Saturday, June 23, 2018

Argentine Psych Major Weighs In On Abortion, But Is Argentina Ready?

When I first heard that Argentina was inching closer to legalizing abortion, I thought, there's a story here. But then, some of my friends posted pro-choice posts on social media and they got hammered with criticism. Ironically, men weren't the only ones who were against abortion—women opposed it too. 

I told one friend that I was scared to share an interview I conducted with a young man from Argentina about abortion, and she said, "Don't be scared! We are all free to think and comment on whatever we want, if it is respectful, of course. You should talk about this in your blog! It's an important event in the history of this country."

So, before I share the interview, I just wanted to clarify something. It turns out that some of the Argentine folks I've spoken to are under the impression that getting an abortion is easier in the United States, and that the Argentine pro-choice movement is merely trying to mimic the States, but abortions aren't easy in the United States either. If you don't believe me, check this link out. There are so many loopholes and restrictions that vary per state, not to mention the fact that women or couples making this difficult decision also have to face scrutiny from pro-life protesters. If you think I'm joking, check out season two, episode two of the show "Claws." There's a scene where Dean, an autistic man, tries to take the woman he knocked up to an abortion clinic. But when the protesters start to harass the couple, Dean lets them have it by saying:

"We lived on food stamps and… and we were abused, and not one of you was around to help us! You only care about babies in the womb. You don’t care about them when they come out. If you did, you’d be fighting to end human trafficking in Libya!”

Sadly, we live in a world where we want everything to be black and white, but the truth is, most things are more of a gray area, and both sides have to be open to putting their differences aside in order to figure out what is best for women and their unborn child, regardless of the outcome that is chosen.

So, without further to do, I'd like to begin the interview with Nico. Keep in mind that the interview was conducted in Castellano, but I also had Nico's conversation translated to English.



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1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. / Contanos un poco sobre vos?

My names is Nicolas. I was born in Buenos Aires. I lived in Cordoba briefly, but I had to return to Buenos Aires due to family related issues. I attended 3 public universities, one of which was called Loma de Zamora here in my province where I majored in public relations, but after a year, I didn't find what I was looking for so I quit. Then, I moved to Cordoba and enrolled at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba (UNC) and majored in psychology, which I am continuing to pursue at the University of Buenos Aires. My favorite pastimes include playing checkers and video games, but I find that there's nothing wrong with going out once in a while hahaha. I consider myself an idealist of the leftist movement, but I'm not an extremist. In effect, I'm a highly adaptable, but often a neutral individual who tries to figure out how things work and find logical solutions to everything.
Mi nombre es Nicolas, nací en Buenos Aires, viví un tiempo en Cordoba y luego por razones familiares tuve que volver, estudie en 3 universidades (todas publicas) la de Lomas de Zamora aquí en mi provincia y estudie rrpp (aunque adonde la carrera al cabo de 1 año al no encontrar lo que buscaba), luego al mudarme a Cordoba me inscribí en la Universidad de Cordoba y me inscribí en psicología carrera la cual continuo hoy en día en la UBA. Mis pasatiempos serían el ajedrez y los video juego, aunque salir de vez en cuando no está mal jajajaja, me considero una persona de ideología de izquierda aunque no soy extremista. En resumen, soy una persona muy adaptable y neutra que intenta buscarle la vuelta de tuerca y una respuesta lógica a todo. 



2) What's your opinion on the abortion debate? Do you believe that women should have the legal right to have an abortion? / Que opinas sobre el aborto? Apoyas que las mujeres tengan el derecho de hacerce un aborto?

Yes. I totally support it. I believe that the thought of not making abortion legal would be a mistake for human society. I believe that offering options is the right way to go. Obviously, no law should ever stand on its own. It needs support through education, social adaptability, and knowledge, as well as laws that don't leave others feeling as though their rights have been excluded. But let's focus on abortion. This law is necessary since prohibiting abortion will leave one sector very vulnerable, whether it's legalized or not, and the people who undergo abortions will endure a traumatic situation, which only gets worse for the simple fact that they are figuratively stoned on a social level. Also, if you don't have enough money, you can't count on the necessary support, and I'm not even talking about the minimum risks that the interruption of a pregnancy brings under adequate medical conditions. Even then, hospitals have committed atrocities that are equivalent to something you would expect to find in a meat factory, which often lead to women's death, particularly when they turn to shady and illegal abortion clinics due to lack of money. If someone doesn't feel like they're ready to bring a child into this world (which isn't a child's play decision), they shouldn't be forced to have children since people aren't machines designed to pop out babies. It's also important to remember that there's no such thing as a contraceptive that's 100% effective, and contraceptives like the pill contains side effects. This idea of forcing people to start a family is an archaic concept that society has been dragging along for quite some time. This idea of marriage, monogamy, having kids, earning money, are all familiar social stigmas. Abortion is only one of many protests that are circulating in today's society, where orthodox people continue to fight to maintain.

