26 November 2006

The first victim of the hail

A bit more about the aftermath of the hail. It appears that the blockades set up in the streets to demand "disaster relief" are now mostly gone, and the government's strategy of doing nothing (save keeping some policemen in the distance), which I criticized in a previous post of mine, was eventually correct. With the rain that's been falling since yesterday night and all through Sunday (it's 6:20 PM now), and since relief has been provided and the problems caused by the blocks have been addressed, they became pointless and unsustainable.

Some had suspected that there are political and pseudo-political movements out there trying to incite disorder; the mayor said it, and now the provincial police has obtained proof of at least one such attempts: several calls were made by two men last Friday to provincial and city government offices, to four schools, to radio stations and other places, warning that looting had started in parts of southern Rosario (rekindling the fears of 1989 and 2001). Fortunately, this disinformation campaign failed, mostly. If this had been 1989 (with hyperinflation and shortage of food in supermarkets) or 2001 (with peak unemployment, recession and a crippling shortage of cash), it might have worked. Mind you, the news about Argentina's spectacular economic recovery are all written from the advantageous POV of middle-class society and up; but the poor are not that many or that desperate today.

More disinformation was spread by the media (I'm not blaming them, as they're only as good as their worst sources) in the last few days. For example, there was the repeated denunciation that some recipients of relief were selling their new corrugated metal sheets -- which was true, but so far I've only read one proven account of this. There was also the radio announcement (multipled by word-of-mouth) that there had been hail in several small towns and cities around Rosario, the idea being that we were in for another catastrophe while the mess was still incompletely cleaned up; it was all false.

We had some, light hail yesterday afternoon (nothing like the other day), and then after dark there was a lot of rain that continued thorought the night. I had to brave it for four blocks as I went from a friend's house to the bus stop, hopping over puddles and over streets turned rivers, but it was nothing serious. We're going to have much rain this summer, I guess.

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