OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Argentina
CAPITAL: Buenos Aires
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal Republic
AREA: 2,766,899 Sq Km (1,068,302 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION 35,780,000
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Argentina is located in the southern
area of the South American Continent. It is bound by Bolivia
and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Chile
to the west, Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Argentina is divided into four topographical regions. (1.)
The Pampas which contains many lakes and rises gradually
from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andean foothills, (2.) Patagonia
which is a windswept semiarid region that rises to elevations
of 1,500 metres (4,921 feet) with depressions that drop
below sea level by 32 metres (104 feet), (3.) the northeastern
lowlands which lie to the north of the Pampas and east of
the Andes and (4.) the northwestern Andes which extend along
the western half of the country. The Andes contain broad
valleys and are generally inhospitable. The principal rivers
are the Parana, Uruguay and Paraguay Rivers which drain
into the Rio de la Plata Basin in northern Argentina while
in the south the Colorado and Negro Rivers rise in the Andes
and flow to the Atlantic Ocean. Major Cities (pop. est.);
Buenos Aries 2,961,000, Cordoba 1,179,000, Rosario 1,078,000,
La Planta 543,000 (1991). Land Use; forested 19%, pastures
52%, agricultural-cultivated 10%, other 19% (1993).
CLIMATE: Most of Argentina lies in the shadow of the Andes. As
the prevailing westerly winds lose their moisture and descend into Argentina
temperatures increase while humidity decreases. As a whole, the climate
varies from a humid sub-tropical climate in the north with the central
semi-arid Pampa ranging from a tropical to a moderately cool climate. The
southern area of the country is sub-arctic and is directly influenced by
the prevailing westerlies. Rainfall diminishes from east to west with snow
rarely falling. Average temperature ranges in Buenos Aires are from -5
to 14 degrees Celsius (23 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit) in June to 17 to 29
degrees Celsius (63 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit) in January.
PEOPLE: Around 85% of the population are of European origins
predominantly Spanish and Italian, although British as well as other Europeans,
Jews and Middle Easterners are also represented. Latin American migration
has been a recent trend and the remaining 15% are AmerIndians as well as
Mestizos who are of mixed AmerIndian and European descent. The AmerIndians
are estimated only at 50,000 and are concentrated in the extremities of
the north, northwest and south.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 12 persons per sq km (30
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 86.2% urban, 13.8% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 48.9% male, 51.1% female (1991). Life Expectancy at Birth;
67.0 years male, 74.0 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 30% under 15,
23% 15 to 29, 20% 30 to 44, 14% 45 to 59, 10% 60 to 74, 3% 75 and over
(1990). Birth Rate; 20.0 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 9.0 per 1,000 (1990).
Increase Rate; 11.0 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 26.0 per 1,000
live births (1987).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 93% of the population Roman
Catholic while 2% are Protestant and another 2% are Jews.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Spanish, although it differs
in pronunciation and grammar from Castilian Spanish. Additionally, English,
French, German and Italian are spoken by the relevant minorities. The three
AmerIndian languages that remain are Tehuelche, Guarani and Quechua.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: less than primary
education 32.0%, of which 6.0% have no formal schooling, primary 34.6%,
secondary 20.5%, higher 6.9% (1980). Literacy; literate population aged
15 or over 95.3% (1990).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In Sept. 1930 a coup brought Argentina's
first military government to power with the period from 1930-1943 known
as the "Era of Patriotic Fraud." Again in 1943 under Col. Juan
Domingo Peron another military coup took place and in 1945 the provisional
government took the first steps toward the establishment of a constitutional
regime. In 1951 Pres. Peron was reelected and in 1955 the armed forces
temporarily united against the President forcing him into exile. In 1966
military commanders of the armed forces suspended the Congress and dissolved
all political parties. By 1969 unrest became widespread and several people
were killed in a series of general strikes. In 1973 Peron returned from
exile and was reelected after the resignation of Hector Campora, a fellow
Peronist who resigned after only 50 days in office. In 1974 Pres. Peron
died and was succeeded by his wife Isabelita. In 1976 the military took
control of the government and arrested Isabelita and implemented the "Dirty
War" in which thousands of Argentines disappeared with most believed
to be tortured and executed. In March 1981 Maj.Gen. Viola was ousted by
the military and was replaced by the Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Galtieri.
