No one can escape Argentina’s greatest economic disaster in virtually twenty years – not even the useless. 

The value of shopping for, renting and sustaining graves and tombs is so excessive that many individuals decide to cremate their family members as an alternative.

Juan Tapia runs the Cocheria Tacuari undertakers in Buenos Aires, which has been working for 60 years.

“It’s an economic problem. People don’t have enough money to pay for a service. Family members help each other, ask for loans; some come and pay with US dollars that they’ve saved or kept under the mattress,” he advised AFP.

Undertakers are continually pressured to drop their costs “because unfortunately people don’t have the same spending power of a few years ago.”

Paying for a funeral “means, for a family, that they might not eat this month,” stated Tapia.

The least expensive service provided by Cocheria Tacuari is a cremation with out a wake, which prices 25,000 pesos (roughly US$415) – virtually 50 p.c greater than the minimal wage of 16,875 pesos a month. More costly choices can value as much as 180,000 pesos, however few are concerned about these.

“Almost 90 percent ask for cremation. Young people want nothing to do either with graves, niches [cubbies for storing remains urns] or tombs,” stated Tapia.

His estimations are usually not far off from official statistics.

In 2018, 78.5 p.c of corpses in Buenos Aires had been cremated, based on an AFP rely of public information. That’s the best proportion over the past decade.

“To lease a niche in the cemetery, you have to pay a huge amount every year, and many don’t want to and can’t do it, so they opt for a cremation,” stated Tapia.

Rents at public cemeteries in Buenos Aires, together with upkeep, vary from 400-2,000 pesos a month. In the personal sector, plots promote for a minimal of 55,000 pesos with month-to-month upkeep from 500 pesos.

Cremation, however, doesn’t incur long-term bills. As a outcome, useless our bodies are sometimes taken straight from the hospital to the crematorium in easy poplar wooden coffins.


cemetery chacarita
Patricia Álvarez seems at her household’s on-sale area of interest on the Chacarita Cemetery.


Niche on the market

Three months in the past, Patricia Álvarez, an English translator and make-up artist, marketed on the Internet a area of interest that her household had purchased within the Chacarita public cemetery in Buenos Aires.

“I’m selling it because there’s no sense” in maintaining it, she advised AFP when contacted about her advert – the one response she’s had.

“It doesn’t cost much, 500 pesos a month, but when it builds up, it’s annoying, and it adds to a mountain of other expenses I already have,” she stated.

The Álvarez’s area of interest seems to be in good situation, however others within the cemetery are in a sorry state, with notes hooked up to them asking the homeowners or leasers to “go and see the administration.”

Many tombs have been deserted and overgrown with vegetation. Some have damaged statues, and there are niches which were utterly destroyed. In some, the bones inside are seen. 

Standing beside her mom’s tomb, gloves and pruning shears in her fingers, Maria has determined to cease paying the cemetery’s upkeep charges.

“I don’t think I’ll pay the 1,500 pesos a month any more to trim the vegetation – it’s a lot!” she advised AFP, preferring to not give her surname for worry of reprisals by the positioning’s upkeep personnel. “For this money, it’s better that I come and do it myself.”

But based on Jorge Bonacorsi, president of the Argentine funerary companies federation, value is just not the one factor deterring Argentines from conventional burials.

He says the rise in cremations is a international development.

“What prevails now is a certain sentimental practicality: people want to get rid of the problem,” he stated.


by Nadia Nasanovsky, AFP


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