Thursday, May 21, 2009

Argentina's Three-Day Weekend

In the United States, this will be the three-day Memorial Day weekend, and in Argentina it will also be a three-day weekend culminating in Monday’s 25 de Mayo, the 199th anniversary of 1810's Revolución de Mayo that deposed the Spanish viceroy and, in 1816, led to Argentina’s independence. According to Mercopress, U.S. President Barack Obama has sent Argentine President Cristina Fernández a congratulatory letter commemorating the anniversary and praising Argentina's efforts "to work as a constructive and stabilizing force in the region and beyond”.

Fortunately for Argentines, the Unión Traviarios Automotor (UTA, the long-distance bus drivers’ union) has called off a planned strike that was to start at 6 p.m. Friday, so they’ll be able to get to their weekend destinations. Unfortunately, when they get there, they may not get much service - the Unión de Trabajadores Hoteleros y Gastronómicos de la República Argentina (UTHGRA, the hotel and restaurant workers union) is planning wildcat strikes throughout the weekend. The cities of Mar del Plata, Córdoba, Mendoza and Salta will be the destinations most affected.

Those who stay in Buenos Aires, meanwhile, will have a good entertainment option in the 18th annual Arte BA exhibition, which runs through Tuesday the 26th at Palermo’s La Rural. Latin America’s most important single art fair, it stresses Argentine talent but also includes artists and galleries from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Uruguay, the United States and Venezuela. Buenos Aires is one of the centers of contemporary art, thanks in part to figures such as Guillermo Kuitca, Jorge de la Vega, and Yoël Novoa (one of whose whimsical sculptures appears here).

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