These last couple weeks we’ve been seeing more insanity than usual here in Argentina. It started a week ago with a public park taken over by immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru and Argentine “villeros”. Once they installed themselves in this public park with tents, they started bringing in materials to build brick and mortar homes in it to make a “villa”(shanty town). These are often crime and disease infested places. Imagine this happening in the park right in front of your home. Well, the neighbors of Soldati didn’t like the idea either so they asked the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Mr. Mauricio Macri to take action. Macri being a more right wing type of guy did what he could, but he has no control of the Federal police that is needed to evict them. Macri has been struggling over the control of the Federal police of the capital district for years, but the president Cristina Kirchner prefers to keep the Federal under her control instead. So we have squatters on one hand taking over a park, pissed neighbors on the other, and a mayor, Mauricio Macri, that wants to remove them but has no power. All Macri has is the newly created Metropolitan police. The metropolitan police was created after years of requesting Kirchner the control of the Federal police. Since she wasn’t giving them up, Macri managed to get the voters approval to create a Metropolitan police. The newly created metropolitan police is still small, mostly for traffic control and petty crime in the city. It lacks the anti-mob material, training and manpower to deal with large groups of people. The patrol vehicles of the metropolitan police where sent away by the squatters, shot at and attacked with stones and Molotovs. Macri asked for help to the Federal police, but Kirchner said she would not use force against these loving, upstanding citizens (well, not actually citizens, most of them are form Bolivia) To make matters worse, most of the squatters are simply criminals, either from north of the border from Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay, or local thugs, “piqueteros” that work for Kirchner as crash force. Most of them don’t even need another home, they take over land, build a few sacks, and then RENT them out to poor people for 100 or 150 USD a month. One guy from Bolivia, he took over a large warehouse, made 20 “rooms” in it, and rented each for 200 USD a month… in usurped property!
When the neighbors of Soldati saw that the president clearly had no intention of protecting their neighborhood, they took the law into their own hands. Results? 4 dead and countless wounded. It was kind of funny to see these criminals that can hardly speak Spanish and that came hear to steal land for themselves, DEMANDING that the police should protect them! More insane than that? That’s exactly what the president did! She sent the Federal police, but not to expel them but to surround the area to protect these poor innocent criminals that were getting their asses kicked. Now a judge is taking note of everyone in the park and has promised to give each and every one of these people a house.
So lets recap: You take over land that isn’t yours, you start building a house there and demand to either be allowed to build or a house elsewhere.
Today, a few days later, land is being usurped all over the city. Even in private property people are waking up to find tents and shacks on their property and the squatters are not leaving unless they give them a home somewhere else.
What else can you expect when you reward criminal actions with houses?
The government’s response to all this? They are organizing marches and rallies in the city today in favor of tolerance and support to criminals and squatters everywhere. The president said that we should “open our hearts” to them.
I’m watching TV right now and people are very, very pissed. In a terrible economy where hard working people work their entire lives and can’t finish building their homes its understandable that they are willing to become violent against criminals that are simply allowed to steal what they otherwise have to work their entire lives to pay. Not only that, they ruin the neighborhoods by taking away parks where children used to play, instead creating shanty towns full of thugs, criminals and drugs.
I don’t know how this will all end, but I’ve never seen the average hard working person so fed up. Its one thing when the average citizen does what the police is supposed to and kicks out squatters. It’s a completely different thing when the police shows up not to help you, but to protect the criminals instead.
December is often an interesting month in Argentina. Maybe its the heat. There's problems with gasoline, becoming harder to find, there's not enough money in ATMs, supposedly a plane from Brazil is comming this way, full of money (we can't even print our own money, its Made in Brazil too) and squatters are just waiting.
Hey man, that shotgun class may just come in handy!
Take care folks,