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Minimal Histories | Patagonia
El Calafate
By Gabriele Orlini
07 Sep 2017

Patagonia is the right place to walk, lose oneself in our own certainties and feel the right to doubt. Minimal Histories is the stage of a journey, a meeting with the Men who breathe the land at the end of the earth. They're stories told with a Mate in our hands, to share the sacred drink of the Argentine hospitality during the long evenings of the Patagonian pampas. Simple men, sometimes anachronistic, but absolutely of today. As a narrative, Minimal Histories tells the story of everyone and each of these stories is the story of all of us. One of our fears that are raised within us and covered with a dark night sky of endless stars. One of our dreams and thoughts about the future that every sunrise lights to hole up behind a new moon.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
27 Nov 2016

Magui Méndez, a local from Villa 31 recruited for the opera, sits off to the side of the stage on a prop suitcase, crossing her legs and waiting for her cue to enter the scene.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
27 Nov 2016

A police officer obliges young boys living in the villa to leave the stage after a back-and-forth battle with the stage hands that lasted the entire show. "This is our home," yells one young man as he's motioned away.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
27 Nov 2016

Children who just can't stay still for the opera snag a front row street by climbing right up on to the stage to watch the most intense moments of the opera's action.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

Julian Cabrera, one of the professional actors involved in the opera, poses for press while one of his cast mates, a young man recruited from Villa 31, looks back at photographers.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

The orchestra warms up before their conductor takes the podium. Behind them, the young boys from the villa use the spare set pieces as a jungle gym.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

Police roam the grounds of the run-down futból field where the opera is performed, making sure that no crime manages to put a damper on the performance.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

Star soprano Julieta Sch poses for local press with a megaphone tilted toward the sun as it sets over the villa.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

A full orchestra was present for Ópera Periférica's debut in Villa 31, the largest slum in Buenos Aires. Recent estimates put the total population at at least 40,000.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

A member of the orchestra expertly plays his violin as young men from the villa look in on a rehearsal before opening night.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

A crowd from Buenos Aires slum Villa 31 look on as the cast of La Serva Pedrona makes its way around the stage. They smile in amusement as most of them are introduced to the world of opera for the first time.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

Candelaria Sesin looks back coyly at the camera as the cast drives around the set in circles, providing a photo op for local press and people in the neighborhood armed with camera phones.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

The cast struggles over suitcases as the director Foladori presses them for more.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

A group of onlookers represent the variety of generations living in Villa 31. From a young girl transfixed by spectacle with her father, to a young woman inside the mesh fence, who also watches with the same quiet interest.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

A group of young men coming home from work happened upon the opera in their neighborhood. Drawn in by the strange proposal, they hoped that it would be well received by others in the barrio.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

Final adjustments are made as the sun sets on the final evening of rehearsal.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

Director Pablo Foladori tries to hide his stress as he gives last-minute pointers to his cast, just a few nights before the opera will premiere in Villa 31.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

Performed in its original Italian, the opera is translated on a large screen for the audience. To the bottom left, a group of children watch intently as the actors struggle over luggage.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

Police lights flash in front of a local eatery selling sandwiches filled with chorizo as the cast takes a victory lap around the set in the back of a trailer pulled by a motorcycle, giving off clouds of noxious fumes as it makes its rounds.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

A man sits dejected behind a shopping cart full of old clothes, just outside the futból field where the opera is being held. His mind seems to be elsewhere.

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Opera's Opulence Hits Buenos Aires' L...
Villa 31
By Zachary F. Volkert
24 Nov 2016

A group of children watch the opera as if it were a Saturday morning cartoon. Parents from all over South America commented on the positive influence that the free cultural event had on their kids.

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Argentines Protest "Get Out, Obama" T...
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Just as Barack Obama was catching a plane to head back to the White House from his visit to Argentina, marchers moving toward Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo yelled out his name.

"Obama, fascista! Vos sos un terrorista!" "Obama, fascist! You are a terrorist!"

The night before, a similar march took place in the center of hip barrio Palermo, in which rows of American flags were lit aflame on live television. The manifestation's message was simple: "Fuera, Obama!" "Get out, Obama!"

This reaction, while extreme, is not unrepresentative of how many Argentines felt about the president's visit -- the first from a U.S. head of state since George W. Bush in 2005. Since then, the already rocky relationship between Argentina and the United States has only gotten worse. The government of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, known locally as kirchernismo, were vocal about their disdain for the so-called imperialistic actions of the United States, such as condoning human rights violations during Argentina's military dictatorship.

Furthermore, a large portion of Argentina's sovereign debt is being worked out in U.S. courts. Judges there have repeatedly ruled that its remaining lenders -- known as "vulture funds" -- do not have to accept the country's offers for restructing of their loans. Further exacerbating the situation, Argentina's Congress is currently voting on the possibility of taking out a $15 billion loan in order to pay off all of the country's debts -- the largest of any country since 1996, according to Financial Times.

