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Showing posts from August, 2008

Marching with Las Madres

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In early December 1999, I flew to Buenos Airesto meet my husband Bill who was working in South America. I arrived to find the streets of the city blockaded by banks of police and their motorcycles. Helicopters stuttered overhead. The taxi driver told me it was inauguration day and Argentina's new president, Fernando de la Rua, was moving in ceremonial cavalcade toward to Plaza de Mayo. To get me to the hotel, the driver had to convince the police that we had authorization to enter. I sat very tall and tried to look important as he nervously talked us through.

I'd like to tell you that I immediately dashed into the crowds to watch the inauguration. I’d like to boast that my Spanish was fluent enough to allow me to understand the speech de la Rua made from the balcony at the Casa Rosada. But the reality was that I was fearful of going into the city alone. Then reason kicked in. I was going to be there for 10 days and Bill would be working most of that time. It was either head in…

The Argentinian and Brazilian views of Iguazu Falls

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In December 1999, I had the opportunity to practice the special blend of insecurity and trust that seems be to the hallmark of an American tourist in South America. A good example concerns our trip to the northeasterly tip of Argentina to view one of the world's greatest wonders: the immense and mighty IguazuFalls located in the lush subtropical jungles of Brazil and Argentina. To get to Iguazu, which is in Misiones province, we had to fly over Corrientes, a province that had just erupted into armed violence and which lies directly south of Misiones. Would we need to detour or abort the flight because of the violence in the neighboring state? My worries dissolved as we flew without hitch into Iguazu, only to resurface as we boarded the tour bus that was to take us into the jungles. From there we would be able to view the Garganta del Diablo (the Throat of the Devil): the most fearsome of the falls, forming as it does a huge concave gorge over which the Iguazu river hurls, spewing …