Earlier this week my group visited Argentina’s National Library in Buenos Aires. While the sheer number of books and the greatness of the building would be enough to capture everyone’s attention, what really awed me was the hand-made signs covering the walls inside of the library. When the new government came to power late last year, President Macri cut public funding, resulting in massive lay-offs at the library. Signs declared that 240 staffers have lost their jobs. After doing some research, I discovered that this amounts to about a quarter of the library’s overall staff.
Part of my program includes a Community Based Engagement Project, where I work with the non-profit organization Alfajores Artesanales Porteñitos in La Boca. This organization provides a safe space for children in a poor neighborhood to come in order to get off of the streets and have a snack. The womyn that run this organization have also been adversely effected by President Macri’s cuts to utility subsidies, now they are constantly worried about how they’ll be able to keep the lights on and keep these children off of the streets.
Argentine society has a history of activist movements and social involvement, and today’s climate is no different. Fired workers and their allies have marched through the streets in recent months, demanding their re-implementation. I’m really excited to be able to witness these important demonstrations and movements in Buenos Aires, especially since my program is based around Human Rights in Argentina.
For more on the library cuts, visit: http://www.buenosairesherald.com/article/211224/250-sacked-from-national-library