cartoneros

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cartoneros.jpg The cartoneros of Argentina are poor people who travel by night to richer neighborhoods where they scavenge the trash for things to reuse and sell. A friend who has spent time in Argentina recommended I post something about their struggle as one of the populations hit hardest by Argentina’s economic collapse five years ago. Rather than attempt to describe their story myself, I direct you to this powerful World Press Review photo essay by Andrea Di Martino (who also took this picture of a young woman leaning against a wall).

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2 Responses to “cartoneros”

  1. Tamar Says:

    When “Trash” Becomes Visible:

    The whole cartoneros phenomenon is a fascinating vector of social observation in Argentina. People’s attitudes vary widely. The cartoneros are seen as providing a social service to the city of Buenos aires by furthering recycling efforts (BA’s recycling infrastructure is quite poor). On the other hand, certain snootier members of the bourgeoisie are not enchanted by the visible presence of the ragged (and darker skinned) poor in their neighboorhoods, and some even express nostalgia for the pre-crisis presidency of Menem–the president whose savage neo-liberal policies led Argentina into economic devastation. “The streets were cleaner then” one woman told me.

  2. everydaytrash Says:

    People can be so disgusting. I’ve been avoiding the euro- and white- prefixes thinking they were too easy, but this takes the people as garbage metaphor to a whole other level. I might need to add a new category. Thanks for these fascinating details, T.

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