Europeans first discovered Argentina in 1502 during the voyage of Amerigo Vespucci. In 1580 the Spanish founded a colony in Buenos Aires. By 1800 Buenos Aires had a population of 50,000. In 1816 Argentina declared it independence from Spain. In 1824 a constitutional assembly passed a constitution. Conservative political forces for the rest of the 19th century dominated Argentina. During this period the country grew rapidly.
In 1916 Radical forces took control of the government. They were ousted in 1935. In 1946 Juan Peron took control of the government. Peron was ousted in 1955 by the military. The military maintained power until 1973, when violence forced the military to allow the return of Peron. He died the next year and his third wife Isabella Peron took over. She was able to maintain power for only two years. The military regained power and instituted a very repressive regime in which 20,000 leftist disappeared.
When Argentina occupied the Falkland Islands in 1982 the British defeated the Argentineans and reoccupied the Falklands. The defeat resulted in the fall of military government. In 1989 Carlos Memen became the President of the country and began serious economic and political reform.
Argentina (Spanish: [aɾxenˈtina] ), officially the Argentine Republic [A] (Spanish: República Argentina), is a country in the southern half of South America. It shares the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, and is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. Argentina covers an area of 2,780,400 km 2 (1,073,500 sq mi), [B] and is the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world. It is the second-largest country in South America after Brazil, the fourth-largest country in the Americas, and the eighth-largest country in the world. Argentina is subdivided into twenty-three provinces, and one autonomous city, which is the federal capital and largest city of the nation, Buenos Aires. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over a part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
- ^ Though not declared official de jure, the Spanish language is the only one used in the wording of laws, decrees, resolutions, official documents and public acts thus making it the de facto official language.
- ^ A lot of White Argentines are descendants of many different European countries, however, the majority of them have at least partial or mixed Spanish or Italian ancestry.
- ^ 10 June 1945, but trains are still driven on left.
The earliest recorded human presence in modern-day Argentina dates back to the Paleolithic period.  The Inca Empire expanded to the northwest of the country in Pre-Columbian times. The country has its roots in Spanish colonization of the region during the 16th century.  Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata,  a Spanish overseas viceroyalty founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, culminating in the country's reorganization as a federation. The country thereafter enjoyed relative peace and stability, with several waves of European immigration, mainly Italians and Spaniards, radically reshaping its cultural and demographic outlook 62.5% of the population has full or partial Italian ancestry,   and the Argentine culture has significant connections to the Italian culture. 
The almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity led to Argentina becoming the seventh-wealthiest nation in the world by the early 20th century.    According to the Maddison Historical Statistics Project, Argentina had the world's highest real GDP per capita during 1895 and 1896, and was consistently in the top ten before at least 1920.   Currently, it is ranked 71st in the world. Following the Great Depression in the 1930s, Argentina descended into political instability and economic decline that pushed it back into underdevelopment,  although it remained among the fifteen richest countries for several decades.  Following the death of President Juan Perón in 1974, his widow and vice president, Isabel Martínez de Perón, ascended to the presidency. She was overthrown in 1976 by a military dictatorship. The military government persecuted and murdered thousands of political critics, activists, and leftists in the Dirty War, a period of state terrorism and civil unrest that lasted over until the election of Raúl Alfonsín as president in 1983.
Argentina ranks very high in the Human Development Index, the second-highest in Latin America after Chile. It is a regional power, and retains its historic status as a middle power in international affairs.    It maintains the second-largest economy in South America, and is a member of G-15 and G20. Argentina is also a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Mercosur, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Organization of Ibero-American States.
The History of Argentina
If you&aposre one of the two or three people that have followed my critical journey through reading a history of every country in the world (that has one), you&aposre likely to have noticed a recurring theme that goes something like this:
Book starts off great. Book is great until post-WWII (doesn&apost matter where the hell in the world it is). Book devolves into mind-numbing orgy of economic factoids and meaninglessnesse "Don't cry for me Argentina. no wait, cry for me now that I'm done reading this book."
