U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Argentina, March 1998
Released by the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs.
OFFICIAL NAME: The Argentine Republic
Area: 2.8 million sq. km (1.1 million sq. mi.); about the size of the
U.S. east of the Mississippi River; second-largest country in South
Cities: Capital--Buenos Aires (city: 3 million; metropolitan area: 12
million). Other major cities--Cordoba (1.2 million); Rosario (950,000);
Mar del Plata (900,000); Mendoza (400,000).
Terrain: Andes mountains and foothills in west. Aconcagua, (7,021 m;
23,034 ft) is highest peak in the Western Hemisphere; remainder of
country is lowland; central region characterized by vast grassy plains
Climate: Varied--predominantly temperate with extremes ranging from
subtropical in the north to arid/subantarctic in far south.
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Argentine(s).
Population (mid-1995): 34.6 million.
Annual population growth rate: 1.3%.
Ethnic groups: European 97% , mostly of Spanish and Italian descent.
Religions: Roman Catholic 92% , Protestant 2% , Jewish 2% , other 4%.
Education: Years compulsory--7. Adult literacy--96.2%.
Health: Infant mortality rate--23.6/1000. Life expectancy--72.3 yrs.
Work force: Industry and commerce--36%. Agriculture--19%. Transport and
Independence: July 9, 1816.
Constitution: 1853, revised 1994.
Branches: Executive--president, vice president, cabinet. Legislative--
bicameral congress (72-member Senate, 257-member Chamber of Deputies).
Judicial--Supreme Court, federal and provincial trial courts.
Administrative subdivisions: 23 provinces and one federal capital
Political Parties: Justicialist, Radical Civic Union, FREPASO, numerous
smaller national and provincial parties.
Suffrage: Universal adult.
Economy (1997 figures)
GDP: $310 billion.
Annual real growth rate: 8.1% .
Per capital GDP: $8,900.
Natural resources: Fertile plains (pampas). Minerals: lead, zinc, tin,
copper, iron, manganese, oil, uranium.
Agriculture (8.5% of GDP, about 60% of exports by value): Products--
grains, oilseeds and by-products, livestock products.
Industry (30% of GDP): Types--food processing, oil refining, machinery
and equipment, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals.
Trade: Exports $26.1 billion--grains, meats, oilseeds, manufactured
products. Major markets--Brazil 30%; EU 15.5%; U.S. 9%. Imports $27.5
billion--machinery, vehicles and transport products, chemicals. Major
suppliers--EU 29%; Brazil 23%; U.S. 21%.
The United States and Argentina currently enjoy a close bilateral
relationship, which was highlighted by President Clinton's visit to
Argentina in October 1997. The efforts of the Menem Administration to
open Argentina's economy and realign its foreign policy have contributed
to the improvement in these relations, and the interests and policies of
the two countries coincide on many issues. Argentina and the United
States often vote together in the United Nations and other multilateral
fora. Argentina has participated in many multilateral force deployments
mandated by the United Nations Security Council, including recent
missions to Haiti and the former Yugoslavia. Reflecting the growing
partnership that marks ties between the two countries, on October 16,
1997, Secretary of State Albright and Argentine Foreign Minister Di
Tella held the first meeting of the Special Consultative Process to
address important issues in the bilateral relationship.
U.S. Embassy Functions
The U.S. Mission in Buenos Aires carries out the traditional diplomatic
function of representing the United States Government and people in
discussions with the Argentine Government, and more generally, in
relations with the people of Argentina. The excellent political
relationship between the United States and Argentina is increasingly
reflected in the U.S. embassy's efforts to facilitate cooperation in
nontraditional areas such as counter-terrorism, anti-narcotics, and
scientific cooperation on space, peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and
The embassy also provides a wide range of services to U.S. citizens and
businesses in Argentina. Officers from the U.S. Foreign Service, Foreign
Commercial Service, and Foreign Agricultural Service work closely with
the thousands of U.S. companies which maintain offices and/or do
business in Argentina, providing information on Argentine trade and
industry regulations and assisting U.S. companies starting or
maintaining business ventures in Argentina. Attaches accredited to
Argentina from the Department of Justice, including the Drug Enforcement
Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs, the
Federal Aviation Administration, and other federal agencies work closely
with Argentine counterparts on issues related to international crime and
other issues of concern.
