This time, January 2010, a Sharkhunters group went to the province of Cordoba where the crew of GRAF SPEE migrated during the war, and where some still live today …and this is another great mystery of the Third Reich. Follow us as we explore and discover.
Naturally, we begin in the very cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires. Click on the photo (right) of our upscale shopping area and join us in Buenos Aires to begin this fantastic historic expedition.
This is a great area for bargains – I bought a genuine Rolex wrist watch from a street vendor for 50 pesos (about fourteen US Dollars). I know it was genuine – he told me that it was, and an Argentine street peddler wouldn’t lie – would he? There was a slight problem – the time never changed, so I went back to him and in my broken Spanish and his broken English, he said it needed a new battery so to make it easier – he took back this Rolex and handed me a genuine Mont Blanc and he assured me that this too, was a genuine Mont Blanc…..and this one actually kept the correct time! What a great deal, eh? Okay, I know these were cheap imitations probably made in China, but I had forgotten my Sharkhunters watch back home in the USA and I needed to be able to tell the time so fourteen bucks American was a small price to pay even if it only lasted throughout the time of the Expedition.
Enough laughing – and let’s visit Argentina…
Buenos Aires is a modern, cosmopolitan city and our host hotel, the Central Navy Hotel, is situated at one of the most upscale intersections in all Buenos Aires where Ave. Cordoba meets Calle Florida which is a walking mall where you will find some of the most famous shops in the world – Dooney & Bourke, Gucci, Pierre Cardin and even an old Harrah’s. Leather and silver are popular souvenirs as are gaucho knives, caps and T-shirts with names and emblems of the soccer (football) teams on them. The US Dollar and the Euro are very strong here.
Folks living in Buenos Aires are known as “Porteneos” because this is the port city.
Our walking tour takes us to many beautiful buildings.
The center of Buenos Aires is the seat of the government.
The “Pink House” is the Presidential Residence.
Here is the story behind this area in front of the “Pink House” told by a friend in Argentina – not sure he wants his name listed here:
“The pyramid in the center of the Plaza de Mayo is the meeting point for the mothers of those who disappeared since 1976. Thirty thousand people are believed disappeared between 1976 and 1982. Most of them were tortured first, then held in concentration camps and finally thrown into pits or dropped from planes into the sea.
From the time the military were in power, they prohibited all freedoms, what is known as ‘Estado de Sitio‘; like the highest security alert.
Meetings were not allowed, so only pairs could be seen together. You weren’t allowed to stay for a long time in a public place – they supposed that you were a terrorist waiting for a rendezvous so they would ‘circulate‘. So the ladies started walking in pairs around the pyramid, using a diaper on their head (you see the painted shape of a diaper here) because they have lost their sons and daughters. Since democracy returned, they have been doing this every Thursday. Last Thursday I saw them, the last ones, a bunch of really old ladies that just want a pile of bones to cry at.
Many of them cry for the babies their daughters were expecting (more than 400 cases); babies stolen by the officers in most of the cases. Those are not the mothers but the grandmother and they have a more inspiring cause right now. 101 sons and daughters were found so far and it’s really wonderful each time it happens.
We owe democracy to these ladies for sure. If they hadn’t fought like they did, going to the US and Europe to tell their story, we would have had 17 years of dictatorship like Chile had. Jimmy Carter’s human rights policy was a blessing for us. After the Malvinas War, eight years after the coup, we had democracy again – will be thirty years in 2013. Not too much, but I’d give my life (most of us young people would) to stop this kind of massacre from happening again.”
Somber thoughts indeed!