Political Situation Understood Through Meat

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

It’s a difficult situation…

The political situation is currently tense. The president of Argentina, Cristina Kirschner, raised the tax on exports, which directly affects the profits of farmers along the northern and interior provinces of Argentina. As a taxi driver explained to me, this can mean that the government gets as little as 10% to as much as 50% of a farmer’s yearly profits as tax revenue. While in the long run, this drive up the value of currency, and actually promotes economic growth, right now it puts many farmers in a
desperate situation.

The price of meat has gone up, vegetables and fruit as well. People began to panic, and marches happened in the streets, when campesinos began cortes, a series of stops along the highway that kept trucks from entering the city with food.

As I live along the capital building, the marches came right past my apartment. The world can be a scary place, when buses don’t leave stations, trains shut down, and planes refuse to fly out of Buenos Aires.

So far, the president has refused to negotiate with the farmers, then local groups tried to introduce arbitration. I don’t totally understand the situation, but it can all be summed up in one question: Did you buy meat today?

The price of meat has gone up, and as it’s a staple good in Argentine cuisine, people are worried. And so am I.

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