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February 21 2014

February 20 2014

February 13 2014

Argentina's Polar Bear ‘Arturo’ Will Stay at the Mendoza Zoo

Imagen de la pagina de Facebook OSO POLAR Arturo

Image from the Facebook page OSO POLAR Arturo (Arturo the POLAR BEAR). Text: “I'm a polar bear – what part of polar don't you understand?”

A group of medical specialists determined that Arturo the bear, the only polar bear in captivity in Argentina, should stay in Mendoza instead of being transferred to Canada, after an intense heat wave put his health at risk.

The blog Un Mundo en Paz (A World of Peace) [es] explains:

Por unanimidad, los especialistas decidieron que el oso Arturo se quede en Mendoza. Analizaron que por su edad, 23 años, no puede ser sometido a una serie [de] análisis necesarios para el traslado y en Canadá no podría recibirlo porque el animal no cumple con los requisitos que exige el protocolo de ese país.

Unanimously, the specialists decided that Arturo the bear would stay in Mendoza. They determined that because of his age, 23, he could not be submitted to the series [of] analyses needed for the move, and in Canada he would not be received because he does not meet the requirements of the country's protocol.

In January of 2014, due to the demands and pleas made by different groups that the bear be put in a place more suitable for his species, the governor of the city of Mendoza, Francisco Pérez (@PacoPerez), announced from his Twitter account that the bear was being evaluated physically to determine the possibility of eventually moving him to Canada:

Let it be know that our Government, if the medical board decides it is best, will approve and support the decision to move Arturo the bear.

In February, a medical board made up of local, national and foreign veterinarians will evaluate the health of Arturo the bear.

This board will determine whether Arturo is in good condition to deal with a move, being that the main goal is to safeguard his health.

If the medical board approves it, and Arturo the bear can be moved, two Canadian entities are interested in receiving him.

This news brought about a lot of happiness and gratitude towards the governor, and the community was waiting for the medical board to arrive on February 7th to do the evaluation.

As one might expect, the news that the bear will stay in Mendoza has generated reactions from those who were waiting for the results. On Twitter, Argentines are commenting on the case under the hashtag #OsoArturo.

For their part, the Association of Civil Servants and Lawyers for the Rights of Animals (AFADA) [es] presented a statement [es] announcing the request for a habeas corpus for the polar bear's illegal loss of liberty. 

The Facebook page Ecológicos Unidos [es], calls for continuing to fight [es] for the polar bear:

MENSAJE URGENTE A AQUELLAS PERSONAS QUE TIENEN GANAS DE AYUDAR AL OSO POLAR ARTURO Y TIENE IDEAS NUEVAS PARA LOGRAR SU TRASLADO 

Nosotros probamos con todo y no lo logramos … pero no quiere decir que alguien más preparado y con más herramientas no pueda hacerlo ! 

NO DISCUTAN CON NOSOTROS , HÁGANLO URGENTE ! ARTURO NO TIENE TIEMPO ! 

URGENT MESSAGE TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HELP ARTURO THE POLAR BEAR AND HAVE NEW IDEAS FOR MOVING HIM

We tried everything and we weren't successful … but that doesn't mean that someone more prepared and with more tools can't do it!

DON'T ARGUE WITH US, DO IT QUICKLY! ARTURO DOESN'T HAVE TIME! 

The page OSO POLAR Arturo [es] does the same, and reports [es] that the result is “the worst news” they could have imagined.

Imagen de la página en Facebook OSO POLAR Arturo

Image from the Facebook page OSO POLAR Arturo (Arturo the POLAR BEAR)

The AFP [es] news agency shared a video of the news, showing the protesters awaiting the result:

Meanwhile, Greenpeace Argentina [es] calls for joining the fight [es] to improve the conditions in the enclosure where Arturo is now. 

February 12 2014

VIDEOS: Argentina's Melting Pot of Culinary Traditions

[All links lead to Spanish-language sites unless otherwise noted.]

The diverse migratory flows that have reached Argentina from the 1880′s and until now contributed to the richness and variety of the typical [en] cuisine in the country.

The various ‘ferias de colectividades’ (cultural fairs) that take place throughout Argentina are good illustrations of this. In these fairs we can witness not only a display of each community's traditions, folkloric dances, beauty pageants and souvenirs but also their traditional dishes. For instance, during the Fiesta de Colectividades in the city of Rosario that takes place every year, a varied menu is offered representing the multiple communities (Latin, European and Asian) that compose the Argentinian society. In this video, we can see how typical Paraguayan food is prepared and sold during that same fair in Rosario.


On Facebook, the page Encuentro Anual de Colectividades (Annual Gathering of Communities) shows some dishes that will be sold during the 2014 program in the city of Alta Gracia [es]. The city, located in the Córdoba province, is quite famous because it is where the revolutionary Che Guevara [en] lived for 12 years.

Imagen de la página de facebook Encuentro Anual de Colectividades

Photo posted on the Facebook Page of the Encuentro Anual de Colectividades event

Every September, the Misiones province [en] also celebrates its traditional Fiesta Nacional del Inmigrante (National Feast of the Immigrant). For the occasion, the Polish community, among other migrant groups, cooks Kursak Polski na Royezaj, better known as Polish chicken.

Ingredientes
1 pollo
1 cebolla grande
2 ajo puerro
1 morrón rojo mediano
1 morrón verde mediano
200 gramos crema de leche
200 gramos champiñones
sal y pimienta

Preparación de la salsa
Picar la cebolla bien fina, rehogar con una cucharada de aceite, agregar los morrones cortados en daditos, agregar el ajo puerro picado muy fino. Revolver muy bien, agregar crema de leche y los champignones.
Cocinar durante cinco minutos, agregar sal y pimienta a gusto.
Optativo nuez moscada.
Si queda muy espesa la salsa agregar leche para suavizar. Servir acompañado con pollo a la parrilla o al horno

Ingredients

1 Chicken

1 Large Onion

2 Leeks

1 Medium Red Pepper

1 Medium Green Pepper

200 g. Cream

200 g. Mushrooms

Salt and Pepper

Preparation of the sauce

Chop the onions very finely. Fry lightly with one tbsp of oil. Add the peppers after they've been diced followed by the leeks finely cut. Stir well. Add the cream and mushrooms.

Cook for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some nutmeg if you wish. If sauce gets too thick, add some milk. Serve with grilled or roast chicken.

In addition there are community-specific celebrations, such as the one by the Volga Germans [en], who settled mostly in the province of Entre Ríos. The Volga Germans lived in the region of southeastern European Russia, close to the Volga river [en]. They came to Argentina in 1878 and preserved their traditions as well as their language. Cuisine is naturally at the heart of these traditions. This video produced by the Asociación Argentina de Descendientes de Alemanes del Volga (Argentinian Association of the Volga Germans Descendants) demonstrates how to prepare a Kreppel:


There also many restaurants serving foreign food. The Croatian community in Argentina, for instance, keeps its culinary traditions with restaurants like Dobar Tek, offering a rich Croatian menu. This video shows the “art” of preparing an apple strudel.


