The degraded socio-economic condition of Argentina leading to the December 2001 rebellions, and its consequent social chaos analyzed by focusing on real people from Buenos Aires poorest ... See full summary »

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The degraded socio-economic condition of Argentina leading to the December 2001 rebellions, and its consequent social chaos analyzed by focusing on real people from Buenos Aires poorest shantytowns, crumbling hospitals, and women middle class farmers fighting multi national banks that are shamelessly appropriating their farmlands. Written by Gonz30

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15 September 2005 (Argentina)  »

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The Dignity of the Nobodies  »

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Shocking, Unbelievable social chaos in a "once" first world country!
25 October 2005 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

As rich as an Argentine, they used to say.

Even in the 1970s, Argentina and particularly the Buenos Aires area covered in this documentary had a middle class, the life style and affluence that was not just the envy of the Americas, but that of Spain, Italy, and Portugal, among other now "rich" countries.

In the history of mass European migration to "America", Argentina was often on par with the USA as the most desired destination, and back then going to "America" also meant going to Argentina. Well, how low can the former 2nd or 3rd richest nation in the world fall? See this documentary, and find out.

Even if you've visited Argentina six times since early 2002 as I have, you'll be floored. The few shantytowns a tourist may see resemble poor Mississippi towns in the US more than the huge and really miserable Brazilian or South African shantytowns. So, one gets the impression that the poorest in Buenos Aires live like the lower middle class in third world countries.

But Argentine reality is different, as shown in this film. These newly poor Argentines have come from what was one one of the most socially equal countries in the world, with a very big middle class. These newly poor have not lived in these slums for decades like in South Africa, or even a century in Brazil's case.

This is perhaps why the film's title refers to dignity, something these "nouveau" poor have not lost. Perhaps one of the few things European multinationals, in cohorts with the local government, have not been able to rob them of.

The feeling of community and helping each other out in adversity is beautifully expressed in this documentary. It's unbelievable that in a naturally rich, huge country, but with a population comparable to metropolitan Tokyo alone, people go hungry.

More importantly than being the world's 6th largest country, is the fact that it is prime land with more than everything it needs. It has no huge deserts like in Australia & China, not mostly ice & tundra like Canada or Russia, nor large & mostly tropical forest like Brazil.

It's self sufficient in everything, exporting oil & natural gas, shares the world's largest fresh water reserve - once the world's breadbasket & greatest meat exporter. This documentary helps one to understand the absurdity of the current situation.

If possible, see the director's earlier "Memorias del Saqueo" (2004)first. YES, you may think the people are responsible for electing corrupt politicians. But what "HONEST" European & American bankers unload loans on a nation, knowing a good part of the money will be kept by corrupt politicians.... in many cases the banks & corporations had already bribed government officials to obtain their lucrative contracts & licenses to take away the country's richness from its people and transfer them abroad. As one wise lady in the film yells as banks take away her family's lands, "Argentina is no longer Argentina." Nowhere else have I seen this point better expressed.

That issue is actually addressed more fully in "Memorias del Saqueo", but anyway, more than a decade of these "saqueos" (pillages) have produced the miserable results shown in both films. And again, this is not India with a billion people & endemic poverty for centuries. This is (WAS) a nearly fully developed country THE SIZE OF India, but with 3.8% of India's population, and all the natural reserves India, China, Japan don't have! Not only things like natural gas and oil, but a 3 thousand kilometer coast whose fishing rights have been sold to a great extent to the Japanese, leaving Argentine fisherman unemployed.

All this is what happens when a well intentioned pretty well developed & industrialized country follows the policy of the World Bank, IMF, and current rules of modern capitalism to the T. "Foreign investors" offer a country this supposedly honest carrot. The "good faith" of the international banking system is unmasked by this director as you've never seen it done before on the screen.

You'll see how foreign concerns take everything (including Argentine oil, sold off at a laughable price to the Spanish "Repsol") from the people as a whole, and from the formerly middle-class people: the riches of the whole country; all this achieved by bribing over half of the Congress.

The rich have not been dispossessed by the way, as in communist or popular revolutions, but rather a rape of a country unseen in modern times has occurred.

Entire villages have been closed down by these multinationals, if the factories are deemed not profitable, causing human suffering the film's characters will realistically recount.

Rich Italian (from Italy itself) pensioners who invested their pension plans in Argentina & have been up in arms for 3 years, asking for every Euro of profit their pensions promised should see this film. They can confirm what their devious Pension Plans did to a whole people. Didn't these "investors" wonder why the yield was so fabulous?

In fact, Italian-descending farmers represent one of the most poignant cases shown in this documentary. And one that the middle and upper classes, the audiences who WATCH this kind of "artsy festival" film can relate to. It's the case of grandchildren of Italian and other European immigrants - they themselves now in their 60s, whose forefathers labored for generations in this land to acquire their own farms.

Now, they are having to turn them over to foreign banks or go to auction and sell them at ridiculous prices by foreigners, who else?, or banks to "settle debts". A significant slice of the film shows this injustice.

Don't miss this documentary, and do all you can to see the earlier "Memorias del Saqueo." This is the second of two gems that expose a reality the "First World" should see, right in their faces.


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