An active, sophisticated, and expanding media environment, together with
growing positive interest in American culture and society, make
Argentina an uncommonly receptive environment for the information and
cultural-exchange work of the United States Information Service. The
number of Argentines studying in U.S. universities is rapidly growing,
and the Fulbright fellowship program has more than tripled the annual
number of U.S. and Argentine academic grantees since 1994.
The embassy's consular section provides vital services to the more than
20,000 U.S. citizens resident in Argentina as well as to the more than
330,000 who visit Argentina annually. Services include issuing
passports, documenting the birth of U.S. citizens abroad, assisting in
participation in U.S. elections by registered voters, offering tax and
Social Security information, assisting U.S. citizens arrested and/or in
jail in Argentina, and provision of other services in the event of
death, destitution, or other emergencies abroad.
Principal U.S. Embassy Officers
Charge d'Affaires, a.i.--Manuel Rocha
Deputy Chief of Mission--Thomas Martin (acting)
Political Counselor--Mark A. Sigler
Economic Counselor--Patrick Syring (acting)
Commercial Counselor--Michael Likila
Consul General--Bryant J. Salter
Science Counselor--Philip Covington
Administrative Counselor--Benjamin Castro
Defense Attachˇ--Col. Jeffrey W. Whisenhunt, USAF
Commander, U.S. Military Group--LTC (P) Clark Lynn III, USA
Public Affairs Officer--Alexander Almasov
The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General in Argentina are located at 4300
Colombia Avenue in Buenos Aires' Palermo district. Mission offices can
be reached at tel. (54)(1)777-4533/34; fax (54)(1)777-0197. Mailing
addresses are: U.S. Embassy Buenos Aires, APO AA 34034; or 4300
Colombia, 1425 Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In 1989, after decades of economic decline and chronic bouts of
inflation, Argentina under President Menem began an unprecedented,
profound, and remarkably successful economic restructuring based on
trade liberalization, privatization, public administrative reform, and
The 1991 Convertibility Law established a quasi-currency board which has
provided the pillar of price stability but constrains monetary policy
severely. The government privatized most state-controlled companies,
opened the economy to foreign trade and investment, improved tax
collection, and created private pension and workers compensation
As a result of these measures, Argentina is experiencing a boom in
economic growth, which started in the early 1990s. Following a year-and-
a-half-long local recession, Argentina's real GDP growth reached 8% in
1997--higher than the average of 6% for the 1991-1997 period. Industry,
agriculture, construction, energy and mining all expanded considerably
during the year. Real GDP growth will likely slow to approximately 4% in
1998 (the Argentine Government projects over 5% growth). One of
Argentina's challenges is to generate growth with more equitable
distribution of income.
The structural reforms undertaken this decade--coupled with monetary
stability--fostered major new investments in industrial sectors
producing goods for exports. This was most notable in the food products,
oil and gas, automotive, and mining and metals sectors. As a result,
Argentina's exports doubled in five years--from about $12 billion in
1992 to about $25 billion in 1997. Similarly, imports almost doubled
during the same period--rising from $15 billion to about $27.5 billion.
Foreign direct investment flow--which averaged $3.5 billion annually
from 1990 to 1995--exceeded $6 billion in 1997, according to reliable
The October 1997 unemployment rate was 13.7%--down from 18.4% in mid-
1995. However, larger and more significant declines will come slowly
over the longer term. This is likely because the government intends to
implement several more privatization programs, labor productivity will
rise as major private investments are implemented, and future growth
will be strongest in the capital intensive sectors.
Argentina is vulnerable to abrupt changes in capital flows. However,
strong leadership and earlier structural reforms helped the country
weather the 1995-96 financial storm. Argentine authorities, supported by
the U.S., Japan, Europe, and international financial institutions,
reacted decisively to bolster the peso. The government has continued to
demonstrate credibility through further economic adjustment and
conclusion of a new Extended Fund Facility arrangement with the
International Monetary Fund at the end of 1997.
Argentina's principal economic policy challenges in 1998 are:
-- Stimulating job creation through labor market reform;
-- Continuing the reform of provincial administration and banking; and
-- Simplifying tax collection and combating tax evasion.