The Armenian community is also quite influential in Argentina. Romina Boyadjian suggests the 5 best dishes in Armenian cuisine while pointing out that the Community in the diaspora has reinvented the typical dishes:

Algo curioso es que la comida armenia que se come en Argentina es muy distinta a la que se consume en Armenia. Esto tiene que ver con las reinvenciones que hacen los diferentes pueblos al partir de su tierra natal, las costumbres que traen consigo y lo que termina siendo valorado en la nueva comunidad. Hay comidas que acá se consideran típicas y que allá apenas se conocen.

It's quite intriguing that the Armenian cuisine we eat in Argentina is quite different from the one actually consumed in Armenia. This has to do with the reinventions done by the different populations based on their homeland, the traditions that they bring and what ends up being valued in the new community.  Some dishes are considered traditional yet they are barely known there (in Armenia).

One of the cities symbolizing the Jewish immigration to Argentina is Moisés Ville [en], established by the first immigrants who reached the country. On the YouTube account of the initiative Señal Santa Fe we can see the city and get to know how traditions are preserved through well-known dishes such as the strudel or the Knish [en] among others:


But which dish was quickly adopted by immigrants upon their arrival to the country? The asado [en] without any doubt, especially because the majority of the newcomers were peasants and meat was quite cheap. The Club Argentino de Asadores a la Estaca (Argetinian Club of Rotisseurs) has some photos for you to enjoy.

Asado a la Estaca - Imagen. Laura Schneider

Asado – Photo by Laura Schneider

February 11 2014

Argentina: ‘We Increase’ Progress or Corruption?

Imagen del usuario @AdrianBono en Twitter

“Don't buy Pantene, 40% increase”; “Don't buy Elvive due to excessive increase” Image by user @AdrianBono on Twitter

A speech on national television by President Cristina Fernández in which she announced a new increase in retirement pensions and in education allowances, among other things, provoked immediate responses among Twitter users who began using the hashtag #Aumentamos (we increase) to give their own account of what has ‘increased’ in the country.

Since the beginning of 2014, for example, one of the issues that most impacts Argentinians is the increase in prices. From the cost of basic household goods to appliances and cars, there have been substantial changes affecting the economy in general.

User casarosada uploaded the February 4 speech to YouTube [es]:

During the speech, Cristina Fernández emphasized the positive gains generated during her tenure:

Aumentamos las medidas que permitieron aumentar: hemos aumentado los puestos de trabajo, 6 millones de puestos de trabajo. Hemos aumentado las fábricas, más de 58 mil fábricas desde 2003; hemos aumentado los parques industriales.

We’ve increased the measures that allowed gains: we’ve increased jobs, 6 million new jobs. We’ve increased the number of factories, more than 58,000 factories since 2003; we’ve increased [the number of] industrial parks.

Fernández continues:

Aumentamos las universidades nacionales, tenemos nueve más; aumentamos el número de escuelas y de aulas [...] aumentamos la cantidad de becas y salarios para que los científicos se quedaran en la Argentina; aumentamos la inversión en ciencia y tecnología [...] Aumentamos la infraestructura en riego, en camino, en obras que permitieron recuperar miles de hectáreas bajo el agua; aumentamos la cantidad de argentinos que tienen agua potable y cloacas, también aumentamos el pavimento.

We’ve increased national universities, we have nine more; we increased the number of schools and classrooms […]; we’ve increased the number of scholarships and salaries so that scientists will stay in Argentina; we’ve increased investment in science and technology; […] we increased irrigation infrastructure, road works, and works that allowed us to recover thousands of acres of land under water; we increased the number of Argentinians who have potable water and sewer, and we’ve increased [the amount of] paved areas.

And finally:

Aumentamos el número de jubilados en más de 2,5 millones, gente que no tenía una cobertura previsional y que nos convierte en el país de Latinoamérica de mayor cobertura previsional, con 93%; aumentamos los salarios [...]. Aumentamos la compra de medicamentos [...]. Aumentamos las inversiones en viviendas [...]. Aumentamos la cobertura de aquellos que todavía no tienen un trabajo registrado, que están en ese limbo que se denomina trabajo informal [...].

We increased the number of retirees by more than 2.5 million, people who had no pension coverage, and that makes us the largest country in Latin America with pension coverage at 93%; we increased wages […] We increased purchases of medications […].  We increased investment in housing […] We increased coverage for those who don’t have registered work, who are in that limbo called informal work […]

She also said that her government has increased ‘consumption capacity’ and added: “I don’t think there are any Argentinians going hungry.”

Following the speech, the phrase “we increased” [es] quickly became a local trend on Twitter, with opinions for and against:

We’ve increased EVERYTHING! Corruption, poverty, hatred, the pockets of officials, shamelessness, lies, insecurity, her wealth

We’ve increased poverty, taxes, corruption, ignorance, insecurity, unemployment, violence, etc. The most corrupt government in history!

We’ve increased theft, prices, people who don’t have anything to eat, floods, deaths. But no worries, Cris says nobody is lacking anything (?)

But those who were in agreement with the national broadcast expressed their support:

We're with you yesterday, today and always! Happiness and commitment with the people!

A society that doesn’t help its elders and doesn’t help educate its children is a society that has no memory

What can I tell you about our beloved president after listening to her? That today more than ever: we will keep supporting this project!

February 07 2014

Uruguayan ‘Asado', Much More Than Just a Barbecue

asado4

Photo published by Jorge Alonzo on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)

When we think of Uruguayan cuisine, one iconic dish always comes to mind: the ‘asado‘, or barbecue. But this is more than just a traditional dish, it represents the country's whole identity.

This dish is an icon of Uruguayan and Argentine tradition par excellence, acting as a social linchpin, as one of the most strongly rooted customs and as a symbol of friendship. No-one, or nearly no-one, prepares a barbecue for themselves alone. The barbecue is a reason to meet, an excuse for a get-together, to bring together those who are separated for whatever reason.

On Vimeo, Geoff Stellfox shares a brief video of a traditional Uruguayan ‘asado':

The ‘asado’ is also a cause of rivalry between opposite shores of the Río de la Plata. Both Argentines and Uruguayans boast of having the best barbecue in a debate as varied as there are palates in the world.

The daily newspaper El País [es] comments:

Los argentinos dicen que son ellos los que hacen el mejor asado, a veces nos reconocen que tenemos mejor carne (excepto el bife de chorizo que es argentino por unanimidad), nos matamos por la mejor receta del chimichurri, nos reímos de los mexicanos que cocinan a la llama y descalificamos a los porteños que cocinan con carbón.

The Argentines claim that they are the ones who make the best barbecue, they do occasionally admit that we have better meat (except the ‘bife de chorizo’ which is Argentine by definition), we batter each other over the best recipe for ‘chimichurri‘ [a special sauce for the meat], we laugh at the Mexicans who cook in the flame and we dismiss the Porteños who cook using charcoal.