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Si, estoy totalmente a favor, creo que la idea de prohibir es un error cuando se habla de sociedades, me parece mucho más aceptable la idea de dar opciones, obviamente ninguna ley debe pensarse sólo sostenida X ella misma sino con un colchón de acompañamiento (sea esto: educación, adaptación social, conocimiento y leyes q no dejen sectores vacíos) volviendo al caso exclusivo del aborto esta es una ley necesaria ya que su prohibición lo único que genera es dejar un sector vulnerable, este se hace sea legal o no, donde las personas que lo practican viven una situación traumática y esto se empeora por el hecho de que son apedreadas a nivel social y al ser clandestino si no tenes dinero no contas con el acompañamiento necesario y ni hablar de que de hacerse en las condiciones adecuadas la interrupción de un embarazo lleva riesgos mínimos y en los hospitales se han visto atrocidades hechas por lo que parecería carniceros las cuales llevan muchas veces a la muerte de las mujeres que recurren a sitios clandestinos por falta de dinero. Si una persona no se siente capas de traer un hijo al mundo (lo cual no es cosa de niños) no debería tener la obligación ya que las personas no son máquinas de traer bebés, esta tiene sus aspiraciones, necesidades, metas y sus gustos, los cuales no debes ser negados por un infortunio (ah no olvidar que ningún método anticonceptivo es 100% seguro y los q son a nivel biológico como el chip y las pastillas tienen efectos en el cuerpo) esta idea de obligar a las personas a formar familias son conceptos arcaicos que la sociedad viene arrastrando hace tiempo, nos obligan a casarnos, a la monogamia, tener hijos, buscar dinero, en fin todos los estigmas sociales conocidos, esta es sola una de las tantas protestas que hoy en día circulan en la sociedad, donde la gente más ortodoxa lucha X mantener.   


3) Why do you think there's so much opposition to legalizing abortion in Argentina? / Porque crees que hay tanta oposicion sobre el aborto en la Argentina? 

There are plenty of reasons why our country opposes abortion. The main reason, in my opinion, would be because of religion, and the notion that the fetus is a living creature. The belief in the soul and the creation of a family would also play main roles in the opposition of abortion. Another reason would be society's orthodox point of view, especially given that certain arguments in the feminist movement are heavily criticized, including certain arguments that I don't necessarily agree with, but the level of abuse that our society suffers from is real, and something has to be done in order to bring about change. But this ultimately creates a conflict with established beliefs and the pro-rights movement since the priori side of society views feminism as an attack on our way of life. But the other issues are a lack of empathy, a lack of understanding of the situations these women face, and the lack of education of those who argue against abortion. In the ongoing conflict on social media and on face-to-face discussions, most of the pretexts people use to support anti-abortion views are fallacies that offer no empirical, scientific or social support. In essence, there are lots of problems, but the main conflict comes from the religious influence that exists within our society. These people use pretexts based on belief, not actions, in conjunction with the points of orthodox views.

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Existen varias razones por lo cual existe una gran oposición en nuestro país, la principal creo yo sería la iglesia y la idea del que el feto es un ser vivo, la existencia del alma y la constitución de la familia serían los principales factores que los hacen ser tan opuestos a la idea de la extracción del feto. Otro factor sería el punto de vista ortodoxo de la sociedad, ya q el feminismo de 3ra ola tiene muchos puntos q son criticables, hasta algunos que a mi vista no son los mejores, pero los abusos que se sufren en esta sociedad son un hecho muy real y algo debe hacerse para que esto cambie, esto genera una contra a priori de sea lo que sea que este movimiento apoye, ya que este grupo ve al feminismo como un ataque a su modo de vida. Pero sobre todas las cosas es la falta de empatía, de conocimiento de las situaciones vividas y falta de estudio, ya que tanto en las redes sociales como en las situaciones personales la mayoría de los pretextos que utilizan los contra aborto son falacias que ni siquiera tienen apoyo empírico, científico y social. Redondeando son varios los problemas, aunque el principal es la fuerte influencia religiosa que existe en nuestra sociedad que utiliza pretextos basados en creencias y no en hechos, junto a los puntos de vista ortodoxos.


4) Do you believe that your college classmates support your point of view or are they opposed to it? If they are opposed to it, how do you try to resolve the conflict with your friends or classmates? / Crees que tus compañeros en la facultad apoyan tu punto de vista o estan desacuerdo? Si estan desacuerdo, como haces para resolver conflictos y argumentos sobre el tema con tus compañeros?

Like most social issues, abortion is a touchy subject. One must think long and hard about where they're going to discuss this topic, especially since everyone these days feels comfortable expressing their opinion before they've actually done any critical thinking and research on the topic. So, it's important to know when to pick your battles. The university is a place that offers plenty of diversity and there are lots of people who are likely in favor and against the law that legalizes abortion. Unfortunately, individuals who are against abortion, don't make any effort in trying to understand the points of views of those who are in favor of it and vice versa, which makes it difficult to prevent the discussion from turning into a heated argument. So, under the circumstances, I try to avoid talking about it. Of course, it's different among friends and close acquaintances, whom I've discussed the topic with, but we always keep it casual and friendly. Fortunately, we're all in favor of the law being passed. One must fight against the paradigms, but in a way that is appropriate. A heated discussion won't solve a conflict. Social conflicts will be solved through education and social protests. I won't deny that I've had discussions over this subject, but rarely has it gotten to a point where I was able to convince the other person to see my point of view. I believe that the best way to resolve a conflict is to avoid it, and in the event that this isn't possible or necessary, I would try to understand their opposing point of view and try to explain my views to them in their terms so that they can see the error of their ways. 


