POSADAS, Argentina – I had almost forgotten that today was Labor Day – which is celebrated on May 1 here in Latin America, rather than in September. Here Labor Day, or Dia de los Trabajadores – Day of the Workers – is much more of a rallying event for the working class, a concept foreign to most Americans these days, even as our own labor movement seems to fade into the sunset.
At any rate, it’s not Labor Day here, so I wished my family a happy holiday online and headed for the central plaza to find a bank to change my money. It was my first day in Argentina, having crossed the border from Paraguay last night. In any new city here in Latin America, the Plaza de Armas is always my first stop – or, as my host corrected me, the “centro,” as it’s called here in Argentina. Here in Posadas it’s also known as the 9th of July Plaza – the day commemorating Argentine independence.
“”Plaza de Armas’ is so Latin American!” he teased me. “Argentines don’t really think of themselves as Latin Americans.”
“Of course you don’t,” I joked right back. “But naming your plazas and your streets for dates is so Latin American!”
“Really?” That stopped him.