When we speak of the barbecue, we are not necessarily referring to a mere lump of cooked meat, but rather to all the paraphernalia which surrounds it, the different kinds of meat and vegetables so that everybody feels included, whether they are meat-eaters or vegetarian. The fire which brings people together and protects them also has a central role, as it has done since the dawn of humanity.

In the absence of a grill, many households have substituted the typical grilled barbecue [es] for the oven-baked barbecue in their daily cooking. This option is considered a second-best by connoisseurs of the ‘asado', but it is easier to work in to the daily life of Uruguayan families. In order to simplify the dish's preparation still further, the well-known chef Sergio Puglia [es] even suggests a barbecue with salsa criolla [es] made in the microwave on his website.

xczxc

Photo published by Bruno Maestrini on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The role of the barbecuer -'asador’ in Spanish- is fundamental to this social event, transforming them into the architect of the feast and to a certain extent, into a master of ceremonies. The barbecuer is the one who takes the lead in this dish, the one who manages the timing and signals when and how to savour their work. The skill of the barbecuer determines the quality of the barbecue and if they are successful, they will receive praise and applause. However, if they get it wrong they will be the target of taunts and reprimands, until they manage to redeem themselves with another barbecue which meets expectations.

The traditional midday barbecue held on construction sites constitutes another iconic moment in the life of the dish. This is a ritual for construction workers who gather to eat together, regain strength to continue working and strengthen the brotherly bonds which make it easier to work and live together during these tough working days.

xcvzxczx

Photo published by Nae on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Besides the traditions and the friendship, there is also a veil of mystery surrounding a good ‘asado'. Each barbecuer has their secrets and their own particular way of preparing the meat, which gives each barbecue its unique and unrepeatable taste. Even if these secrets were to be revealed, it would still be impossible to repeat as the barbecue is much more than just a dish, it is a magical moment to be shared.

In Uruguay, but above all in Montevideo, the majority of gastronomic venues are specialised barbecues [es] or they have the barbecue as an option on their menu.

The daily newspaper El Observador [es] visited one of these venues to reveal the secrets for making the best Uruguayan ‘asado’ [es]:

February 04 2014

How Italian Gnocchi Became a Monthly Mealtime Tradition in Latin America

Ñoquis. Foto de simenon en Flickr, bajo licencia Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gnocchi. Image by Simenon on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

[All links lead to Spanish-language pages unless otherwise noted.]

In Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, eating gnocchi on the 29th of every month is a popular tradition. No one knows for sure where or how this custom came about, but many bloggers have dedicated posts to the culinary habit and published recipes explaining how to make gnocchi.

The blog Sección del por qué went back to the 8th century

La tradición de servir ñoquis los dias 29 nace de una leyenda que se remonta al siglo VIII. Vivía entonces en Nicosia (Asia Mayor) un joven médico llamado Pantaleón, quien, tras convertirse al cristianismo, peregrina por el norte de Italia. Allí practicó milagrosas curaciones por las que fue canonizado. Cierta ocasión en que pedía pan a unos campesinos , estos lo invitaron a compartir su pobre mesa. Agradecido, les anuncia un año de pesca y cosechas excelentes. La profecía se cumplía y otros muchos milagros. San Pantaleón fue consagrado -a la par de San Marcos- patrono de Venecia. Aquel episodio ocurría un 29, por tal razón se recuerda ese día con una comida sencilla representada por los ñoquis. El ritual que lo acompaña de poner dinero bajo el plato simboliza el deseo de nuevas dádivas.

The tradition of serving gnocchi on the 29th of each month comes from a legend dating back to the 8th century. Back then, in Nicosia (Greater Asia) a young doctor named Pantaleon, who went on a pilgrimage through northern Italy after converting to Christianity. There, he performed miraculous healings for which he was canonized. Once, when he asked peasants for bread, they invited him to share their humble table. Grateful, Pantaleon declared they would have a year of excellent harvest and lots of fishing. The prophecy was fulfilled and many other miracles. Saint Pantaleon was consecrated – along with Saint Marcos – as the patron of Venice. That episode occurred on a 29th, therefore that day is remembered with simple food such as gnocchi. The accompanying ritual of putting money under the plate symbolizes the desire for new gifts.

Carambolatango offered her favorite story: 

Durante la Guerra de Europa, en Italia, escaseaban los alimentos entonces. El gobierno repartía bonos que eran cambiados por comida en los expendios. Las familias más numerosas se veían en serias dificultades para alimentarse y llegar a fin de mes. Nace la solidaridad entre  las personas y los vecinos invitaban a comer  noquis, (que era siempre considerada comida para los pobres) a las familias más grandes. Debajo de cada plato les ponían un bono y este regalo permitía que estos grupos pudieran cambiarlos por comida y llegar a fin de mes - 

In Italy, during the war in Europe, food was scarce. The government would give out bonds to exchange for food in the market. Larger families had serious difficulties getting food and making it to the end of the month. Solidarity was born among people and neighbors invited larger families to eat gnocchi (which was always considered food for the poor). Under each plate, people would put a bond and this gift allowed these families to exchange the bond for food and to make it to the end of the month. 

Alejandra Moglia from the blog Chocolate y Frambuesa added even more history for gnocchi:

Hay otra historia que cuenta que hacia 1690, en un pueblo de Piamonte, se perdió la cosecha de trigo. Si bien la papa sólo la usaban para alimentar a los animales, era tan grande la miseria que la cocinaron, la mezclaron con harina y dieron origen a los ñoquis.

There is another story going back to year 1690 in a small town from Piamonte, where the wheat crop had been spoiled. Even though potatoes were used to feed the animals, misery was so rampant that [potatoes] were cooked for eating and mixed with flour, and that is how gnocchi originated. 

Nuria Eme from Cuaderno de recetas published a recipe and added:  

[...] se suelen comer los días 29 de cada mes, y por lo visto el origen  (de esta versión, pues hay varias)  es, que por ser uno de los últimos días del mes, las personas que tenían pocos recursos y cobraban a primero de mes, tenían que ingeniárselas para comer con alimentos hechos con materia prima barata. Y claro, ya sabemos que la papa y la harina, no son excesivamente caros. Y aunque la tradición es antigua, creo que por desgracia, es extrapolable en el tiempo, y totalmente actual con las circunstancias que nos ha tocado vivir.

[...] gnocchi is usually a meal for the 29th of each month, and so it seems that its origin (at least this version, there are many others) is because it is the end of the month and people have less resources and get paid at the beginning of the next month. So they have to be creative to make it to the end of the month by using less expensive ingredients. Potatoes and flour are not expensive. Even though the tradition is very old, it can be extrapolated over time and fit in perfectly with the circumstances in which we are living now.

Claudia Calizaya showed in a video how she prepares them:

But this tradition goes beyond meals. In Argentina, “gnocchi” is a nickname for public employees and those who do not go to work but still appear every 29th to get their paycheck.  

