Monday, April 02, 2007

Plaza de Mayo

So I had planned on posting this entry last Tuesday, but a little crisis involving me getting my wallet stolen on the colectivo sort of messed up that plan. So here's what I was planning on posting:

Since I'm finally up on technology and figured out how to post pictures here, I figured I could give you all a little taste of some of the major sights in Buenos Aires.

Here we have the Plaza de Mayo, the main plaza/square in downtown BsAs. It is named after the May Revolution of 1810 which started the movement for the city's (and eventually the country's) independence from Spain. In the late 1940s it was home to massive rallies of "descamisados" (the shirtless ones - Perón's name for the lower-class workers who supported him) that gathered to hear the speeches of Pres. Perón and their beloved Evita. In the 1970s it became home to the "Madres de la Plaza de Mayo," a group of mothers who marched around the plaza's central statue, protesting Argentina's military dictatorship and demanding the return of their sons who had been kidnapped (and consequently tortured and killed) by the government's paramilitary forces. The "desparecidos" are still very much in the minds of Argentines and since the 70s, the Madres have still marched every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. My host lady told me that they don't march anymore, but I'm going to go down to the Plaza one Thursday to see if that's true.

Here's the Casa Rosada, the centerpiece of the Plaza de Mayo and the seat of executive branch of Argentina's government. There's a few theories as to why the building is painted pink. One of which is that the President in power at the time of its construction chose the color to fuse the colors (red and white) of Argentina's opposing political parties. Another theory is that the paint used contained ox blood, giving it a pink hue. As you can see from the pictures, they're doing construction right now. My Argentine Literature professor told us that they're re-painting the house to restore its original shade of pink, which had been lost after years of new paint jobs. The balcony of the Casa Rosada is where Juan and Eva Peron would make their famous speeches, and the Argentine government actually allowed Madonna to be filmed singing from the balcony for the movie "Evita" (which most Argentines were not too happy about).

Nowadays, the Plaza de Mayo ground zero for political protests in Buenos Aires. You can tell just by looking at the graffiti around the plaza:

Well hopefully that's enough of a history lesson for now. I'll hopefully be able to post about my Chile trip within the next few days. For now, it's back to classes and the "real world."

1 comment:

Carol said...

Well, I can definitely identify with you with having your wallet stolen....not much fun, eh?

I love your pictures! Did you find the Madres marching after all?

Well, you're not missing much on the weather department--snowed last night, nor'easter today. Just another April in Maine!

Take care,

PS I don't understand why my screenname last time was "King travelers". We'll see if it does it again. I wrote something else but it converted to that!