Calle Florida – A Different Side of Shopping

By Ryan Riley

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA –  Shopping at Calle Florida takes shopping to a whole new level.

Scarves, futbol jerseys, jewelery, hats and art are just a few of the items that can be purchased here. Most Americans may be able to relate or feel a sense of familiarity with this area as if they where like shopping in New York City.  I feel it’s quite the contrary.

Calle Florida has a much more elegant feel to it.  The merchants are not nagging you like in Rome or New York but instead they appear to be quite calm and relaxed, maybe because they know tourists will bite on just about anything that appears to be considered “ different” or a unique “ souvenir.”

Leather, leather and more leather.  Calle  Florida boasts some of the top leather shops in the world for boots, hats, coats and purses.

For Americans the value of a dollar is about four Argentine pesos. This goes a long way on Calle Florida for shoppers, as once unaffordable jewelry, purses or even custom horse riding boots instantly become affordable.

Basically, (ladies) if you go there and know what you are looking for and stick to your plan you will score a great deal and come home a happy camper.

For men, I realize that shopping is not numero uno on most men’s favorite thing to-do list. but at Calle Florida it is a whole new ball game.  You may even find yourself wanting to stay and telling your spouse to go on ahead without you.

Sorry men but I must admit, it truly is that intriguing.

The people around you make the experience worthwhile in and of itself.  Mannequin of different sorts,  mega sports stores on nearly every corner, and great places to eat and drink to your heart’s desire are just a few of attractions that make it so unique and worthwhile.

Calle  Florida is a well-kept secret around the world but  anyone who ventures into Buenos Aires must experience just a little taste of Florida Street for themselves.

Trust me, you will not want to leave.


The Beautiful Game-The Argentine Way

By Ryan Riley

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA –  Futbol is not just a game in Argentina, it is a way of life.

For fans in Buenos Aires and throughout Argentina “soccer,”  more widely known around the world as futbol, means more than just simply winning or losing.  It is a strong passion that can not be put into words, one that breathes life into the hearts and souls of Argentines year round.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup has given Argentines a feeling of great joy and a sense of hope and belief that there former hero on the pitch, Diego Maradona, can now lead the new squad to victory as the manager of the now ‘Messi lead team.’  Is Maradona the right man for the job? The Chosen One?

The fact of the matter is that many Argentines have doubts as to whether Maradona can lead this club to a World Cup title.  The key points here are whether Maradona can manage the big personalities and superstars of Argentina along with integrating tactics that fit the roles of his players.  Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez are two of the main players who will need to shine for Maradona’s squad in order for them to make a deep run into the World Cup.

Buenos Aires local Dario Cipolloni sat down with me to discuss his favorite players and the challenges that Maradona faces entering into the World Cup.

The feeling behind the team is  positive as Argentines sit anxiously at the edge of their seats with every minute that goes by in the Cup praying that they may once again raise the beloved trophy that their boss Maradona raised once himself as a player in 1986. Anything less than a World Cup title is a disappointment for this highly-skilled and star studded squad.

We shall wait and see what the soccer gods decide.

The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires Argentina Implements Social Networking

by Ryan Riley

The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires Argentina capitalizes on the new age of media by using social networking.’

The Embassy features more than 17,000 fans on their Facebook page alone.

Facebook and other online social networks act as a merger between the new media outlets and older forms of news. Along with Facebook, the U.S. Embassy offers valuable information on websites such as Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

“Our mission is to inform the Argentine people of the U.S. Embassy’s goal to inform and assist in foreign and domestic affairs,”   Robert Howes, a U.S. Embassy employee in the Argentine capital, said.

It is evident that the Embassy has taken a new approach toward informing not only local Argentines, but as well as the rest of the world. Other than being a source of entertainment, Facebook and others stimulate a new found curiosity for political participation on and off the web.This system of social networking reaches out to potential patrons and allows for future employment opportunities.

Recent technologies allow the past generation’s efforts to correspond with the new generation of media in Argentina.

