A rare and unusual sight of Argentina

There are 6 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by serafina.

  • Normally the members of this forum, with all justice, remarks the problems and disadvantages of my country. I am sending another point of vue, from an American citizen. I am not exactly proud, but let´s see what is the opinion of this gentleman.

    A rare letter of praise from an American citizen settled in Argentina (published in Clarin, January 20th, 2019

    More than 15 years ago, I moved to Argentina to change my life after surviving the morning of September 11, 2001 at Ground Zero. I worked in a building next to the Twin Towers. Several years before the attack I had come on holiday to Argentina, and I had fallen in love with this nation and its people. Then, after the attack, and despite the economic and political crisis of 2001, Argentina was for me a refuge from many of the most serious problems in the world. But when I meet an Argentine for the first time, and I tell him how many years I've been living here, most do not understand why I stayed so long, and why I do not want to return to the United States. I often hear that for them, the best country is Spain, Canada or some other place in the First World, and they really want to move there. Because many of my Argentine friends and colleagues want to move to another place, I think now is the ideal time to remind Argentines, and foreigners, because this is one of the best countries in the world.

    In many countries, supposedly "more developed than Argentina", there is no priority for pregnant, disabled and / or elderly people in the queues of banks, supermarkets and other businesses. On the other hand, Argentina still takes care of that part of society. Abroad, residential buildings, shopping centers and even schools are sold as "exclusive", fostering a "us versus them" philosophy among consumers, encouraging them to live apart from the poor. Here, it is more common to hear the debate on inclusion and public policies to benefit the greatest number of people, than to see an advertisement promoting commercial (and therefore social) exclusion. The public universities of Argentina exemplify the inclusive culture.

    When I ask my American friends to define "solidarity," almost none of them has considered the idea that if it rains, and not everyone has an umbrella, everyone should be willing to get wet. Perhaps because they were raised in a society where the exclusion of those who have less often is used as a marketing tool. In this great country, one does not have to look beyond the collective or the local park to find brilliant examples of solidarity. Argentina has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world, and was the first country in Latin America to legalize equal marriage. Here there are no neo-Nazi skinheads marching in the streets, no movement of the extreme right and nor a large percentage of voters who demand that Argentina leave the Mercosur.

    Although some Argentines express prejudices against some Latin American immigrants, nobody is separating them from their children at the border nor building a wall to keep them out of the country or denying them education and health. In fact, Argentina simplified the process for Venezuelan and Syrian students to enroll in universities.

    On a recent visit to Mendoza, from New York, my brother and his wife were surprised to find young children having dinner with their parents in one of the best restaurants in this city. In New York, many restaurants do not even admit children. Argentina is a great nation, in part, because the children here are never rejected, but are received everywhere and allowed to be themselves. The reuse and recycling are part of the Argentine DNA. Just look at the large amount of Ford Falcon, Fiat 600 and Renault 12 that still circulating in the streets. Unlike many countries that profess sustainability, here clearly there is no anti-ecological philosophy that imposes on us the idea that a car should be replaced every three years.

    Outside of Buenos Aires, the skies of Argentina are not contaminated by the rumble of airplanes. The FlightRadar24 website (which tracks all commercial air traffic in the world), reveals that there are more planes at all times over the sparsely populated state of Wyoming, in the USA that over all Argentina. Here, the almost virgin skies are a reminder that there are few places in the world with the natural beauty of Argentina.

    We are also fortunate to live in a culture far from those obsessed with the possession of weapons. If one has bad luck in Argentina, one will find, at most, feeling an earthquake and not in a war zone, terrorist attack or shooting in a schoolyard. There are more reasons to love Argentina. While the natural assets of this country and its remoteness from global threats can be attributed to some extent to geographical features, Argentines have the right to be proud of the customs that give them credit as a people: consideration for those with special needs, family values, inclusion, tolerance, solidarity and diverse communities. These social conventions remind us that much of what matters in life and, therefore, much of what justifies the greatness of a nation, is not measured in dollars or in GDP. For me, the combination of Argentine assets comprises an attractive set that is unique compared to other nations.

    I am not blind to the social deficiencies and the economic volatility that I see around me. But I have put Argentina to the test for 16 years, and it still fits me. Therefore, I do not intend to move anywhere else!

    David English


  • Perhaps Mr David English, living in a more small city like Mendoza, which has not the sprawl of our "Conurbano", can skip the problems of safety that most of us suffer. Also, there is the advantage to be close to interesting landscapes (The Andean cordillera and the fertile valleys close to Mendoza). One of the disadvantages of BA is that to enjoy unspoiled and interesting landscapes, you need at least spend 5 hours by car to see the ocean.

  • I read the interesting discussion. By the way, I cannot say that Argentina is the best country in the world. I am not so naive, but many of the good things we have were inherited by western european countries, e.g. the United Kingdom. And I do not say this to be fine only, this is true.

    I regret the differences that we have with the Islands, but these will not make us better.

    Having it or not, they are irrelevant for our daily life.