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Argentines Protest "Get Out, Obama" T...
Buenos Aires
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Just as Barack Obama was catching a plane to head back to the White House from his visit to Argentina, marchers moving toward Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo yelled out his name.

"Obama, fascista! Vos sos un terrorista!" "Obama, fascist! You are a terrorist!"

The night before, a similar march took place in the center of hip barrio Palermo, in which rows of American flags were lit aflame on live television. The manifestation's message was simple: "Fuera, Obama!" "Get out, Obama!"

This reaction, while extreme, is not unrepresentative of how many Argentines felt about the president's visit -- the first from a U.S. head of state since George W. Bush in 2005. Since then, the already rocky relationship between Argentina and the United States has only gotten worse. The government of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, known locally as kirchernismo, were vocal about their disdain for the so-called imperialistic actions of the United States, such as condoning human rights violations during Argentina's military dictatorship.

Furthermore, a large portion of Argentina's sovereign debt is being worked out in U.S. courts. Judges there have repeatedly ruled that its remaining lenders -- known as "vulture funds" -- do not have to accept the country's offers for restructing of their loans. Further exacerbating the situation, Argentina's Congress is currently voting on the possibility of taking out a $15 billion loan in order to pay off all of the country's debts -- the largest of any country since 1996, according to Financial Times.

These two elements combined make Argentina one of the countries in the world least likely to roll out the presidential carpet for Pres. Obama. In a 2015 Pew Research Center poll, 43 percent of Argentines responded that they had an unfavorable view of the U.S. -- the ninth highest of any country surveyed. China, Russia, and Turkey were among the only nations that were more distrustful of the American government.

Both in the streets and across social media, the anger over Obama's visit was palpable. While many Argentines praised the diplomatic act as a move toward eased relations between their countries, others were outraged that the American president would be visiting before he even arrived. The posting of American flags in Plaza de Mayo, for example, was poorly received on social media. 

These feelings were particularly flared by the fact that Obama would be arriving just before the 40th anniversary of Argentina's 1976 coup d'état. Declassified C.I.A. documents have illustrated American complicity in the bloody period that followed, where 30,000 are estimated to have been executed by the military government.  Because of that stain, his visit was seen as dispespectful by some families of victims of the Dirty War.

Obama confronted this controvesy head-on. Before heading to Patagonian mountain town Bariloche for the day, his final speech included a promise to look more critically at the past, and also announce that the U.S. government would be declassifying more coup-related documents.


"There has been controversy about the policies of the United States early in those dark days. The US, when it reflects on what happened here, has to examine on its own policies and its own past. Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don't live up to the ideals that we stand for, when we've been slow to speak out for human rights. And that was the case here."

Like present day politics in Argentina, it's clear that the reaction to Obama's visit was sharply divided. While some manifested to protest his presence, others watched it play out peacefully through news media -- catching moments of cultural exchange like the Obamas dancing tango at a state dinner on Wednesday evening.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 01
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Buenos Aires' obelisk situated in its central avenue is spanned with the words "justice, memory and forty years" to remember 1976 coup d'état.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 02
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

A paper mache vulture, representing holdout bondholders battling it out with Argentina in U.S. courts, floats through a march for the 40th anniversary of the country's military coup d'état.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 03
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Argentina's Casa Rosada glows in the distance, as signs posted before it read, "Neither condors nor vultures, no to dictatorships!" It refers to Operation Condor, the U.S. secret initiative in Latin America, and the country's current struggle with "vulture funds," or holdout creditors.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 04
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

"Obama, genocide. Out of Argentina!" read one sign carried by a group of members of the Socialist Party walked in the parade for the 40th anniversary of the military coup d'état.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 07
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Many held signs calling for President Obama to leave the country, both at a special march dedicated to protesting Obama's presence and the next day at a march to remember victim's of the country's military coup.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 08
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 Mar 2016

Colectivo FindeMundo performs a massive dance number while moving through the parade commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coup.

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Argetines Protest U.S. Visit 06
Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Zachary F. Volkert
22 Mar 2016

Dancers perform an interpretative number representing the violence after Argentina's military coup forty years ago.

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Dear America 1: Setting the Scene
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Thousands of Syrians await safety in border camps inside Syria as Syria’s neighbors struggle to absorb nearly 2 million refugees. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)

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Dear America 3: Big Sis
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

“I study English so I can be a translator and come to see the skyscrapers!” says 12-year-old Rajaa from Aleppo. She’s the oldest of 4 children, all currently living in the camp to escape from the violence of Aleppo.

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Dear America 4: Setting the Scene
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Thousands of Syrians are trapped in internally displaced camps throughout the countryside and along the border. In this camp along the Turkish border, several thousands of Syrians await entry into Turkey as the Turkish government struggles to absorb more than 200,000 refugees. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)

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Dear America 5: Hard Winter
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

The winter hit Syrian refugees harder than ever this year. Heavy rains flooded Syrian IDPs in their own sewage, and the lack of electricity and their tent homes combined to make a harrowing winter. Syrians began cutting down what was once groves of trees from neighboring property in hopes of burning a little wood for heat.

