I’m uploading this post from Mendoza, on New Year’s Eve. We just arrived and it is 6 in the morning. In case I don’t get the chance to update the blog before 2.1., I’d just like to say that Buenos Aires and San Luis have been really fantastic and, well, see you in the mountains!
From Resistencia, we rode on another rented minibus to San Lorenzo. The motorway, the efficiently organized farming, the housing, all witnessed a standard of life comparable to that of Europe. However, in some places appeared slum areas. Micky told me that the slums did not exist before the last decades and that they are the consequence of failed economic policies. I remember vaguely accusations of corruption towards a former president and the later economic crisis of a few years back, but the earlier economic crises I have not been aware of before.
As we were ahead of the schedule, the local group arranged us the possibility to rest for a while in a small hotel, which supported the march in that way. But before rest, we had lunch in a local restaurant. Argentina produces a lot of meat and also eats meat in big portions. Only our Chilean-Brazilian member Gonzalo was able to fully meet the challenge of the meat, but we others also ate enough so that when we saw the bill, we realized that we have to skip dinner!
In San Lorenzo, again we rode in a caravan of cars instead of actually marching. The caravan ended in Puerto General San Martin, in a small, cozy harbour with a cultural center. By the river Paraná, that we had seen already in Foz de Iguazu and later in Resistencia, people sat by the river fishing. Other side of the large harbour building that had become a cultural space, there was a stage and a crowd of mostly women. Maybe the countryside men don’t attend this kind of events so much? We enjoyed the simple and relaxed atmosphere of the event, where the municipality again gave us each a gift, a decorative item with grains typical to the area.
Still in the same evening, we continued to Rosario, only 30 kilometres from San Lorenzo and Puerto General San Martin. The World March festival in Rosario was also by the Paraná river, in a park between the river and the monument to the national flag of Argentina, which was created in Rosario. The blue and white colours of the flag were chosen so that it is in contrast to the Spanish yellow and red flag, that was rebelled against. Rosario is also the birthplace of another famous rebel, namely Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
Although we had thought that we have to skip dinner, after the festival the local team invited us to a restaurant. We sat in an outside terrace under big trees, as inside it would be too warm. There was only one detail that especially our vegetarian member Bhairavi did not appreciate much in our dining location: several small, some medium sized and rare big bugs fell from the trees and flew to our plates. Luckily we had our World March banners and Bhairavi could use the banner as a scarf to protect her head from the invasion of falling bugs. The local team at first mistakenly interpreted the scarf of our oriental member as part of her religion…
Next day, we had institutional meetings: with the Governor of the Province of Santa Fe and at the Municipal council of Rosario with one councillor and other administrative personnel. The governor, Dr. Hermes Binner was well disposed to continue cooperating, and in the meeting with Councillor Pablo Colono it was clarified that all of the political parties in Rosario are together in this cause of peace and nonviolence. A representative of the Agricultural Federation of Argentina came to give their endorsement to the march, and a priest (sorry I didn’t get his name), who is a respected person in Rosario and has travelled the world for peace between religions, told of an interreligious artwork that was recently established in Rosario. A charming and careful detail in the meeting in the Municipal council was the flags of the countries from where the present Base Team members came from.
What was really a disappointment in our Rosario visit was that our plan to visit the Park for Study and reflection in a nearby Carcarana village did not work out due to heavy rains that blocked the country roads. Instead we visited the meeting place of Humanist Movement in the center of Rosario – a nice and ample apartment in a good, central location. Some of the Brazilian friends also arrived there, since they had also planned to come to Carcarana that day. We all remain in expectation of our next visit to Rosario.