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Some Useful Definitions
 
by Lisa Garrigues
 
Argentinazo: The Spanish suffix "azo" is used to signifty a "blow or stroke" Argentinazo is sometimes used to refer to the explosive events that have recently been occuring in Argentina.
 
Asemblea Barrial: Neighborhood Assembly. The neighborhood assemblies sprung up in January as a result of the massive cazerolazos in December. Groups of neighbors ranging from 20 to 300 gather on streetcorners to discuss and vote on community projects, acts of non-violent civil disobedience , and alternatives to the current political and economic system. The Assemblies usually meet once a week, with an inter-neighborhood assembly meeting every Sunday,.and various commissions and subgroups meeting during the week.
 
Banco: Bank. See "Ladron and "Chorro".
 
Cacerolazo: An act of protest which involves people banging on pots and pans together. A "cacerola" is a saucepan.
The first cazerolazos occured in early December,and a massive cazerolazo took place on December 19 and 20, 2001when Minister of Economics Domingo Cavallo and President Fernando de La Rua resigned.
 
Che: Everybody in Argentina is "Che". It's a little bit like saying "Hey you," or, in Southern California Speak, "Dude." The most famous "Che" in Argentina was Che Guevara, who left his homeland for Cuba. You can still find pictures of this Che all over Buenos Aires.
 
Chorro: See "ladron".

Corralito: Technically, a "corralito" means "little corral." It also means "playpen." This is the word used to describe the freeze on bank deposits which was instituted in early December, 2001. Under this act, everyone in Argentina, which was at the time, a largely cash based economy, was required to open a bank account. No checks could be cashed without an account, and people were allowed to withdraw only 250 pesos a week. Since that time, dollar deposits have been converted to pesos, and depositors have lost the original value of their money. The original restrictions of the corralito have been loosened somewhat.
 
Corte Suprema: Supreme Court. Currently the target of a weekly cazerolazo which has attracted up to 7,000 people. Many Argentines believe that supreme court members, who by law are excused from paying taxes, are corrupt and should be impeached.
 
Desaparecedos: "the disappeared". People who disappeared under the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983. Estimates of desaprecidos run as high as thirty thousand. Many people were tortured before they were killed.
 
Escrache: an act of non-violent political protest in which individual politicians, banks and/or businesses are targeted because of specific acts of injustice. These protests might include cazerolazos, signs, banners, chanting, yelling and spray-painting.
 
Jubilaciones: Retirement Benefits. There are two kinds of retirement plans in Argentina, that of the 'average person" who usually makes about 150 pesos a month, and the "priveleged person" or retired politician or military officer, who makes from $3,000 to $17,000 amonth. (See Pensions of Privelege)
 
Ladron: Robber, thief. This word has been spray-painted on the glass windows of several different banks in Buenos Aires as a pseudonym for "bank", many of which transferred large amounts of dollars out of Argentina to places like the Cayman Islands, Santiago, and New York, while private citizens are being told "there are no dollars left' in the banks and are unable to access their savings. two international banks which have been under investigation illegal transfer of funds are Citibank and BankBoston. "Ladron" is also sometimes used as a synonym for "politician." (See "politico".)
 
Piquetero: An man or woman, usually working class and or unemployed who protests by blocking off roads.
 
Peso: the Argentine currency. Worth one dollar until the January, 2001 devaluation. Currently worth about thirty-five cents.
 
Plaza de Mayo: A plaza at the center of the city, which is a favored spot for massive demonstrations. It also holds the government building, the Casa Rosada,or Pink House.
 
Politico: Politician. Politicos are not very popular individuals in Argentina at this time, and several of them have been publicly spit upon, yelled at and forcibly ejected from bars and restaurants. (See Ladron and Chorro). Though Argentina is technically a democracy, it has no right to plebiscite referendum ,or recall and many of its rules and regulations for voting favor the continuance of those currently in power. Members of Argentina's "political class" are generally thought of by the populace as a closed and corrupt network which is more concerned with its own battles and ambitions than with the problems of the people.
 
Porteño: An inhabitant of Buenos Aires.
 
Que Se Vayan Todos: Get rid of everybody. or Let them all go This slogan ,frequently chanted at demonstrations, has been interprted to mean both "get rid of everybody in the government." and "get rid of the corrupt." Its impetus comes from many people's sentiment that all politicians who currently hold office are corrupt and/or inefficient. The exact meaning of this slogan, and what to do once everybody is gone, is a subject of much debate. One neighborhood assembly has adapted this slogan to: "Que Se Vayan Todos, Que Se Queda La Democracia, Que Se Venga La Justicia," or
"Let them all go, Let Democracy Stay, Let Justice Come."
 
 
 
English:
 
International Monetary Fund: An organization of international bankers and other businesses who loan money to developing countries. The IMF has come under much criticism in Latin America and other countries for helping to create situations of unbearable debt which do little to help the borrowing countries,and force these countries to adopt neoliberal policies which have in the past included job loss, weakening of labor protections, cutbacks in state sponsored jobs and social services.
 
External Debt: The money that Argentina owes the IMF and private banking interests. Argentina's external debt began with the military dictatorship. It increased substantially during the 1990's when the state took on the debts of private industries. Argentina's current external debt is 132 million dollars.
 
Privatization: When the state sells its "public industries",like gas, telephone, transit, gas, etc. to private industry. Most Argentine public services, including gas, telephone, water, and public transit were privatized under President Menem in the 1990's.
 
Neoliberalism: An economic philosophy, promoted heavily by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagon, which emphasizes market-driven competition and gives substantial freedom to international corporations while curbing unions and the role of the State, as well as reducing social protections for citizens.

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