These two elements combined make Argentina one of the countries in the world least likely to roll out the presidential carpet for Pres. Obama. In a 2015 Pew Research Center poll, 43 percent of Argentines responded that they had an unfavorable view of the U.S. -- the ninth highest of any country surveyed. China, Russia, and Turkey were among the only nations that were more distrustful of the American government.

Both in the streets and across social media, the anger over Obama's visit was palpable. While many Argentines praised the diplomatic act as a move toward eased relations between their countries, others were outraged that the American president would be visiting before he even arrived. The posting of American flags in Plaza de Mayo, for example, was poorly received on social media. 

These feelings were particularly flared by the fact that Obama would be arriving just before the 40th anniversary of Argentina's 1976 coup d'état. Declassified C.I.A. documents have illustrated American complicity in the bloody period that followed, where 30,000 are estimated to have been executed by the military government.  Because of that stain, his visit was seen as dispespectful by some families of victims of the Dirty War.

Obama confronted this controvesy head-on. Before heading to Patagonian mountain town Bariloche for the day, his final speech included a promise to look more critically at the past, and also announce that the U.S. government would be declassifying more coup-related documents.


"There has been controversy about the policies of the United States early in those dark days. The US, when it reflects on what happened here, has to examine on its own policies and its own past. Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don't live up to the ideals that we stand for, when we've been slow to speak out for human rights. And that was the case here."

Like present day politics in Argentina, it's clear that the reaction to Obama's visit was sharply divided. While some manifested to protest his presence, others watched it play out peacefully through news media -- catching moments of cultural exchange like the Obamas dancing tango at a state dinner on Wednesday evening.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 01
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Buenos Aires' obelisk situated in its central avenue is spanned with the words "justice, memory and forty years" to remember 1976 coup d'état.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 02
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

A paper mache vulture, representing holdout bondholders battling it out with Argentina in U.S. courts, floats through a march for the 40th anniversary of the country's military coup d'état.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 03
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Argentina's Casa Rosada glows in the distance, as signs posted before it read, "Neither condors nor vultures, no to dictatorships!" It refers to Operation Condor, the U.S. secret initiative in Latin America, and the country's current struggle with "vulture funds," or holdout creditors.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 04
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

"Obama, genocide. Out of Argentina!" read one sign carried by a group of members of the Socialist Party walked in the parade for the 40th anniversary of the military coup d'état.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 07
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Many held signs calling for President Obama to leave the country, both at a special march dedicated to protesting Obama's presence and the next day at a march to remember victim's of the country's military coup.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 08
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Colectivo FindeMundo performs a massive dance number while moving through the parade commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coup.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 06
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
22 Mar 2016

Dancers perform an interpretative number representing the violence after Argentina's military coup forty years ago.

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Slum Priests in Argentina, between So...
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Fabien Palem
18 Jun 2015

Imagine a vicar, bored and tired of giving sermons to old devout women of his parish. His mind is somewhere else. Imagine this same priest all day long, walking around, riding his bike on the dirty and destroyed roads of the Buenos Aires’ slums; trying to avoid all the holes, puddles of water… surrounded sometimes by exchanges of gunfire. In Argentina, slum priests (“curas villeros”) became famous when the Vatican elected Jorge Bergoglio, former archbishop of Buenos Aires, as Pope Francis, in February 2013. If Francis is now considered as a “popular” Pope (or Pope “of the poor”), it is thanks to one of the “curas villeros”, Father “Pepe”, who had received Bergoglio in “his” slum to show him the plight of the people in his overwhelmingly impoverished parish.

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio himself had always been a fervent partisan of (popular) Liberation theology and tolerated and engaged with the popular devotional practices of these unprivileged populations, mostly composed of immigrants from nearby Bolivia or Paraguay. Popular religiosity is the only leitmotiv of these activist priests. They are often in conflict with the Vatican, who has labeled them as “heretics,” because of their having baptized children of single mothers and for having tolerated popular devotional practices towards unrecognized saints. They don’t hesitate to stray from Catholics dogma, which they sometimes find ignores the issues facing the people in their parishes. At the same time, “slum priests” also stay away from local politics.

“Here (in the “villas”), there are no right or left-wing positions. All the matter is to get water, access to electricity, and to improve daily life,” insists Father Gustavo Carrara.

All around the Argentinean capital and its huge suburbs, these “slum priests” try to help the city’s most impoverished people, whose numbers have increased between 2010 to 2014 with the population of these “villas” passing from 163,000 to 275,000 in Buenos Aires alone, according to the local secretary for housing. Far away from the sumptuous Cathedral of the “Plaza de Mayo” in Buenos Aires, slum priests are practicing in precarious parishes, built by themselves with the unconditional help of neighbours. Among the religiously devout social activists offering their help to these vicars of the poor are psychologists, social workers and spokespeople for the marginalized. Suspicious towards corrupt policemen and the shady politicians, they fight alongside these priests to save the youth from the dangers of the street, from drugs, and to help struggling mothers.

