Argentina. On October 19, Argentina became the first Latin American country to send a geostationary telecommunications satellite into space. The satellite, Arsat-1, was launched from the Kourou Space Center in French Guiana. The pride was not lost, despite a total cost of $ 270 million, and the launch was broadcast live on Argentine TV.
According to Countryaah.com, Argentina population in 2020 is estimated at 45,195,785. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner really needed something positive to show off after a rather difficult year. The currency reserve decreased continuously and the value of the currency fell. In mid-September, dollars were traded on the black market for 15 pesos and went into the crowd under the name Demichelis dollars after football player Martín Demicheli’s jersey number in the national team (when the dollar was valued at 10 pesos it was called Messidollar). Minister of Economy Axel Kicillof talked about a devaluation of the official peso to bring the two exchange rates closer together. Equally, confidence in the Argentine economy remained fairly low, both nationally and internationally, and trade unions threatened with strikes in protest of the galloping price increases. Already in March, teachers in the province of Buenos Aires were striking for pay raises of as much as 35% and in August they were striking again. On April 10, a general strike was carried out. In August, US lenders also declared that Argentina had serious problems in paying its debts, and the government emphatically argued that it was not an imminent bankruptcy.
In addition, President Kirchner was involved in legal developments around Hotesur, a company she owned as owner. A federal judge decided in November to initiate a preliminary investigation of the company’s accounting due to suspected cheating and links to a notorious financial criminal. The president himself was away from all public for most of November due to illness.
Relations with neighboring Uruguay deteriorated again in June when Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman threatened to take up the issue of the Uruguayan pulp mill on the border between the two countries to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where the issue has been up for debate several times before. The reason was the decision of the Uruguayan government to follow a recommendation from the owner, the Finnish UPM-Kymmene, to increase production to 100,000 tonnes per year. The government in Buenos Aires has for many years criticized Uruguay for ignoring the environmental impact of the Uruguay River production, which forms a border between the two countries.
In 2014, the United States took a series of steps to financially destabilize Argentina. The reason was that greedy North American Hedge Funds that had bought Argentine debt securities for a few percent of the face value 10 years earlier demanded that 100% of the value be paid out. The capitalists were supported by the United States in their demands. Economic instability in January 2014 led to teacher strikes and a “general strike” triggered by Hugo Moyano. The crisis was immediately resolved when interest rates were raised and the government launched the Progresar program, which provided a month of financial support to students who wanted to finish their studies.
The first round of the October 2015 presidential election was won by Daniel Scioli of Frente para la Victoria (FPV) with 37.1% of the vote. The party was originally formed by Néstor Kirchner and was also the party of the incumbent president. In second place was Mauricio Macri of the right-wing Cambiemos coalition with 34.2%. However, the second general election in November was won by Macri with 51.3% of the vote. Completely different, the October elections went to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, where FPV was given about twice as many seats as Cambiemos. In other words, it was the president’s political opponents who controlled parliament. Macri was inducted as president in December.
The change of power in Argentina had dramatic foreign policy implications. The president terminated the cooperation agreements with Iran and took a strong critical line with Venezuela. In turn, he strengthened the relationship with the United States, which had opposed Argentina under Kirchner and with the right-wing PP government in Spain.. In the economic field, Macri repealed the currency controls that had been in effect for 4 years. The consequence was that in a few days the Argentine peso was devalued 30% against the US $. He also abolished export duties and export quotas on cereals, beef and fish. However, export duties on soya were maintained, albeit reduced from 35% to 30%. Soya is the country’s most important export product and a complete removal of customs duty would undermine the state’s finances.
The change of power was an undermining of the independent course that a majority of Latin American countries had led in 15 years according to the United States. Argentina was back in the US fold. It was followed the month after (partially) followed by Venezuela and in May 2016 by Brazil. In less than ½ years, the balance of power on the continent was tipped to the advantage of the United States.