COUNTRIES

ARGENTINA

Programs Offered

Buenos Aires: Universidad de Belgrano

A few facts about the country:

OFFICIAL NAME: Argentine Republic

GOVERNMENT TYPE: Republic

CHIEF OF STATE: President Cristina FERNANDEZ DE KIRCHNER (since 10 December 2007); Vice President Julio COBOS (since 10 December 2007); note the president is both the chief of state and head of government

POPULATION: 40.482 Million

LOCATION: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay

TERRAIN AND CLIMATE: Rich plains of the Pampas in northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in south, rugged Andes along western border. Mostly temperate; arid in southeast; sub Antarctic in southwest

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Spanish

GENERAL HISTORY: In 1816, the United Provinces of the Rio Plata declared their independence from Spain. After Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay went their separate ways, the area that remained became Argentina. The country's population and culture were heavily shaped by immigrants from throughout Europe, but most particularly Italy and Spain, which provided the largest percentage of newcomers from 1860 to 1930. Up until about the mid20th century, much of Argentina's history was dominated by periods of internal political conflict between Federalists and Unitarians and between civilian and military factions.

After World War II, an era of Peronist authoritarian rule and interference in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983, and has persisted despite numerous challenges, the most formidable of which was a severe economic crisis in 2001-02 that led to violent public protests and the resignation of several interim presidents.
The economy has recovered strongly since bottoming out in 2002.

ECONOMY: Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an exportoriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Although one of the world's wealthiest countries 100 years ago, Argentina suffered during most of the 20th century from recurring economic crises, persistent fiscal and current account deficits, high inflation, mounting external debt, and capital flight. A severe depression, growing public and external indebtedness, and a bank run culminated in 2001 in the most serious economic, social, and political crisis in the country's turbulent history. The economy bottomed out that year, with real GDP 18% smaller than in 1998 and almost 60% of Argentines under the poverty line. Real GDP rebounded to grow by an average 9% annually over the subsequent five years, taking advantage of previously idled industrial capacity and labor, an audacious debt restructuring and reduced debt burden, excellent international financial conditions, and expansionary monetary and fiscal policies.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: Traffic accidents are the primary threat to life and limb in Argentina. Pedestrians and drivers should exercise caution. Drivers frequently ignore traffic laws and vehicles often travel at excessive speeds. The rate and toll of traffic accidents has been a topic of much media attention over the past year. The Institute of Road Safety and Education, a private Buenos Aires organization dedicated to transportation safety issues, reports that Argentina has the highest traffic mortality rate in South America per 100,000 inhabitants.