If you're one of the two or three people that have followed my critical journey through reading a history of every country in the world (that has one), you're likely to have noticed a recurring theme that goes something like this:
Book starts off great. Book is great until post-WWII (doesn't matter where the hell in the world it is). Book devolves into mind-numbing orgy of economic factoids and meaninglessnesses.
This one takes that last bit and expands it into an excruciating, torturous miasma of economic and political messes. It's a shame because Argentina, who shouldn't cry for us, seems like a really fascinating place! Borges! The Pampas! The best 20th century war=The Falklands "War" (in it's obligatory quotes)! Madonna! Operation Condor! All those crazy wars with its neighbors!
Well, none of that is to be found here. Seriously, folks, how can you discuss The Dirty War and not mention US complicity in Operation Condor? How can you expand mind-numbing economic matters to fill most of a book? And totally leave out culture? Or Argentinians other than stupid politicians?
New generations of players would take on and among the most prominent would be names such as Gabriel Batistuta, Diego Simeone, Javier Zanetti and Juan Sebastián Verón.
Daniel Passarella had taken over as coach and introduced a strict discipline: long hair, earrings, and even homosexuality(!) was banned. Batistuta was separated from the team during a long period until he finally made a haircut Fernando Redondo that refused a concession remained outside the team.
In the World Cup that followed, Argentina would eliminate England after a thriller, but lose a tight semi-final against the Netherlands. In 2002 Argentina – now with Marcelo Bielsa as coach, once again faced England, this time in the group and went down 1-2. That meant they had to win against Sweden in the last match (or England had to lose to Nigeria), but despite a huge playing advantage the match ended 1-1. Argentina was out already in the first round, it hadn&rsquot happened since 1962.
The Argentine side that arrived to the following World Cup was stuffed with star players such as Javier Mascherano, Esteban Cambiasso and Juan Román Riquelme. As one of the favorites they become even more bestowed after a 6-0 demolition of Serbia and Montenegro, which also included a display of magnificent football. In the same match Lionel Messi made his World Cup debut and contributed with one assist and one goal.
The match against Mexico in the round of 16 was more even than expected, but in the end Maxi Rodríguez would make it 2-1 on extra time with a beautiful long-range shot. Sadly, for the fans of Argentina, the national team were to be eliminated after a penalty shootout by the host team Germany in the quarter-finals.
The coach José Pékerman would be criticized for not letting Messi play a single minute in the last game. Alfio Basile took over the job. Although he did only last two years until it was time for yet another chapter of Diego Maradona in Argentine football. On October 2008 he was appointed as the new coach and would stay during the following World Cup tournament qualification and finals.
The hopes for a third Argentine World Cup glory was when set with Maradona as coach and his inheritor on the pitch. Messi would however not be the savior that so many hoped for. Once again, Argentina would be overcome in a World Cup by Germany, this time in a humiliated fashion. Germany beat Argentina with 4-0 in Cape Town and for the fans of the Albiceleste it lay four years of waiting in front of them.
In 2014, on South American soil, it was once again a World Cup that was anticipated by many to be &ldquoMessi&rsquos tournament&rdquo. And at least, it would – almost – be Argentine&rsquos. Brazil, perhaps the biggest favorite after all, were completely crushed in the semi-final. Argentina who had reach the final was not happy by the name of the opponents. According to the statistics Argentina hadn&rsquot beat Germany (or West Germany) in a World Cup since 1986.
Argentina played defensive in the final, perhaps not strange given the performance Germany had proven mighty of against Brazil. Close to the end of the extra time, Mario Götze would destroy the Argentine dreams.
As the biggest star in the game at the time, Messi had enormous expectations to live up to in the 2018 World Cup. Already in the second game against Croatia, it stood clear that Argentina and Messi probably would deliver that many had expected. Argentina was beaten with three goals to none. Still, under hard pressure, Argentina had managed to take the second place in the group. But they were nevertheless eliminated by France – the soon-to-be champions – in a spectacular match.
