July 15, 2019
Latest News

Maradona's childhood streets plagued by poverty and violence

By Rodrigo García

Villa Fiorito, Argentina, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- Villa Fiorito will forever be known as the neighborhood that introduced local soccer hero Diego Maradona to the world but the reality nowadays, amid an ongoing economic crisis in Argentina, is that the area is struggling to pull itself from the grips of poverty, drug abuse and violence.

Just 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the capital Buenos Aires in the municipality of Lomas de Zamora, getting to Fiorito, as the locals call it, is not complicated. Yet, many taxi drivers decline the trip out from the city center, especially if they have to linger there.

Maradona's humble family house still stands on Azamor street, where the future superstar first started kicking a ball around, but all other traces of the neighborhood's most famous export have all but vanished as the area gives way to dilapidation.

"That place should be something very important for Fiorito, but it is not, it should have a monument," Luján Ocampo, who says he was a childhood acquaintance of the "Golden Boy," told Efe.

Born in a nearby hospital in 1960, Maradona's early childhood was blighted by hardship until Argentinos Juniors soccer club signed him up and changed his life forever.

In the 1970s, Maradona's family moved into the city and the promising player started making history.

The current tenant of the house at 10 Azamor street declines to give interviews and other local residents warned of the risk of being assaulted on the street.

Although granted its own city status in 1995, many in Fiorito, with its population of 40,000, still consider the area to be a suburb of Buenos Aires.

"It's bad, bad, bad," said Reina Salazar, a secretary at a retirement center managed by the Movement of Excluded Workers (MTE), an social organization. "We've been robbed twice, we cannot leave the house alone, we want to go on a trip but we can't."

In 2001, as Argentina plunged into an economic crisis, hundreds of people relied on scavenging and selling cardboard boxes to make a living. The largest "cartonero" collective emerged in Fiorito — its has since been integrated into the MTE.

Natalia Zaracho knows this line of work first hand.

Now, as Argentina struggles with a new recession, albeit not as serious as the collapse in 2001, Zaracho works with the MTE's health team, providing support for vulnerable people.

"You know Fiorito because Diego, the best player in the world, came from here, but the reality is that we are struggling. In three and a half years (President Mauricio Macri's term so far), insecurity has tripled," Zaracho, who is also a candidate for the Frente de Todos, an opposition political party, said.

There are around 20 workers providing counseling for victims of gender-based violence and health issues at the MTE center, which also provides activities for older people.

One such person who seeking assistance was a young Bolivian woman who said she came to Argentina two years to look for her son who was allegedly kidnapped by her abusive ex-partner.

The women, who asked not to be named, said she herself was kidnapped by the man in a house in Buenos Aires province but managed to escape six months later with her son. She reported what happened and then came to Villa Fiorito to try her luck here.

"I met with the MTE and they helped me get a job, I work in the kitchen in the retirement center," she said.

Male violence against women is still a scourge on society in Argentina.

"You end up working both with women who have suffered violence and with the violent men," Leonardo Fernández, a social worker with the municipality of Lomas de Zamora, said.

The MTE, which is linked to the with the Kirchner-affiliated CTEP labor union, looks to pressure the government into reversing its economic shortcomings in areas like Fiorito.

This year Argentina heads to the polls in October for general elections and one of the most pressing concerns for those vying for votes will be the fact that 32 percent of the country still lives in poverty. EFE-EPA


News history
Residents of historic Panama neighborhood fight gentrification

By Maria M.Mur.

National health alert in Philippines after over 450 dengue deaths

Manila, Jul 15 (efe-epa).- Philippines on Monday declared a national alert due to a dengue outbreak, with over 106,630 cases recorded in the first half of...

San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico's Pompeii buried by Paricutin volcano

By Manuel Soberanes Cobo

The Japanese island in the heart of South America

By Gina Baldivieso

More and more reports of sexual abuse against minors in Panama

By Ana de Leon

Protesters in US urge end to migrant detention centers

By Laura Barros

US lawmakers spotlight conditions for migrant kids detained on the border

Washington, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- With fear of the guards, feeling ill, with little sleep and no soap in sight, so the hours go by for thousands of children...

Japanese government apologizes for discriminating against lepers for decades

Tokyo, Jul 12 (efe-epa).- The prime minister of Japan on Friday apologized to leprosy patients and their families who suffered discrimination and isolation...

Trump gives up on adding citizenship question to 2020 Census

Washington, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Thursday abandoned his bid to have a question about citizenship added to the 2020 US Census,...

Pelosi says Trump is terrorizing immigrants with threat of raids

Washington, Jul 11 (efe-epa).- The speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said Thursday that President Donald Trump's threats to round-up...

Maradona's childhood streets plagued by poverty and violence

By Rodrigo García

Pakistan’s Little Professor captivates crowds with motivational speeches

By Jaime Leon

Study: World's major cities to experience dramatic warming by 2050

Washington DC, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- Around 77 percent of the world's major cities will have experienced dramatic warming by 2050 and have conditions similar...

China’s elite academy grooms future leaders with lectures on Xi's principles

By Javier Garcia

Japan records steepest population decline in last 50 years

Tokyo, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- Japan in 2018 recorded its steepest population decline since 1968 with a record drop of 433,239, according to the figures released...

At least 63 'Muslims' arrested while trying to flee Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar, Jul 10 (efe-epa).- Myanmar authorities have detained 63 “Muslims,” which may include Rohingyas, after the boat they were on stranded while...

China’s elite academy grooms future leaders with lectures on Xi's principles

By Javier Garcia

Embarrassing forced haircuts at Afghan schools become a thing of the past

By Baber Khan Sahel

United Nations, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- The world's governments are showing a lack of ambition in pursuing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),...

Undocumented farmworkers in Florida fear massive roundups

By Antoni Belchi

Olafur Elliason's sublime installations plunge viewer into wondrous world

London, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- Conceptual artist Olafur Eliasson once transformed the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall into an awe-inspiring space with his floating,...

Water mafia thrives as India faces growing water crisis

By Mikaela Viqueira

Trump touts his record on the environment

Lucia Leal.

Ecuador's Life Raft of the Frogs blends research, conservation

By Christian A. Sanchez.

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.