In 1982 Argentina under Gen. Galtieri invaded the Falkland Islands with
the hope of restoring national credibility, although after a short combat
with the British, the Argentine forces surrendered. In 1983 Argentina was
in a severe economic crisis and Raul Alfonsin took office. In May 1989
the Peronists returned to power under Carlos Saul Menem and in Dec. 1990
he pardoned many of the military leaders involved in the "Dirty War".
Argentina's unsuccessful fight against hyper-inflation which reached 1,800%
at the end of 1990 has increased the discontent among the people. In Jan.
1991, there was a major Cabinet reshuffle in the wake of "corruption
in high places" allegations regarding the country's privatization
program. In April 1991, Domingo Cavallo was appointed as Economy Minister
and introduced a convertibility plan to stabilize the economy. In late
1991 the President's personal popularity had suffered a downturn in the
wake of drug money-laundering scandals involving family members and his
former campaign secretary. During 1992 Pres. Menem averted further bad
publicity from the continuing corruption saga involving his family and
close aides. Cavallo's convertibility plan was also incorporated into law
and obliged the government to back the issue of currency with dollar reserves.
During mid-1992 the economic reform process was deepen after growing voter
discontent with government policies surfaced in senate elections. Various
protests and strikes organized by the government's opposition parties continued
throughout the last quarter of 1992. Argentina continued to prosper in
1993 under the framework of stability provided by the 1991 "convertibility
plan". Pres. Mendem's desired changes to the 1853 constitution to
allow his reelection bid in the planned 1995 elections were renewed in
1993. In Nov. 1993, amendments to the constitution to allow the reelection
of a second consecutive reduced 4 year term were finally agreed to by the
party leaders and ratified by the Chamber of Deputies and Senate in December.
In Dec. 1993 Menem was forced to return home from a state visit to the
Vatican after rioting broke out between public workers who had not been
paid and security forces. Also in late 1993 government files were opened
which confirmed that some 1,000 Nazi war criminals had entered the country
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Peso (P) formerly the
Austral (A) which is divided into 100 Centavos.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $224,013,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $61,534,000,000 (1993). Imports; USD $16,651,000,000 (1993).
Exports; USD $12,869,000,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $3,614,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; USD -$4,002,000,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 12,305,000 or 38% of total population (1990). Unemployed; 7.3%
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the former
USSR, Brazil, the Netherlands, the USA, Japan, Italy, Germany, Chile and
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Apples, Cattle, Citrus Fruits, Coal, Copper,
Cotton, Fruit, Fish, Grapes, Gold, Iron Ore, Lead, Limestone, Maize, Manganese,
Mica, Oil and Natural Gas, Olives, Potatoes, Peanuts, Rice, Sheep, Silver,
Sorghum, Soya Beans, Sugar, Sunflower Seeds, Timber, Tungsten, Tobacco,
Uranium, Wheat, Zinc.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Cement, Chemicals, Fishing, Food Processing, Forestry,
Machinery, Mining, Petroleum, Plastics, Refining, Steel, Textiles, Vehicles,
Wood and Paper Pulp.
MAIN EXPORTS: Animal and Vegetable Oils, Animal Foodstuffs, Chemicals,
Fruit and Vegetables, Leather, Machinery, Maize, Meat, Soya Beans, Sugar,
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 34,115 km (21,198 mi) (1988),
passenger-km 10,221,200,000 (6,351,157,000 passenger-mi) (1988), cargo
ton-km 9,010,600,000 (6,171,360,000 short ton-mi) (1988). Roads; length
211,369 km (131,339 mi) (1986). Vehicles; cars 4,088,000 (1989), trucks
and buses 1,512,000 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 479 (1990), deadweight
tonnage 2,872,288 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 8,431,000,000 (5,239,000,000
passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 185,963,000 (127,366,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 190 with a total circulation
of 4,780,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 21,500,000 (1994). Television; receivers
7,165,000 (1994). Telephones; units 4,115,000 (1993).
MILITARY: 67,300 (1995) total active duty personnel with 60.0%
army, 26.8% navy and 13.2% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 1.7% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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