Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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    Boring is not an adjective that can be used to describe Argentina’s political history. The country has encountered numerous coup d’etats and institutional breakdowns. It has survived military overthrows, civil unrest and many other difficult scenarios. However since 1983, Argentina has had a relatively stable government. The main reasons for this stability include factors of globalization, military relations and the political culture of Argentina. Accordingly, we believe that there is minimal chance that a coup d’etat will take place in the next 5 years.


            Argentina has reached a status of a major player in international trading. In the past, the country has mainly traded with Europe and other Latin/South American countries. However, now Argentina’s trade has gone more global and it has started trading with other major powers such as the United States.  Consequently, this economic growth and stability has suppressed civil unrest. The economic growth also allowed for the level of inequality among the social classes to diminish. Accordingly, this provided for a stable environment which coups are unlikely to stem from. If people are happy and they have money, they are not likely to try to overthrow the government.

            Argentina has also made stronger ties with other countries that serve as external factors as per the Bowman theory of Measures of Democracy. In particular, Argentina has a relationship with the United States, which is a major international power. This was especially conveyed during the Menem presidency in which President Carlos Menem worked hard to form strong bonds with the United States through lowering tariffs and becoming an associate member of NATO. Consequently, the Argentine administrations after Menem have worked just as hard to maintain this relationship. Thus, the government is aware that any corrupt proceedings would result in American disproval and possible intervention. The Argentine government clearly wants to avoid this as well as gaining a bad international reputation due to political corruption.


Military Relations

            Since 1983 there have been no specific groups that have called on the military to overthrow the government. Historically, when groups- including the ruling government- were in turmoil, they have called upon the military to aid them in achieving their agendas. The only major event that the military could have intervened was the economic crisis of 2001. However, the government did not call upon them as they would have previous to 1983. A major example of this was during the 1960’s and 70’s when many people were killed as a result of the many coups that occurred. The most notable case was the 30,000 “desparecidos” (the disappeared people) during the Dirty War that were systematically eliminated by the military because they were considered “enemies of the state.”

            Also, the military is somewhat on a leash due to relations with other countries that have stronger and more efficient militaries that would intervene and stop any military overthrows. In particular, the United States, a major world power, would get involved. The US has a history of interceding and becoming involved in Latin/South American affairs. The American Government’s School of Americas is evidence of this fact.

            Argentina has also made a shift in the overall focus of the military. In the past, the military has been used to serve the political needs of whoever was in charge. However, now the class power relations have changed drastically. The military is used to protect citizens and maintain stabilities, not start coups.


Political Culture Changes

            The overall tone of the political culture of Argentina has changed since 1983. Although the citizens still are very politically active, there is not as much unrest. Much of this is due to the fact that no civil rights have been repressed or taken away. There has been a great shift towards a more democratic country and government that has contributed to this suppression of civil unrest. Since 1983, all parties, even the much debated and controversial Peronist Party, have been able to run in all elections. This allowed for a more fair and egalitarian process and political structure.

            There has also been somewhat of an overall change in the international political culture. Although there are still coups and assassinations occurring around the world, there has been a shift to use more democratic and peaceful means to express opinions. Accordingly, the Argentines have used measures such as non-violent protests at Plaza de Mayo, to convey their thoughts and feelings to the government. They continue to use these methods because their protests have yielded positive results and changes. One example of this is seen by the weekly protests by the mothers of the desparacedos. Presidents since 1983 have worked towards giving justice to those that disappeared by ordering excavations as well as locating the biological families of the stolen babies.



Will there be a coup in the next 5 years?

Gabriel, our fearless tour guide and amigo, as well as the majority of other Argentines feel that a coup is highly unlikely. The country is in a good state. The national debt has been paid off to the International Monetary Fund, exports have tripled, the unemployment rate has gone down, the economy has grown 10% annually in the last 3 years and tourism also continues to grow. In essence, there is no need for a coup. If there were to have been a coup, it would have occurred in 2001, but it did not.

 Argentina has learned from the past. The citizens are very adamant about not repeating tragedies such as the Dirty War. The country has traveled a tumultuous path to democracy. Hopefully, Argentina will stay in this realm of stable democracy which will lead to a bright and prosperous future for this dynamic country.