Argentina's banking system began 1998 further consolidated and
strengthened by recent large foreign investments. Peso and dollar
deposits in the banking system grew strongly and reached nearly $70
billion at the end of 1997--close to twice the level in June 1995, when
bank deposits hit a low of $37 billion. Foreign-controlled banks now
hold about 35% of total Argentine bank deposits.
In late 1997, shortly after the Asian financial crisis began, the
Government of Argentina reassured investors that the country's banking
system and reserves were strong enough to withstand the storm. Rapid
growth in bank deposits indicates growing confidence in the financial
system and in Argentina's reforms. Bank financing and lending costs are
still high by industrialized country standards. Credit is very expensive
for certain sectors. Easier lending for small and medium sized firms and
improved credit risk management are essential to foster job creation.
In late 1997, the Menem Administration announced its intention to
privatize Banco de la Nacion, Argentina's largest commercial bank.
Strong political opposition, however, makes the timing of this
privatization uncertain. During 1998, the government also intends to
privatize the National Mortgage Bank.
A key development in helping Argentina meet its external payments is the
dramatic growth in Argentina's foreign trade since 1990. Foreign trade
plays an increasingly important role in Argentina's economic
development. Exports currently represent less than 10% of Argentina's
GDP. This percentage will rise steadily as Argentine export
competitiveness improves--as a result of increased productivity
generated by new investments, diversification of export products and
markets, and very low domestic inflation.
Grain output is expected to reach a record 60 million tons before the
end of the decade. Fresh Argentine beef was exported to the U.S. market
in August 1997 for the first time in over 50 years, and other export
prospects improved tremendously.
However, export growth decelerated modestly in 1997 due to lower than
expected shipments of some primary products, notably oilseeds, cotton,
petroleum, and derivatives. Meanwhile, GDP growth led to a surge in
imports. Capital goods imports in 1997 (which account for 44% of
Argentina's total) grew nearly 40% from 1996 levels--more than double
the rate of other import categories.
MERCOSUR, a regional customs union and emerging trade bloc (which
includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, and has associations
with Chile and Bolivia), is one of the largest and most dynamic
integrated markets in the developing world. Close cooperation between
Brazil and Argentina--historic competitors--is key to MERCOSUR's
impressive growth. Argentina's trade with the other members of MERCOSUR
has grown fivefold since 1991. (During that period, its total foreign
trade doubled). As a result, Argentina will focus more attention on
deepening MERCOSUR relations. MERCOSUR needs closer coordination of
macroeconomic policies and better dispute resolution mechanisms.
Ties to MERCOSUR will take on added importance in coming years.
Argentina's trade and investment have tremendous potential to grow along
with hemispheric economic integration. The 1997 financial turbulence
triggered by the East Asian financial crisis underscored that
macroeconomic conditions in Brazil--Argentina's most important trading
partner--are important variables for Argentina's foreign trade in 1998
and beyond. On an upbeat note, Chile's association with MERCOSUR has
improved access for Argentine exports to East Asia via Chilean ports.
The U.S. registered trade surpluses with Argentina every year from 1993
to 1997 totaling nearly $13 billion. The annual surplus reached $3
billion in 1997--due in large part to Argentina's continued demand for
capital goods, as well as the recovery of the local economy. The U.S.
surplus with Argentina could climb to a record $3.6 billion in 1998.
This trend reflects the Argentine Government's policy of encouraging
modernization and improved competitiveness for Argentine industry.
Argentina adheres to most treaties and international agreements on
intellectual property. It is a member of the World Intellectual Property
Organization and signed the Uruguay Round agreements in December 1993--
including measures related to intellectual property. However, extension
of adequate patent protection to pharmaceuticals has been a highly
contentious bilateral issue. In May 1997, the U.S. suspended 50% of
Argentina's GSP benefits because of its unsatisfactory pharmaceutical
U.S. direct investment in Argentina, an estimated $12 billion in mid-
1997, is concentrated in telecommunications, banking, electric energy
generation, gas and petroleum production, food processing, and motor
vehicle manufacturing. Additional direct U.S. investment of $3 billion
is expected in 1998.
