Several Argentines have mentioned the UK riots in the past few days. They seem really astonished and concerned, as if England, in their minds, is the place of order and cohesion. I point out that many countries, from time to time, have similar problems. Yeeees, is the reply, but the French, a few years ago, burned cars. They didn't burn down buildings with people in them. I'm a bit at a loss: they've watched TV footage, and I've just seen headlines on the BBC website. They hope I can explain, but it's really beyond me, certainly in castellano.
Don't you ever have problems here? I ask. In my mind is the story of how a local football stadium was trashed, completely, a few months ago, after a match. I don't know the details, or how accurate is the story I heard, but I fish unsuccessfully. Yes, there is trouble from time to time, but then I'm told of the trouble in Chile, students protesting against... student fees, I gather.
Much of this from a cab driver, who will vote to the left of Christina (Kirchner) in the upcoming presidential elections. Less corruption, he hopes, and more effort to provide work for the poor to create a more equitable society. 'We've been a democracy for just 24 years.'
(PS. Argentina has been a democracy of some sorts through much of its history: the driver may have been referring to his own lifetime, but probably to the fact that the experience of military abuse of power seems to have resulted in an enthusiastically democratic society.)