Tomorrow there will be a free rock concert in support of the psychiatric hospital El Borda in the Barracas neighborhood.
The headlining act will be Bersuit Vergarabat, one of Argentina’s most popular rock bands, who have long demonstrated solidarity with the patients of El Borda, often playing in hospital pajamas.
The show will kick off with singer-songwriter Leo Garcia, followed by Zambayony, Pablo Dacal, Cufa Roll, Sponsors, Villanos, and rock guitarist Gustavo Bazterrica. It is rumored that another popular National Rock band, Attaque 77, may also show up.
The concert is hosted by the Asociación Trabajadores del Estado (ATE) in protest of poor conditions in the hospital and the city’s plans to close it.
About Hospital Borda
Municipal Hospital José Tiburcio Borda houses 700 patients and employs 1,200 doctors, nurses and other medical personnel.
Founded in 1865, this Buenos Aires institution has received worldwide recognition for its multi-disciplinary therapeutic environment. In addition to treating patients, the hospital has workshops where patients learn skills such as carpentry, ironwork and painting. There is also a bakery ‘Pan del Borda’ which employs 15 residents and provides bread for patients and staff.
A popular radio station ‘La Colifata,’ featuring patients as DJ’s and producers, is broadcast from within the hospital. It was the first program of its kind in the world and has since been emulated in other South American countries and in Spain and Germany. ‘Los Loqueros’ (‘the crazies’), as the patient-broadcasters call themselves, have considerable recognition in Buenos Aires and have taken the stage for spoken word performances with musicians such as France’s Mano Chau.
Closure of El Borda
In 2008 the city announced it would be closing El Borda and replacing it with smaller health centers and halfway houses scattered around the city. Since then, conditions at the hospital have declined, with patients living without gas in the central pavilion, meaning they don’t have heat, hot showers or the ability to cook food.
The National Health Department does not support the hospital’s closure, but has also not provided much logistical support to patients and staff.
Many of the patients at El Borda have serious psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and require full-time care.
The motive behind the closure is the valuable 20 hectares of land the hospital sits upon. The current city administration, under the direction of Mayor Mauricio Macri, plans to kick out the remaining residents and put a civic cultural center at El Borda. The building they plan to use for the center was declared a historic monument in 1999.
The ‘loqueros’ will not leave easily though. The city is facing considerable resistance from the patients, staff and their large group of supporters from the general population.
In case of rain, the concert will take place the following Tuesday.
Hospital El Borda
Ramon Carrillo 375
Activities begin at 2 p.m., concert at 4 p.m.