The U.S. and Argentina have an Overseas Private Investment Corporation
(OPIC) agreement and an active U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIMBANK)
program. Total EXIMBANK exposure in Argentina approaches $2.5 billion,
and the OPIC portfolio is approaching the country limit.
Under the 1994 U.S.-Argentine bilateral investment treaty, U.S.
investors enjoy national treatment in all sectors except shipbuilding,
fishing, nuclear power generation, and uranium production. The treaty
allows for international arbitration of investment disputes.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
After years of instability, Argentina is today a fully functioning
democracy. During President Carlos Menem's first term (1989-1995), he
dramatically reordered Argentina's foreign and domestic policies. His
overwhelming reelection in May 1995--in the face of hardships caused by
economic restructuring and exacerbated by the Mexico peso crisis--
provided a mandate for his free market economic strategy and pro-U.S.
foreign policy. Menem's second term ends in July 1999; the constitution
does not currently provide for a sitting president to succeed himself
more than once.
The constitution of 1853, as revised in 1994, mandates a separation of
powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches at the
national and provincial level. Each province also has its own
constitution which roughly mirrors the structure of the national
The president and vice president were traditionally elected indirectly
by an electoral college to a single six-year term. They were not allowed
immediately to seek reelection. Constitutional reforms adopted in August
1994 reduced the presidential term to four years, abolished the
electoral college in favor of direct election, and allowed a sitting
president to stand for reelection after his or her first term. Cabinet
ministers are appointed by the president. The constitution grants the
president considerable power, including a line-item veto.
Provinces traditionally sent two senators, elected by provincial
legislatures, to the upper house of Congress. Voters in the federal
capital of Buenos Aires elected an electoral college which elected the
city's senators. The constitution now mandates a transition to direct
election for all senators, and the addition of a third senator from each
province and the capital. The third senator will represent the electoral
district's largest minority party. The revised constitution reduces
senatorial terms from nine to six years in office. One third of the
Senate stands for reelection every three years.
Members of the Chamber of Deputies are directly elected to four-year
terms. Voters elect half the members of the lower house every two years
through a system of proportional representation.
Other important changes to the constitutional system included the
creation of a senior coordinating minister to serve under the president
and the popular election of the mayor of the city of Buenos Aires. The
constitution establishes the judiciary as a separate and independent
entity of government. The president appoints members of the Supreme
Court with the consent of the Senate. Other federal judges are appointed
by a special judicial commission. The Supreme Court has the power, first
asserted in 1854, to declare legislative acts unconstitutional.
The two largest political parties are the Partido Justicialista or
Peronist Party (PJ), which evolved out of Juan Peron's efforts to expand
the role of labor in the political process in the 1940s, and the Union
Civica Radical, or Radical Civic Union (UCR), founded in 1890.
Traditionally, the UCR has had more urban middle-class support and the
PJ has received more labor support. Support for both parties is broadly
based. A grouping of mostly left parties and former Peronists--the Front
for a Country of Solidarity (FREPASO)--has emerged in the 1990s as a
serious political contender especially in the Federal Capital. Smaller
parties occupy various positions on the political spectrum and some are
active only in certain provinces.
Historically, organized labor (largely tied to Menem's Peronist Party)
and the armed forces have also played significant roles in national
life. Labor is only just emerging from disarray; its political power has
been significantly weakened by Menem's free market reforms. The armed
forces are firmly under civilian control. Repudiated by the public after
a period of military rule (1976-83), marked by human rights violations,
economic decline, and military defeat in the 1982 Falkland/Malvinas
Islands war, the Argentine military is now a slimmed-down, all volunteer
force focused largely on international peacekeeping.
The Menem Administration has pursued wide-ranging economic reforms
designed to open the Argentine economy and enhance its international
competitiveness. Privatization, deregulation, fewer import barriers, and
a fixed exchange rate have been cornerstones of this effort. All these
changes have dramatically reduced the role of the Argentine state in
regulating the domestic market. The reform agenda, however, remains
incomplete, including improvements in the judicial system and provincial
The president and a civilian minister of defense control the Argentine
armed forces. The paramilitary forces under the control of the Ministry
of Interior are the Gendarmeria (border police) and the Prefectura Naval
(coast guard). The Argentine armed forces maintain close defense
cooperation and military supply relationships with the United States.
