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Background: In 1816, the United Provinces of the Rio Plata declared their independence from Spain. After Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay went their separate ways, the area that remained became Argentina. The country's population and culture were heavily shaped by immigrants from throughout Europe, but most particularly Italy and Spain, which provided the largest percentage of newcomers from 1860 to 1930. Up until about the mid-20th century, much of Argentina's history was dominated by periods of internal political conflict between Federalists and Unitarians and between civilian and military factions. After World War II, an era of Peronist populism and direct and indirect military interference in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983 after a failed bid to seize the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands by force, and has persisted despite numerous challenges, the most formidable of which was a severe economic crisis in 2001-02 that led to violent public protests and the successive resignations of several presidents.
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): $351 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 7.5% (2010 est.); -3% (2009 est.); 5% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $14,700 (2010 est.); $13,700 (2009 est.); $14,100 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 8.5%; industry: 31.6%; services: 59.8% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 30% (2010);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.2%; highest 10%: 32.6% (2009);
Labor force: 16.62 million;
note: urban areas only (2010 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 5%; industry: 23%; services: 72% (2009 est.);
Unemployment rate: 7.9% (2010 est.); 8.7% (2009 est.);
note: based on official data, which may understate unemployment
Budget: revenues: $86.67 billion; expenditures: $91.29 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel;
Industrial production growth rate: 6.7% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 109.5 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 99.21 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 2.628 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - imports: 10.28 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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With the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War approaching, Britain and Argentina have renewed diplomatic tensions over the small territory.
Food-insecure countries are outsourcing food production to countries like Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil through agreements that threaten indigenous people and the environment.
Argentine President Fernández traveled to China to address the soy oil controversy between the two countries. China has been blocking the commodity from entering the country in retaliation against anti-dumping measures that Argentina has applied against Chinese imports.
For the first time in nearly 30 years, testimonies, to be followed by criminal prosecutions, have been reinitiated against those responsible for the state sponsored terrorism that occurred between 1976 and 1983.