07 June 2007

Politics against the people

It's been a couple of days... I'm doing some programming-for-hire during the afternoon, so I don't have the amount of spare time I'd like to have to craft long detailed posts. And the office has been busy too. So that's why. I promise (more to myself than to anyone else, because I know I'm a procrastinator) that I'll try to stick to one post a day during weekdays.

I was thinking of commenting on the ridiculous, half-childish, half-brutish behaviour of president Kirchner and his minions regarding Mauricio Macri's triumph last weekend, but there's no need — you can watch K's tirades in all their inarticulate muck-racking glory anytime you want, as he's on it all day. As much as I dislike Macri from the bottom of my guts (and the deceptively nice Iron Lady on a wheelchair that accompanies him), I'm beginning to think he's not that a terrible thing to happen. Buenos Aires can surely bear four years of plutocracy, and after that eventually porteños will either learn or repeat history, or maybe (just maybe) Macri in power will turn out not to be a horrible mistake. In the context of a local election in a district that is not really troubled, Filmus's apocalyptic warnings about a clash of ideologies is exaggerated to say the least.

But that's not what I was going to comment on. Although I did. As I said, I've been busy at the office. Yesterday, for a change, I did some fieldwork; office's Number Two and I went to Granadero Baigorria to check on a healthcare center. Now the usual idea of what a public healthcare center is like is a shabby building with workers either willing and desperately trying to do their work without basic resources, or (more commonly) undermotivated, accustomed to doing nothing, and exempt from control and punishment by their powerful union. (This description works for most of the public administration, of course.)

What we found was a group, a team, of people doing their work earnestly and diligently with modest resources, in a decent, clean building, and willing to get help to make it all better. They had everything in order, though most in dead-tree form; the computer was old but OK. The director was a nurse. The administrative staff (two women) were volunteers — members of the community who work there for free, or as we say, ad honorem, though they didn't receive any formal honours. One of them, a lady in her sixties, kept about 4,700 patient records on an Excel file; she didn't know how to do counts and filters, so I taught her. Prior to that, when the authorities needed a count of (for example) how many female patients under 15 are served by the health center, she needed to manually count them.

The authorities don't know or don't want to know that these women work hard, for free, or that they need a computer course the state should pay for, or that they would glady do a much better job if they had the tools, or that most of the structure of the state that feeds their incompetent asses is supported by hard-working people who don't get what they deserve.

Right at the entrance of the health center, a bit dusty because the street is not paved, a large painted banner read "Welcome, Rafael Bielsa". The Peronist party, which paid for this banner promoting Buenos Aires Province deputy Bielsa's campaign for governor of Santa Fe (!), is also the one in power, the one that should have paid for those two women's salaries, the one that campaigns to stay in power by noting the province has a surplus and hasn't raised taxes, the one that doesn't spend that surplus on, let's say, public works to keep the province from flooding whenever it rains more than usual. Politics is not nice, we all know that, right?


  1. The mayoral race is now a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea.

    I tend to agree with Roberto Lavagna: one can’t possibly vote for the candidate endorsed by K (well of course Lavagna does have an axe to grind …). Macri can almost certainly count on the votes of Boca supporters, so I guess it’s a done deal.

    Sometimes I think that it’s good to suffer a term with a populist idiot in charge, so that the voters are forced in the future to actually think about the merits of the candidates. Of course that doesn’t help much when all of the candidates are deeply flawed.


  2. http://www.lacapital.com.ar/2007/06/16/region/noticia_397049.shtml


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