If they devalue the currency, “nobody will pay attention on this day,” one of the hundreds of thousands of Argentines waiting to salute their soccer heroes in downtown Buenos Aires told me.
Argentina have been euphoric since their third World Cup victory on Sunday. People flooded the streets of the capital in a carnival-like celebration to celebrate the most important win in an entire generation, and to welcome the stars back home.
The revelers climbed the traffic lights. Giant soccer jerseys adorn office buildings. Cars with imitation gold trophies strapped to their roofs hear their horns and the unofficial championship song.”children” orchildren”Ring automatically from strangers standing at bus stops and road junctions.
Argentina’s victory comes amid political turmoil and a battered economy. Inflation is expected to reach 100 per cent in the year ending in December. Poverty is high and increasing. The local peso has collapsed against the US dollar at the widely used black market exchange rate, shattering people’s purchasing power.
Politics is no brighter. Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was found guilty of corruption this month and left-wing President Alberto Fernandez’s popularity has so far declined that he was advised not to travel to present the award to captain Lionel Messi.
Argentina’s success in the month-long World Cup offered the country of 46 million people a respite from years of economic underperformance and the denting of its national pride.
“This is our only moment of greatness, in 36 years!” Hector Voz, a father of three, claims he joins the crowd with his children to watch the band’s parade pass by in an open-top double-decker bus. Voz was eight years old in 1986 when Argentina brought home the trophy for the last time.
Amidst a sea of supporters dressed in sky blue and white uniforms, there was an elderly blind man led by his elderly wife. They had followed TV commentary tracking the plane live from Doha, as families set up barbecues along the motorway from the airport to catch a glimpse of Messi before dawn.
As a Brit, the closest I can compare the scenes to this week is the crowds at the Royal Jubilee – only with Messi as their king.
The Argentine sociologist Pablo Alaparcis says that the victory represents a moment that is “suspended in time”. “This is an explosion of emotion,” Alabarsis told the Financial Times. “This is just a big night out” — and a hangover will inevitably follow.
Challenges can return with a vengeance. Many remain skeptical that a sporting win will translate into a boost for the unpopular government or help restore confidence in the economy.
Many provincial governors in Argentina rebelled against the decision to call a national holiday in the name of football, given that the team caravan was touring Buenos Aires exclusively, in a reminder of the divisions outside the sport.
Messi declined an invitation from the presidential palace to replicate a picture of the late Diego Maradona, who was captain decades ago before the trophy from the pink balcony of Evita Peron fame. Instead, the team encouraged fans to follow their bus to the Obelisk Monument as up to a million people gathered immediately after Gonzalo Montiel took the winning kick.
Security failures meant that the bus did not reach the monument. The band was helicoptered out to the disappointment of millions, who blamed the president squarely.
Miguel Angel Guerrero, 74, who runs my local kiosk, estimates that the orgasm will wear off within a week. Sensing that customers wouldn’t have a lot of money to spend this Christmas, Miguel began cutting his stock in a usually profitable festive month.
“A large percentage of people won’t be able to afford a meal, let alone a gift,” he says. The prices of the sweets and tobacco he sells have risen by an average of 5 percent each month since the beginning of the year. Public anger is growing.
He says the World Cup has been a “calming balm” to escape hardship and unite the wounded nation. But reality will soon bite.
#victory #Messi #team #dispel #troubles #Argentina