a diverse collection of travel photos and firsthand experiences while venturing across the globe. each destination has welcomed us with open arms and warm smiles, making us feel right at home. from argentina to utah - and thousands of miles in between - these are our visual memories of 'home'...just as we never imagined.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Current Events & The Passing of Alfonsín: Argentina's Father of Democracy

Quite the memorable week in Argentina. As shared in a previous post last week titled "Report: National In-Security", Argentina has been struggling with a soaring crime rate drawing attention across the globe. It is important to emphasize recent developments in Argentina this week:

-March 24: Día de la Memoria - a national holiday to recognize the importance of both human rights and democratic government in Argentina. Just 33 years ago - March 24th, 1976 - the democratic government of Argentina was overthrown as the Dirty War began under the control of a military regime. Thousands lost their lives and/or "disappeared" from Argentina.

-March 28: Plan de Seguridad - the government of Cristina Kirchner announces this afternoon a plan to increase domestic security against the rising crime rates (2009). AR$400 million pesos will be invested into the plan: AR$350 million in Buenos Aires...and AR$50 million in Mendoza. The plan includes the hiring of 5500 police and military officers (some retired), GPS systems, 5000 outdoor video cameras, and 21,500 cell phones to be used in a neighborhood watch network.

-March 31: La Muerte de Alfonsín - as of last night, Raúl Alfonsín has died (2009). Following the violence of the Dirty War, years under a military dictatorship, a disastrous battle with Great Britain over the Falkland Islands, and the collapse of free trade policies, Argentina was ready to return to democracy in 1983...and Alfonsín took office as the first democratic president of Argentina on December 10th, 1983. Under Alfonsín, the National Commission of Human Rights was formed and the full report of all findings were published under the title "Nunca Más". Trials against the former oppressors began in 1985 for human rights abuses.

*16,000 local residents of Buenos Aires have already visited the open casket of Alfonsín located inside El Congreso (as of one hour ago). The avenues are packed with thousands more still waiting outside...all hoping to pay their respects to the modern father of democracy.

-April 2: Día de las Malvinas - a national holiday to recognize the fallen heroes of Argentina during the tragic War of Falkland Islands. Just 27 years ago - April 2nd, 1982 - Argentina's first military troops occupied the islands to reclaim the territory from Great Britain. The war was an attempt by the military government to increase its patriotic appeal to the public...but it quickly ended in defeat on June 14th, 1982 with the death of 649 Argentine men. The defeat led to the eventual return of democratic rule...and the nation's first democratic president following the Dirty War: Raúl Alfonsín.

Quite the memorable week in Argentina. And the marches, strikes, and protests continue...all hoping to obtain peace, security, and protection as a desired result.

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