just say “no” to sweatshop labor

Buenos Aires is attempting to put a stop to sweatshops in the city by going on the offensive. Today Clarin reported that the city government has named names, citing some of the biggest brands here of being guilty of producing their garments in sweatshops. Included among these are Puma, Fila, Arena, Bensimon, Topper and Le Coq Sportif.

Many of these sweatshops are based out of Parque Avellaneda, a neighbourhood to the west of the city center. According to IPS News, “In this district alone, there are approximately 40 small sweatshops,” with wages totalling about $20 pesos a month. Most people (perhaps best described as slaves) working in sweatshops are immigrants from Bolivia, although there are also Peruvians, Paraguayans, and Argentines. According to one former sweatshop worker, “They take advantage of us because they know that we Bolivians are submissive and hard-working.”

While the city has denounced these brands for their use of sweatshop labor, it doesn’t look like the government has actually done anything about it. Previous court cases against sweatshops have ended in the owners’ favor, and there still isn’t a federal law that prohibits the trafficking of humans.

So for now, the only way to really respond to these allegations would be to boycott the guilty labels. I haven’t read about anyone protesting outside of Bensimmon, and I don’t see it happening. Am I just being cynical?–REBECCA

July 30, 2007 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

unicenter blues

Los Alamos, July 28 2007 028

The hour-long trek to Villa Adelina didn’t stop soy so lindo (or Buenos Aires hipsters) from making it to the Los Alamos/Boreales show on Saturday night. And thank heavens, because we would have missed seeing Club GBA, a community center-like music club nestled among quiet streets and one-family houses. And missed washing veggie burgers down with Fernet. And missed hearing Boreales celebrate the release of their new album, and Los Alamos playing songs off of their upcoming album (they just finished recording last week).

Boreales, July 28 2007 014 Los Alamos, July 28 2007 021

The biggest surprise of the night? The new Los Alamos songs. It had been over a year since I last saw them play live, and the older songs sounded less lush (due in part to losing a guitarist to the bass). But sophomore slump this ain’t; the new songs managed to achieve that difficult balance between maintaining the band’s original sound while simultaneously moving into new territory. Bluesy, yes, but it worked. Consider this sophomore album the most anticipated release of the year.

Boreales, July 28 2007 012

Los Alamos, July 28 2007 022

Boreales, July 28 2007 002

Los Alamos & Co. on bus back to Buenos Aires

For more photos, check out soy so lindo’s flickr page.–REBECCA

July 30, 2007 at 5:33 pm 1 comment

street art sunday

San Telmo June 2007

San Telmo, June 2007

July 29, 2007 at 1:24 pm Leave a comment

el campo te llama

 

The distinct smell of animal s**t in Palermo means only one thing– it’s Buenos Aires’ annual Exposicion Rural!

Entering its 121st year, the Exposicion Rural is the agriculture show not just of Latin America but, arguably, of the world. Besides livestock, there are fruits, vegetables, and even the cultivators of said products on display. Last year the New York Times showered the exhibition with praise, saying,

There are livestock fairs all over the world from Fort Worth to Paris, but nothing quite compares to the pageantry, historical magnitude and pure fun of La Rural, which attracts more than a million spectators — Argentines and foreigners — many of whom crowd the viewing stands to watch the judging of the champions.

 

The show, opening today and continuing through August 7, demands a $10 peso entrance fee. But imagine all of the bovines, birds, and broccoli you could see! Judging won’t begin until later in the week, so if you want to see some ribbons handed out, you best be checking the schedule. Otherwise, plan to go on any day but Saturday or Sunday, since it will be a total zoo (haha) on the weekend and these types of shows bring out pushiest people.

And in case you’re still on the fence about going to the Exposicion Rural, this quote from the New York Times article should convince you:

Señor Sol’s father, Satán, a past grand champion, commands a $35,000 price tag, and will earn more money than that from frequent sales of his sperm. When Satán was declared the best-in-show in 2004, his gaucho attendant, Fernando Pondovila, burst into tears. “After all those months spent with the animal and to have him recognized as the greatest of his breed — well, I was so happy that I just couldn’t contain my emotions,” Mr. Pondovila said.

Let’s hope for a repeat performance this year.–REBECCA

July 26, 2007 at 12:43 pm Leave a comment

transvestite travesty

Prostitutes and transvestites are nothing new in Palermo– in fact, prior to the recent gentrification of Palermo, it was one of Buenos Aires’ main red light districts— but the recent lifting of a prostitution ban in the area may give them more visibility.

Pagina 12 reports that the suspension of Resolución 38 (“declaraba ‘el Rosedal de Palermo y su entorno’ como ‘espacio no autorizado para la oferta o demanda de servicios sexuales”) by a new resolution, Resolución 43, was done in part to increase awareness and reduce transmission rates of HIV/AIDS.

Basically, making prostitution illegal doesn’t stop it from happening. Instead, prostitution will still go on, but the government can’t officially talk about it or do any sort of outreach, like HIV/AIDS prevention, because it’s supposed to be illegal! So by lifting the ban on prostitution (although not outright repealing it), the government is attempting to address the problem rather than sweep it under the rug.

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Despite yesterday’s protest by a transvestite organization pushing for the resolution’s complete repeal, it looks as though the government has actually been including sex workers in its discussions. As was reported,

‘Decidimos entonces convocar a una amplia mesa de diálogo.’ Se decidió ya incluir a la Asociación de Travestis, Transexuales y Transgénero de la Argentina (ATTA); la Federación Argentina de Personas Gays, Lésbicas, Travestis, Bisexuales e Intersexuales (Fagltbi); la Asociación de Mujeres Meretrices Argentinas (Ammar); la Asociación de Amigos del Lago de Palermo, otras entidades vecinales y vecinos interesados; el Inadi; por parte del gobierno porteño participarán los ministros de Medio Ambiente, de Gobierno y de Derechos Humanos, así como la Procuraduría General.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the government will actually listen to what any of these groups have to say, but at least there was some effort to talk to sex workers before making a decision.

Prostitution doesn’t exist just because it’s legal or allowed; instead, it exists because we live in a society where sexuality (and sexual expression/desire) is repressed, where objectifying and treating people (specifically women) a certain way is promoted, and where increasing rates of poverty (especially among women) forces people to take certain jobs. So making it legal doesn’t necessarily deal with the root of the problem, but it at least addresses safety and health concerns for sex workers.–REBECCA

July 24, 2007 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

toing, toing, gone

MySpace may have the American music scene in a choke-hold, but My Toing is attempting to give it a run for its money here in Argentina.

Through My Toing, bands can create their own pages with songs, videos, photos, blurbs, and tour info. Language options currently include Spanish and Portuguese.

Despite copying half of MySpace’s name, My Toing doesn’t seem poised to mimic the site’s success. There are currently only a handful of bands registered, and of those, only three seemed worth checking out. And none of those three bands impressed me with their music. In fact, I did a quick search, plugging in the names of some indie bands we’ve recently covered here at soy so lindo, and not a single one of them showed up. Not to be a total snot, but would you really want to buy an album from one of these bands?

 

Which could of course be because the site was only recently launched. MySpace was around for years before it actually became the cultural phenomenon that it is today. At this point, it’s a matter of My Toing getting enough buzz to draw in more (interesting) bands. What will it take? A smart ad campaign? An aggressive marketing? Being bought out by a conservative Australian?–REBECCA

July 23, 2007 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

street art sunday

Rivadavia y Esmeralda, July 2007

July 22, 2007 at 1:48 pm Leave a comment

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