The World Today for September 21, 2021



Capybaras at the Gate

Giant rodents called capybaras have invaded an affluent gated community to the north of Buenos Aires in Argentina, where they call the cute, dog-like animals carpinchos. As residents of the well-known Nordelta community complained about the pests in the media, progressives reacted with glee, politicizing the story.

“My total support for the Peronist carpinchos of Nordelta recovering their habitat,” wrote a Twitter user who was quoted in the Guardian, alluding to the South American country’s historically dominant political ideology.

The schadenfreude could stem in part from how ordinary Argentines who already live in an unequal society have fared far worse than their wealthy counterparts since the coronavirus pandemic began.

As Al Jazeera reported, lack of access to the internet has made remote learning nearly impossible for poorer Argentines. Impoverished children who don’t go to school also missed out on school lunch programs that gave them the nutrition they need to grow.

In Latin American countries, including Argentina, more than 60 percent of the new jobs are informal, Bloomberg added. They pay in cash. They don’t include contracts. Argentine informal workers saw their pay plunging by more than 20 percent during the pandemic. Formal, or on-the-books workers, on the other hand, saw wage increases of 1 percent.

The Argentine government, helmed by President Alberto Fernandez, a Peronist, continues to spend mightily, fueling inflation of 50 percent while also negotiating with the International Monetary Fund over $45 billion in debt. The questions that arise in that climate have created a “cloud of uncertainty” over the country’s political and economic future, wrote the Financial Times.

Voters in a recent preliminary midterm election gave opposition candidates big majorities, a sign of discontent with the Peronist rule. But, as another Bloomberg story explained, the preliminary election was only a kind of public opinion poll or dress rehearsal for the legislative election on Nov. 14.

Writing in Americas Quarterly, National University of Río Negro Political Scientist Maria Esperanza Casullo took a different view. She noted that, despite frustrated voters and economic uncertainty, Argentina’s political system is relatively stable. Coalitions of different parties have created a robust democracy in a country ruled by a military junta from 1976 to 1983.

The country famously has resources that can be harnessed to help its citizens if the politicians can overcome partisan infighting, Reuters reported. Miners in the country’s remote north, for example, are drilling away at the world’s third-largest reserve of lithium, an essential component of the batteries used in electric vehicles and for other applications.

How that wealth should be used is a question Argentine voters surely want to be answered.

To read the full edition and support independent journalism, join our community of informed readers and subscribe today!

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.