one step at a time…

housing for the masses: casa colectiva valentín alsina, 1919

Casa Colectiva Valentín Alsina, 1919 • Parque Patricios
Avenida Caseros & 24 de Noviembre

Inspired by the action of Azucena Butteler, numerous private & public schemes were proposed to acquire funds needed for housing projects. Some of the proposals were: government allocations directly controlled by Congress, a direct tax on Jockey Club members, or loans for low-income government employees underwritten by the Central Bank. It was finally decided that 75% of the Jockey Club’s profits from Thursday horse races were to be donated to a general housing construction fund. Money began to flow in, but how should the government use it?

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housing for the masses: microbarrio san vicente de paul, 1912

Buenos Aires, Microbarrio San Vicente de Paul, 1912, Nueva Pompeya

Microbarrio San Vicente de Paul, 1912 • Nueva Pompeya Cachí & Traful

Social assistance in Argentina was not limited to private donations like that of Azucena Butteler. One important group did as much as all other organizations combined —the Catholic church. Under the guidance of the Unión Popular Católica Argentina, nationwide fundraising drives gave Catholic organizations lots of cash to assist the poor. The government highly valued their contribution, mainly administered by women’s groups.

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housing for the masses: barrio butteler, 1910

One of the things that has always impressed me about Argentina is their commitment to social welfare. Before the onslaught of comments to the contrary, hear me out. Without question, you can find lots of examples of the oligarchy looking out for itself, plenty of internal conflicts that jeopardized social welfare, & certainly a lot of work left to be done at present. But the average citizen’s standard of living was often a big concern during 20th-century in Argentina.

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buenos aires: supermarket price comparison

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Disco, supermercado, supermarket

Many people are complaining about rising prices on basic food items. At the grocery store in mid-February, a woman told me she thought Argentines were cowards for putting up with price increases… an interesting opinion. I’m not sure what she would do, but my idea is to stick with a group of basic food products & monitor prices at the three largest chain supermarkets over the next few weeks. One of the first big news stories after devaluation was the rise of bread prices by 30%. Now the milk industry is following suit.

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argentina: legal again

US passport, stamps

A long time since the last update but with good reason. I just got back from a quick Uruguay trip to renew my passport stamp. I’m officially in Argentina as a tourist which allows for a 90-day stay. Every time those 90 days expire, I have to travel outside of Argentina & return again to obtain a new entry stamp. Sounds like a hassle but with work trips to Europe, it usually isn’t a problem.

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argentina: ghosts from the past

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Centro Naval

There has been a lull in big stories during the past month, but many smaller events to track. In spite of the economic and political crisis (or precisely because of it), the 4-day holiday during Holy Week saw a huge increase in local tourism as almost the entire city of Buenos Aires left on vacation. Many stayed in Argentina to keep costs down, & it was bizarre to see so few people in town.

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