Other countries also have military relationships with the Argentine
forces, principally Israel, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. The lack
of budgetary resources is the most serious problem facing the Argentine
military. Current economic conditions and the government's commitment to
reduce public sector spending have slowed modernization and
restructuring efforts. Under President Menem, Argentina's traditionally
difficult relations with its neighbors have improved dramatically and
Argentine officials publicly deny seeing a potential threat from any
Argentines are a fusion of diverse national and ethnic groups.
Descendants of Italian and Spanish immigrants predominate. Waves of
immigrants from many European countries arrived in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries. Syrian, Lebanese, and other Middle Eastern
immigrants number about 500,000, mainly in urban areas. Argentina has
the largest Jewish population in Latin America, about 250,000 strong. In
recent years, there has been a substantial influx of immigrants from
neighboring Latin American countries. The native Indian population, now
estimated at 50,000, is concentrated in the peripheral provinces of the
north, northwest, and south. The Argentine population has one of Latin
America's lowest growth rates. Eighty percent of the population resides
in urban areas of more than 2,000 and more than one-third of the
population lives in the greater Buenos Aires area. This sprawling
metropolis, with about 12 million inhabitants, serves as the focus for
national life. Argentines enjoy comparatively high standards of living;
half the population considers itself middle class.
Europeans arrived in the region with the 1502 voyage of Amerigo
Vespucci. Spanish navigator Juan Diaz de Solias visited what is now
Argentina in 1516. Spain established a permanent colony on the site of
Buenos Aires in 1580. They further integrated Argentina into their
empire following the establishment of the Vice-Royalty of Rio de la
Plata in 1776, and Buenos Aires became a flourishing port.
Buenos Aires formally declared independence from Spain on July 9, 1816.
Argentines revere General Jose de San Martin, who campaigned in
Argentina, Chile, and Peru, as the hero of their national independence.
Following the defeat of the Spanish, centralist and federalist groups
waged a lengthy conflict between themselves to determine the future of
the nation. National unity was established and the constitution
promulgated in 1853.
Two forces combined to create the modern Argentine nation in the late
19th century: the introduction of modern agricultural techniques and the
integration of Argentina into the world economy. Foreign investment and
immigration from Europe aided this economic revolution. The investment,
primarily British, came in such fields as railroads and ports. The
migrants who worked to develop Argentina's resources came from
throughout Europe, but mostly from Italy and Spain.
Conservative forces dominated Argentine politics until 1916, when their
traditional rivals, the Radicals, won control of the government through
a democratic election. The Radicals, with their emphasis on fair
elections and democratic institutions, opened their doors to Argentina's
expanding middle class as well as to elites previously excluded from
power for various reasons. The Argentine military forced aged Radical
President Hipolito Yrigoyen from power in 1930 and ushered in another
decade of Conservative rule.
Using fraud and force when necessary, the governments of the 1930s
attempted to contain forces for economic and political change that
eventually helped produce the governments of Juan Domingo Peron (b.
1897). New social and political forces were seeking political power.
These included the modern military and the labor movement that emerged
from the growing urban working class.
The military ousted Argentina's constitutional government in 1943.
Peron, then an army colonel, was one of the coup's leaders, and he soon
became the government's dominant figure as minister of labor. Elections
carried him to the presidency in 1946. He aggressively pursued policies
aimed at giving an economic and political voice to the working class and
greatly expanded the number of unionized workers. In 1947, Peron
announced the first five-year plan based on nationalization and
industrialization. He presented himself as a friend of labor and
assisted in establishing the powerful General Confederation of Labor
(CGT). Peron's dynamic wife, Eva Duarte de Peron, known as Evita (1919-
1952), helped her husband develop his appeals to labor and women's
groups. Women obtained the right to vote in 1947.
Peron won reelection in 1952, but the military deposed him in 1955. He
went into exile, eventually settling in Spain. In the 1950s and 1960s,
military and civilian administrations traded power. They tried, with
limited success, to deal with diminished economic growth and continued
social and labor demands. When military governments failed to revive the
economy and suppress escalating terrorism in the late 1960s and early
1970s, the way was open for Peron's return.
