In the heart of Buenos Aires, representing the political center of Argentina is Plaza de Mayo. Argentina commemorates two dates that were key to the establishment of the country, the Argentine Republic.
When the King of Spain was deposed by Napoleon in May of 1810, the citizens of Argentina decided that it was time to take matters into their own hands. Why should they continue to follow the dictates of the King when he was no longer in power? The result was the removal of Viceroy Cisneros, the King’s representative and the establishment of the First Junta on May 25, 1810. Most of these activities took place in this plaza which is represented by the Pirámide de Mayo. Subsequently, on July 9, 1816, Argentina declared its independence. There followed many years of struggle but eventually their declaration held.
Dominating one end of Plaza de Mayo is Casa Rosada, or Pink House. This building houses the official offices for the President of Argentina, currently Cristina Kirchner. The building, which dates from the late 1800’s does not also serve as the president’s residence like the White House in the US. There are many theories for the pink color but the generally accepted one is that they wanted to have a waterproof coating and the material available at that time was responsible for the pink color. At the other end of the plaza is the Cabildo which originally housed the local government.
Plaza de Mayo is also home to the many protests that take place in Buenos Aires on a daily basis. There is a permanent presence here for a group of soldiers who participated in the Falklands war but were denied benefits normally afforded those who have represented their country in a war.