Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bulletins From BA #16

Bulletins From BA #16
06 agosto 2013

¡Hola! there… Rodger French here.

“BA Interiors 1”

It’s August. Time to do some catching up…

Last night, we received our first robocall from a candidate soliciting support in Argentina’s upcoming legislative elections. (Since the message was in español, it was considerably less irritating than one might expect.) A contentious campaign season is upon us, with August primaries and a general election to be held on 27 October. Argentina is in something of a mess, but no American citizen deserves the luxury of condescension when it comes to matters of dysfunctional governance.

In other news this month, I have a performance scheduled for 13 agosto at ICANA (Instituto Cultural Argentina Norteamericano). This will be the final programme funded by a grant from the Public Affairs section of U.S. Embassy Argentina. That’s eight juggling workshops and four solo concerts in four different cities, which, for you concerned taxpayers, is excellent cultural diplomacy and darned good value for the money.

[Here’s a link, in case you’re sufficiently interested.]

August is an eventful month for DOS people living in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s summer vacation time in America and many diplomats (especially those with niños) take their annual leave now, which inevitably results in staffing complications. It is also transfer season, with a whole boatload of comings and goings. And since winter break has just ended for Argentines, the joint is jumping and there’s work to be done.

As a result of this standard temporal bifurcation, I am picking up a lot of work at the Embassy, filling in as needed. And, por supuesto (of course), Anne is still gallivanting all over South America doing her job. We seem to require a “calendar meeting” every four hours but, that’s what we signed up for.

And while we’re on that topic, I want to respond to those of you who have expressed kindly concern about our well-being in the wake of the temporary closings of U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and elsewhere. It is my experience that the State Department responds to credible security threats with an abundance of caution; not an imprudent strategy, particularly given that the period of August through 9/11 is a time of exceptional volatility. Also, I counsel skepticism regarding the meme that precautionary embassy closings somehow constitute ”surrender to terrorism.” This is no more than cynically opportunistic bull. Also, shit.

That said, A.J. and I are quite muy bien. Moreover, our first actual guests are actually scheduled to visit in September and we’re looking forward to showing them the sights of Buenos Aires. Más pronto y ¡Feliz agosto!