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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.

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

A banner reading "Papa de los villeros" ("The Pope of the slumdwellers" in Spanish) adorns the neighborhood square during a public gathering.

En fond: "papa de los villeros" ("le pape des (habitants de) bidonvilles", en espagnol)

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Argentina Loses World Cup
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
14 Jul 2014

As the final seconds of the World Cup final dissapear, Argentinians throughout Buenos Aires face the realization that this is end: they will lose the title to Germany. Feelings of desolation turned into rage as clashes broke out throughout the city, including one outside a German bar where police protection was required to keep the German fans safe.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #11
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

A police car blocks furious Argentina fans trying to attack groups of German fans. The police presence is required for several hours in areas where the German fans are gathered.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #12
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Police begin to pour in behind angry fans who refuse to stop staking out places where German fans are gathered. They wear full protective gear to keep themselves protected from any debris that may be thrown their way by furious spectators.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #6
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

One Argentine fan refused to move despite prodding from police. He is standing in front of a bar full of Germans who are gleefully celebrating their victory. With the Argentine flag wrapped around him, he looks on in disgust at their merriment.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #7
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 14, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

German fans scream across the street at angry Argentine fans. They fill La Muzza Inspiradora, a German-owned restaurant and bar in Buenos Aires. Police are at least able to prevent the home fans from throwing objects at the German victors.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #8
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Moments before being pulled down and hauled away by police, one crazed fan climbs the fence in front of the Argentine Congress to wave a flag in front of the TV screen that is broadcasting news he does not want to hear. The last stand for a crowd that refuses to give up hope.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #10
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014

Argentina fans watch the final moments of the game and give out one more agonizing cry of defeat. They begin clearing the space immediately after, as glass bottles are thrown at the screen by angered fans.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #2
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

A young woman stares up at the screen in total shock at the impending loss.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #5
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fans gather in the center of the Avenida on July 9. Hours later, this area will be the scene for clashes between fans, police, German fans and even between Argentinians themselves.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #3
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

A young man stops to look in the window of a bar that is playing the game. There are no empty seats in the bars, cafés or restaurants around the center. Everyone is crowded inside to watch the game. Those who can't, litter the streets outside of any building with a television hanging within visible sight.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #4
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
13 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

A bar of disappointed fans stare on in disbelief after Germany scores the goal that will end up winning them the World Cup.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #1
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
12 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

As Argentine fans realized another goal was not going to come to push the game to penalties, their passion for the game began to shine through. Thousands stood in front of Argentine Congress watching the game with rapt attention and heavy disappointment.

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Argentina Loses World Cup #9
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
12 Jul 2014

July 13, 2014
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Young fans standing on the central obelisk to look over the crowds that have gathered.

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Another Sky: An Uruguayan journey 30
Plaza Independencia, Montevideo, Uruguay
By Francesco Pistilli
20 Jan 2014

Jose Gervasio Artigas is considered by many the father of Uruguay. Soldiers still guard his tomb in Montevideo's Plaza Independencia, a tribute to the man who fought to free the country. Artigas' life and victories are portrayed on the walls of the mausoleum alongside images portraying events in Uruguayan history. Today national identity is a historical blend resulting from the struggle to maintain freedom from Spain and later from Argentina and Brazil; gaucho culture; African slave roots; political caudillismo; and European cultural and intellectual models.

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Argentina Asado Encounter 13
Rosario
By Patricio Murphy
19 Jun 2013

An asador takes care of the fire, while a curious crowd gathers around the field.

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Argentina Asado Encounter 14
Rosario
By Patricio Murphy
19 Jun 2013

This way of cooking takes between five to 8 hours, the most the best, it's a patient man's affair.

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Argentina Asado Encounter 15
Rosario
By Patricio Murphy
19 Jun 2013

The omnipresent smoke gives a particular taste to the meat, some cooks place the meat so it's constantly bathed with smoke, some prefer to have as little smoke as possible.

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Argentina Asado Encounter 16
Rosario
By Patricio Murphy
19 Jun 2013

Adolfo Schneidewinde, one of the organizers of the gathering, shows the piece he cooked previous to presenting it to the jury that will pick the best.

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Argentina Asado Encounter 17
Rosario
By Patricio Murphy
19 Jun 2013

An asador cuts a slice to present the dish to the jury.