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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 authoritarian rule and interference in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983, and numerous elections since then have underscored Argentina's progress in democratic consolidation.
Geography Argentina
Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay
Geographic coordinates:
34 00 S, 64 00 W
Map references:
South America
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
4,989 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
contiguous zone: 24 NM
mostly temperate; arid in southeast; subantarctic in southwest
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: Laguna del Carbon -105 m (located between Puerto San Julian and Comandante Luis Piedra Buena in the province of Santa Cruz)
highest point: Cerro Aconcagua 6,960 m (located in the northwestern corner of the province of Mendoza)
Natural resources:
fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium
Land use:
arable land: 9.14%
permanent crops: 0.8%
other: 90.06% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
15,610 sq km (1998 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 deforestation, 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-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
second-largest country in South America (after Brazil); strategic location relative to sea lanes between the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Cerro Aconcagua is South America's tallest mountain, while Laguna del Carbon is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere
People Argentina
39,144,753 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 25.9% (male 5,179,236; female 4,947,234)
15-64 years: 63.6% (male 12,452,566; female 12,457,451)
65 years and over: 10.5% (male 1,685,371; female 2,422,895) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 29.2 years
male: 28.3 years
female: 30.1 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
1.02% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
17.19 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
7.57 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.61 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 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: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 15.66 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 17.6 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.7 years
male: 71.95 years
female: 79.65 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.24 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.7% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
130,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
1,800 (2001 est.)
noun: Argentine(s)
adjective: Argentine
Ethnic groups:
white (mostly Spanish and Italian) 97%, mestizo, Amerindian, or other nonwhite groups 3%
nominally Roman Catholic 92% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%
Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.1%
male: 97.1%
female: 97.1% (2003 est.)
Government Argentina
Country name:
conventional long form: Argentine Republic
conventional short form: Argentina
local short form: Argentina
local long form: Republica Argentina
Government type:
Buenos Aires
Administrative divisions:
23 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia), and 1 autonomous city* (distrito federal); Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Capital Federal*, Catamarca, Chaco, Chubut, Cordoba, Corrientes, 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 - Antartida e Islas del Atlantico Sur, Tucuman
note: the US does not recognize any claims to Antarctica
9 July 1816 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Revolution Day, 25 May (1810)
1 May 1853; revised August 1994
Legal system:
mixture of US and West European legal systems; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal and mandatory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Nestor KIRCHNER (since 25 May 2003); note - declared winner of a runoff election by default after Carlos Saul MENEM withdrew his candidacy on the eve of the election; Vice President Daniel SCIOLI (since 25 May 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Nestor KIRCHNER (since 25 May 2003); note - declared winner of a runoff election by default after Carlos Saul MENEM withdrew his candidacy on the eve of the election; Vice President Daniel SCIOLI (since 25 May 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
election results: results of the presidential primary of 27 April 2003: Carlos Saul MENEM 24.3%, Nestor KIRCHNER 22%, Ricardo Lopez MURPHY 16.4%, Adolfo Rodriguez SAA 14.4%, Elisa CARRIO 14.2%, other 8.7%; the subsequent runoff election slated for 25 May 2003 was awarded to KIRCHNER by default after MENEM withdrew his candidacy on the eve of the election
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; the last election held was the presidential primary election of 27 April 2003 (next election to be held NA 2007); a runoff election slated for 25 May 2003 between the two candidates receiving the highest votes in the primary was awarded to KIRCHNER by default after MENEM withdrew his candidacy on the eve of the election
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate (72 seats; members are elected by direct vote; presently one-third of the members elected every two years to a six-year term) and the Chamber of Deputies (257 seats; members are elected by direct vote; one-half of the members elected every two years to a four-year term)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by bloc or party - NA%; seats by bloc or party - PJ 41, UCR 16, provincial parties 15; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by bloc or party - NA%; seats by bloc or party - PJ 133, UCR 46, IF 23, ARI 11, Socialist 6, other/provincial parties 38
elections: Senate - last held intermittently by province during the 2nd half of 2003 (next to be held NA 2005); Chamber of Deputies - last held intermittently by province during the 2nd half of 2003 (next to be held NA 2005)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (the nine Supreme Court judges are appointed by the president with approval by the Senate)
Political parties and leaders:
Action for the Republic or AR [Domingo CAVALLO]; Alternative for a Republic of Equals or ARI [Elisa CARRIO]; Front for a Country in Solidarity or Frepaso (a four-party coalition) [Dario Pedro ALESSANDRO]; Interbloque Federal or IF (a broad coalition of approximately 12 parties including RECREAR) [leader NA]; Justicialist Party or PJ [leader NA] (Peronist umbrella political organization); Radical Civic Union or UCR [Angel ROZAS]; Federal Recreate Movement or RECREAR [Ricardo LOPEZ MURPHY]; Socialist Party or PS [Ruben GIUSTINIANI]; 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); business organizations; General Confederation of Labor or CGT (Peronist-leaning umbrella labor organization); Peronist-dominated labor movement; Roman Catholic Church; students
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jose Octavio BORDON
chancery: 1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
FAX: [1] (202) 332-3171
telephone: [1] (202) 238-6400
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Lino GUTIERREZ
embassy: Avenida Colombia 4300, C1425GMN Buenos Aires
mailing address: international mail: use street address; APO address: Unit 4334, APO AA 34034
telephone: [54] (11) 5777-4533
FAX: [54] (11) 5777-4240
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 Argentina
Economy - overview:
Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Over the past decade, however, the country has suffered recurring economic problems of inflation, external debt, capital flight, and budget deficits. Growth in 2000 was a negative 0.8%, as both domestic and foreign investors remained skeptical of the government's ability to pay debts and maintain the peso's fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. The economic situation worsened in 2001 with the widening of spreads on Argentine bonds, massive withdrawals from the banks, and a further decline in consumer and investor confidence. Government efforts to achieve a "zero deficit," to stabilize the banking system, and to restore economic growth proved inadequate in the face of the mounting economic problems. The peso's peg to the dollar was abandoned in January 2002, and the peso was floated in February; the exchange rate plunged and inflation picked up rapidly, but by mid-2002 the economy had stabilized, albeit at a lower level. Strong demand for the peso compelled the Central Bank to intervene in foreign exchange markets to curb its appreciation in 2003. Led by record exports, the economy began to recover with output up 8% in 2003, unemployment falling, and inflation reduced to under 4% at year-end.