The Argentine side in 2017 before a World Cup Qualifying game.
FIFA World Cup results
Argentina has participated 17 times in the World Cup (FIFA World Cup qualification not included).
|2018||Round of 16|
|1994||Round of 16|
|1986||Winners||2nd tournament title|
|1978*||Winners||1st tournament title|
|1954||Decline to participate|
|1950||Decline to participate|
|1938||Decline to participate|
Campeonato Sudamericano / Copa América
South American Championships were known until 1975 as the Campeonato Sudamericano before it was renamed as Copa América. Argentina has participated 45 times in the tournament.
|1939||Decline to participate|
|1949||Decline to participate|
|1953||Decline to participate|
* In 1959, two South American Championship were hold, in Argentina and in Ecuador.
The logo of Argentina has the "AFA" (Asociación del Fútbol Argentino) initials in the center against gold colored background. Above that, three lines in light blue and white mark the Argentine flag. Around the inner part of the crest goes a band of stylized grains.
Economics, Industry and Land Use in Argentina
Today, one of the most important sectors of Argentina's economy is its industry and approximately one-quarter of the country's workers are employed in manufacturing. Argentina's major industries include chemical and petrochemical, food production, leather, and textiles. Energy production and mineral resources including lead, zinc, copper, tin, silver, and uranium are also important to the economy. Argentina's main agricultural products include wheat, fruit, tea, and livestock.
History of Argentina - History
Traces of Argentina's history of human inhabitants date back to 11000BCE and are located in the Patagonia region of the country. Since the beginning of the Common Era, many small civilizations were formed, and eventually the northwestern region of the country was conquered by the Incan Empire in 1480CE and integrated into their territory. However, the country on the whole was inhabited by many different cultural groups such as nomadic peoples before the arrival of the Spanish.
The Spanish settlers arrived in Argentina in the year 1516CE and later established present day Buenos Aires in 1580. In 1776 the Spanish Empire established the Vice Royalty of Rio de la Plata which strengthened the empire's presence there and helped Buenos Aires become a bustling port city. In the year 1816, Buenos Aires declared its independence from Spain thanks to the famous General Jose de San Martin who campaigned for independence in the region. Following the failure of the Spanish to maintain Buenos Aires as part of the empire, two Argentinean groups spent years in conflict over the best way to establish the country. Finally, in 1861 a unified government was established in what is now known as Argentina.
Into the late 1800s, Argentina began to gain world recognition and experienced economic prosperity. With their newly acquired modern technology, Argentina was able to expand their agricultural markets. Also, many European nations began making investments in the country and sent workers to work on railroad and port production which allowed the country a spot on the top ten wealthiest countries list from 1880 to 1930.
In 1916 Conservative forces lost dominant control of the government which allowed the new acting party to open the door to more opportunities for the middle and lower classes in Argentina's government and politics. Additionally, this group was known for its push, though sometimes overly radical, for free elections and democratic institutions. However, in 1930 the military forced the president from power reestablishing a period of Conservative rule. The government of the 1930s continued using force whenever necessary to control the country. Eventually, the military disposed of the constitutional government in 1943 leading to the placement of Juan Domingo Peron who continuously focused his energy on the empowerment of the country's working class.
Peron was elected president and was reelected once before the military again ousted him in 1955. Throughout the 1950s and 60s military and civilian governments alternated power but could never reestablish the country's faded economic prosperity.
This led to the return of Peron in the early 1970s who was elected president in 1973. However, this period experienced a dramatic increase in violence and led to emergency decrees that allowed the imprisonment of suspected terrorists for an indefinite amount of time. After Peron's death a year later, his wife and vice president succeeded him but was removed once again by the military which retained power until the early 1980s. The military ruled viciously in hopes of reducing the strength of opposition groups throughout the country it has been said that as many as 30,000 people simply disappeared during this phase, a tragic period in Argentina's history that will never be forgotten.