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Dear America 6: Cheese!
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

“Cheese!” they scream in English as the camera clicks. Hassan and his little sister miss their school in Aleppo. Although they go to the makeshift schools in tents with volunteer teachers in the camps, they say it’s not the same. “I’m good at science so my father says I will be a doctor some day. Then I will come help sick people in America,” says Hassan.

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Dear America 7: School Interrupted
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Lina started school this year but had to leave when the Assad regime started targeting schools in a neighboring town. Her parents were scared her school could be next, and, when shelling started in their town of Tarafat, their family fled to the border where they’ve been awaiting refugee status for four months. Her parents say they try to keep in touch with their friends from Tarafat but everyone is scattered between border camps, refugee camps, and cheap rentals in Turkey.
“I miss my friends, I miss Hima [a friend], I miss my teacher, and I miss my school,” says the six-year-old.

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Dear America 8: Rebel in Training
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Two of Nasser’s older brothers are fighting with rebel-forces in Aleppo. He brags that they have killed Assad’s snipers but says that he misses playing soccer with them and that his mother cries because she is scared for them. “When will the US help us Free Syria?” he asks.

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Dear America 16: Exporting Disney
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Kareen asks if I know Hannah Montana. She even knows a song from the television show that she sings for us. “Will you please tell Hannah Montana to come to see us in Syria?” she squeals. Kareen’s family has been waiting six months to get to safety according to her parents. They’re worried that she will soon hit puberty because some Syrian girls have been kidnapped into sex slavery since the conflict began.

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Dear America 17: Soccer vs. Football
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

These little boys play soccer in these groves when they’re not trying to sell candy bars in the camps. Because of the harsh conditions of the camp, Syrians began cutting the nearby groves for firewood last winter. These boys say they want to come to America some day, and they ask why we call it “soccer” instead of “football” like everyone else in the world.

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Dear America 18: Hard Winter
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

The winter hit Syrian refugees harder than ever this year. Heavy rains flooded Syrian IDPs in their own sewage, and the lack of electricity and their tent homes combined to make a harrowing winter. Syrians began cutting down what was once groves of trees from neighboring property in hopes of burning a little wood for heat.

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Dear America 19: We Love You
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

These little cuties practiced their English that they learned in school. Haitam, the boy furthest to the right, wants to be a dentist so he says he is not eating candy these days. Together, these children sing the ABCs and yell “We love you!” until we’re out of earshot. According to UNICEF, one in every five school has been destroyed, damaged or converted into shelters for Syrians in danger. (http://www.unicefusa.org/assets/pdf/Syria-2-year-report.pdf)

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Dear America 20: U-S-A! U-S-A!
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

A group of young Syrian children begin chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” in a makeshift IDP camp -- a scene they saw in American movies.

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Dear America 11: We Love You!
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

Amina’s message to America: “WE LOVE YOU!” before she gives an enormous bear hug for a little girl.

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Dear America 21: Setting the Scene
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Jul 2013

A child stands firm in front of his family’s tent, staring across the sewage lake on his back doorstep.

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Dear America 10: Sewage Canyons
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013

The winter of 2012 was rough for the millions of displaced Syrians throughout the region. In this particular camp, thousands of Syrians trapped along the border awaiting refugee status in Turkey were flooded in their own filth by the heavy winter rains. Community organizers dug a ditch that has now become a little canyon to drain the sewage from the camp. The open river of waste weaves through the thousands of tents along the border.

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Dear America 14: Rivers of Sewage
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013
Children wander the “sewage canyon” in a makeshift camp along the border with Turkey. According to the UN, children make up more than half of the Syrian refugees and IDPs. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)
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Dear America 12: Man of the House
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013

Mohammed, age 13, is now the man of the house. His father and brothers were killed when they were working at their family’s garage. His mother and his other brothers and sisters fled with his uncle’s family to this makeshift border camp when the violence started in Aleppo last summer. To Americans, he says “We welcome you to Free Syria, and we hope our country to be like yours some day.”

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Dear America 13: The Skeptic
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013

“If the USA is so strong, why can’t they help us?” asks this 14-year-old Syrian boy. Of the nearly two million Syrian refugees, over half are children.

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Dear America 15: Rivers of Sewage
Azzaz, Syria
By AnnaThereseDay
01 Apr 2013
Children wander the “sewage canyon” in a makeshift camp along the border with Turkey. According to the UN, children make up more than half of the Syrian refugees and IDPs. (http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php)
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Protest against Barack Obama in Ramal...
Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine
By Tony Kane
19 Mar 2013

A protester gets angry and has to be calmed by fellow demonstrator

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Protest against Barack Obama in Ramal...
Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine
By Tony Kane
19 Mar 2013

Police in riot gear stand in line to stop protesters approaching any further

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Protest against Barack Obama in Ramal...
Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine
By Tony Kane
19 Mar 2013

A Palestinian demonstrator gets frustrated by not being allowed to pass the police line

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Protest against Barack Obama in Ramal...
Ramallah, West Bank, Palestine.
By Tony Kane
19 Mar 2013

A demonstrator sends a clear message to the U.S. president, Barack Obama