On March 11, 1973, Argentina held general elections for the first time
in 10 years. Peron was prevented from running, but voters elected his
stand-in, Dr. Hector J. Campora, to the presidency. Peron's followers
also commanded strong majorities in both houses of the National
Congress, which assumed office on May 25, 1973. Campora resigned in July
1973, paving the way for new elections. Peron won a decisive victory and
returned as President in October 1973 with his third wife, Maria Estela
Isabel Martinez de Peron, as Vice President.
During this period, extremists on the left and right carried out
terrorist acts with a frequency that threatened public order. The
government resorted to a number of emergency decrees, including the
implementation of special executive authority to deal with violence.
This allowed the government to imprison persons indefinitely without
Peron died on July 1, 1974. His wife succeeded him in office, but her
administration was undermined by economic problems, Peronist intraparty
struggles, and growing terrorism from both left and right. A military
coup removed her from office on March 24, 1976. Until December 10, 1983,
the armed forces formally exercised power through a junta composed of
the three service commanders.
The armed forces applied harsh measures against terrorists and their
sympathizers. They silenced armed opposition and restored basic order.
The costs of what became known as the "Dirty War" were high in terms of
lives lost and basic human rights violated.
Serious economic problems, defeat by the U.K. in 1982 after an
unsuccessful Argentine attempt to forcibly take control of the
Falklands/Malvinas Islands, public revulsion in the face of severe human
rights abuses, and mounting charges of corruption combined to discredit
and discourage the military regime. This prompted a period of gradual
transition and led the country toward democratic rule. Acting under
public pressure, the junta lifted bans on political parties and restored
other basic political liberties. Argentina experienced a generally
successful and peaceful return to democracy.
On October 30, 1983, Argentines went to the polls to choose a president,
vice president, and national, provincial, and local officials in
elections international observers found to be fair, open, and honest.
The country returned to constitutional rule after Raul Alfonsin,
candidate of the Radial Civic Union (UCR), received 52% of the popular
vote for president. He began a six-year term of office on December 10,
In 1985 and 1987, large turnouts for mid-term elections demonstrated
continued public support for a strong and vigorous democratic system.
The UCR-led government took steps to resolve some of the nation's most
pressing problems, including accounting for those who disappeared during
military rule, establishing civilian control of the armed forces, and
consolidating democratic institutions. However, constant friction with
the military, failure to resolve endemic economic problems, and an
inability to maintain public confidence undermined the Alfonsin
Government's effectiveness, which left office six months early after
Peronist candidate Carlos Saul Menem won the 1989 presidential
As President, Menem launched a major overhaul of Argentine domestic
policy. Large-scale structural reforms have dramatically reversed the
role of the state in Argentine economic life. A decisive leader pressing
a controversial agenda, Menem has not been reluctant to use the
presidency's extensive powers to issue decrees advancing modernization
when the congress was unable to reach consensus on his proposed reforms.
Those powers were curtailed somewhat when the constitution was reformed
in 1994 as a result of the so-called Olivos Pact with the opposition
Radical Party. That arrangement opened the way for Menem to seek and win
reelection with 50% of the vote in the three-way 1995 presidential race.
The 1995 election saw the emergence of the moderate left FREPASO
political alliance. This alternative to the traditional two main
political parties in Argentina is particularly strong in Buenos Aires,
but as yet lacks the national infrastructure of the Peronist and Radical
parties. In an important development in Argentina's political life, all
three major contestants in the 1995 race espouse free market economic
Argentina held mid-term congressional elections in October 1997. The
opposition UCR-FREPASO alliance made major gains in the number of seats
it held and deprived the Peronists of an absolute majority. The
elections are widely seen as setting the stage for the 1999 presidential
race. The government's pro-market policies remain unchallenged, but
continued high unemployment and growing public concern over perceived
corruption have hurt the government's standing in public opinion polls.
