After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Yesterday was what I thought would be our final trip to Migraciones, at least for a couple of years. Ruben was sick with the flu, the traffic was unbelievable, and we wanted to get to La Trastienda to cheer our student who was competing in the first round of the Campeonato.  But we knew we had to get it done before my 2 month old DNI expires this week. When we were there last week they gave me a folder with all the requirements of the Pensionada Visa, and so I had them all, the photocopies, the new pictures, the police clearance, etc., in addition to pounds of papers I had from previous tramites, just to be on the safe side.

The clerk didn't give a damn about anything that I had, and would only scribble on a Post-it note a new list of papers I need before the expiration date of Friday, Aug. 27. She wanted me to bring a letter from the U.S. Consulate about my pension, and wouldn't even look at the apostilled, officially translated and approved, letter from the Los Angeles Public Library which affirmed that I have an early retirement income, and which proved my status oh so many years ago when I originally applied for residency. She said that I need $2,000 usd/mo while the brochure says it's 2,000 pesos Argentinos. "Oh," she said, "That brochure hasn't been good since July 6th!"  "But they just gave me this brochure here last week!" "Doesn't matter. And you need a bank account in an Argentine bank." But I have all this papers that show all of my pension is withdrawn here and I spend it all here every month." "Doesn't matter," she says, without looking at my paperwork.

So I just returned from the Banco Frances where I had opened an account two years ago to satisfy another megalomaniac in Migraciones, but since I had never used it--we spend all our money every month; how to pay 60 pesos/mo for maintenance?--the account was of course closed. I can't open a new one without more papers from AFIP and an utility bill (only gas, electric or telephone) in my name, and those bills which I pay every month are in the name of the owner of the apartment.

If I don't have everything down in Retiro by Friday, I have to pay 900 pesos fine.
I'm ready to forget the whole thing and to just leave every three months like before, or just leave period.

Argentina is a fabulous vacation destination but it beats the heck out of me why anybody would want to live here if they had a choice.


Anonymous said...

If I had been forced into a bureaucratic fiasco like this, I certainly would never had considered living here. Pointless, mindless bureaucracy turns me away faster than a permeating sewage stink.

But then, in all my long life, Argentina never occurred to me as a place in the world I would want to live - I don't have the tango compulsion, for one thing. Passing through as long as I must is way long enough.

So I agree, really nice country for a vacation, but a terrible place to live (unless you have always lived here and gotten used to the BS of daily life, or you are one of the misfortunate folks with no choice). I am always surprised when I come across Americans who have chosen to live here permanently.

On a personal note, I will attend the Noon Wed thing tomorrow if you are going to be there, and bring the book. Are you?

tangocherie said...

I'll be there if I haven't thrown myself under a bus by then.

maryann said...

Oh Cherie, how FRUSTRATING!! There aren't enough words to describe the bureaucracy in BA - a few that come to mind: surreal, bizarre, nightmarish, inexplicable...

Hang in there please.

Mary Ann

a Broad said...

We also never dreamt we would move to and live in Buenos Aires and I can't imagine going through what you have been dealing with on this subject.

We are here 3 years, arrived with our Residents visa, did the renewals each year with a tiny bit of jerking us around for more papers etc but we are Permanent , all except for the stamps which they are staying is due to overload. They have been very nice to us and assure us that everything is fine, just delayed because of their workload.
We will see in November when we go back if it is finally finished.

Have you considered getting someone to help you with this, like the ARCA people?
and stay away from buses !!

Margo Romero said...

¡Los trámites y la burocracia!

I understand you so well... In Chile it's the same thing... Gee, I'm sorry. It can be so, so frustrating. And expensive.

Tangocommuter said...

It would be a nightmare for Kafka, let alone for a tanguera! Hope you can smile and get some sense from them!


Angelina Tanguera said...

My deepest sympathy Cherie - what a nightmare. Hopefully writing about it helps! I am going to put a link from Angelina's blog because there are many Aussies who think living in Buenos Aires will be easy! Also I have a close friend who worked high up in the Australian embassy for a number of years who says they would never live there! even though they love tango and BA - because of problems such as these and corruptions are rife. Sooo frustrating.

Maraya Loza-Koxahn said...

Dear Cherie,

I'm so sorry you're having a difficult time of it. I hope it works out for you FAST! It seems they (whoever) are always changing the rules. I don't know why they would want to make it so difficult there for people who come to contribute. You're a lovely person Cherie - it's gotta work out. Blessings from afar!