Anteanoche -- that is, the night before last (side q: why doesn't English have a convenient, single word for this?) -- another Palermo restaurant was attacked by juvenile delinquents. This time it was a place I've never been called Paradigma, on Armenia's 1200 block. A group of young thugs took money & personal effects from 6 customers and the manager at 10:30 PM (eating prime time). A member of the local police force chased the group & apprehended an 18 year old.
About 6 or 7 hours later (5 AM-ish), Cacharel (photo from La Nacion, above), on Honduras's 4800 block, was robbed of pesos, dollars, vouchers & merchandise. La Nacion links these Palermo Viejo crimes to a wave that started in May, when Meridiano 58 was hit, followed by 5 other area restaurants in July.
Area police assure us that they've upped their vigilance in the area, but some of the barrio's merchants say the police only keep a special lookout for those businesses that pay additional security fees (i.e., hire guards who also work as policemen, I suppose?). Concerned neighbors are calling Palermo a zona liberada, which led me on another linguistic side trip. Zona liberada -- literally, "liberated zone" -- seems to be a uniquely Argentine term to describe a lawless place or a No Man's Land. On one language message board, readers write in that they've never heard the term used in Spain, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua nor Peru. But here in Argentina, it seems a odd term to use in an article that describes the immediate arrest of a thief. Maybe the member of the police force (in the article described as "un efectivo de la comisaría 25a") was moonshining at the time?
From Saturday's La Nacion:
Palermo, otra vez víctima del delito
Anteanoche robaron en un restaurante y ayer a la madrugada en un local de ropa; los vecinos hablan de "zona liberada"