Fortunately life tends to give us second chances, even when we need three or four.
As reported in guardianlv.com, one hundred years ago, Argentina was wealthier than France, Italy and Sweden. Far richer than Japan, it looked down its nose at Brazil. Wide open spaces and nothing to fill them, combined with the world’s richest soil in the Pampas, Argentina appeared to European immigrants to have all the potential of America.
To shed some light on how some of those hopes and dreams have played out, on March 30, 2014, reuters.com reveals Argentina has been approached by financial institutions offering it loans at favorable rates, the economy ministry said on Sunday, marking a tentative reopening of international credit markets for the first time in over a decade.
It would be the first time Argentina has received loans from international creditors since a massive default in 2002. The loans would come as the government seeks cash to avoid a further devaluation of the peso and increase its depleted foreign exchange reserves. Dollars have been scarce in Argentina due to capital flight, weak exports, and low competitiveness because of high inflation.
A BRIEF LOOK AT ARGENTINA
Patricia Alejandra Bermúdez is one of the best female wrestlers in Argentina. She competed in the freestyle 48 kg event at the 2012 Summer Olympics and was eliminated in the qualifications by Iwona Matkowska. Businessinsider.com shares she is employed as a policewoman.
Her country is one of fascination.[pullquoteleft] I’m very comfortable in Argentina. I was raised there as a baby and stayed there until I was 11 years old, so the first decade of my life or my formative years were spent in Argentina. I stayed in tune with the food, music and language.
Princeton.edu relates the cuisine of Argentina is distinctive in South America because of its strong resemblance to Spanish, Italian, French and other European cuisines while the cuisine of the Argentine Northwest has more elements of Andean cuisine.
Another determining factor in Argentine cuisine is that the country is one of the world’s major food producers. It is a major producer of meat (especially beef), wheat, corn, milk, beans, and since the 1970s, soybeans. Given the country’s vast production of beef, red meat is an especially common part of the Argentine diet.
Historically, Argentine annual consumption of beef averaged 100 kg (220 lbs.) per capita, approaching 180 kg (396 lbs.) per capita during the 19th century; consumption averaged 67.7 kg (149 lbs.) in 2007. Similarly, the enormous quantities of domestically-harvested wheat have made white bread (made with wheat flour) the most commonly found on the table, the wheat-based Italian dishes popular, and Argentine pizza use more dough than Italian pizza.
As you delve further into Argentinian culture, it’s a society that is easy to be captivated by.
Here are some interesting unique statistics about Argentina as structured by thinkglobalschool.org.
The site expresses probably the most well-known manifestation of Argentine culture, the Latin dance and music known as tango originated in the slaughterhouse district of Buenos Aires at the end of the nineteenth century. Combining African rhythms with Argentine Milonga music (a fast-paced version of the polka), the sensual dance was initially looked upon with disdain by Argentina’s high society. As affluent teens descended into the ghettos in search of adventure, the tango eventually found its way into the mainstream and the widespread popularity that it enjoys today.
Animated film is most often associated with Walt Disney, but the first animated feature film came courtesy of Quirino Cristiani in 1917. His film, El Apóstol, consisted of 58,000 frames and had a run time of 70 minutes. A satire, El Apóstol focused on the corruption and immorality that was prevalent in Buenos Aires at the time.
Argentina was the first country to adopt fingerprinting as a method of identification. In 1925, the small Argentinian town of Necochea was rocked by the gruesome stabbing of two children. With no witnesses to the crime, local police were unable to tie the gory crime to any particular suspect. Utilizing a bloody fingerprint left on a bedpost, Detective Eduardo Alvarez was able to peg the murders on the children’s mother, who quickly confessed to the crime.
Home to 57,000 residents, Ushuaia, Argentina is the southernmost city in the world.
Perhaps tied to its extremely high rate of cosmetic surgery procedures, Argentina boasts the highest number of psychiatrists per capita of anywhere on earth. Buenos Aires even has its own psychoanalytic district – the appropriately named “Ville Freud”. Ville Freud began its rise to prominence during the 1970’s, a time marked by Argentina’s notorious military dictatorship. In the last completed study, it was determined that Argentina had 145 psychologists per 100,000 residents, far ahead of second place Denmark, which boasts 85.
Another very dark and unfortunate thread in the quilt of Argentina’s social fabric is the all too frequent occurrence of femicide.
Let’s first examine women’s rights in Argentina and then focus specifically on femicide.
Wikipedia reports women in Argentina have attained a relatively high level of equality by Latin American standards, and in the Global Gender Gap Report prepared by the World Economic Forum in 2009, Argentine women ranked 24th among 134 countries studied in terms of their access to resources and opportunities relative to men. They enjoy comparable levels of education, and somewhat higher school enrollment ratios than their male counterparts.
Women are well integrated in the nation’s cultural and intellectual life, though less so in the nation’s economy. Their economic clout in relation to men is higher than in most Latin American countries, however, and numerous Argentine women hold top posts in the Argentine corporate world; among the best known are Cris Morena, owner of the television production company by the same name, María Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, former CEO and majority stakeholder of Loma Negra, the nation’s largest cement manufacturer, and Ernestina Herrera de Noble, director of Grupo Clarín, the premier media group in Argentina.
Argentinaindependent.com lends their view stating despite the improvements and the new accomplishments, women are still not treated as the social, legal, or economic equals of men. A new study proves it by placing Argentina in the United Nation’s worldwide gender inequality index at 71st out of 148 countries surveyed, down from 61st in the previous index. Here’s a closer look at the legal loopholes and cultural gaps upon which Argentina should act in order to halt the decline in gender equality.
