Argentina 2007 Study Abroad

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

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I now have a full appreciation of the Argentine nuclear energy policy.  The visit to the Atucha I and II nuclear reactors gave me good insight of its peaceful intentions.  Argentine officials seek to maintain their independence on the energy front.  Specifically, the government does not want to consume more energy than it produces.  In addition, many countries in the region, especially Chile, is in a more precarious position.  The country is clearly energy dependent, but is proactive in developing alternatives, such as studying Brazilian and Argentine initiatives.  On the other hand, the United States is very far behind in reducing its energy dependence.  The U.S. has not built a nuclear reactor since the 1970s.  We can take important lessons from countries on reducing energy dependence in the Southern Cone.

Ambassador Kelly is obviously a good negotiator and representative from the Argentine perspective on nuclear matters.  I have sensed some defensiveness on her part concerning past history with proving that Argentina has always had peaceful intentions.  Argentina has been pressured over the years to sign agreements, especially from the United States.  The issue of pride is definitely relevant in their case.

Regarding the serious dispute over paper mills between Argentina and Uruguay, I think that Argentine officials would take a similar position if the production was on their soil.  The official at the Argentine Foreign Ministry predictably put a strong “spin” on the Argentine perspective.  Uruguay is a small country with fewer resources and understandably needs revenue.  Being longtime allies, hopefully both countries can reach a resolution to the impasse, such as alternative site within Uruguay.

The visit to the Opposition leader of the Radical Civic Union of the House of Representatives was most interesting.  His comparison of having majority party status in the Rio Negro province compared to the frustrations of being in the minority in the capital must be a challenge.  He is surely under a lot of pressure from his constituents in the country to produce results in the provinces and in the presidential election in October.  The Peronists are hard to defeat since Raul Alfonsin was the last leader of the party to become president.   

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