Serious economic and social problems eventually led to the government's lifting of a ban on political parties. This also led to the reestablishment of many civil liberties. In 1983 Argentina held free elections and began an attempt to resolve the country's many problems. Since then the country has passed through numerous presidents fighting to improve the economic and social problems that exist even today. These issues continue to be addressed and are slowly improving with time. Today, Argentina is experiencing strong economic growth and political stability.
Argentina’s new president faces a formidable task in fixing his country’s economy. Tom Bailey takes a look at exactly how the South American nation found itself in its current condition
Argentina was once one of the world’s richest economies. Only as recently as the turn of the 20th century, Argentina, along with several European and North American economies, was part of an elite club of prosperous countries – a club that, following the rapid rise of China and other emerging market economies, has grown in size in the decades since.
It is popular to talk about the ‘rise of the rest’. Although the US remains preeminent in its economic sway for the time being, European economies have gradually fallen behind in terms of GDP size as other countries have steadily caught up, rising among the ranks of the world’s largest and most dominant economies. A few years ago, Brazil overtook the UK in terms of total GDP, while Germany recently saw Russia’s economy eclipse its own. For the most part, however, this was to be expected: European nations comprise a small corner of the earth, and as larger nations turn their subsistence farmers into industrial workers (and then service sector employees), overtaking the old powers of Europe is inevitable. It is less of a fall and more of an expected correction and relative decline.
Argentina, however, really has fallen: while a century ago it was one of the world’s most prosperous economies, it has now, according to the World Bank, been downgraded to an upper-middle income country. This rating is still better than that of the majority of countries today, but its relative position is a far cry from scarcely 100 years ago, when its wages rivalled those of the UK. In terms of prosperity, the nation has failed to maintain its position among the European and North American economies it once rivalled. Income per capita is now on average 43 percent of that of the world’s richest nations, among whom it once ranked (see Fig. 1).
A republic on the rocks
Behind this rise and fall has primarily been poor economic policy: a reliance on exports led to both the nation’s initial rise and later decline, while a subsequent attempt to seal itself off from the world economy merely furthered this descent.
Argentina has recently elected a new president, however: the former mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, of the centre-right Republican Proposal party. Since its fall from grace, Argentina has seen persistent poor policy and economic management from its leaders, creating a continually rising and falling economic pendulum (see Fig. 2). As such, the new leader has a formidable task ahead of him. Macri will have to grapple with both a historical legacy of Argentinian economic decline and the country’s currently poor economic performance, which largely comes thanks to his predecessor, Cristina Kirchner.
According to the World Bank’s Latin America and Caribbean Regional Outlook report, which was published in January, the country faces a number of challenges in the coming months and years: while the Argentinian economy saw a modest rebound of growth to 1.7 percent in 2015, the report noted that this was largely due to a surge in government spending. This increase, and the resulting rebound in growth, was unleashed by the previous administration in the run-up to election in the hope of buying the support of the electorate, but was ultimately unsustainable. As such, projected GDP growth for Argentina in 2016 is 0.7 percent.
Net exports, as noted by the report, have been falling, while private consumption is weak. Argentina has also been seeing soaring inflation, reaching over 15 percent in the first half of 2015 and around 14 percent in later months. This figure currently stands at around 20 percent.
Of course, some of the problems being faced by the Argentinian economy are cyclical: across the world there are fears of a new global downturn, while Argentina in particular is being hit by the economic troubles of neighbouring Brazil. The Portuguese-speaking giant is Argentina’s largest trading partner, and so some of its economic sectors, including the automobile industry, rely on Brazil for up to 80 percent of their trade. As the World Bank noted in its report: “Growth declines in Brazil tend to have measurable or statistically significant spill-overs to its South American neighbours. A one percentage point decline in Brazil’s growth tends to reduce growth in Argentina, after two years, by 0.7 [percent].”
