Julian is a University student, born and raised in Buenos Aires. A confident and open-minded young man, Julian loves traveling, enjoys talking politics and sharing ideas. The interview was conducted on 21-Nov.
He didn’t go to the big demonstration on 8-Nov although his father did with his dog. Instead Julian decided to stay home and watch the events on TV. The TV coverage was of a sensational style as Argentinian TV news tends to be, the highlight being when a TV reporter was attacked by a member of the crowd live on camera. Julian showed me a clip on YouTube and I was shocked by the images. The reporter was busy reporting when a man from behind swung his fist at him almost hitting him on the side of the head. Later the TV station claimed the offender was a government supporter amongst the crowd.
When I asked him why he didn’t go, he told me that he isn’t too upset with the current government – it does more good than harm. Julian believes that the government’s policy about restricting people’s access to the US Dollar was the main reason people hit the streets. The President wants to build up a reserve of US Dollars to pay back international lenders. Julian predicts that the restrictions will remain until the next general election. He thinks that most people are upset because they can no longer go on vacation to Miami, FLA.
He also mentioned corruption in general. The politicians have always been corrupt and they still are but that isn’t the main issue. The current government isn’t perfect but things are getting better. Julian blames the public for voting for the current government, “it is not the problem – we the public are at fault.”
I moved on to ask Julian what had the current government and President Cristina done that is positive. He told me that the President and her predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, have managed to keep a South American country stable for the last 9 years – balancing big business, the public and the trade unions. They also have never used the police or military to maintain the peace.
Another major concern for the people of Argentina, in particular for the residents of Buenos Aires, is the current public transport disputes. The major strike held on 20-Nov highlighted the problem. On that day transport in the capital came to a standstill – with many of the major streets empty for most of the day. Julian’s father runs one of the bus companies in the city and had to cut services on 20-Nov, the reason surprised me. You would think it would have been because of the drivers striking but you’d be wrong. The actual reason was because most of the public did not decide to use the buses that day. They had been told by the media that the streets would be so congested that using the bus system would be useless. Julian’s father lost revenue on the day all because of the fear the media in Argentina creates.
My last question was if we would see further big demonstrations on the streets of the towns and cities of the country. He couldn’t say but feels that actions such as 8-Nov are not effective after seeing such actions fail time and time again across Europe. If the people want real change they need to demonstrate for much longer periods than just one day, like they did back in 2001.