I’m not exaggerating.
Puerto Madero has been completely sealed off. Access to certain streets is restricted between 6 AM and 10 PM and cars are being redirected to Narnia or God knows where until Thursday. Hundreds of people forced to be standing under the searing sun, waiting to clear through security so they can get to their jobs. Oh, and extremely expensive snacks.
Welcome to the 11th World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, where the top decision-making body of the WTO gets together to discuss global trade. Sometimes it ends in a mess because of anti-globalization protests (I’m looking at you, Seattle) so I guess Argentina didn’t want to join that club and decided that, while we’re totally used to protests disrupting everyday life down here, we were not going to let that happen this time, no sir.
You see, according to the government the goal is to “avoid possible actions from violent groups that may put at risk the security of the conference’s attendees, people living or working in the conference’s area, public or private property and the public order in general.”
The result? Absolute pandemonium.
First of all, make sure you understand this: since the conference takes place at the Hilton, Puerto Madero has been restricted and is sealed off. Yes, all of it. All. Of. It. And if you want to go in there you better a) have an ID that justifies your presence there and b) be ready to stand in line for hours. Think I’m kidding? I am not. It’s so bad that La Nación is calling it downright “torture“.
Cola de 300 metros para entrar a Puerto Madero. Ridículo. pic.twitter.com/Geeu0IfBDH
— Ignacio Olivera Doll (@ioliveradoll) 11 de desembre de 2017
That’s right. People are standing in a 300-meter line because they have no choice but to do so.
Don’t expect the Microcentro area to be a walk in the park, either. If you need to head over there for whatever reason, take the subte (the Leandro N. Alem station on the B Line has been closed though) or a bike. Or walk. But traffic is pretty crazy right now since many roads have been blocked for security reasons. Take a look at the map that La Nación posted.
See those yellow areas that include all of Puerto Madero, the Kirchner Cultural Center, the Sheraton in Retiro and the Convention Center in Recoleta? Those are all the places you (probably) cannot go to this week. Those purple lines? Streets that are shut down. And the purple circles are the highway exits you will not be able to take this week.
If for some mad reason you decided to take the ferry to Uruguay, you have to go through Leandro N. Alem, San Martín, Antártida Argentina Av. and Cecilia Grierson. If you live in the Greater Buenos Aires area and usually take a combi to the city, the Combi Station (AKA Parada de Combis is also closed and you better get off at the previous station).
So take my advice, call in sick and stay home watching Netflix’s new German drama Dark. And if by any chance you’re into what’s happening at the WTO ministerial conference, then make sure you check The Bubble this week because believe, we’re going to be all over it.