Legend or tradition, this custom continues to stand the test of time in the southern hemisphere. If you do not know how to make them yet, take a look at another recipe from the blog From Argentina With Love [en].

February 03 2014

Argentina's ‘Carnival of the Country’ Kicks Off With Drums and Dances

[All links lead to Spanish-language pages unless otherwise noted.]

Argentina's most popular Carnival festivities – nicknamed “the Carnival of the Country” – are underway in the city of Gualeguaychú in the province of Entre Rios, just 230 kilometers from the capital Buenos Aires.

In Notas de un Viaje Particular, Cheryl shared her experience: 

…al ritmo de tambores, alegría y colores se llevo acabo el ultimo fin de semana del “Carnaval del País”, el mas importante de Argentina en Gualeguaychu, Entre Ríos. Es una fiesta contagiosa, que sorprende con sus impresionantes carros alegóricos, cuerpos esculturales y sonrisas interminables, la gente no para de bailar y festejar… 

…To the rhythm of drums, joy and colors the “Carnival of the Country” has started, the most important in Argentina, celebrated in Gualeguzychú, Entre Ríos. It is a contagious party, which surprises everyone with its impressive carriages, sculptural bodies and infinite smiles, people don't stop dancing and celebrating…

Carnival was banned [en] during the dictatorship in Argentina, but in cities with a long tradition of the festive season, it never really stopped. Year after year, Gualeguaychú surprises with its Carnival festivities held in a corsódromo, a venue used for Carnival parades which replaces the use of the streets.

Thousands of tourists are streaming in to participate in this year's edition, which kicked off on January 4, 2014. Events are held on all Saturdays until the first days of March.

The blog El Vestidito Negro published photos of Carnival in 2012:

Imagen del blog El Vestidito Negro bajo licencia (CC BY-ND 3.0)

Image from blog El Vestidito Negro republished under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-ND 3.0)

Imagen del blog El Vestidito Negro bajo licencia (CC BY-ND 3.0)

Image from blog El Vestidito Negro republished under a  Creative Commons license (CC BY-ND 3.0)

Revolución Media shared a video about what this year's Carnival has to offer:

Also, Gabo por el mundo posted a selection of images and shared advice on how to get to Gualeguaychú and where to stay.  

On her photography blog, Amelia McGoldrick publishes a series of images, not only of Carnival but also of her days as a tourist in the city.

However, Carnival also triggers complaints from neighbors due to the chaos caused by the attendees. El Dia OnLine explained: 

Las calles fueron el centro de diversión y de libre albedrío de alrededor de 90 mil personas que coparon la ciudad. Literalmente no cabía un alma más y sin embargo seguían entrando más y más vehículos.

Pero cuando decimos libre albedrío no lo hacemos por el solo hecho de utilizar un término que puede sonar fuerte, sino que fue la sensación que tuvieron muchos vecinos que prefirieron casi encerrarse en sus casas o, aquellos que tenían un poco más de suerte, mudarse momentáneamente de los barrios turísticos para estar más tranquilos en otros puntos de la ciudad.

The streets were the center of the entertainment and freewill of about 90,000 people who took over the city. You could literally not fit one more soul, but still people and cars kept coming in.

But when we say freewill we don't say it for the mere fact of using a term that may sound strong, but rather because it was the feeling among many neighbors who preferred to stay locked inside their houses, or those who are a bit luckier and moved away from the touristic neighborhoods momentarily so they can enjoy peace and quiet in other parts of the city .

But the party has started and the “comparsas“conga bands are prepared with drums, dances and glamour, and tourists are set to enjoy one more year of the “Carnival of the Country”.

YouTube Video by 3KTodoNoticias

January 22 2014

10 Documentaries on South American Music to Watch Online

Nick MacWilliam from the blog Sounds and Colours has compiled a list of 10 documentaries, “looking at all manner of musical styles and movements from the region, with films focused on Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela.”

This list makes no attempt to rank the films, nor does it purport that these films are any better or worse than other music documentaries related to South America. The idea is to provide a sample of some of the films out there so that, firstly, they are enjoyed and, secondly, we hope they will open a few doors for our readers into new areas of regional identity.

The films are available online, for free.

January 05 2014

Argentina: Intense Heat Affects Polar Bear in Captivity

Arturo, a bear in captivity at the Mendoza zoo in Argentina, is suffering from the heat waves. The general population has not been indifferent and want the bear to be in conditions that allow him to endure the high temperatures.

There is already a precedent in Argentina, when polar bear Winner died [es] due to the high temperatures that are experienced during the summer months. Arturo is the only polar bear in Argentina. On his blog, Marcos Abarza Baumann [es] writes [es] about the conditions in which the bear is currently living:

Las condiciones en las que vive el oso Arturo en el zoológico provincial de Mendoza son deplorables y sin embargo no dejan de indignarnos cada día más: Ahora circula en YouTube un video en el que se puede ver como los empleados del Zoo utilizan mangueras para refrescar al animal que sigue viviendo en el mismo recinto mientras terminan de construir uno nuevo.

LE TIRAN AGUA A UN ANIMAL QUE VIVE EN EL HIELO PARA IMITAR LAS TEMPERATURAS BAJO CERO. Esto parece un chiste pero no lo es, fijate:

The conditions that Arturo the bear is living in at Mendoza's zoo are deplorable, yet they continue to outrage us even more everyday: There is now a video going around on YouTube that shows the zoo employees using hoses to refresh the animal that is still living in the same enclosure while they finish building a new one.

THEY THROW WATER ON AN ANIMAL THAT LIVES IN THE ICE TO IMITATE BELOW-FREEZING TEMPERATURES. This seems like a joke but it's not, look:

This video was published on YouTube by Julieta Godoy.

The Facebook page POLAR BEAR Arturo [es] tells the story of the fight [es] that has been going on since October 2012, even though as of now nothing has changed:

Y EMPEZÓ UN NUEVO AÑO … Y SIN EMBARGO , TODO SIGUE IGUAL 
Arturo sigue encerrado en su caja de cemento y pintura celeste .-

Empezamos esta lucha en Octubre de 2012 , ya van dos veces que levantamos las copas por él … y nada 

A NEW YEAR HAS BEGUN… BUT EVERYTHING IS STILL THE SAME
Arturo is still enclosed in his box of cement and sky blue paint.-

We began this fight in October of 2012, we've already raised our glasses twice for him… and nothing.

Meanwhile, Duende Visual [es] is asking of the authorities [es] that Argentina be a pioneering country in animal rights:

Podemos convertir a la Argentina en un país pionero en derechos animales, donde se pueda proteger como corresponde a las especies en vías de extinción, brindándoles a su vez un espacio donde poder vivir libres y felices, generando a su vez conciencia en la población, convirtiendo así a los animales en nuestros hermanos, no inculcándole a las nuevas generaciones que los animales son bienes o cosas.