Yet the country’s woes are not all imported: investor confidence in Argentina is particularly low at present as a result of unease over the nation’s fiscal and monetary policies, particularly with regards to its afflicting debt levels (see Fig. 3). Since the 1980s, the country has defaulted multiple times on its debt obligations most notably, but not most recently, in 2001, when it failed to pay creditors a total of $95bn – the biggest default in history.
The nation’s credit grade remains consistently low, being at the bottom of ratings compiled by financial advisory service Standard & Poor’s. Furthermore, since the mid-2000s, the country has been locked in a long-running dispute with so-called ‘holdout creditors’ – those holding bonds who refused debt swap options following Argentina’s multi-debt restructuring efforts. This has made Argentina something of a pariah on international bond markets, from which it is effectively barred.
On top of the world
This reputation is in stark contrast to how the Argentinian economy was performing and perceived in the past. Writing in 1905, economics observer Percy F Martin heaped praise upon the future of Argentina in his essay Through five republics of South America: “In spite of its enormous advance, which the republic has made within the last 10 years, the most cautious critic would not hesitate to aver that Argentina has but just entered upon the threshold of her greatness.”
He optimistically predicted that Argentina’s “next generation is destined to see as great a rate of progress in this country’s trade as the past 20 years have witnessed”, while he also showed admiration for the “common sense of the cosmopolitan commercial population”. This cosmopolitan population was made up of waves of European immigrants. While the story of the huddled masses of Europe seeking opportunity in the US now dominates historical memory, many also made a similar journey to Argentina – so many, in fact, that in the early 20th century, half of the capital’s population was foreign-born. These migrants went to find work in the country’s booming agricultural and cattle industry.
In the late 19th century, in the lead-up to the outbreak of the First World War, Argentinian GDP surged at an annual growth rate of 6 percent. Although the world has since seen growth rates much higher than this, at the time it was the fastest rate of growth recorded anywhere on the planet.
This impressive growth rate allowed the country to rank among the 10 wealthiest nations on earth at the time, ahead of France, Italy and even Germany. At the time, Argentina had a per capita income that was 50 percent greater than Italy’s, and nearly twice that of Japan’s. According to The Economist: “Income per head was 92 percent of the average of 16 rich economies.” Furthermore, Argentinians were four times as wealthy as Brazilians.
However, as The Economist starkly noted, “it never got better than this”. Since these glory days, Argentina’s “standing as one of the world’s most vibrant economies is a distant memory”. After a long decade of relative decline, while much of the rest of the world excelled, Argentinians ended the 20th century with an income that was less than fifty percent of that of the Italians and Japanese.
President of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, following his swearing-in ceremony on December 10, 2015
The country’s great wealth was based on a boom in global trade. The period before World War One was an era of unprecedented globalisation and free trade, of which the Argentinians took full advantage, most notably through the export of beef. The country’s abundant supply of various resources allowed it to find prosperity through exporting to the rest of the world – yet this possibility turned to dependency, putting the country’s fortunes at the behest of the rest of the world. When the era of free trade and economic liberalism fell victim to war and depression, Argentina began its long decline.
For a nation so reliant upon exports, the tariffs and blockades of war were a disaster. They also underlined a fundamental problem with the Argentinian economy: despite being one of the richest in the world prior to the war, it was not a modern, industrialising power like those that it surpassed in terms of wealth were. This meant that it was hit especially hard by the external shock of the new, war-torn era.
This was not unique to Argentina – the period of 1914 to 1945 was a catastrophe for most economies around the world. However, as much of the rest of the world subsequently went through an era of economic reconstruction, Argentina was for the most part left by the wayside.
