The World Factbook (1990)/Argentina

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World Factbook (1990) Argentina.jpg

 See regional map IV


Total area: 2,766,890 km²; land area: 2,736,690 km²

Comparative area: slightly more than four times the size of Texas

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

Coastline: 4,989 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Territorial sea: 200 nm (overflight and navigation permitted beyond 12 nm)

Disputes: short section of the boundary with Uruguay is in dispute; short section of the boundary with Chile is indefinite; claims British-administered Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); claims British-administered South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; territorial claim in Antarctica

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

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

Land use: 9% arable land; 4% permanent crops; 52% meadows and pastures; 22% forest and woodland; 13% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: Tucuman and Mendoza areas in Andes subject to earthquakes; pamperos are violent windstorms that can strike Pampas and northeast; irrigated soil degradation; desertification; air and water pollution in Buenos Aires

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)


Population: 32,290,966 (July 1990), growth rate 1.2% (1990)

Birth rate: 20 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: NEGL migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 32 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 67 years male, 74 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.8 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Argentine(s); adjective—Argentine

Ethnic divisions: 85% white, 15% mestizo, Indian, or other nonwhite groups

Religion: 90% nominally Roman Catholic (less than 20% practicing), 2% Protestant, 2% Jewish, 6% other

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

Literacy: 94%

Labor force: 10,900,000; 12% agriculture, 31% industry, 57% services (1985 est.)

Organized labor: 3,000,000; 28% of labor force


Long-form name: Argentine Republic

Type: republic

Capital: Buenos Aires (tentative plans to move to Viedma by 1990 indefinitely postponed)

Administrative divisions: 22 provinces (provincias, singular—provincia), 1 national territory* (territorio nacional), and 1 district** (distrito); Buenos Aires, Catamarca, Chaco, Chubut, Córdoba, 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 and Antartida e Islas del Atlantico Sur*, Tucumán

Independence: 9 July 1816 (from Spain)

Constitution: 1 May 1853

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

National holiday National Day, 25 May (1810)

Executive branch: president, vice president, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress (Congreso Nacional) consists of an upper chamber or Senate (Senado) and a lower chamber or Chamber of Deputies (Camera de Diputados)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema)

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government President Carlos Saúl MENEM (since 8 July 1989); Vice President Eduardo DUHALDE (since 8 July 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Justicialist Party (JP), Antonio Cañero, Peronist umbrella political organization; Radical Civic Union (UCR), Raúl Alfonsin, moderately left of center; Union of the Democratic Center (UCEDE), Alvaro Alsogaray, conservative party; Intransigent Party (PI), Dr. Oscar Alende, leftist party; several provincial parties

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: President—last held 14 May 1989 (next to be held May 1995); results—Carlos Saúl Menem was elected;

Chamber of Deputies—last held 14 May 1989 (next to be held May 1991); results—JP 47%, UCR 30%, UDC 7%, other 16%; seats—(254 total); JP 122, UCR 93, UDC 11, other 28

Communists: some 70,000 members in various party organizations, including a small nucleus of activists

Other political or pressure groups: Peronist-dominated labor movement, General Confederation of Labor (Peronist-leaning umbrella labor organization), Argentine Industrial Union (manufacturers' association), Argentine Rural Society (large landowners' association), business organizations, students, the Roman Catholic Church, the Armed Forces

Member of: CCC, FAO, G-77, GATT, Group of Eight, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAC, ICAO, IDA, IDB—Inter-American Development Bank, IFAD, IFC, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IOOC, ISO, ITU, IWC—International Whaling Commission, IWC—International Wheat Council, LAIA, NAM, OAS, PAHO, SELA, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WMO, WTO, WSG

Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Guido Jose Maria DI TELLA; Chancery at 1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC 20009; telephone (202) 939-6400 through 6403; there are Argentine Consulates General in Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Consulates in Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles; US Ambassador Terence A. TODMAN; Embassy at 4300 Colombia, 1425 Buenos Aires (mailing address is APO Miami 34034); telephone [54] (1) 774-7611 or 8811, 9911

Flag: 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


Overview: Argentina is rich in natural resources, and has a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Nevertheless, the economy has encountered major problems in recent years, leading to a recession in 1988-89. Economic growth slowed to 2.0% in 1987 and to -1.8% in 1988; a sharp decline of -5.5% has been estimated for 1989. A widening public-sector deficit and a multi-digit inflation rate has dominated the economy over the past three years, reaching about 5,000% in 1989. Since 1978, Argentina's external debt has nearly doubled to $60 billion, creating severe debt-servicing difficulties and hurting the country's creditworthiness with international lenders.

GNP: $72.0 billion, per capita $2,217; real growth rate -5.5% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4,925% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 8.5% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $11.5 billion; expenditures $13.0 billion, including capital expenditures of $0.93 billion (1988)

Exports: $9.6 billion (f.o.b., 1989); commodities—meat, wheat, corn, oilseed, hides, wool; partners—US 14%, USSR, Italy, Brazil, Japan, Netherlands

Imports: $4.3 billion (c.i.f., 1989); commodities—machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, fuels and lubricants, agricultural products; partners—US 25%, Brazil, FRG, Bolivia, Japan, Italy, Netherlands

External debt: $60 billion (December 1989)

Industrial production: growth rate -8% (1989)

Electricity: 16,449,000 kW capacity; 46,590 million kWh produced, 1,460 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: food processing (especially meat packing), motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel

Agriculture: accounts for 15% of GNP (including fishing); produces abundant food for both domestic consumption and exports; among world's top five exporters of grain and beef; principal crops wheat, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets; 1987 fish catch estimated at 500,000 tons

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $1.0 billion; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $3.6 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $718 million

Currency: austral (plural—australes); 1 austral (₳) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: australes (₳) per US$1—1,930 (December 1989), 8.7526 (1988), 2.1443 (1987), 0.9430 (1986), 0.6018 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 34,172 km total (includes 169 km electrified); includes a mixture of 1.435-meter standard gauge, 1.676-meter broad gauge, 1.000-meter gauge, and 0.750-meter gauge

Highways: 208,350 km total; 47,550 km paved, 39,500 km gravel, 101,000 km improved earth, 20,300 km unimproved earth

Inland waterways: 11,000 km navigable

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

Ports: Bahia Blanca, Buenos Aires, Necochea, Rio Gallegos, Rosario, Santa Fe

Merchant marine: 131 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,693,540 GRT/2,707,079 DWT; includes 45 cargo, 6 refrigerated cargo, 6 container, 1 roll-on/roll-off cargo, 1 railcar carrier, 48 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 2 chemical tanker, 4 liquefied gas, 18 bulk

Civil air: 54 major transport aircraft

Airports: 1,799 total, 1,617 usable; 132 with permanent-surface runways; 1 with runways over 3,659 m; 30 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 335 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: extensive modern system; 2,650,000 telephones (12,000 public telephones); radio relay widely used; stations—171 AM, no FM, 231 TV, 13 shortwave; 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth stations; domestic satellite network has 40 stations

Defense Forces

Branches: Argentine Army, Navy of the Argentine Republic, Argentine Air Force, National Gendarmerie, Argentine Naval Prefecture, National Aeronautical Police

Military manpower: males 15-49, 7,860,054; 6,372,189 fit for military service; 277,144 reach military age (20) annually

Defense expenditures: 1.4% of GNP (1987)