It was ten years ago today

Exactly ten years ago (about about 7:45 this evening), Fernando de la Rúa surprised even himself when he scurried into a helicopter on the roof of the Casa Rosada, and flew away from the country he ruled that had spun out of control.

The diarios – national and international – are stuffed with memories, analysis, and opinion about what the 10th anniversary of La Crisis means for Argentina, and for the European countries that find themselves in a scarily similar situation today.  (This article with a view from inside the Casa Rosada is fascinating

I’ve been almost obsessed with trying to learn what happened then –  because I can’t imagine what it was like, because I remember the blow-by-blow coverage from afar even as I was covering the aftermath of my own national disaster (here’s one story I did around that time), and because it’s hard to imagine that *this* Buenos Aires, which has come so far in just ten years, was once *that* Buenos Aires.  Scouring through the photos, my wife exclaimed, “hey, that’s Cotto, there was looting in Cotto!”.  That Buenos Aires is unrecognizeable to us foreigners today.

I’m especially interested in the individual stories, what this day and the days that followed were really like.  That’s why I’d really love to see this movie tonight at CCEBA (HT: Time Out BA).

If you are from here and/or lived here at the time, what do you remember?  If you weren’t, what do you want to know?  We’d love to hear your comments….

One thing’s hit me by living here.  It was summer, it must have been hot as hell, and a hot city can be explosive all on its own.  It reminds me of the ambience in this groundbreaking movie:


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Confused about the newsprint war?

Update, 12:34pm – Just went to the kiosco to find Clarín dropped this bomb on its Sunday cover.

Yeah, me too.  The Kirchner government and its allies want to push through a law to bring newsprint production and sale under government oversight.  Kirchner foes Clarín and La Nación have laid out pages of outrage, warning of an ominous power grab against democracy.

Marcelo García at the Buenos Aires Herald has a decent middle-of-the-road explanation:

[pullquote]It makes little sense to analyze the newsprint market news coming from Congress this week without first understanding what sort of State and private sector practices Argentina has built over the years. Abuse has been norm rather than exception and the history of Argentina’s virtual newsprint monopoly Papel Prensa is testimony to that. [/pullquote]

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Argentina losing its famed grass-fed beef

I’ve been seeing various versions of this story since I arrived in Buenos Aires last spring.  Farmers are taking advantage of high prices and easier work, and turning their grazing ranches into fields of soy and other grains.  So more and more your ojo de bife and mollejas are raised in feedlots, just like in the good ole USofA.  According to the Argentine Independent:

[pullquote]A 1993 report by the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) could still affirm that cattle in Argentina “are almost exclusively grass fed”, yet the feedlot was already making headway in the nation’s rural areas. Originally, the feedlot model was adopted as a stopgap measure, a way to mitigate loss of capital, as well as a way to feed the cattle in a limited space. Nevertheless due to the limitations of available pastureland, beef production was lowered and domestic prices for beef went up. In an attempt to keep beef prices down, legislation was developed which provided for subsidies for the corn fed to the cattle in the feedlots. These subsidies were understood as ‘compensation’ for the producers, who in turn did not raise beef prices to the consumer.[/pullquote]

The result has been less and less grass-fed beef, which is what locals and tourists alike most likely expect from Argentine beef.

A couple questions – do you care where your parrilada comes from?  (Personally, I think you should – think E Coli risk, level of healthy omega 3s, etc.)

And does anybody know of a parrilla or chef in Buenos Aires who actively advertises their meat as “organic” and/or “grass fed”?



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S2 E16 (Finale): ¿Cena con flores o…paredón?

Final episode of the season!

We are ending our regular season today, but like last season we will have a documentary series called ¨The laws of Tango¨ that will ¨air¨ during the south american summer. Stay tuned! And thank you for listening!!

Closing the topic of the month (binational dating) with a chamuyo fully in Spanish with Catalonian team member Juanma and his porteña girlfriend, Ximena, and porteña Paola, who lives in Barcelona and dates a local there.

And a current affairs topic: Dollars with a Special Report from the Banco Nación and the opinion of a financial expert.

Spanglish Playground: more on porteño Spanish language nicknames.

Expat Chat with Liza Puglia from New Orleans (also known as NOLA chef)

BA Cast at the presentation of a new gastronomic guide by food writer Pietro Sobra (former guest at the show): Immigrant Communities Restaurants of BA.

And BA Cast Songs goes Unplugged, with a genre not yet covered by us.
[box] We hope you liked it, if you have some questions or comments, please use:



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Is Buenos Aires a bike-friendly city?

Sounds like a joke, right? The insane traffic, the roaring colectivos, the crumbling sidewalks and street shoulders, the dog shit.

But when you compare Buenos Aires to many other cities – and most in Latin America – La Capital is pretty two-wheelin’ friendly.

Please don't steal this cheap-ass bike.

Not many cities anywhere in the world have a free bike rental system (it’s become so popular they’ve reduced the time you can take one out from two to one hour).  The network of bicisendas is growing everyday.  And consultants are working with the city government to make the city more bike-friendly.

I just bought a used bike, and I’m loving it.  I get some exercise, get around faster than even in a car sometimes, and of course, reduce my carbon footprint.

What are your experiences on two wheels in Buenos Aires?  What could the city do better to make life easier for bicyclists?  What it is doing well?  Comment below.

BTW, I was going to title this post “Godoy Cruz’ Got a Brand New Bicisenda” because I was so excited to see a new stretch of bike lane this morning connecting Gorriti with Santa Fe.  If you’re missing the musical reference, you could do worse on a feriado than listen to this:


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Short 6 Season 2: The U.S.A. Dan’s Bottom 5 and Fer’s Top 5

Continuing with the series on confessions Top 5, we bring you this week a duel…but this time, Buenos Aires is not the main topic.



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Foto del Día – 1 diciembre

Celebración de fin del ciclo lectivo (casi) en Villa Crespo.  Soundtrack = los Wachiturros, claro.

Here’s the deal:

You read the BA Cast blog.  You listen to the BA Cast podcast.

You take pictures.  You document your life around you.

Share a bit with BA Cast.  Send a pic to BA Cast Foto del Día:

¡Gracias che!

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