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            Argentina is a country that has endured and overcome much turmoil in many aspects. In particular, the country has had its share of economic crises. Currently, President Nestor Kirchner has worked arduously to recover from the 2001 crisis. President Kirchner has gone to great measures to rebuild the economy. This work has paid off due to the growing economy with export rates tripling and an overall economic growth of 10% annually in the last 3 years. However, like many things in life, this growth will not continue at such a rate. According to economist Kristin Forbes, Argentina, like Russia, Korea, Brazil and other countries, will follow a trend of gradual economic growth decline due to the “dead-cat bounce.” In essence, this means that the Argentine economy, like a dead cat, will bounce back up if it falls from high enough but does not mean that the recovery will sustain and last.




Argentina suffered a major economic crisis in 2001. There were various reasons that contributed to this collapse.  One of the main reasons was the massive foreign debt the country accumulated on account of repayment to global investors in the form of long-term national bonds. In the past, Argentina was deemed the next major “emerging market.” Consequently, many international wealthy parties heavily invested in the Argentine market and expected a huge payback in the long term. This profitable image was also boosted due to former minister of economic affairs Domingo Cavallo’s convertibility plan. This plan pegged one Argentine peso to one American dollar.  This plan was formulated during Menem’s presidency, as a means to link Argentina to the U.S., which was viewed by the Argentine government as the major power in the world. Accordingly, one linkage was to base their currency to that of the dollar.  This was seen as a brilliant idea at the time, because it encouraged many people worldwide to invest in Argentina.  The country was so ecstatic that their market and products were finally being noticed that they didn’t realize how much debt they were actually incurring. Consequently, the Argentine government kept signing bonds that promised repayment to their investors without realizing the risk they were taking. The bonds were long-term with high interest rates. This investment in these bonds was one of the main proponents that led to reckless borrowing. In the end, this is what essentially caused the economic destruction. 

It is evident that Argentina’s economy depends on the successes or failures of other countries. Argentina’s economy functions in the nature of the “domino effect,” meaning that if one of their dependent countries falls, then the rest of the other countries also fall including Argentina. Thus, the collapse of the Brazilian economy in 1999 greatly affected Argentina’s market. The Brazilian breakdown was in accordance to the Russian economy downfall. The Brazilians devalued their currency, which hurt the Argentines because there was a lot of business done between the two neighboring countries.  The amount of money earned did not equal the amount borrowed. This forced Argentina into a corner where the only plausible solution was to devalue their currency like Brazil.  The Argentine government did not want to devalue their currency because of great potential in loss of investments if devaluation occurred.  They would lose all of their foreign investors and Argentina would slowly spiral downwards.  This refusal to devalue resulted in further debt and rumors started to spread overseas that Argentina might be on the verge of defaulting.  This led to a panic within the realm of Argentine investors and most of them pulled their funds out of the Argentine market.  The country imploded in 2001 and finally Argentina was forced to declare default on its bonds. 



Present State:


Since the economic collapse, Argentina has slowly risen from the ashes.  The country’s GDP growth rate has risen to 10% annually over the past five years.  This result has come about to an increase in domestic industry development, a growing sense of nationalism and more prudent dealings with foreign investments.  Unemployment, which peaked at the crisis, has reduced significantly.  However, the percentage of those unemployed still remains higher than what it used to be during the early 1990s, so there is still room for improvement. The Jefe and Jefa de Hogar plans have also aided low income families. Foreign investments have started to pour in again. However investors are much more cautious this time. The export rate has also tripled under President Kirchner’s term.


Future State:


            After much discussion amongst ourselves and with other Argentines we believe that the Argentine economy will not keep rising in the future at the same high rate as in the past.  The novelty of investing in Argentina will eventually wear off because there are other “emerging markets” rising around the world.  According to our local historian/tour guide, Gabriel, countries like India and China are in competition with Argentina because of the enormous growth that both of those countries are exuding.  Argentina’s rate of success depends on the growth rate of these competitive emerging markets.  If Argentina maintains a level of competition at the same rate as its competition, the future may be promising.


            Many economic studies show that countries such as Russia and Brazil, who have undergone the same economic crises as Argentina, have leveled off economically once the country has reached a peak point or peak rate.  Accordingly, we believe that Argentina has reached this “peak” point and therefore will not dramatically increase or maintain its current rate of growth.  Instead, it will grow at relatively continuous smaller rates and reach a plateau.  This means that although Argentina may experience a large growth rate like its current market, this rate will not be consistent in future markets.  Argentina’s economy will be like a steady EKG chart in the fact that it may have big ups and downs, but overall it will stay at a relatively consistent level. 

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