 

Les pretres des pauvres: entre la révolution et l'héresie​

Les prêtres tiers-mondistes en Argentine, entre révolution sociale et hérésie ? Imaginez un curé fatigué de donner des sermons aux vieilles dévotes de sa paroisse. Celles-ci l’ennuient, à la longue, car il a mieux à faire. Imaginez ce curé passant ses journées à déambuler en vélo dans les rues en terres des bidonvilles, en évitant les trous, les flaques d’eau… et les fusillades ! En Argentine, les curés tiers-mondistes (“curas villeros”) sont devenus célèbres lors de l’élection de l’ancien archevêque de Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, devenu le Pape François en février 2013. Si François est aujourd’hui présenté comme le Pape “du peuple” (ou “des pauvres”), c’est essentiellement grâce à l’un de ces “curas villeros”, le Père “Pepe”, qui le recevait dans “son” bidonville, afin de l’alerter des problèmes du peuple.

Aux quatre coins de la capitale argentine, ainsi que dans son immense périphérie, ils viennent en aide aux plus démunis, dont le nombre ne cesse d’augmenter (de 2010 à 2014, la population des “villas” est passée de 163.000 à 275.000 personnes dans la seule ville de Buenos Aires, selon le Secrétariat de l’habitat, et dont les problématiques sont trop souvent oubliées des pouvoirs publics. Bien loin de la Cathédrale fastueuse de la place de Mai de Buenos Aires, les curés villeros exercent dans des paroisses précaires, qu’ils ont souvent dû construire eux-mêmes, avec l’aide inconditionnelle des riverains. Ces sacerdotes hors du commun, vêtus aussi humblement que leurs fidèles, sont un mélange d’assistants sociaux, de psychologues et de porte-paroles des pauvres. Méfiants vis-à-vis des policiers corrompus, des représentants politiques véreux, ils repêchent les jeunes de la rue et de la drogue, assistent les mères désemparées, qui ne savent plus quoi faire de la ribambelle d’enfants arrivés trop tôt…

Ces hommes de terrain ont comme seul mot d’ordre la religiosité populaire. Ils se sont parfois attirés les foudres du Vatican, qui les considère comme des “hérétiques”, pour avoir notamment baptisé des enfants de mères célibataires et accepté la dévotion des villeros pour des saints et des vierges non-reconnus par l’Église. Ils n’hésitent pas à prendre certaines libertés par rapport au dogme catholique et aux concepts de l’Eglise, parfois complètement déconnectée de la réalité sociale, même s’ils se défendent d’appartenir à quelconque mouvement de gauche ou du péronisme.

« Ici (dans les villas), il n’y a pas de droite ni de gauche : tout ce qui importe, c’est d’avoir de l’eau, de l’électricité et de vivre mieux », insiste ainsi le Père Gustavo Carrara.

Jorge Bergoglio lui-même a toujours été un fervent défenseur de la Théologie du Peuple, refusant de condamner leur vision de la foi et s’appuyant sur les croyances populaires de cette population déshéritée, qui compte un grand nombre d’immigrants (Boliviens et Paraguayens).

 

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST / ARTICLE COMPLET DISPONIBLE SUR DEMANDE

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A Biodiversity Odyssey (EN)
Worldwide
By Conteur d'images
06 Mar 2015

To celebrate the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020, an environmentalist and a photojournalist visited 10 countries in 300 days in order to discover the most innovative solutions implemented by the peoples of the world to preserve the biodiversity of our planet. A fabulous educational journey through the Amazon, the Arabian desert, the Andes, the Pacific Ocean and more!

TEXTLESS, NATURAL SOUND VERSION / CONFORMED DIALOGUES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST.

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Argentines Accuse President Kirchner ...
Bartolomé Mitre 801-899, Buenos Aires, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires,Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
18 Jan 2015

“Cristina! Asesina! Argentina!" went the cries outside of Buenos Aires’ Casa Rosada Monday evening. The Plaza de Mayo setting – home to countless famed moments in Argentine history – was just one of several where Buenos Aires citizens gathered in the thousands to declare their accusation that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was responsible for the death of Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who only days ago accused the president of covering up Iranian ties to a 1994 terrorist bombing. Similar protests happened all over the country, meaning tens of thousands of Argentines at the very least are convinced that their head of state is somehow responsible for the murder.