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El aborto es un tema delicado como la mayoría de los temas sociales, uno debe pensar demasiado bien donde discute cada tema ya que todo el mundo se siente en la libertad de expresarse sin haber estudiado ni entendido demasiado entonces es mejor saber elegir los campos de batalla, la facultad es un lugar de gran diversidad donde seguro cohabitan tanto gente a favor como en contra de la ley y como normalmente el q esta encontrar no busca q entender al que está a favor y la inversa es una charla muy difícil de darse en buenos términos así que por esta regla le escapó al no sacar el tema, obviamente entre mis amigos y compañeros más cercanos lo eh charlado pero siempre en buenos término y con la casualidad de que todos estamos a favor. Uno debe luchar contra los paradigmas pero de manera apropiada, una discusión encarnizada y acalorada no va a lograr solucionar el conflicto, lo que si lo hará será la educación y la militancia social. No voy a negar que eh discutido sobre el tema pero rara vez eh llegado a concilios, creo que la mejor manera de resolver un conflicto es evitarlo y en el caso de q sea imposible o necesario sería intentar entender al otro y explicarle bajo sus términos donde haya su error. 


5) For the moment, it seems as though the government is on the fence over whether to legalize abortion or not. Do you believe that there will be be a resolution to this? / Por el momento, parece como que hay mucha indecision en el gobierno sobre que hacer sobre la legalizacion del aborto. Crees que habra una resolucion en el futuro?

Surely, if it doesn't happen today, then it will happen tomorrow. There's too much pressure from society to prevent this from ever happening. It's only a matter of continuing to  push on and tweaking a few things. This is a process, and like any process, it will take time for people to adapt to this concept. 

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Seguramente, si no es hoy será mañana, existe mucha precion social como para que no se de, solo es cuestión de seguir haciendo las cosas y aceitar un poco algunas otras. Este es un procesos y como todo este llevará su tiempo para adaptarse. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Six Years Later: Changes Are Coming

Six years…
Has it been easy? No. But we've made it work.
This year, Zach started teaching English, and that's been a huge financial relief for us. Also, it's kind of like his happy ending. You see, when I first met Zach in college in 2001, he was studying to become a teacher. I think we kind of derailed each other's original career goals because we decided to spend our time traveling to different places. But now, sixteen years later, he's teaching.

Meanwhile, I've been staying busy with my freelance writing job, while working on not one, but three novels simultaneously. I finished the first one back in February and published it. The novel "Hunter's Vendetta: Oblivion" is the final book in a four-part series. If anyone's interested in getting a free digital copy of the first novel, "Hunter's Vendetta: Silent Kill," leave me your e-mail in the comment section. I've also been helping Zach work on his next novel, which he'll have published in October. Oh, and I was interviewed by Medium about my novels, which was actually quite flattering.

The Economy
All in all, we've been doing well, even though the Argentine economy has suffered a serious setback in the last month. As of 6/18/2018, it would cost 27.63 Argentine pesos to get to 1 USD, whereas one Argentine peso is worth 0.03 US cents.
I'll definitely be writing my annual pricing comparison post, but suffice it to say, the cost of living has been a bit of a challenge.  Even Forbes weighed in on the situation not too long ago. We did considered moving back to New York last month, but we both concluded that we'd be too much of a burden on our loved one if repatriated to the States, so for now, we're good where we are.

Food... Food... And More Food
As you all might have guessed from the number of posts I've written about restaurants, food is one of our favorite things. Fortunately, we don't have to go to Buenos Aires to get Kentucky Fried Chicken anymore. With the addition of American Chicken and Chilling Brothers, we can get our fix of fried chicken right here in Cordoba. 

There's also a new bagel shop, which I haven't tried, but I've been told offers potential. So, I'll definitely be giving that a shot at some point and posting on whether it's a hit or miss. In the meantime, Zach has figured out how to make bagels at home. 
Alright, so the shape is a little fudged up, but once we toast the bagel and add some cream cheese to it, it tastes better than the store bought bagels, plus, it's made with the best ingredient in the world... love.

Oh, and we also found grape jelly! Okay, so it's not exactly like the grape jelly from home. When we first opened it, we could tell that the texture was different. 
It also tasted more like prunes than grapes. But after we chilled it, and later spread it on some bread with some peanut butter, it tasted just like PB&J. Zach also made cinnamon rolls. I'm so glad I married a chef.
So What's Next
As I mentioned earlier, I'm going to post a pricing comparison entry soon, but first I'm going to post an interview with Nico, a young man from Buenos Aires, who was kind enough to share his pro-choice views on the recent battle to legalize abortion in Argentina, and unlike my other posts, this one will be in English and in Spanish.

So stay tuned and keep on follow your hearts towards your next great adventure!