Uki Goñi- An Inspiration to All Journalists

   by, Hillary Houston   

     Reporting the truth can mean life or death, but for a journalist, not reporting the truth means no life at all. Uki Goñi, world renowned journalist and author knows of this struggle all too well.  

     Recently, Goñi took the time to some shed light on what the real world of journalism is all about.

     Six journalism students, including myself, were able to interview Goñi over lunch in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Meeting with Goñi is a rare occasion for anyone, but for six journalism students from the University of Mississippi it was inspiration.

     Lunch began like any other, over gnocchi and coffee Goñi spoke of his work, his past battles and future endeavors. No one at the table could have ever predicted the magnitude of his testimony.

     He told of how he was born in Washington, D.C., but moved to Buenos Aires at the young age of 21. From there he worked for the Buenos Aires Herald. Most of his time at the Herald was occupied by trying to help report the mass amounts of information from the people affected by the Dirty War, a military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976-1983.

     The Dirty War was a military campaign carried out by the Argentine government that maintained its power by kidnapping out anybody who challenged their authority. He explained that during these troubling times, his life was at stake.  Those who opposed the government’s military campaign just “disappeared”.

     Goñi worked with the mothers of “disappeared” trying to help in any way possible without causing more harm to himself and others.

     Goñi had experiences with undercover government officers following, tapped phone calls and even death threats.

     Going through such chaos during the first few years of his career, was quite the test. He recalled being a young journalist, terrified for his life and his fellow colleagues.

      Luckily he survived to tell his story, but he still wonders what may have happened. Many of his friends, coworkers and informants were seen one day and then gone the next.

      “I regret not getting more involved with the disappeared,” Goñi said. “But if I had, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”

     Spending years writing for newspapers such as the Buenos Aires Herald and the New York Times, Goñi had quite the resume.

     After jeopardizing his life for several years work, Goñi traded one evil for another. His observations of what went on during the Dirty War fascinated him. He questioned how humans could do such things to each other and how something so terrible could be kept quiet for so long.

     With his knowledge of vile militant tactics and Argentine government, Goñi began to research the Argentine government’s aid in the escape of Nazi war criminals after WWII.

     “Can it be a coincidence of what happened in my country’s past that allowed so many war criminals to come here?” Goñi asked. He wanted to understand how something like the Dirty War and hiding of Nazis could have ever happened.

     Goñi’s worked for years trying to find the buried information both in Argentina and across the world. Many of sleepless nights and thousands of documents later he published his controversial book “The Real Odessa: Smuggling the Nazis to Perón’s Argentina.”

     His book gives details such as dates, names, sources and government documents of the escape of Nazi war criminals in to Argentina. Outing multiple illegal governmental operations, historical lies and even the Catholic Church is an adventure to say the least.

     “Considering the past and our struggles with the government, the Argentine people have slowly adapted the habitation of evil,” Goñi said. “Years ago, speaking out against the government meant life or death, so most people chose to not say anything.”

     Goñi was one of the first to break the silence. Through it all he damaged his health, broke a few rules, ruined a couple of relationships and fought many of lawsuits after all was said and done.

     To this day, Goñi is still criticized and attacked for his work. Rumors and speculations surround the truth behind the Dirty War and the Nazi hiding in Argentina.

     Goñi defends is work with facts. He explained that there will always be people who will disagree with what he has said, but the facts don’t and cannot lie.

     Goñi jokes about how a journalist’s life style is not easy an easy one. He advises to keep a sane mind by pursuing other leisure interests. For him, it is music.  

     Today, he plays with his band in local cult pubs around Buenos Aires, does freelance work for various medias, maintains his website and travels to speak to whoever is willing to listen and learn.


La Copa Mundial Está Todo en Argentina.

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by Andy Billmeyer

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – The title says it all, “the World Cup is everything in Argentina.” Case in point, I was awoken on June 17 by cheers and horns in the streets. Argentina had obviously scored.