FULL ARTICLE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

L’Ayahuasca, du chamanisme aux nouvel...
buenos aires
By foschiceleste
21 Dec 2014

TEXTE COMPLET DISPONIBLE SUR DEMANDE. ENGLISH VERSION ON REQUEST Celeste Gómez Foschi Cette nuit-là, à Buenos Aires dans un appartement quelconque, une quinzaine de personnes âgées entre 23 et 60 ans participent à la cérémonie chamanique de prise d’Ayahuasca (un breuvage amazonien) guidée par Fabian Piorkowsky. Ce chimiste et physicien allemand a été initié au chamanisme au Pérou après ses études. L'homme de de 48 ans tient dans sa main une coupe avec la potion ancestrale qu’il distribuera à chacun. Les conviés ont été préparés pour la cérémonie pendant une semaine et sont prêts à commencer le voyage intérieur afin de guérir les traumatismes de l’âme. La séance ne s'annonce pas forcément agréable; les vomissements et les visions font partie des effets secondaires. Cette tradition assez répandue au Pérou, en Equateur et au Mexique a aujourd'hui pénétré la jungle de béton. Depuis 5 ans, Fabian parcourt le monde accompagné de sa femme Nicole, une psychologue d’origine sud-africaine et organise des cérémonies chamaniques pour les gens en quête de spiritualité. Ce traitement alternatif gagne en popularité depuis quelques années. De nombreuses célébrités comme Sting, Lindsay Lohan ou encore Devandra Banhart ont d'ailleurs témoigné de leurs expériences et des effets bénéfiques de l'Ayahuasca. Malgré sa formation chamanique, l'approche de Fabian est bien différente de celles des chamans traditionnels. Ce chaman des temps modernes mélange différentes thérapies et méthodes telles que la méditation ou le yoga ainsi qu'une variété de plantes sacrées comme le San Pedro, une plante hallucinogène et l’Iboga, une plante initiatique originaire du Gabon. “Je ne me considère pas comme un chaman, je me vois plutôt comme un yogi.Je crois que les chamans traditionnels ne sont pas capables de traiter les problèmes des gens qui habitent en ville comme la dépression, l’insécurité financière et d’autres maladies contemporaines, dans la jungle il y a d’autres problèmes”, confesse Fabian. “C’est comment faire cinq ans de thérapie en une seule nuit”, explique Iván Chocrón qui a déjà participé à sept cérémonies à Los Angeles et à Buenos Aires. Ce type de cérémonie n'est toutefois pas sans dangers. "On sait qu’il y a de pseudos chamans qui utilisent les cérémonies pour profiter des filles”, déplore Nicole. L’anthropologue Diego Rodolfo Viegas et le psychiatre Néstor Berlanda de la Fondation Mesa Verde d’Argentine, qui se consacrent à la recherche sur le chamanisme et la médecine traditionnelle des communautés ancestrales, sont arrivés à la conclusion que dans 92% des cas, l’Ayahuasca agit comme amplificateur émotionnel et permet de résoudre de manière accélérée des conflits au niveau thérapeutiques. “Il y a des gens qui ont besoin d'en prendre une seule fois et il y en a d’autres qui en ont besoin plus régulièrement, ça dépend des traumatisme de chacun", explique Fabian.

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Le club de mon quartier
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Fabien Palem
01 Dec 2014

A virgin watches over the community during the years-end festival. Behind, a sign reads "CLUB ATLETICO MADRE DEL PUEBLO, EL CLUB DE MI BARRIO," the association that organizes sports and cultural activity in the neighbourhood.

Pendant la fête de fin d'année à la villa, une vierge veille sur le voisinage.
En fond: "CLUB ATLETICO MADRE DEL PUEBLO, EL CLUB DE MI BARRIO" ("le club de mon quatier"), l'association géré par les habitants et les curés, qui organisent de multiples activités culturelles et sportives

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Fête populaire dans la villa
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Fabien Palem
01 Dec 2014

In the "First of November 2014" slum, also called "Bajo Flores," a festival is organized by the parish and the community.

Dans la villa 1-11-14, dite du « Bajo Flores », une fête organisée conjointement par la paroisse et les habitants.

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Padre Gustavo
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Fabien Palem
01 Dec 2014

Father Gustavo is a key personality in the city, promoting social cohesion and the community's visibility.

Le Père Gustavo est un personnage-clé de la villa, clé de voûte du vivre ensemble et de la visibilité du quartier.

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Papa Francisco
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Fabien Palem
01 Dec 2014

Pope Francis waves from a mural adorning the wall of the San Lorenzo football club's stadium.

Le Pape François (Papa Francisco) vous salue, depuis les murs du stade du club de football San Lorenzo, "son" club.

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Villa
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Fabien Palem
01 Dec 2014

The entrance to the "First of November 2014" slum, seen from the San Lorenzo stadium.

L'une des entrées de la villa 1-11-14, vue depuis le stade de San Lorenzo.