27 November 2006

Ripples of 11/15

The hailstorm brought out a lot of things, and the repercusions and associations keep coming in waves. This will be history.

Remember the accusations that people benefitted with relief packages were reselling their corrugated metal sheets? Well, yesterday I said there was only one such incident confirmed. The person in question was arrested. But it appears there were more than a few others, and not only metal sheets but also mattresses were sold for a few pesos by avivados, mostly to other poor people who lost their roof and their bedroom furniture too, but who were forgotten by the authorities. To make things worse, it continued to rain today. The storm brought out the worst from the sewers and from some of the people.

On the other hand, good ideas can also come from catastrophes. Rosario has a municipal program of organic vegetable gardens, grown in small lots in the suburbs, by hand and without any pesticides. These gardens were severely affected by the hail, so the Urban Agriculture Programme launched the Vale Verde, a bill worth 10 pesos in vegetables from these gardens (at 2 pesos per kilo). The Vale Verde is sold at Rosario's Vegetable Fairs and will be exchanged between 15 February and 15 April 2007; by buying beforehand, you can help the gardeners cope with the lack of cash during the summer months.

Yet on the other hand, the taxi drivers (and more so the taxi owners) are showing their complete lack of empathy with the rest of the population of Rosario in not one, not two, but three different ways. First, they got mad at the idea of the municipality of licensing 500 more cabs to increase the offer (this after they judicially blocked a bill forcing taxi owners to hire new employees so as to work the service 16 out of 24 hours per day). Second, they demanded a fee increase of 50% (@#!?), mere months after getting a 30% increase, taking it to the levels of Buenos Aires (though in BA taxis do work). And third, they had the gall to ask for government money to repair the cabs damaged by the hail, and they're complaining that they didn't get it. Of course, they want a higher fee and free repairs not to provide a better service, but to stay as they are, comfortably living off a high-demand market.

Finally, the latest "ripple effect" of the hail is something I'd mentioned briefly before, which is that it's become easier to start a conversation with anyone, provided you haven't seen them since before that Black Wednesday. You only have to ask casually, "So, what did the hail do to you?". It's not a pick-up line or anything but it does break the ice... No pun intended.


  1. Crises have the capacity to strip down human nature to its core - hence the good and bad in people.

    On the whole, it sounds like Rosario is very progressive relative to the rest of the country - I wish I lived there...

  2. It does have a rebel streak, but it's not all that progressive. Grossly uneducated conservatives à la Macri or Blumberg abound; they just don't get too much media attention. :)

    You'd probably have a more relaxed life here, but I don't think you'd get some of the exotic ingredients you can find over there (and you thought BA was unsophisticated).


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.