I am writing to you from my Airbnb in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I will be until March 24. Clearly like many of you I am paying close attention to the events in Ukraine.
To be fair, I don’t know what to make of it. Of course, I believe that Putin is a tyrant, but what I’ve also noticed is how again, this is another world event that divides the right and left in North America.
I’m very happy to be a Canadian and to live in in Canada. Whenever I travel outside of my comforts I fully understand how lucky I am. Canada is an organized country with rich natural resources and the ability to enjoy the abundance of activities prevalent in both urban and rural settings.
When I’m in Argentina, though it is beautiful, I am aware of what they lack and that’s not to say that Canada doesn’t lack in places, because it does. But this is a country where over 40.8% of the population live below the poverty line, all of whom whom live in slums on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Inflation in Argentina is well above 50% annually.
Despite how beautiful it is, life in Argentina is hard and I don’t know many Argentines who do not want to escape the economic instability that exists here. Argentina is a welfare state that entraps the poor into monthly subsidies rather than creating jobs that would help ordinary citizens escape their predicament.
Argentina’s position is further burdened by the influx of Venezuelan refugees, who have fled the political and economic strife of their homeland only to find their opportunities limited here. Many turn to criminal behavior, I know, as I was held up at gun point one evening while innocently ordering ice cream from the shop below my Airbnb. They had no use for my iPhone because of its tight security settings so fled.
And you can see the stress on the faces of an Argentine, sometimes even the desperation. Petty theft is as common as a cloud in the sky, there is no escaping it, everyone at one point or another, will be a victim.
When I compare my life in safe, secure, comfortable Canada, I do count my blessings, as cheesy as all that sounds. This is further heightened when I hear what is happening in Ukraine, where just yesterday a family of four were senselessly shot dead by Russian soldiers. You can’t make sense of it, it’s yet another madman who has taken his people hostage in an attempt to acquire land that doesn’t belong to him.
What I am hearing on the BBC World News is that one wrong move in diplomatic relations from the United States could send Putin into a fit, and a nuclear war may be among us. If that’s the case, and I truly hope that it isn’t, the comforts that I enjoy every day of my life may be stripped from me in an instant.
I don’t know who needs to hear this but the democratic, capitalistic way of life is the most fair in the whole world. It’s not perfect, no system is, but they have helped bring more people out of poverty than any other systems in the world.
Freedom of speech, of movement, of expression are the bedrocks of a true, genuine, free society. Freedom is a good thing. Take heed when these things begin to be legislated, they are not good omens.
Anyway, I hope I didn’t bother all of you. Have a lovely day.