journey to the country of the muleteers and their life of freedom and autonomy

“Slavery was not abolished. It was changed to 8 hours a day. (The Luthiers)

Nor him renegade from Pereyra Toiletno gift second shadownor him Martin Fierronor him black antnor the memory Big Way of Patagonia, nor the lazy and unamused from Moreiranor almost any of those outstanding and remembered Argentine gauchos would have been land owners with a ranch and cattle to work and live in peace.

Herds heading to wintering grounds between Manzano Amargo and Varvarco along beautiful Route 54. Photo: Ricardo Kleine Samson

Their aspiration was freedom and they may have achieved it, but they were never self-reliant. They have always depended on employment, someone else’s connivance and even, for many of them, injustice and submission did not hurt to embrace the cause of freedom. The story of their life is linked to the intolerable even contemptuous tyranny of their employers and it is this condition that drives them to seek freedom.

These days, they return to their wintering grounds to begin another cycle of gestation and calving. Then, in summer, the offspring will fortify themselves with the pastures and the meltwater from the heights”.

Like the country, they were free; but, like the country too, they were not autonomous and their character would never have allowed it. They could run freely in the meadows of the pampas with that romantic impression given them by the galloping horse with its poncho fluttering in the wind, but it all ended in the harsh reality of the following fence.

They could round up thousands of head of cattle from province to province, pbut they would never have been his cows… like this epic and famous breeding of more than 32,500 hens which, between Inodoro and Mendieta, had to gather in a ranch, a fact which will be immortalized with this metaphorical phrase of their Spanish-speaking dog when he said: “The sorrows are ours, the chickens are aliens”

Herds heading to wintering grounds between Manzano Amargo and Varvarco along beautiful Route 54. Photo: Ricardo Kleine Samson

They were, for others, strong, courageous and indomitable; In fact, they were the main protagonists of the libertarian acts of the country, when they were not recruited into the army to run and corner the Indian or those internal wars which ended up forging the nation, but, despite so much courage, they could not with themselves.

They needed the salary, meager and distant, and their only hope was to be able to collect it to subsist only from their tavern. The gaucho was a poor and unequal man. “I barely pay for the wine, I can never invite” The very dear Piero used to sing on “Juan Boliche”.

Herds heading for the wintering grounds between Manzano Amargo and Varvarco along the beautiful Route 54..Photo: Ricardo Kleine Samson

They were costumbristas and had deep-rooted traditions, but they lacked a culture that gave them an identity and contained them as much as they had to take care of them.

The gaucho is, as Negro Fontanarrosa said when referring to Don Inodoro: He’s a guy like so many others, who does what he can, but not what he wants”

Herds heading to wintering grounds between Manzano Amargo and Varvarco along beautiful Route 54. Photo: Ricardo Kleine Samson

And while all this was going on, before the Nation and the gaucho himself even existed,The chiveros of the north of the Neuquén massiffor a few generations they have forged a culture which, in addition to sheltering them, endowing them with values ​​and giving them autonomy, lfilled you with the dignity of someone who does what he wants. Apart from everything that was happening and, what is more, unconscious of it, the transhumant forged the identity of someone who did not need anyone to be able to live in the greatest dignity without great aspirations or deprivations.

They were not only free, they were autonomous and still are. His field, his animals and his life belong to him. They were and remain a single and indivisible question. One stamp.

No hierarchies or templates. No leaders, no martyrs, no bosses, no heroes whom to remember, imitate, honor or obey. No statues to mummify anyone’s past. They are all the same. Without economic or work dependency, this allowed them to continue living, even if the world collapsed. Your livelihood is assured.

Herds heading to wintering grounds between Manzano Amargo and Varvarco along beautiful Route 54. Photo: Ricardo Kleine Samson

The one who goes there is Don Hernández, it’s Lazcano, it’s Jorquera, it’s Cáceres… he keeps his piño with his dog, his horse and his donkey. He returns from his field in summer from the high peaks of this mountain range to his wintering steppe to wait for spring..

He is Homo transhumance, one more being, much more indomitable than the renegade by Inodoro Pereyra and more, much more beautiful than Facón Grande. As noble and good as Sombra. A guy who doesn’t yearn for freedom, because his autonomy has given him everything and included him.

Herds heading to wintering grounds between Manzano Amargo and Varvarco along beautiful Route 54. Photo: Ricardo Kleine Samson

And, while Mr Toilet seems more satisfied with who he is than what he does, Don Hernández shows pleasure in what he does, in addition to being what he is.


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