Then, in 1946, Juan Perón came to power. His political philosophy, now known as Peronism, was a form of corporatism, chiefly favouring large state enterprises and an overbearing regulation on the economy. Of course, state protectionism itself isn’t always responsible for economic failure: South Korea and Taiwan both favoured protectionism in order to foster domestic industries in the 20th century, with the intent of using the method to build up industries to compete on the world market – which they did, very successfully. However, the protectionist policies of the two East Asian tigers and that of Argentina were very different.
Protectionism in Asia was intended to foster industry and ready it for the world market, while Argentina’s was an attempt to withdraw from the world economy and its fluctuations. The present fortune of each country speaks for itself. Under the command of Perón, the state even went so far as to monopolise all foreign trade, a policy generally associated with countries east of the Iron Curtain. The Asian countries also had a greater degree of political stability at the time, boasting secure property rights – something that Argentina was, and still is, sorely lacking.
Argentina attempted to liberalise in the 1970s, but without any industry able to meaningfully compare with international competitors, this only served to precipitate another decline. Peronism had allowed some industries to grow, but they were massively inefficient, shielded from the world market. Any local industry that had been fostered by protectionism was no match for the outside world, and so its products were outcompeted by foreign goods entering the market.
Manufacturing had seen growth in the period of protectionism, but now started a long period of decline. Ultimately, turning in from the world had merely created inefficient industries, rather than providing a protected space in which industries could grow. Between the 1970s and 1990, Argentinians experienced a real per capita income drop of over 20 percent.
The long road ahead
After a century of decline, the Argentinian economy approached the 21st century with a brewing financial crisis, with poor economic policy once again taking a toll on the fortunes of Argentinians. Following a huge build-up of public debt and a period of high inflation in the 1980s, in the following decade the Argentinian Government decided to peg their currency to the US dollar. This was intended to reduce inflation and allow imports to become cheaper through currency appreciation.
While an appreciation of the Argentinian peso was indeed needed, pegging it to the US dollar meant that it overshot the mark. This had a disastrous effect on Argentinian exports, and by the late 1990s Argentina had entered into a deep recession, with unemployment sitting at 15 percent. Along with longer-term issues such as poor tax collection and corruption, the recession resulted in a rise in state spending and a diminished revenue base.
By 1999, creditors had lost confidence in Argentina’s ability to service its debts, leading Argentinian bonds to appreciate. The response was a round of austerity cuts at the behest of the IMF, yet this only further deepened the Argentine recession. By 2001, Argentina had defaulted on its debts and did away with its currency peg: this was the only option afforded to the country, but the subsequent devaluation further impoverished Argentinian citizens.
As capital fled the country, consumer spending collapsed and savings were wiped out. The economy, however, was able to start to rebound after the devaluation, with Argentinian exports once again picking up (see Fig. 4). Furthermore, the onset of a boom in commodity demand in the 2000s also arose, largely fuelled by Chinese and emerging market demand.
However, this once again caused Argentina to become reliant upon exports and vulnerable to external shocks – something that has just recently happened again with the global collapse of commodity prices. Add to this crisis the poorly thought out policies of the previous administration, and the formidable economic task facing Argentina’s new president becomes clear.
The last few years under the presidency of Cristina Kirchner included polices such as “instituting capital controls, running down foreign exchange reserves, [and] in effect having the central bank print money to finance a public deficit”, according to the Financial Times. While these wrongheaded policies were for a while hidden by a world commodity boom, after commodity prices went into the doldrums, the full extent of Kirchner’s economic mismanagement has become apparent.
It would be churlish to expect the new president to be able to completely rectify this century of economic decline: Argentina will not return to its once high-ranking place among the world’s economies anytime soon, nor will the legacy of certain economic calamities be swiftly overcome. However, Macri can set about addressing certain problems with the economy, particularly with regards to cleaning up the mess left by his immediate predecessor.
