Saturday, December 05, 2009

'from the inside'

Squatters in Buenos Aires have started their own newspaper, Inter Press Service reports. Desde Adentro (From the Inside) is written by residents of the community called Villa 1-11-14. Agustín Garone, one of the writer/editors, told IPS that the intent is to "generate an image that contrasts with the labels put on us by the big media outlets, which associate poverty with crime, and thus only generate negative views of the neighbourhood." Buenos Aires is a city of 13 million, and right now the paper has a tiny print run of just 3,000.

It's a great idea, and very necessary, even if they are starting small.

One caveat, though: IPS reports that Desde Adentro is financed by the Buenos Aires city government. So how independent can it be?


Tatu said...

hmmh...good question, but it sounds like a start at least one that more independent minds could possibly branch out of...maybe

b.wevera said...

Fascinating. I am living in Buenos Aires right now so this news is of particular interest right now. Thanks for the heads up on what to look for.
Have you heard of Slum 21? It's a "villa" in Bs. As. that a taxidriver takes tourists through. Some call it exploitation, some call it a wake up call. Completely subjective, except to those who it really matters, ie: the 'slum-dwellers'.
Check it out.
Although I believe most, if not all, states to be utterly corrupt, publishing a low-income community's paper should be one of the many duties the government should oblige itself to do. However, with kleptocracy firmly in place, how much of the stories are censored?

Loving the blog, RN!

rn said...

Tatu: I agree that an independent squatter news source is an excellent thing. Indeed, when I started this blog, that's what I wanted it to be ... an electronic bulletin board and news source written and edited by and for squatters.

b.wev: Where can we find out more about Slum 21? I haven't found any articles in English. So-called 'slum tourism' is a big business in Rocinha, in Rio de Janeiro. It always seemed odd to me, but folks in Rocinha didn't seem to mind it.

Tony Agudo said...

It's good to see favela residents are starting to create media to counteract the poverty and crime stereotypes.

Even if the small newspaper is funded by the city government, it's beneficial in that the city government can better understand the favelas through it.

I hope they will be successful enough to make more and bigger print runs.

BTW, I think what "Slum 21" b.wevera referred to is "Villa 21" in Buenos Aires. I Googled and found this article about it:

rn said...


Thanks for the link. I am sympathetic to these people, and I think bringing in outsiders, like the Americans cited in the article, can be beneficial.

Still, as people advertise their "terrible situation," I always think about whether the community can self-organize to do something about it.

I'm not criticizing the people in the community. It sounds like the people in Villa 21 have done some creative work around the comedoras (soup kitchens.) But what about organizing the cartoneros for better wages or working conditions? What about working with all the other Villas for city services?

I don't minimize how hard organizing is (I'm a former community organizer myself.) It's a long-term agenda. But the foreigners can only offer aid, not structural changes. Those can only be made on the ground, by an organization that mobilizes and agitates and leads.

Desde Adentro could be a part of that, if it's sufficiently independent.

b.wevera said...

Here is the link for a more in depth look at 'slum tourism', as Morrison from The Guardian saw it. Thanks for the other link. Information is eduction.

b.wevera said...


pardon me, *Marrison.

rn said...

b.w. The taxi tour Marrison took doesn't sound like much. I understand that this article was for the travel section. But still, some basic reporting would be nice. Were there stores in the Villa 20? Bars? Restaurants? Did people have electricity, water, sewers? How old is the community? Was the center once just as crude as the tin hut on the trash heap?

b.wevera said...

Hey rn

Just found a little load of slum tourism articles on the Conde Naste Magazine website. Not sure if they will help, but thought I would share.