We haven’t written on the blog in awhile but I think that’s probably because we’ve developed a routine and we’re doing less of the “tourist” stuff. Nonetheless, we have had some cool experiences that are worth quick recaps before we head on to our next destination: Uruguay!

We visited the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes where we found works by Argentinian artists, many of which gave us a glimpse into the tumultuous politics of Argentina that has provoked very troubled, yet beautiful, art. Some of our favourites were Introducción a la esperanza(Introduction to Hope) by Luis Felipe Noé, painted in 1963 after the military had deposed the government in Argentina and the country was in chaos. This painting is neat because of the way that it explodes outside of the standard rectangular frame and really does feel chaotic. Also interesting was the bizarre El Mudo (the Mute) sculpture by Juan Carlo Distefano of a man whose arms are tied and recessed into his back; he seems to be attached to a toilet bowl. This work is about the torture that was notoriously committed by the military during the dictatorship years in Argentina. Not all the art was this bleak but it seems the memorable pieces are always the darker ones.

Also, we’ve had the chance to hang out with some more locals. My dear friend from highschool, Delfina, who moved to Canada from Argentina when she was a kid, has since moved back to Buenos Aires to pursue law. Dan and I had dinner with her and her boyfriend and I got a chance to have my first restaurant steak! It was brilliant to be reunited with Delfina after nearly 4 years of barely any contact. It’s amazing how with best friends you can pick back up where you left off even after so many years and so many miles apart.

The next night we went out dancing at Niceto Club with Delfina, her cousin and their friends in true Argentinian fashion – the pre-drink started at 12:30 am and we only arrived at the club at 2:30-3 am. The night ended with us running for a taxi in a torrential downpour at 5 am. We slept in until 3 pm…

I’ve also been doing quite a bit of networking with people involved in women’s issues, politics and NGOs. Through contacts that I’ve received through my professor in Ottawa, I’ve had the chance to meet with very inspiring individuals. I met with Lucia Alberti, a former deputy in the Argentinian government (1 of only 4 women in government at the time!) and an avid human rights activist. She spoke to me about the challenges of working in the first democratic government after the military regime. Unfortunately,  those who had loved ones tortured and disappeared during the military rule never got full justice because the government put a premature end to the commission investigating the human rights abuses and granted amnesty to all acts committed before 1983.

Today, Lucia is the president of the Asociación pro Naciones Unidas de Argentina that works on many UN projects promoting human rights; right now she is working on an international congress on abuse and trafficking of youth. Human trafficking is a huge problem in Argentina and most often involves really young girls who are used in the sex trade.

Finally, I visited the Eva Peron museum and got a good dose of propaganda. The museum was definitely very pro-Evita. And although telling me a lot about all the amazing things that Evita did during her lifetime – getting the rights of children, women and the elderly inserted into the constitution, developing a massive network of social programs, campaigning for and winning voting rights for women, creating the Female Peronist Party – the museum left out the other side of the story. She was not loved by all. Many hated her for spending huge amounts of government money despite being an unelected political figure. They also suspected she was out for her own good, hoping to gain political popularity and run for vice-president (which she declined to do). Everything considered, she was a very inspiring women and, as a prominent female political figure, ahead of her time. She died at 33 of cervical cancer but in that short time gained almost saint-status among many Argentinians.

So along with all the fun, I’ve learned a lot this month about Argentinian history, political and human rights. I hope to continue this track record in the next countries we visit. Tonight, we head via bus and boat to Montevideo, Uruguay. We will check in as often as we can through the blog so keep reading. To all the family and friends reading, I miss you all. Keep commenting too, it makes me happy 🙂