We can make Argentina into a country that is a pioneer of animal rights, where endangered species can be protected as they should be, and given a place where they can live freely and happily. We can raise awareness throughout the population, turning the animals into our brothers and sisters, and not raising the new generations to believe that animals are goods or things.

Twitter also echoed the situation, as we see in these two recent tweets:

Why aren't the authorities in Mendoza doing anything? Are they just waiting for him to die? Ladies and gentlemen, this is abuse.

http://t.co/aBNLRGeUN7 vía @todonoticias MY GOD, SPREAD THE WORD: THEY MUST FREE THAT ANIMAL, HE IS DYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Small image from the Facebook page POLAR BEAR Arturo [es].

December 30 2013

Widespread Power Outages Leave Argentines Dying of Heat

[Links are to Spanish-language pages.]

Since the middle of December 2013, many Argentine provinces have been experiencing power outages, aggravating the discomfort caused by unusually high temperatures. Buenos Aires is the province hardest hit, but the heat wave is affecting the whole country, with record highs that have led to an increase in energy consumption. 

Following explanations about the deficiencies of Argentina's energy grid and the privatization of public services that took place during the 1990s, the average citizen is complaining and demanding better. Even Christmas Eve was not immune to power outages. 

The government's response to the situation is inadequate according to Gerardo Fernandez‘s blog:

como que da cosita que a esta altura de los acontecimientos salgan el jefe de gabinete o el ministro de Planificación a hacerse los cojudos con amenazas a las empresas distribuidoras que, la verdad, nadie toma en serio y que si llegaran transformarse en una quita de licencia no cambiarían en mucho el panorama que estamos padeciendo.

It is nauseating that under the circumstances, the chief of staff or the Minister of Planning can come out at this point and act like cretins threatening the companies that distribute power, which in truth nobody takes seriously, and that even if their licenses were actually revoked, the outlook of the situation we are suffering through would not change much.

On 28 December, the hashtag #RenuncieCFK [Resign Cristina Fernández de Kirchner] became a trending topic for Argentines voicing their complaints about the lack of response to the lack of electricity, as evidenced by Robsten:

#RenuncieCFK Incredible that we have no light, it doesn't get more Third World than this! 

 There was also anger at government officials away on holiday:

#RenuncieCFK While people suffer in the dark, the Energy Secretary is playing golf http://t.co/lsCxHWIAJU

 And the power outages in seniors’ homes, as tweeted by Vale Anti K:

Retirement homes have neither light nor water. Take it to the streets.

Meanwhile, those who support the government, created the hashtag #CFKTieneAguante [CFK TrueGrit] where Moni AKD approved of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's administration:

Cristina you are unique, the ignoramuses that today call for your resignation in three years will be begging you to come back. #CFKTieneAguante !!!!!

Or as Daniel wrote, continuing to support President Kirchner's handling of things despite the power outages:

#CFKtieneAguante it's been 3 days without light and if this is what it takes to support the model I can go 200 days more without light long live cfk, Nestor and long live Peron.

The high temperaturas will continue until January 1, 2014, according to the National Meteorological Service‘s forecast. Will the power outages continue until then?

For her part, Luciano Lugo tweets a fake Christmas card from the Provincial Energy Company of Santa Fe (known as EPE):

The EPE wishes you all happy holidays! #OlaDeCalor pic.twitter.com/B48zeG4aAx

 (Small image by El Cipayo.)

December 12 2013

‘Negreo Inc.’ Tumblr Blog Exposes Demeaning Job Offers in Argentina

Negreo Inc. [es] is a Tumblr blog dedicated to compiling the harsh working conditions and low wages which Argentine companies currently offer potential employees.

This ad [es], for example, is looking for “an ambitious salesman who wants to work 12 hours a day” for an income “based on results.”

You can help expose demeaning job offers by sending an email to negreoinc@gmail.com.

December 10 2013

“Digital Hooligans” from Iran Attack Messi's Facebook

Leo Messi's Facebook page

Argentinian footballer Leo Messi's Facebook page

“Digital hooligans” from Iran bombarded thousands of insulting and threatening comments in Persian on the Facebook page of Argentinian football player Lionel Messi as the World Cup groups were determined on Saturday. Argentina, Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Nigeria were polled together.

Many of the comments use very foul language.

Many Iranians published comments and tweets calling the cyberattack shameful.

Kargadan tweeted [fa]:

Zuckerberg [Facebook's founder] and the Iranian government, should hand in hand clean out Facebook's page of Iranians to save our honor.

Sooskak tweeted [fa]:

It's good that Facebook is filtered [in Iran].

Baridya tweeted [fa]:

If the Islamic Republic collapsed today, it would take 15-20 years for this people's culture to improve.

Blogger 5Char published [fa] a screen shot of insulting comments and says it is typical of a generation that grew up under Islamic Republic.

Another blogger, Andarbab says [fa]:

These people try to make up for their inadequacy with slogans and insults. They are the same people who chant “Down with the USA” yet wish to get a US Green Card. They insult Messi, yet wish to get a souvenir fan photo taken with him.

November 14 2013

PHOTOS: Humans of Latin America

“She laughed, laughed and laughed while she waited for inter-provincial transportation. Tiraque, Cochabamba”.
Photo by Mijhail Calle for Humans of Bolivia, used with permission.

Inspired by photographer Brandon Stanton's blog Humans of New York (HONY), professional and amateur photographers across the world have created blogs and Facebook pages where they collect images and stories of people from all walks of life –and Latin America has not been an exception.

Stanton's idea has inspired Latin American photographers who want to showcase their country or city through portraits of its diverse people.

This is a brief overview of some of the “Humans of…” projects in the region.

Humans of Buenos Aires

“Come and visit me whenever you want. I'm sorry I can't offer you mate [local beverage] but I have no place to heat up water.” Photo by Jimena Mizrahi, used with permission.

Freelance photographer Jimena Mizrahi started Humans of Buenos Aires in May 2012, and her Facebook page has attracted over 11,000 likes.

Her project also caught the attention of a city official, which resulted in the first Humans of Buenos Aires exhibition. The Argentina Independent reports that “the exhibition ‘Micro historias del Microcentro’ featured displays of portraits of individuals who live or work in the city’s central business district”.

Jimena told The Argentina Independent that she does Humans of Buenos Aires “not only because I simply love interacting with people, but because each of these interactions is a lesson. Every person is a world.”

“-I can't believe it! A woman cab driver!
-Of course, do you think that women can't be taxi drivers? It's time to stop being surprised when women do things that aren't common for their gender, there aren't things for men or women.”
Photo by Jimena Mizrahi, used with permission.

Humans of Colombia and Humans of Bogotá

“A Wayuu girl, daughter of a restaurant owner in Uribia.”
Photo by Gábor Szentpétery, used with permission.

Humans of Colombia was created by designer Maurent Roa and architect Gábor Szentpétery. During their travels the couple met Mauricio Romero, who has joined the project and contributed some photographs. While traveling, they also noticed that many people didn't know much about Colombia or had a negative perception of the country; with this project they aim to show a different side of Colombia.

