About Buenos Aires

Piramide de Mayo. Advertising for global brands like Intel and Mercedes-Benz can be seen in the backgound.
Piramide de Mayo. Advertising for global brands like Intel and Mercedes-Benz can be seen in the backgound.

Buenos Aires was known as the Paris of South America. Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and is known as the Capital Federal. This city was a colonial outpost of the Spanish until it gained indepenence in 1816. The colonial influence on the city was reflected in the city's 19th and early 20th century architecutre and was the reason the city became known as the Paris of South America. People from Buenos Aires are known as Portenos, a spanish term that refers to people who is from or lives in a port city.

Buenos Aires Urban

  Agglomeration Population  

1950 5,097,612
1960 6,597,634
1970 8,104,621
1980 9,422,362
1990 10,513,284
2000 11,846,990
2010 13,074,389
2020 13,606,178
2025 13,708,193
Source: Geohive

Rioters in the streets of Buenos Aires during the collapse of the Argentine economy
Rioters in the streets of Buenos Aires during the collapse of the Argentine economy

Buenos Aires is a major world city that has been rocked over the past few years by a slew of chaotic events that brought the city to near collapse. The economic troubles started when the country began to slide into depression at the start of the 21st century, as noted by Uki Goni of The Guardian, in “Argentina’s unorthodox rehab”. When the country defaulted on its foreign debt in December of 2001, the country, especially the capital city, erupted into riots in response to bank withdrawal limitations. Joblessness and poverty exploded while the middle-class all but disappeared during this period. Goni writes that the country ended its partnership with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which had attempted to fix the country’s economy with the implementation of neoliberal policies and programs. Argentina’s decision to terminate IMF support was an untraditional move made to end IMF policies many felt only worsened the country’s economic situation.

 

As a result of the economic collapse and the both gradual and remarkable return stability, Buenos Aires has become “invaded with gringos”, as reported in “Gringo Invasion” in the Economist. The economic crash forced property prices to plunge, becoming very affordable in comparison to European or American property prices. The Economist notes that in the wealthy neighborhoods of the city, up to 25% of home purchases are by foreign investors. Meanwhile, according to Rory Carroll’s article “Fearful rich keep poor at bay with gated homes and razor wire” from The Guardian, the middle-class fled the central city for gated communities in the suburbs, fearful of kidnapping and other crimes. These suburban communities require identification to enter and completely isolate the wealthy from the many desperately poor who live in the city.

'La Crisis'
1991 Argentina pegs currency to dollar to bring inflation under control
1991-1997 Economy grows at average 6.1% per year, but debt also rises
April 1998 Following financial crises in Asia, IMF warns Argentina it may be vulnerable to external shocks. Argentina ignores warning.
Mid-1999 Slides into recession leading to political turmoil
2000 IMF approves resuce package including $14bn IMF loans and $6bn from other official lenders
October 2001 IMF approves $8bn increase in loans
December 2001 Government announces largest sovereign debt default in history, adding up to $132bn. Restrictions on bank withdrawals are followed by riots (below). Government forced to resign
January 2001 Argentina abandons peso's peg to the dollar
April 2003 Economy shows signs of recovery, with GDP growth of 8.8%
September 2004 Default on $2.9bn payment to IMF
January 2005 $82bn of debt restructured
June 2005 Debt burden declines to 72% of GDP, from 147% in 2002.
Source: The Guardian