Argentina- population 42.6 million, 92% Roman Catholic, 20% of which are practicing Catholics view the Coronation Mass of Argentine Pope Francis in the Plaza de Mayo. The Pope pictured above with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Argentina owes a large part of its culture from immigration from Spain and Italy post separation from Spain in 1816 but currently owes 85% of immigration to other Latin American countries.
The topography and climate of Argentina ranges diversely from the from the highest point in the Hemisphere to the West along the Andes mountains bordering Chile, to the Patagonia plateau at the tip of the Strait of Magellan and the majority of the arable land along the eastern coast and further north on the Pampas lowlands. Argentina borders Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia and currently holds border disputes with the UK, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, the Sandwich Islands, Antartica and the Quarai River. There are 23 provinces and the capital city of Buenos Aires is an autonomous region.
Argentina historically has been outspoken about its future and typically votes along populist lines following military control in the mid 70s. Menem, Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner are examples of populist leaders. Unfortunately economic instability has led the country to often-times impeach leadership for poor performance making long term policy decisions difficult and a source for falsifying national statistics and corruption. President Fernandez is pictured here with late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and above with President Barrack Obama.
Movement from abusivestate control and pro-American diplomacy to self-indignant, internationally controversial measures which have led to ailing rural medical care, a military with lagging technology and state cutbacks on essential projects like education. These policies include: 2011- newsprint control, increased tariffs and taxation on foreign goods, parts, energy, resources and travel, imposed high consumption taxes, mandated state reserves and currency controls2012- Argentine sailors pulling weapons on Ghanaian officials, imposed controversial balances of imports and exports within each company, forced nationalization of YPF2013- Increased protectionist labor laws on foreign countries operating in Argentina, amidst hyperinflation and a negative growth GDP some trade barriers were lifted this January
Largely a beef and pasta country, imposed export, import restrictions have directly led to the dwindling of the prime cattle industry by over 11 million cattle (the equivalent of Uruguay’s entire production) and the devastation of the auto manufacturing industry which relies on restricted parts imports halting production lines. Creative Argentines with sufficient funds shift focus on alternative industries not heavily regulated like the fishing industry which sored in 2012.
Although the 2012 nationalization of YPF, 2013 loss of Brazilian potash mining and protectionist Peronist policies paired with refusal to comply with international accords have jeopardized Argentina’s internal and international economic standing, traditional Argentine culture, tango, soccer and Yerba Mate continue to be exported to the world.
The recent death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has left a power gap within the region and as Argentina begins printing 5 million peso notes (which may be less than 1/3 the value they were a year ago) Argentines increasingly rely on foreign investments and currency for stability. Recently President Fernandez opened the capital’s doors to World Bank and IMF investigators to check domestic economic policy and standings, perhaps the country would benefit from similar changes of increased flexibility with regards to economic constraints, the Falklands and international cooperation. Without assertive changes, Argentina risks electing new populist leadership in 2015 or the loss of stability as the Argentine public will lose confidence in the current administration.
In 2013, two progressive movements have arisen, the reduction of some trade barriers in January and recent cooperation with Iran on investigations concerning the 1994 bombing of an Argentine Jewish center which killed 85 people. Currently failures include relentless protests against Great Britain and the Falklands over claimed territorial rights to the islands and the “indefinite withdrawal” from Argentina by Brazilian Corporation Vale worth well over $6bn in investment and opportunity.
Argentina Final Presentation, The Changing Face of Argentina
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