“The idea is to represent Colombia through its people because ethnic diversity in Colombia is incredible. It is a mixture of Amerindians, Spanish and African descendants, and that's what we want to show the world,” Maurent explains.

“Carmen Lorena grew up on a coffee plantation estate about three hours from Bogotá, but she thinks the city life is not for her, she prefers the countryside where she will stay after finishing her studies.”
Photo by Mauricio Romero, used with permission.

“What is your perception of love, and your favorite way to love?”
-”I think that love is everything, it makes up everything that surrounds us and I'd say that my favorite way to love is…breathing”.
Photo by John Cardona, used with permission.

For more photos from Colombia, you can also visit Humans of Bogotá, a page created in August 2013 by John Cardona and Jonathan Arévalo.

John and Jonathan are motivated by the response they've received, and by the chance to meet new people and hear stories that they can show the world through their page. They say that this movement “shows how we can all identify with someone, no matter how far they live.”

“One wish?
-Safety in all of Bogotá.
-Equality
-Tranquillity and peace”
Photo by John Cardona, used with permission.

Humans of Bolivia

“In Sipe Sipe – Cochabamba, the man said ‘take this abroad'. Then he began playing his charango.”
Photo by Mijhail Calle, used with permission.

Created on November 3, 2013, Humans of Bolivia is one of the newest Facebook pages to mirror Humans of New York in the region. Estelí Puente and Mijhail Calle want to create the same empathy they saw in the New York project and similar projects like Humans of Amsterdam, “the feeling that humanity is formed by individuals with their own stories.”

Although Mijhail takes most of the photographs, they are reaching out to other photographers who can share images from different parts of Bolivia. “This dynamic is also allowing us to create a space to share and discuss the role of the image and photography in the construction of our identities, so for now it looks like this will be more than a series of portraits. We want it to be a reason to reflect about ourselves,” Estelí explains.

“There are not many amauta women, it's hard to be one, but I am. Now I'm part of the union”.
Photo by Mijhail Calle, used with permission.

Humans of Honduras

“My biggest desire is for politicians to turn a blind eye to the colors of their parties, and for their focus to be solely on the betterment and unity of their country. This is the only way in which Honduras will be able to move forward.”
Photo by Claudia, used with permission.

Claudia Elvir and Daniela Mejía “invite you to get to know Honduras through its people” on their Facebook page Humans of Honduras.

Claudia started following Stanton's blog and was impressed by how he not only “captured impressive photographs, but also used them to capture the humanity behind each portrait, and how each photograph told a story that resonated in the hearts of the readers.”

Her friend Daniela conducts the interviews. Claudia and Daniela want to change the violent and negative image that the world has about Honduras, and they also want to change the way Hondurans see their own country.

Through their photographs and interviews, Claudia and Daniela hope to show that Honduras is a country “full of hard-working people, people with dreams, ambitions, joys and sorrows just like in every corner of the world.”

“I asked him to smile and very amiably he said, ‘I would like to, but in this job you have to be serious.’ and with that he demonstrated how appearances are deceiving.”
Photo by Claudia, used with permission.

Humans of Guatemala

“Slow but steady! Yes, it´s a long way to go, but I will make it.”
Photo by Elmer Alvarez, used with permission.

Elmer Alvarez had already been taking photographs of people around Guatemala before starting the Facebook page Humans of Guatemala in September 2013. Wendy Del Aguila, who now writes the captions, told Elmer about Humans of New York and he felt motivated to start a similar page about Guatemala.

Elmer and Wendy seek to capture “spontaneous moments of these extraordinary people reflecting their smile, passion, curiosity, hard work, shyness, kindness and most important their uniqueness!”

La Teacher-

La Teacher-”Let Your Smile Change The World”
Photo by Elmer Alvarez, used with permission

More “Humans of…” projects

“Every morning Don Pedro has opened his taqueria in this small village for two years. He has the usual clients and he gives out free tacos to all the minibus drivers who stop their minibus near his stand. “
Photo by Humans of Mexico, used with permission

The image above comes from Humans of Mexico, a page created in March 2010. Also from Mexico, Humans of Mexico City seeks to create a “photographic census of Mexico City. One street portrait at a time.”

Humans of Costa Rica, a page created in July of 2013, has more than 1,700 likes.

In Brazil, the Humans of Rio de Janeiro Facebook page is one of the most active in the region, and has over 9,000 likes.

Some Facebook pages -like Humans of Nicaragua, Humans of Panama, and Humans of Santiago, Chile- ask users to contribute photographs to the project. Others -like Humans of Quito, Humans of Lima, Humans of Peru, and Humans of Asunción- have been created less than a month ago.

Have we missed any “Humans of…” projects from South or Central America? Let us know in the comments!

October 29 2013

Argentina's Legislative Elections

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her allies lost by large margins in the biggest and most important elections in the country yesterday. Her legislative lists were crushed in Buenos Aires (both city and state), Cordoba, Mendoza, and Santa Fe. There is a reason that every major newspaper is talking about her defeat and even the pro-Kirchner media is relatively subdued in its spin. The voting showed a clear rejection of the president and a serious drop from her big 2011 election win.

Bloggings by boz lists five points on the legislative elections held in Argentina on October 27, 2013.

October 28 2013

Argentina and the New Surveillance Tech: Watching Your Every Move

SIBIOS from ADC on Vimeo.

Digital technology, in conjunction with contributions from a human team, allows for the implementation of an advanced, international-level system that secures the unchangeable identity of individuals. Now you are your own person.

In Argentina, a government database holding the pictures and fingerprints of its citizen will soon allow officials to identify citizens based on their DNA, their iris information, and the way they walk. The government-made promotional video (above) explains SIBIOS, the Federal System of Biometric Identification, and now airs on huge LCDs at selected border control stations. It was recently re-released with English subtitles.

The video moves from technical details and dubious philosophical assertions to bold claims about what technology can do. With visual references creepily reminiscent of Michael Radford’s 1984, the video is actually a significant glimpse into both a political practice and a human rights issue. On one hand, the Argentine case shows how policies can advance unscathed by criticism when they are presented as technological updates of standard practices. Indeed, the new database just takes the national ID registration scheme to a new level. But on the other, the video highlights how the fundamental right to privacy is absent from this policy arena.

This needs to change.

The Snowden leaks may have been a first step in that direction. They have produced outrage among Latin American presidents, rendering offers of asylum, harsh words at the UN Security Council and the General Assembly and vows to take action “to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war, through espionage, sabotage and attacks against systems and infrastructure of other count.” Yet privacy and surveillance practices are in Latin America are deeply troubling.

Apart from Argentina’s biometric data retention scheme, the country also suffers from a chronic lack of control over its intelligence agencies. Every now and then, the accounts of public officials, politicians and journalists are hacked and scandal erupts. These abuses are the result of an an Intelligence Law which parliamentary oversight mechanisms simply doesn’t work.