In foreign policy, Menem has dramatically made partnership with the
United States the centerpiece of his approach. Argentina was the only
Latin American country to participate in the Gulf war and all phases of
the Haiti operation. It has contributed to UN peacekeeping operations
worldwide, and has offered to send peacekeepers to Eastern Slavonia and
police to the international Police Task force in Bosnia. It has recently
offered to send a military medical unit to the Gulf in support of the
effort to secure Iraqi compliance with United Nations resolutions. In
recognition of Argentina's contributions to international security and
peacekeeping, the U.S. Government designated it as a major non-NATO ally
in January 1998. Menem was an enthusiastic supporter of the December
1994 Summit of the Americas. At the UN, Argentina is one of the U.S.'s
closest collaborators. In regional fora, such as the OAS and Rio Group,
Argentina has repeatedly advanced U.S. goals. The Menem Administration
supports the U.S. campaign to improve human rights in Cuba and joins
with the U.S. in international disarmament efforts from nuclear supply
to control of missile technology.
Eager for closer ties to developed nations, Argentina has pursued
relationships with the OECD and has left the Non-Aligned Movement. It
has become a leading advocate of nonproliferation efforts worldwide. A
strong proponent of enhanced regional stability in South America,
Argentina has revitalized its relationship with Brazil; settled
lingering border disputes with Chile; served with the U.S., Brazil, and
Chile as one of the four guarantors of the Ecurador-Peru peace process;
and restored diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom. In September
1995, Argentina and the UK signed an agreement to promote oil and gas
exploration in the Southwest Atlantic, defusing a potentially difficult
issue and opening the way to further cooperation between the two
Principal Government Officials
President--Carlos Saul Menem
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Guido Di Tella
Ambassador to the United States--Diego Guelar
Ambassador to the Organization of American States--Alicia Martinez Rios
Ambassador to the United Nations--Fernando Petrella
Argentina maintains an embassy in the United States at 1600 New
Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington DC 20009 (tel. 202-939-6400; FAX 202-332-
3171). It has consular offices in the following locations:
245 Peachtree Center Ave., Suite 2101
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: (404) 880-0805; Fax: (404) 880-0806
205 North Michigan Ave., Suite 4209
Chicago, IL 60601
Tel: (312) 819-2620; Fax (312) 819-2612
1990 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 770
Houston, TX 77056
Tel: (713) 871-8935; Fax (713) 871-1639
5055 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 210
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (213) 954-9155 fax (713) 871-9076
800 Brickell Ave. PH1
Miami, FL 33131
Tel: (305) 373-7794; Fax: (305) 371-7108
12 West 56th St.
New York, NY 10019
Tel: (212) 603-0400; Fax: (212) 541-7746
1718 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: (202) 797-8826
Office of the Economic and Trade Representative
1901 L St., NW
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 56-4475
OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION:
American Chamber of Commerce in Argentina
Viamonte 1133, 8th floor
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Tel: (54)(1) 371-4500; Fax: (54)(1) 371-8400
Home page: http://www.amchamarg.com
U.S. Department of Commerce
Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
International Trade Administration
14th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 202-482-2436; 1-800-USA-TRADE; Fax: 202-482-4726; Internet:
Automated fax service for trade-related information: 202-482-4464
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and
security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in
Public Announcements are issued as a means to disseminate information
quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term
conditions overseas which pose significant risks to the security of
American travelers. Free copies of this information are available by
calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225 or via the fax-
on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and Consular Information
Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs Internet home page:
and the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). To access CABB, dial the
modem number: (301-946-4400 (it will accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set
terminal communications program to N-8-1 (no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop
bit); and terminal emulation to VT100. The login is travel and the
password is info (Note: Lower case is required). The CABB also carries
international security information from the Overseas Security Advisory
Council and Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Consular Affairs
Trips for Travelers publication series, which contain information on
obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, can be purchased
from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone: 202-512-1800; fax
Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-
Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour, 7-
day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8 a.m.
to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-900-
225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat rate
of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648).
Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at
(404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization
recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water
safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information
for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is
available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC
20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.
Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal
Government Officials" listing in this publication).
U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas
are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country
(see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in this publication).
Registering with the embassy may help you to replace lost identity
documents or help family members contact you in case of an emergency.
Further Electronic Information:
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet,
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch,
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings;
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on an annual basis by
the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O.
Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or
fax (202) 512-2250.
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information,
including Country Commercial Guides. It is available on the Internet
(www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-
1986 for more information.
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