4th quarter. Stupidity, ignorance and blindness of general population is biggest problem here. Also we are trying to unite non-governmental organizations, independent media, university professors, students [budget to highest education was cut by ~40%] - all real opposition to government there is, . We are trying to start mass movement, to unite people. We are relatively small country and this might work. It has to.
This is why recently I have been studying very carefully Argentina, Ukraine and Iceland - for signs about what is coming. We are spreading info about what happened to Argentina in 2001. We have published info about films and links to films about Argentina - "Argentina’s Economic Collapse" and "The Take". Maybe you can suggest some more films about all that happened in Argentina? Can you please tell more [or give links to some info] about factories that were occupied by workers? Are they still in workers control? How are they doing now? What are biggest problems?
Is there some real opposition to Argentina's government? Is there any real peoples movement? If yes, how are they doing?
We are preparing series of articles about Argentina 2001 economic collapse. You certainly know and maybe you can send me link to some best articles that in general covers most important things that led to crisis and covers most important things that happened after SHTF? Your blog 'Surviving in Argentina' is great, especially 'Thoughts on Urban Survival', but it is very specific. As are all other posts, which is great for your blog, but bad for translating and republishing, because we need some more general info and it will take a lot of time to analyse and edit info. As our internet news portal is run only by our enthusiasm and it is only one of many projects that are taking place now in Latvia, we are interested in saving our time as much as we can.. So if you can send some links or some specific general info about events before and after SHTF, that would be great!
Maybe you have some detailed information about Ukraine you can share? Because there is real silence in all world about whats happening in Ukraine now, only bits and peaces of info. I have insight because of all contacts I have established recently with Ukrainians, but main mass media in Latvia are silent about it.
Well.. thats a long letter and a lot of questions..
I hope you will have time and enthusiasms to answer them!
Best wishes and thank you for your time -
Mārtiņš , Latvia
I get a lot of traffic from you guys in Latvia and also Ukraine.
What are you crazy guys up to over there? :)
I'll do a bit of reserach and get back to you with the answers, ok?
Got to go now, I'll be checking the protest for more security, in Plaza de Mayo and run a few errands.