In Brazil, during a demonstration a few months ago, the Intelligence agency set a special team to monitor activities on social networks including the Whatsapp mobile application (not really a social network).

And in Colombia, the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS) was found not only snooping on the communications of journalists but also threatening them. They even developed a manual for this initiative.

These are just a few examples of the kinds of problems one may find in Latin America when looking past the outrage that political leaders have expressed in global fora. So the challenges of building a strong politics of rights around privacy issues are considerable. We face an urgent need to overcome old political practices that have become more risky. And for that to happen, a robust vision of privacy must enter the political debate.

Yet major obstacles lie ahead. First, changing social mores are defying the common understanding of the public and private divide. What used to be private is now shared on social networks. How does this fact affect the perception of privacy in citizens with already weak commitments to this fundamental right? Second, the counter-narrative usually invoked to thwart privacy arguments is related to crime-fighting, which is –according to polls– one of the main concerns of Latin American citizens. How can we make privacy an argument capable of defying practices and policies which –as ineffective as they may be– are seen as concrete steps in fighting rising crime rates? Finally, the risks involved in some of the most problematic practices are seen as merely hypothetical: after all, we all live in democratic regimes and most citizens have not felt the full effect of privacy-invasive policies.

Overall, governments have the upper hand provided by habit and fear. This can only change through activism based on careful research, capable of uncovering the actual practices of the states. While we move towards that goal, the issue of privacy needs to become an increasing part of our public debate. Doing so demands innovative ideas, new narratives to overcome the security argument and a fierce commitment to the basic idea that freedom demands that our conversations are really, truly private.

Ramiro Álvarez Ugarte is a senior attorney at the Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (Association for Civil Rights) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

October 24 2013

This Weekend at Developing Latin America 2013 Apps Challenge (Part II)

Foto obtenida del set en Facebook de Desarrollando América Latina.

Photo from Desarrollando América Latina Facebook page.

We continue the virtual tour of the countries participating in the third edition of Desarrollando América Latina [Developing Latin America]-#DAL2013. (See the first part here.)

Bolivia's [es] envisioning meeting took place a few weeks ago and they were also preparing for Demo Day. And although the organizers have not been very active on social networks, [es] they have been virtually supporting participants.

Learn about social issues to be worked on in Bolivia during #DAL2013

Tired of your work being a machine?

The people of Chile [es] are among the most enthusiastic about #DAL2013:

Preparation for #dal2013 in Chile :)

Learn more about the first #DAL2013 Chile workshop on Flickr

Days from hackathon #DAL2013 Chile! Check out what we've done so far

In Chile, preparations for the close of a successful day. #DAL2013 participants creating real solutions!

We share the Dynamic Management workshop at #DAL2013. Don't forget Oct. 26 is the end.

In Argentina [es] there have been a couple of preparatory meetings, but the actual hackathon will be the 25th of this month:

This Thursday at 19:30h will be the preview of #DAL2013, join in to think about technological solutions with social impact

And so we start Argentina's #DAL2013.  Crazy photos

The presentations of the projects begin

Argentina presents the projects for #DAL2013. Follow it live here

Click here to see the #DAL2013 Argentina projects

#Dal2013 Argentina is the hackathon where there are more girls than programmers

It is the first time [es] that Paraguay [es] is participating in a DAL event and expectations are high:

The day has arrived! #DAL2013 in Paraguay is a reality! Thanks to all for the support and effort, now all that remains is….

Paraguay. Day 1. Just started

In Paraguay #DAL2013 is not over! The teams continue developing!

There is still enthusiasm and will for @dalparaguay. The second day of #DAL2013 has been amazing!

talking about the environment in Paraguay :)

In Uruguay [es] there is once again a month dedicated to open data and the following tweets are only part of all the activity going on in Montevideo:

In Uruguay, the expedition is in development. The data is an unknown universe!

Subgroups present the results of the Data Expedition at the #OktoberDATAFEST

Thank you for the beautiful note about the #OktoberDATAFEST

Starting the #OktoberDATAFEST

This goes to show that anybody can participate in a hackathon!

And Brazil [es] is fulfilling its schedule of activities with a view towards Demo Day on this October 26.

The schedule of activities for the Brazilian edition of #DAL2013 has been published. Check it out, share it, and sign up!

This is #DAL2013 Brazil. Tomorrow 10 other countries have their turn.

We are on the third day of #DAL2013. Developers energetically brewing up ideas!

DAL Brazil 2013 Day 1 video

Prototype Saturday at DAL2013 Brazil

This has been a quick panorama of the activities in 12 Latin American countries participating in #DAL2013, but this isn't all that has happened; the central organization of #DAL2013 has been organizing and coordinating workshops for the participants, and many have had thoughts about Developing Latin America:

Open government isn't just transparency, it's openness to prioritize, create and implement policy and tools WITH its citizens

In a few minutes, a presentation of @EscuelaDeDatos, #DAL2013 and data scraping will begin. There will be a hangout 

What's cool about #DAL2013 is the interest generated by developers to create social solutions, hopefully it will be a success!

This October 26 at our Demo Day you can find out the results of #DAL2013. Stay tuned for more details!

We will soon bring you more updates about this year's Developing Latin America.

October 23 2013

16 Books on Latin American Street Art

In Latin America, street art is of major cultural relevance. The region’s traditions of social movements and revolution have allowed the form to give voice to otherwise unheard sectors of the population. Of course, not all street art is politically or socially-oriented in content, but it does often provide insight into specific objectives and ideals.

Nick MacWilliam from Sounds and Colours browsed the online store Amazon “to see what’s readily available for those who are interested in the subject of street art in Latin America.” He recommends 16 books on the subject, covering Haiti, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and more.

October 10 2013

A Tour of Typical Argentine Food

image of Laura Schneider

Argentine asado. Photo by Laura Schneider

Typical Argentine food is without doubt a topic of great interest for tourists and visitors, but between pastas and meats many people wonder: What is the most typical food of Argentina?

According to Wikipedia in Spanish [es]:

La gastronomía de Argentina se caracteriza y diferencia de las gastronomías del resto de América Latina por grandes aportes europeos. En Argentina se combinan perfectamente, la gastronomía criolla, italiana, española, e incluso algunos pequeños influjos del África subsahariana, debido a los esclavos llevados desde África al territorio que actualmente es Argentina.

The cuisine of Argentina is characterized and different from the cuisines in the rest of Latin America because of great European contributions. In Argentina the iberoamerican, Italian, Spanish, and even some small influences from Sub-saharan Africa, due to the slaves taken from Africa to the territory which is present-day Argentina, blend perfectly together.

In the blog Animales de ruta [es],Guillote asks [es]:

¿Existe la comida tradicional argentina? Esta pregunta ronda mi cabeza desde que empecé con mis viajes a través del mundo conociendo diferentes culturas. Muchos países tienen sus comidas típicas y tradicionales. Pero para empezar el debate, tengo que dar mi punto de vista y/o opinión de qué es la comida tradicional.

