It’s a hot sticky night in Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo. Even though it’s 3 in the morning, clothes cling to the body and even the moon seems to try to hide behind the palm trees in a vain struggle to avoid the heat. Autumn in Argentina is that weird time of year in April when Summer doesn’t know to move out so Winter can move in. Summer keeps house and waits till the last moment.
In the Plaza, this morning are about a dozen veterans of the broken Malvinas War. They were inexperienced men when an inebriated General made a foolhardy and absurd determination to send unsuspecting, green and ill-equipped farm youths onto the windswept Malvinas Islands to pursue a fight, lost before it could begin. A conflict that that should not have been fought.
Holding out encouragements of distinction and recognition as well as preparation and decent equipment and perks when they go home, the ex-soldiers are still waiting.
First established in 2008, the vets still maintain a place in Plaza de Mayo waiting for a fresh government: Mauricio Macri to man up, grow a pair and acknowledge the promises made over 30 years ago.
The Argentine government has had many occasions to do right by these men. Most recently, the opportunity fell into (former) President Cristina Kirchnerner’s lap. But rather than pay a few pesos to put the benefits package in place, she chose to flee with millions of Argentine money. Greedy to the end, Kirchner could have imperceptibly improved her memory. Instead, she’ll stand permanently as a chilled symbol to theft, corruption, and general ineptness.
Now, it’s Mauricio Macri’s turn. If he recognizes the legitimacy of the veterans grievances, he may go into the archives as the greatest President in the country’s turbulent history.
Macri, the first non-Peronist chosen President in almost 100 years, is the scion of a millionaire who never considered his child would rise to the Pink House.
Macri has already tightened the ship. He has laid off thousands of patronage workers put in place by Kirchner, jailed Milagro Sala for exploitation and recently greeted American President Barack Obama.
Let’s see if Macri will proceed to do the rational thing and recognize, honor and cherish the lost boyhood of these now, old men as they proceed to wait out the hot sticky midnights in historic Plaza de Mayo.
To see more images of the encampment and Plaza de Mayo, click here.