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Argentina



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Introduction

Background: Following independence from Spain in 1816, Argentina experienced periods of internal political conflict between conservatives and liberals and between civilian and military factions. After World War II, a long period of Peronist dictatorship was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983, and four free elections since then have underscored Argentina's progress in democratic consolidation.

Geography

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

Geographic coordinates: 34 00 S, 64 00 W

Map references: South America

Area
  total: 2,766,890 sq km
  land: 2,736,690 sq km
  water: 30,200 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly less than three-tenths the size of the US

Land boundaries
  total: 9,665 km
  border countries: Bolivia 832 km, Brazil 1,224 km, Chile 5,150 km, Paraguay 1,880 km, Uruguay 579 km

Coastline: 4,989 km

Maritime claims
  contiguous zone: 24 nm
  continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
  exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
  territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: mostly temperate; arid in southeast; subantarctic in southwest

Terrain: rich plains of the Pampas in northern half, flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in south, rugged Andes along western border

Elevation extremes
  lowest point: Salinas Chicas -40 m (located on Peninsula Valdes)
  highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,960 m

Natural resources: fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium

Land use
  arable land: 9%
  permanent crops: 1%
  permanent pastures: 52%
  forests and woodland: 19%
  other: 19% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 17,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: San Miguel de Tucuman and Mendoza areas in the Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike the Pampas and northeast; heavy flooding

Environment - current issues: environmental problems (urban and rural) typical of an industrializing economy such as soil degradation, desertification, air pollution, and water pollution (Note: Argentina is a world leader in setting voluntary greenhouse gas targets)

Environment - international agreements
  party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
  signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note: second-largest country in South America (after Brazil); strategic location relative to sea lanes between South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage)

People

Population: 36,955,182 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 27% (male 5,061,588; female 4,827,582)
  15-64 years: 63% (male 11,625,574; female 11,613,358)
  65 years and over: 10% (male 1,582,861; female 2,244,219) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.16% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 18.59 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 7.59 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 0.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 18.31 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 75.05 years
  male: 71.67 years
  female: 78.61 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.47 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Argentine(s)
  adjective: Argentine

Ethnic groups: white (mostly Spanish and Italian) 97%, mestizo, Amerindian, or other nonwhite groups 3%

Religions: nominally Roman Catholic 92% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%

Languages: Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French

Literacy
  definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  total population: 96.2%
  male: 96.2%
  female: 96.2% (1995 est.)

Government

Country name
  conventional long form: Argentine Republic
  conventional short form: Argentina
  local long form: Republica Argentina
  local short form: Argentina

Data code: AR

Government type: republic

Capital: Buenos Aires

Administrative divisions: 23 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia), and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Buenos Aires; Catamarca; Chaco; Chubut; Cordoba; Corrientes; Distrito Federal*; Entre Rios; Formosa; Jujuy; La Pampa; La Rioja; Mendoza; Misiones; Neuquen; Rio Negro; Salta; San Juan; San Luis; Santa Cruz; Santa Fe; Santiago del Estero; Tierra del Fuego, Antartica e Islas del Atlantico Sur; Tucuman (Note: the US does not recognize any claims to Antarctica)

Independence: 9 July 1816 (from Spain)

National holiday: Revolution Day, 25 May (1810)

Constitution: 1 May 1853; revised August 1994

Legal system: mixture of US and West European legal systems; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch
  chief of state: President Fernando DE LA RUA (since 10 December 1999); Vice President Carlos Alberto ALVAREZ (since 10 December 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
  head of government: President Fernando DE LA RUA (since 10 December 1999); Vice President Carlos Alberto ALVAREZ (since 10 December 1999); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
  cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
  elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 24 October 1999 (next to be held NA October 2003)
  election results: Fernando DE LA RUA elected president; percent of vote - 48.5%

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate (72 seats; formerly, three members appointed by each of the provincial legislatures; presently transitioning to one-third of the members being elected every two years to six-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats; one-half of the members elected every two years to four-year terms)
  elections: Senate - transition phase will begin in 2001 elections when all seats will be fully contested; winners will randomly draw to determine whether they will serve a two-year, four-year, or full six-year term, beginning a rotating cycle renovating a third of the body every two years; Chamber of Deputies - last held 24 October 1999 (next to be held NA October 2001)
  election results: Senate - percent of vote by bloc or party - NA; seats by bloc or party - Peronist 40, UCR 20, Frepaso 1, other 11; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by bloc or party - NA; seats by bloc or party - Alliance 124 (UCR 85, Frepaso 36, others 3), Peronist 101, AR 12, other 20

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema), the nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval of the Senate

Political parties and leaders: Action for the Republic or AR [Domingo CAVALLO]; Alliance (UCR, Frepaso and others) [leader NA]; Front for a Country in Solidarity or Frepaso (a four-party coalition) [Carlos ALVAREZ]; Justicialist Party or PJ [Carlos Saul MENEM] (Peronist umbrella political organization); Radical Civic Union or UCR [Raul ALFONSIN]; several provincial parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: Argentine Association of Pharmaceutical Labs (CILFA); Argentine Industrial Union (manufacturers' association); Argentine Rural Society (large landowners' association); Armed Forces; business organizations; General Confederation of Labor or CGT (Peronist-leaning umbrella labor organization); Peronist-dominated labor movement; Roman Catholic Church; students