La comida tradicional o típica de un país es aquella que se come con regularidad, ya sea en casa o restaurantes caros. También es aquella que se vende en los puestos callejeros, comprada por la clase trabajadora en sus mediodías por ser barata y accesible.

Does traditional Argentine food exist? I've been thinking about this since I started my travels around the world getting to know different cultures. Many countries have their own typical and traditional foods. But in order to start the debate, I have to give my point of view and/or my opinion about what makes up traditional food.

A country's traditional or typical food is that food which is eaten regularly and is found at home or in expensive restaurants. It is also the food which is sold by street venders, and is bought by the working class for their midday meal because it is cheap and available.

The author concludes:

De la lista, la única que (a mi opinión) consideraría comida típica es la empanada: la venden en cualquier lado, la comen todas las clases sociales frecuentemente y es barata

From the list, the only food which (in my opinion) would be considered typical food is the empanada: It is sold everywhere, every social class eats it often, and it's cheap.

The blog Pura gula [es] also commented on empanadas and posted a recipe for empanadas from the Córdoba province [es]:

Las empanadas son una comida típicamente argentina. Tan típicas que cada provincia tiene la suya.

Empanadas are a typical Argentine food. So typical, in fact, that every province has their own version.

Beef empanadas. Image from Pablo Flores on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Beef empanadas. Image by Pablo Flores on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

But for many, Argentine food is associated with the asado [roasted meat]. The asado, a cause for Sunday family get-togethers, a gathering of friends, football games, birthdays, and other festivities, is never lacking on the Argentine table. Even though there are several ways to make it–on the grill or on a spit, for example– in the end an asado is an asado.   

The Blog from NOA [es] presents some alternatives for preparing it:

La cocción a fuego directo es la técnica de cocción más antigua usada por la humanidad. En el campo las dos maneras más tradicionales de preparar son el asado con cuero, bajo tierra, o al aire libre ensartado en asadores o estacas. El asado con cuero es exclusivamente argentino. En el noroeste suele hacerse con carne de llama, un verdadero manjar de los dioses.

Un auténtico asado es el que se realiza con brasas de leña y madera y no con carbón vegetal. Hay quienes consideran un agravio el asar carne con carbón vegetal. Según los cocineros salteños las mejores maderas son las duras. Porque las blandas se queman más rápidamente y no producen buenas brasas.

Cooking by direct fire is the oldest cooking technique used by people. In the country the two most traditional ways to prepare the asado are the asado with hide, under ground, or in the open air inserted onto roasters or spits. The asado with hide is exclusively Argentine. In the northwest it is usually made with llama meat, which is truly a food of the gods.

An authentic asado is one which is made with wood chips and not with charcoal. There are those who consider it offensive to roast meat with charcoal. According to professional chefs the best woods are hard, because soft woods burn too quickly and don't produce good embers.

The Argentine Club of Spit Roasters [es]says that “the asado is friendship,” and shares a video of one of the most traditional methods for making the much sought-after asado:

Concebimos el Asado a la Estaca como un patrimonio cultural y cada estaca, cada costillar es cuidado con el mayor celo profesional, con la mayor dedicación, con el mayor amor y los resultados, están a la vista. No hacemos los “asados mas grandes del mundo”, sino verdaderas obras de arte gastronómico que justifican haberlos hecho durante horas y los disfrutamos al máximo, con buenos vinos y nuestras amistades. – El Asado es Amistad.

We conceived the asado on a spit as a cultural heritage and each spit, each ribcage is cared for with the greatest professional enthusiasm, with the greatest dedication, with the greatest love, and the results are clear to see. We don't make the “biggest asados in the world,” but rather true works of gastronomic art which justify spending hours making them. We enjoy them completely, with good wines and our friends. – The Asado is Friendship

On the other hand, The chef Marcelo España in the blog Mi Mundo en una cocina [es] tells a story about typical foods from the country [es], where she mentions a dish which we can't leave off to the side: milanesas, or breaded beef cutlets:

Se rumorea que los argentinos tenemos el hígado a prueba de balas. Será de tanto comer milanesas con papas fritas, el dúo más exitoso de este lado del Río de la Plata (más que los Pimpinela). Muy simple: es un filete de carne rebozado con huevo y pan rallado que, por algún motivo que la ciencia no ha logrado determinar aún, combina fabulosamente bien con unas papas bien crocantes.  Además es, por lejos, el plato favorito de los niños argentinos.

It is rumored that we Argentines have bulletproof livers. It would be too much to eat breaded beef cutlets with French fries, the most successful duo this side of the Río de la Plata (more successful than Pimpinela [a famous Argentine duo famous for singing romantic songs and their unique style of singing]). It is very simple: It is a fillet of meat dipped in batter with egg and bread crumbs which, for some reason that science still hasn't figured out, combines fabulously well with some crisp fries.  In addition, it is by far the favorite dish of Argentine kids.

In addition, España mentions some typical desserts, like flan (custard) with dulce de leche:

A la hora de los postres, el flan con dulce de leche es el broche de oro de cualquier cena. Se prepara con huevos enteros, leche y azúcar. Aunque dicen que es un invento romano y que el propio César lo degustaba antes de dirigirse al Senado, el flan es argentino por adopción. Pedirlo con dulce de leche resulta una obligación y sumarle crema batida es, casi casi, una perversión.

At dessert time, the flan with dulce de leche is the highlight of any dinner. It is made with whole eggs, milk, and sugar. Even though it is said to be a Roman invention and that Caesar himself tasted it before speaking before the Senate, flan is Argentine by adoption. Ordering it with dulce de leche has become a requirement, and adding whipped cream is nearly a perversion.

On YouTube there are many videos that teach how to prepare typical Argentine recipes. On the Recetas de Tortas YA! [es] channel, sweet preparations are shown, like these alfajores de maicena:

It should be noted that Argentina shares many typical dishes with her neighbors, especially with Chile and Uruguay.

Beyond these, there are many other typical dishes we could mention. What is typical Argentine food to you?

October 08 2013

Argentina's President to Undergo Surgery

President Cristina Fernández will undergo surgery today, October 8, to drain a brain hematoma.

Fernández was diagnosed with a subdual hematoma, bleeding in the brain, on October 5.

The Presidency's official website [es] published a statement [es] from Fundación Favaloro, the hospital where Fernández will be operated. The statement indicates that the doctor's suggestion to rest “had to be modified” because on October 6 she felt “a sensation of ‘tingling’ in her left arm”:

Faced with such symptoms, our team went to the residence of Olivos to carry out a physical and neurological examination, noting a transient and slight loss of muscle strength in the same upper limb.

The statement concludes:

In light of this, the [medical] team indicated surgery. The surgery consists of basically draining the hematoma.

Netizens in Argentina have been showing their support through the hashtag #FuerzaCristina.

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