Argentina has defaulted multiple times on its debt obligations – most notably in 2001, when it failed to pay creditors a total of $95bn
As the World Bank’s report noted, Macri’s new administration is “expected to implement monetary and fiscal tightening in 2016”, which is hoped to lead to a pick up in growth in 2017 “as investment slowly strengthens on renewed investor confidence and leads the recovery”. Along with this, the government has announced that it will make efforts to reach a compromise with holdout bondholders from Argentina’s previous defaults, with the hope that Argentina will lose its pariah status among international creditors. Macri has also pledged to end the policy of capital controls and bring the country’s exchange rate to a more realistic level, while the country’s central bank is also expected to finally move to combat inflation, tightening monetary policy by increasing interest rates.
This will be a tough task, as exports will undoubtedly be hit by such policies and ordinary Argentinians will feel the pinch. Yet it is hoped that the new regime will begin to restore some normalcy to the economy and reinstate confidence in it for businesses. The new fiscal and monetary policies of Macri, after countless years of economic mismanagement, should lay the foundations for a much-needed reversal of fortunes for Argentina. However, none of this will see Argentina return to its former economic glory anytime soon: such a turnaround will require a long-term compromise between being either entirely export dependent or overly protectionist and inward-looking – both of which it has been, and suffered from, in the past.
Argentina must become neither dependent on nor cut off from the world economy, but find a middle ground that allows it to take advantage of world trade, while being able to deal with any external shocks that may arise. Only then can Argentina hope to regain – and sustain – the economic prosperity that it lost a century ago.
Government. Argentina's national constitution was adopted in 1853 and was changed in 1949 by the government of President Juan Domingo Perón. A new constitution was approved in 1994 to allow for a new term in office of former President Carlos Menem. It is a federalist constitution which recognizes three branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial. The president and vice-president are elected by direct vote. They hold office for a four-year term and may be reelected for a second term. The legislature has two houses, the house of senators and the house of deputies. The supreme court and lower courts comprise the judicial branch. The power of the provinces is curtailed by the ability of central government to control the distribution of resources from the national to the provincial treasuries.
Leadership and Political Officials. The major political parties are the justicialista (formerly peronista party) and the radical party. In the presidential elections of 1999, an alliance between the radical party, the frepaso (a socialist front party), and other smaller parties won over the justicialista and other newly formed political parties. The two majority parties have a long tradition of populist politics and they are quite prone to create clientelistic relations.
Social Problems and Control. A police and judicial system is in place to deal with crime. The population is quite skeptical about the power of the police and the judicial system to control crime. There is a great concern about police corruption and police brutality. These issues are hotly debated in the platforms of political parties. The population is ambivalent about the role of the police. Concerned with the increase in violent crimes in the last decades of the twentieth century, many people are demanding a stricter police control and reforms in the penal system which would extend the time of incarceration. However, many people are not willing to grant more powers to the police force because they believe they are part of the problem. Insecurity and violence are closely associated with staggering unemployment, social anomie, and corruption at higher levels of government. There had been some cases of citizens killing criminals in robbery attempts, causing controversy and public debate on the role of common citizens in law enforcement.
Military Activity. Military service was mandatory until the early 1990s. The Argentine military seized power on various occasions. After their defeat in the
Important Figures in the Argentinian War of Independence
José de San Martín (1778-1850)
A national hero in both Argentina and Peru, in 1811 San Martín resigned from his military career fighting for Spain in Europe and Africa and returned to his home country of Argentina to join the revolutionary movement. San Martín was an important war general and helped Argentina, Peru, and Chile gain independence. Today, most Argentinian cities have a statue of San Martín, and in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral there is an eternal flame, lit in 1947 and burning ever since, in tribute to General San Martín and the Unknown Soldier of the War of Independence.
Manuel Belgrano (1770-1820)
Another one of Argentina&rsquos libertadores, Belgrano was an important criollo in Buenos Aires who fought against the two British invasions (1806 and 1807), supported the May Revolution and served in the Primera Junta, fought in the Argentinian war of independence, and created the flag of Argentina in 1812. He also played a role in the independence of Bolivia and Paraguay.
First Female President in 2007
2007 saw the election of the first female President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
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