Pablo Alabarces, a researcher and head professor on “Popular and Massive Culture” at the University of Buenos Aires uses fútbol as an access to society and culture. Alabarces puts it perfectly by saying, “fútbol is the great cohesive force behind which different social groups and classes come together; it is a producer of nationality, which has been gaining ground while other once constructive spaces, such as public schools or the State have been relinquishing power.”

Alabarces considers fútbol “the great culture machine.” On a personal note, these words speak volumes.

A brief history of Argentine soccer and political policy can shed light on the nation’s current disposition. It was in the late ‘70s amid Argentina’s “Dirty War” (military dictatorship), when the game gave a struggling nation one common grasp. This universal ground that is fútbol gave the partisans conversation and invoked national pride. The time was only perfect for the emerging “best player to ever touch the field,” Diego Maridona, to take center stage. Maridona is now Argentina’s “controversial” coach. Some believe he’s not fit for the job since he was a player and not a professional coach. Maridona directs with much emotion, screaming and throwing his hands in the air while other coaches quietly sit the bench.

I sat down with Buenos Aires native Dario Cipironni to create a brief image of fútbol in Argentina today.

Q: How important is the World Cup to Argentina?
A: Fútbol is a very important thing. The team is very strong this year so I am hopeful. We have a very strong feeling inside [Argentina] about fútbol.

Q: Who is your favorite player on the Argentine squad? Who would you consider the most important?
A: My favorite player is Diego Maridona, now he is retired from play but is still the director (coach). Nowadays, my favorite player is Lionel Messi.

Q: Do you think Maridona is a good coach because he was a good player? Is he good enough to lead the Argentine team to victory in the World Cup?
A: Maridona was a player, so he is not a professional coach. Maridona feels about fútbol in a very strong way, he has more emotion than a regular coach. Argentines have different opinions about Maridona, but I feel confident.

Q: Where do you watch the matches?
A: We have a very strong passion for fútbol, so we often get together with family and friends to drink and eat. The passion is everywhere in Argentina.

Q: Has Argentina ever hosted the World Cup? Has Argentina ever won the World Cup?
A: In 1978, the Cup was ¬held in Argentina has also won it. Argentina also won it in 1986.

Q: How happy would you be if Argentina won the World Cup, what would you do?
A: I don’t want to tell before time (laughs), but yes it would be great. I wasn’t alive when Argentina won the World Cup in but it would be a very good experience.

For Argentina, this is a time of congregation. This beautiful game the world calls fútbol has an unmatched effect on the world. To put aside the wars and conflict, even for just a month, is a beautiful thing in itself.

Journalism in Latin America

Mothers of the Disappeared

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Thursday June 17, 2010 3:30pm

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – Blue skies and sunshine are the backdrop at the Plaza de Mayo. The atmosphere sheds beautiful light on the city of Buenos Aires, but today the mood is solemn.

The mothers of the disappeared have met to protest every Thursday afternoon since 1977. They are the parents of lost patriots who proclaim their children are simply missing, not deceased.

From 1976-83 the Argentine nation was under a military dictatorship called the “Dirty War.” This military exercise claimed it was out to rid Argentina of the citizens, “trying to destroy the Christian and Western values of society.” In this process, tens of thousands of Argentines disappeared. The guerrillas were abducted and tortured in concentration camps. These women who protest once a week are the mothers of the disappeared.

The mothers, and few fathers, of the disappeared march around the Statue of Independence with pictures of their lost sons or daughters. Each name is called out. The hustle and bustle resonating of metropolitan Buenos Aires is drowned out with the simple group chant “presente” as each name is called to signify that the person named is, indeed, there in spirit.

Most of the elderly women have scarves on their heads with their children’s names and birthdays embroidered on the white cloth.

The atmosphere is uncompromising; no one could paint a better picture. Like a funeral marching into the churchyard, the continual protest is a somber reminder of what Argentina once was, and where it stands today.