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48
Buenos Aires
Amanda journeys through the shanty towns and the chic parts of the Argentinean capital.
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2008 17:09 GMT

Click here to watch part two

In this episode of 48, Amanda and the crew travel through the Argentinean capital, Buenos Aires, on a journey from the shanty towns to the most chic areas.

On the way they discover how this city is recovering with characteristic passion from the financial and economic crisis of 2001, which saw the country go through five presidents in a few weeks.

While European and American governments have recently spent billions so their citizens did not lose out in the global financial crisis, our local guide Macarena shows us how a similar crisis had a very different end in Argentina. Macarena was among the thousands who gathered in the central square in December 2001, to protest against the government's decision to lock them out of their bank accounts. It was a desperate measure to prevent total economic collapse as the peso plummeted to a third of its value, life savings were greatly depreciated and hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs.

But many refused to accept this, and a new business model was born – the worker-owned cooperative. Macarena introduces us to the staff at Hotel Bauen who broke into the building a few months after management shut its doors, and pooled their energy and cash for 18-months before eventually welcoming guests back into its splendid 1970's-style rooms.

Amanda and 48's guide Macarena head into Buenos Aires town with the cartoneros

The biggest victims of the 2001 crash were people like the 13-strong Almeira family, who went from working class to underclass.

We visit the shanty town on the outskirts of the city to meet Edith and her daughter Maira, who since the crash have been 'cartoneros', making a living sifting rubbish for recyclable material.

We join them for their evening collection round, to fill a sack which they will sell for $4.

Maira takes Amanda to a nightclub where Cumbia Villera band La Base are on stage
When the shift is over, cartonera Maira takes us to a night club playing 'Cumbia Villera', a controversial form of Colombian folk music born from the poverty of the slums, and scorned by the middle-classes. But it is not quite the hardcore music we were expecting ...

Argentines are famous for their looks and style, and the next morning we head to Palermo, chic hangout of the rich and famous.

At Café Vain, we meet writer Gonzalo Otalora who thinks attractive people should pay more tax, and takes us on a hunt for "beautiful people" to make his case.  Traumatised by a morning surrounded by gorgeousness, Gonzalo then accompanies us to meet art therapist Luis Formaiano, who trained during the 1970s, when psychotherapists were among those 'disappeared' by the paranoid military junta. Luis tells us why he thinks Buenos Aires now boasts more psychotherapists per capita than anywhere in the world

Amanda and guide Macarena with Banfield fan Pasty who says his blood is green and white

But there is one obsession no psychotherapy can cure - the Argentines' mania for football. While Argentine football has recently been marred by organised violence, Macarena takes us to a premiership club where we meet third generation Banfield fan Pasty - who swears his blood is not red, but made of team colours green and white. As his fellow fans sing and dance away, he explains how Banfield fans are not violent, but filled with "the loveness".

This episode of 48 will be broadcast at the following times GMT (subject to change):
Saturday, October 25: 0830, 2230
Sunday, October 26: 0630, 1930
Monday, October 27: 0300
Wednesday, October 28: 0130, 1230
Thursday, October 29: 0330, 1400, 2330


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Source:
Al Jazeera
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