On August 29, 2012, womensviewsonnews.org shared some disturbing statistics. Femicide has increased by 22 percent in Argentina over the past three years and it is now one of the country’s major social problems.
According to a survey carried out by the Observatory of Femicide in Argentina and the NGO La Casa Del Encuentro, 119 women were killed by male violence in the first half of this year.
Sixteen of those women murdered had previously reported domestic violence to the authorities and in seven out of ten cases the alleged perpetrator was the partner or ex-partner of the victim.
Social and political organizations also demanded that Law 26.485 to protect, prevent, punish and eradicate violence against women be properly implemented.
In related news chinadaily.com informs on November 16, 2012, Argentina has passed a bill to increase the prison time for femicide to life sentence. During the voting session, all the 222 lawmakers that were present agreed to classify femicide as aggravated homicide, the reports said.
The life sentence makes the punishment for femicide in Argentina stiffer than for simple homicide, which carries a sentence of eight to 25 years.[pullquoteright] I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.
Abortion in Argentina is described in the Criminal Code as a crime, but there are two exceptions to its criminality: when the abortion is done in order to prevent danger to the life or health of the mother; and when the pregnancy is the result of rape or indecent assault “committed against an idiot or insane woman” (although a recent Supreme Court ruling interpreted that this should extend to any case of rape, even if the woman is not mentally disabled).
In Argentina it is estimated that around 500,000 women resort to clandestine abortions each year, showing how its criminalization does not prevent its practice, but rather makes it dangerous due to many women’s lack of economic resources. According to official figures, complications due to unsafe abortions are the leading preventable cause of maternal mortality in Argentina (30% of the total, about 100 deaths per year).
In an August 10, 2010 article, The Huffington Post reported Thousands of women and girls in Argentina suffer needlessly every year because of negligent or abusive reproductive health care, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 53-page report, “Illusions of Care: Lack of Accountability for Reproductive Rights in Argentina,” documents the many obstacles women and girls face in getting the reproductive health care services to which they are entitled, such as contraception, voluntary sterilization procedures, and abortion after rape. The most common barriers to care include long delays in providing services, unnecessary referrals to other clinics, demands for spousal permission contrary to law, financial barriers, and in some cases outright denial of care.
As a direct result of these barriers, women and girls in Argentina often cannot make independent decisions about their health, and many face unwanted or unhealthy pregnancies as a result. Forty percent of pregnancies in Argentina end in abortions, which are often unsafe. Unsafe abortion has been the leading cause of maternal mortality in the country for decades.
The report identifies a lack of oversight and accountability for carrying out existing laws and policies as the main problems in the persistent denial of proper care. Doctors and other medical personnel who deny women services to which they are entitled, or who apply arbitrary conditions for receiving the services, rarely – if ever – are investigated or penalized.
In terms of leadership infoplease.com capsulizes the life Argentina’s first lady, President Cristina Fernandez.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was elected president of Argentina in 2007. Cristina Fernández was born in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina. She embraced the political life and became a force in the center-left Justicialist (or Peronist) party. Her husband did the same; by 1995 Cristina
Kirchner was a senator and her husband was governor of Santa Cruz province. After his election as president in 2003, they were often compared with Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Christina was also called “The New Evita” after Eva Peron, the glamorous Argentine First Lady of the 1950s. Néstor Kirchner chose not to run for reelection in 2007, and his wife replaced him as the candidate of the Justicialist party. She won with 45% of the vote in general elections of October 2007, and took office in December of that year. Néstor Kirchner’s decision to step down in favor of his wife in 2007 was widely seen as a way to stretch family control of the presidency, since Argentine law would allow him to run again after being out of office for four years. However,
Néstor Kirchner died of a heart attack on 28 October 2010, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was reelected in 2011 for another four-year term.
Gender equity initiatives are achieving noticeable success in certain areas. The following statistics as reported in fsdinternational.org, demonstrate the amazing progress women are making towards equity in Argentina:
• Women in the workplace earn 98 percent of what men do in Argentina, while Nicaraguan women earn 64 percent, and Brazilians and Chileans earn just 77 percent of that of men.
• Illiteracy rates of Argentine men are 3.1 percent, while women illiteracy rates are almost equal at 3.2 percent.
• The percentage of female representation in the Argentine National Legislature has grown from 4.3 percent in 1983, 5.9 percent in 1992, 14 percent in 1993, and 33.7 percent in 2005.
• Argentina was the first Latin American country to adopt a quota law for women’s participation in Congress.
• The country is ranked 15th in the world for female participation in national legislation.
Ms. Fernandez faces many challenges but the government deserves credit in their efforts to firmly focus on femicide.
When a mesmerizing country has so much to offer, like Argentina, the hope and expectation is they should not only make good on economic promises but important social ones as well. Female Competition International, fciwomenswrestling.com believes that the women of any country are one of their most valuable resources and while some ventures may need a second or third chance from life to succeed, raising the bar in terms of how women are treated should be attained the first time around.
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Sources: guardianlv.com, reuters.com, businessinsider.com, princeton.edu, Wikipedia, argentinaindependent.com, huffingtonpost.com, infoplease.com, fciwomenswrestling.com, fsdinternational.org, thinkglobalschool.org, sports-reference.com, amnestyusa.org, cedlas.econo.unlp.edu, usatoday.com, worldpulse.com, English.news.cn, womensviewsonnews.org, womensviewsonnews.org, chinadaily.com, ipsnews.net, brainyquote.com, thank you Wikimedia Commons for photos.