International organization participation: AfDB, Australia Group, BCIE, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G- 6, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MINURSO, MIPONUH, MTCR, NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNTAET, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador Guillermo GONZALEZ Enrique
  chancery: 1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
  telephone: [1] (202) 238-6400
  FAX: [1] (202) 238-6471
  consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
  embassy: 4300 Colombia, 1425 Buenos Aires
  mailing address: international mail: use street address; APO address: Unit 4334, APO AA 34034
  telephone: [54] (1) 777-4533, 4534
  FAX: [54] (1) 777-0197

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of light blue (top), white, and light blue; centered in the white band is a radiant yellow sun with a human face known as the Sun of May

Economy

Economy - overview: Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. However, when President Carlos MENEM took office in 1989, the country had piled up huge external debts, inflation had reached 200% per month, and output was plummeting. To combat the economic crisis, the government embarked on a path of trade liberalization, deregulation, and privatization. In 1991, it implemented radical monetary reforms which pegged the peso to the US dollar and limited the growth in the monetary base by law to the growth in reserves. Inflation fell sharply in subsequent years. In 1995, the Mexican peso crisis produced capital flight, the loss of banking system deposits, and a severe, but short-lived, recession; a series of reforms to bolster the domestic banking system followed. Real GDP growth recovered strongly, reaching 8% in 1997. In 1998, international financial turmoil caused by Russia's problems and increasing investor anxiety over Brazil produced the highest domestic interest rates in more than three years, halving the growth rate of the economy. Conditions worsened in 1999 with GDP falling by 3%. President Fernando DE LA RUA, who took office in December 1999, sponsored tax increases and spending cuts to reduce the deficit, which had ballooned to 2.5% of GDP in 1999. The new government also arranged a new $7.4 billion stand-by facility with the IMF for contingency purposes - almost three times the size of the previous arrangement. Key challenges facing the new government include reforming the country's rigid labor code and addressing the precarious financial situation of several highly indebted provinces.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $367 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: -3% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $10,000 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 7%
  industry: 29%
  services: 64% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line: 36% (1998 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): -2% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 15 million (1999)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate: 14% (December 1999)

Budget
  revenues: $44 billion
  expenditures: $48 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA billion (2000 est.)

Industries: food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel

Industrial production growth rate: -7% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 75.237 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 42.71%
  hydro: 47.55%
  nuclear: 9.47%
  other: 0.27% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 75.57 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 250 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 5.85 billion kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: sunflower seeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, wheat; livestock

Exports: $23 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)

Exports - commodities: edible oils, fuels and energy, cereals, feed, motor vehicles

Exports - partners: Brazil 24%, EU 21%, US 11% (1999 est.)

Imports: $25 billion (c.i.f., 1999 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal manufactures, plastics

Imports - partners: EU 28%, US 22%, Brazil 21% (1999 est.)

Debt - external: $149 billion (1999 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $2.833 billion (1995)

Currency: 1 peso = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: peso is pegged to the US dollar at an exchange rate of 1 peso = $1

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 7.5 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 1.8 million (1997)

Telephone system: 12,000 public telephones; extensive modern system but many families do not have telephones; despite extensive use of microwave radio relay, the telephone system frequently fails during rainstorms, even in Buenos Aires
  domestic: microwave radio relay and a domestic satellite system with 40 earth stations serve the trunk network
  international: satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); two international gateways near Buenos Aires; Atlantis II submarine cable (1999)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 260 (including 10 inactive stations), FM NA (probably more than 1,000, mostly unlicensed), shortwave 6 (1998)

Radios: 24.3 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 42 (plus 444 repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 7.95 million (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 47 (1999)

Transportation

Railways
  total: 38,326 km (160 km electrified)
  broad gauge: 24,481 km 1.676-m gauge (134 km electrified)
  standard gauge: 2,765 km 1.435-m gauge (26 km electrified)
  narrow gauge: 11,080 km 1.000-m gauge (1999)

Highways
  total: 215,434 km
  paved: 63,553 km (including 734 km of expressways)
  unpaved: 151,881 km (1998 est.)

Waterways: 10,950 km navigable

Pipelines: crude oil 4,090 km; petroleum products 2,900 km; natural gas 9,918 km

Ports and harbors: Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Comodoro Rivadavia, Concepcion del Uruguay, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Necochea, Rio Gallegos, Rosario, Santa Fe, Ushuaia

Merchant marine
  total: 26 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 218,540 GRT/333,413 DWT
  ships by type: cargo 9, petroleum tanker 11, rail car carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 2, roll-on/roll-off 1, short-sea passenger 2 (1999 est.)

Airports: 1,359 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 142
  over 3,047 m: 5
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 26
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 60
  914 to 1,523 m: 44
  under 914 m: 7 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways
  total: 1,217
  over 3,047 m: 2
  2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
  1,524 to 2,437 m: 63
  914 to 1,523 m: 614
  under 914 m: 536 (1999 est.)

Military

Military branches: Argentine Army, Navy of the Argentine Republic (includes Naval Aviation, Marines, and Coast Guard), Argentine Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Aeronautical Police Force

Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 9,287,499 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 7,530,476 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually
  males: 341,544 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $4.3 billion (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 1.3% (FY99)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: claims UK-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); claims UK-administered South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica

Illicit drugs: increasing use as a transshipment country for cocaine headed for Europe and the US; increasing use as a money-laundering center; domestic consumption of drugs has skyrocketed

 

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