You’ve probably already experienced it, a ride with one of those Buenos Aires taxi drivers that have enough anger pent up inside them that it just flows out with every word they speak. Stories are a dime a dozen, from the ongoing violent battle with Uber, to shouting matches against bus drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians. If you’ve been in Buenos Aires for more than a hot minute, you’ve probably had a brush with an unstable cab driver.
Case in point: last Friday in Villa Urquiza, taxista Claudio Daniel Rímolo went viral when he absolutely lost his mind and went all Michael Douglas in Falling Down on another driver, punching him, breaking his car’s windshield, and coming very close to running him over. A truly deplorable act of violence that just happened to be caught by a bystander with his phone:
Well, fortunately, justice appears to have been served for once as Rímolo’s license was suspended; he could face up to two years in jail, depending on the results of the medical exams of Fabio Rojas, the other driver involved. In an interview with Infobae, Rojas explained: “I’ve seen the video five times and I believe he wanted to kill me. When he backs up in reverse… I’m thankful to be alive. What happened to the car was bad but fortunately nothing happened to me.” The video was actually one of the most important pieces of evidence in the case as even the owner of the taxi, María Lucila Baltón, declared that she didn’t understand the gravity of the incident until she saw the clip.
Even though this case seems to be coming to a satisfactory conclusion, it is nevertheless very worrisome that these acts of violence have become all too common on the streets of Buenos Aires. According to Norberto Briotto, the attorney in charge of this case: “The attorney’s office receives many of these cases in which drivers react violently, many of which involve colectivos. There’s a lot of fighting, a lot of taking justice in their own hands, getting out of their cars and breaking the other vehicle. We see almost one of these each day.”
The optimist in me hopes this case somehow serves as an example for drivers in general (and taxi drivers in particular) to tone down their aggression a few notches and aim to resolving things through conversation. But the cynic in me can pretty much guarantee that it’s gonna be less than a week before we see something like this again with our own eyes.