Post #3

Nationalism in Argentina is instrumental to its history. Much like most of the New World, Argentina started as a colony of the Spanish Empire. Specifically, it was a part of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. From 1810 to 1818, the Argentines fought for independence from the Spanish Empire. This was based off the ideas of self-rule from the newly formed United States and new French Empire. The revolution stemmed from racial rivalries between white Spaniards called Peninsulares and white ethnic Spaniards born and raised in South America called Criollos. Think of it similar to the rivalry between the British and the Colonist (British immigrants) in the American Revolution. This rivalry turned to war which was difficult for the Spanish Loyalist as the Spanish mainland was currently fighting Napoleonic France. The armed conflict ended with Spain in 1820, but several factions warred with each other over who is truly in charge of the country in the Argentina Civil War that lasted until the early 20th century.

Argentine Nationalism is interesting as it is not really based around a certain race. There are essentially two factions in the political sphere. One is a left-wing populism that concerns itself with the people. The other is a right-wing nationalism that places Catholic heritage at the center. These two factions fought together against the powers at be in during the Civil War. They described themselves as the “True Argentines” and the ruling class as the “False” ones. Though these two factions won the Civil War, they are still political rivals who make up the political parties of modern Argentina. Argentine nationalism is similar to American nationalism. They are both nations of immigrants with a Christian background and an international identity coupled with economic success. In both nations, their nationalism has led to military conflict with other countries. This kind of nationalism is condemned by author Zakaria in The Rise of the Rest. He states that as one’s confidence [in their nation] rises, the prospects of common action diminish (34). Argentina as warred with every single one of its neighboring countries at least one time. With nationalism there can sometimes be racial conflict. Like America, race is somewhat taboo, it is the elephant in the room. There has been legislations such as Federal Law 24515 that created the National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism (INADI) in 1995. However, indigenous people, such as the Wichi, still struggle to secure land rights in northern Argentina.

There are continuing economic problems in Argentina. There are several cases of corruption and inequalities in the country as a whole. That being said, Argentina is currently at its lowest GINI score since 1980. With a score of 41.2, it is ranked 53 in terms of inequality worldwide. This means there is far less inequality compared to many of the nations in the region. In the late 20th century, Argentina was a growing economy with public healthcare and a wide safety net. Policy changes to reflect a more neoliberal ideology lead to their worst financial depression ever in 2001. Inequality continued to grow and the unemployment rate has been over high since then. 30% of the country was considered poor in 2015 and 6% are in extreme poverty. Attempts to change this have failed as it drove the nation deeper into debt. The new president is attempting to change austerity measures and fix the debt situation in the country. By fixing the debt crisis, they can use more public funds to attempt to lower the poverty level.

Minority and new immigrant groups face similar problems in Argentina as they do in the United States. Every couple decades there are new immigrant groups that face systemic discrimination until a new group comes. For Argentina, it started with Europeans ousting and systematically killing natives in a colonial fashion. Then, Welsh immigration from 1865-1914 who were involved in an attempted independence movement. Jewish migration was frowned upon by the Argentine Catholic Church which lead to a pogrom called The Tragic Week in 1919. Afro-Argentines are mostly descendants of African slaves brought by the Peninulares. Until the late 1980’s, there was no real government policy on the indigenous population of Argentina. The first was the formation of the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs. Their lands are considered protected, but there are several instances that show otherwise. There are movements that denounce the previously mentioned INALD for their failure to help the indigenous populations. Argentina is comparatively safer for indigenous populations than other South American countries as no murders or political assassinations have occurred. Indigenous groups are under threat worldwide because the are trying to change a status quo dating back to the start of the colonial era.

Wichi People in Northern Argentina
Crowd Celebrating Argentina’s Independence Day (July 9th)

Zakaria, Fareed. The Post-American World: Release 2.0 ; Updated and Expanded. W.W. Norton, 2011.

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