purchasing power parity - $432.7 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
8% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $11,200 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5%
industry: 28%
services: 67% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
51.7% (May 2003)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.7% (2003, yearend)
Labor force:
15 million (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA%, industry NA%, services NA%
Unemployment rate:
16.3% (September 2003)
revenues: $44 billion
expenditures: $48 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel
Industrial production growth rate:
7% (2003 est.)
Electricity - production:
97.17 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 52.2%
hydro: 40.8%
other: 0.2% (2001)
nuclear: 6.7%
Electricity - consumption:
92.12 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
5.662 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
7.417 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
828,600 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
486,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Oil - proved reserves:
2.927 billion bbl (1 January 2002)
Natural gas - production:
37.15 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
31.1 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
6.05 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
768 billion cu m (1 January 2002)
Agriculture - products:
sunflower seeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, wheat; livestock
$29.57 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
edible oils, fuels and energy, cereals, feed, motor vehicles
Exports - partners:
Brazil 18.8%, Chile 11.5%, US 11.5%, Spain 4.5%, China 4.2%, Netherlands 4.1% (2002)
$13.27 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal manufactures, plastics
Imports - partners:
Brazil 28.1%, US 20.1%, Germany 6.2% (2002)
Debt - external:
$142 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$10 billion (2001 est.)
Argentine peso (ARS)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Argentine pesos per US dollar - 2.9 (2003), 3.06 (2002), 1 (2001), 1 (2000), 1 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Argentina
Telephones - main lines in use:
8,009,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
6.5 million (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: by opening the telecommunications market to competition and foreign investment with the "Telecommunications Liberalization Plan of 1998," Argentina encouraged the growth of modern telecommunication technology; fiber-optic cable trunk lines are being installed between all major cities; the major networks are entirely digital and the availability of telephone service is being improved; however, telephone density is presently minimal, and making telephone service universally available will take time
domestic: microwave radio relay, fiber-optic cable, and a domestic satellite system with 40 earth stations serve the trunk network; more than 110,000 pay telephones are installed and mobile telephone use is rapidly expanding
international: country code - 54; satellite earth stations - 8 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); Atlantis II and Unisur submarine cables; two international gateways near Buenos Aires (1999)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 260 (including 10 inactive stations), FM NA (probably more than 1,000, mostly unlicensed), shortwave 6 (1998)
24.3 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
42 (plus 444 repeaters) (1997)
7.95 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
495,920 (2002)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
33 (2000)
Internet users:
4.1 million (2002)
Transportation Argentina
total: 34,091 km (167 km electrified)
broad gauge: 20,594 km 1.676-m gauge (141 km electrified)
standard gauge: 2,885 km 1.435-m gauge (26 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 10,375 km 1.000-m gauge; 237 km 0.750-m gauge (2003)
total: 215,471 km
paved: 63,348 km (including 734 km of expressways)
unpaved: 152,123 km (1999)
10,950 km
gas 26,797 km; liquid petroleum gas 41 km; oil 3,668 km; refined products 2,945 km; unknown (oil/water) 13 km (2003)
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: 45 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 149,007 GRT/212,620 DWT
by type: cargo 9, petroleum tanker 9, rail car carrier 1, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 1, short-sea/passenger 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: Uruguay 1
registered in other countries: 26 (2003 est.)
1,335 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 144
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 26
1,524 to 2,437 m: 62
914 to 1,523 m: 44
under 914 m: 8 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 1,191
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 50
914 to 1,523 m: 570
under 914 m: 567 (2003 est.)
Military Argentina
Military branches:
Argentine Army, Navy of the Argentine Republic (includes Naval Aviation and Marines), Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Argentina, FAA)
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2004)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 9,901,352 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 8,042,304 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 327,738 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$4.3 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.3% (FY00)
Transnational Issues Argentina
Disputes - international:
UK continues to reject sovereignty talks requested by Argentina, whose constitution still claims UK-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, but in 1995 ceded the right to settle the dispute by force; Beagle Channel islands dispute resolved through Papal mediation in 1984, but armed incidents persist since 1992 oil discovery; territorial claim in Antarctica partially overlaps UK and Chilean claims (see Antarctic disputes); unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and drug trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations; uncontested dispute between Brazil and Uruguay over Braziliera Island in the Quarai/Cuareim River leaves the tripoint with Argentina in question
Illicit drugs:
used as a transshipment country for cocaine headed for Europe and the US; some money-laundering activity, especially in the Tri-Border Area; domestic consumption of drugs in urban centers is increasing