Argentina's Dark Secret

Argentina has been making the news a lot lately. You see, it was plagued with terrible credit lo these past 15 or so years. Then, a few days ago, the South American nation issued $16.5 billion in bonds in what's being called "the largest emerging market debt deal on record." Simply put, Argentina is now back in the game economy-wise, ready, willing, and able to compete with the big boys once again. It's a bright new era, filled with optimism and jubilation.

Trust me, this was far from the case the last time I set foot on Argentinian soil. Back then, the country was in the throes of a dark, dramatic, and deadly serious conflict. And it wasn't just financial.

For the sake of brevity, I'll cut to the harsh tale. After a dinner-and-tango show, I took a cab to my hotel room in downtown Buenos Aires. I closed the door behind me, locked it, and turned on the television to unwind from the awful, awful tango.

On Spanish HBO was the Kathy Bates film Dolores Claiborne. I settled in and began watching. Then, out of the blue, things got real.

Check this out: Dolores -- a no-nonsense domestic servant living in Maine -- gets accused of tossing her employer of twenty years down the stairs to her death. And here's the kicker: Dolores totally didn't do it! I was all like, "Sweet Willie Nelson, this can't be good!"

Ah, but it gets worse. Through a series of flashbacks, we discover that years earlier, Dolores was married to an abusive redneck who made her life miserable by drunkenly abusing her and her daughter. To the point where eventually, she had no choice but to toss him down an old abandoned well. Pretty brutal, but you've gotta remember, the dude was a real SOB and kinda deserved it!

Anyhow, there was never enough evidence to charge Dolores for this, but OMG, the police guy who's pinning the dead employer's murder on her is the same guy who unsuccessfully tried to pin hubby's death on her back in the day. And this time, some two decades later, he's not backing down. Hoo boy!

Fortunately, cooler heads prevail, and with the help of her formerly estranged daughter, Dolores clears her name and avoids spending the rest of her life in prison. But hijo de puta, it was touch and go there for a while. It just goes to show, Argentina was one seriously dark roller-coaster ride of a place, where all sorts of life-changing drama could go down at the drop of a hat. So glad to see the country has found its way again.