Freedom of religion is guaranteed in the Constitution. The Catholic Church has a special position that justifies the financial support of the state. All religious communities must register with a special authority. There are no reliable statistics on religious affiliation, as it is forbidden to ask questions about religion in the censuses. More than seven out of ten Argentinians are counted as Catholics. Society is highly secularized and only a minority of Catholics practice their religion. Since the 1980s, Protestant communities, especially Pentecostal churches, have grown.
After the crisis in 2001, even more so-called revival Christian Protestant societies sought. According to some sources, about one fifth of the population now belongs to such communities. They played a major role in opposing the proposal for a new more liberal abortion legislation that was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in 2018, but which was then voted down in the Senate.
There are approximately 250,000-300,000 Jews in Argentina, most of whom reside in the Buenos Aires area. There is also a Muslim minority (between 400,000 and one million), but only a minority (about a third) of those who immigrated from the Middle East are Muslims. About half of the Argentinians of Syrian and Lebanese origin are Orthodox Christians, so-called Maronites.
- Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Argentina, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.
It seems that Jewish burial sites are violated. There are also reports of other forms of harassment. In the 1990s, two bomb attacks were targeted at Jewish targets in Buenos Aires (see Foreign Policy and Defense). Muslim leaders have been critical of the media often portraying Muslims as terrorists.
The Catholic Church supported the military regime from 1976 to 1983 (see Modern History). Only a small group of priests stood on the side of the persecuted. When the imprisoned and tortured regime critic Bishop Adolfo Pérez Esquivel received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980, the bishop’s conference publicly distanced himself from him. It was not until the 1990s that the church officially made a prayer and asked for forgiveness for its sins during the dictatorship.
In 2018, the Catholic Church played a leading role in opposing the liberalization of the country’s strict abortion laws (see Social Conditions).
In 2013, Argentine Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio was appointed Pope under the name of Francis I. It was the first time a pope was appointed from a country outside Europe. The message was welcomed by many Argentines, while the government’s initial reaction was rather cool. During Bergoglio’s time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he ended up on a collision course with, in particular, Néstor Kirchner (president 2003-2007), when he criticized him for not doing enough for the poor in connection with the crisis in the early 1990s. Disputes had also arisen with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (President 2007-2015), when Bergoglio took a stand for the peasants in the 2008 conflict and criticized the decision to introduce same-sex marriage. However, Fernandez de Kirchner became the first head of state to receive a private audience with the new pope.Foreign policy and defense).
Some questions were also raised about what role Bergoglio had played during the military dictatorship. There were accusations that he had then handed over two opposition Jesuit priests to the Navy, where they were then held captive for several months, something he himself denied. Others claimed that he was in fact working in silence to help those who were being persecuted.
Severe floods in the north
Northern Argentina is suffering from severe flooding, leading to at least 20,000 people being forced to leave their homes. When the new president travels to the area, he criticizes his representative for not doing enough to prevent flooding.
New judges are appointed via decree
The new president appoints two new judges in the Supreme Court via decree, but after criticism, he agrees to wait with the appointments until the Senate meets again after the Christmas break.
New telecommunications authority is formed
Macri signs a decree setting up a new state telecommunications agency to replace two existing ones: AFSCA which awards licenses and prevents monopoly formation and AFTIC having a more technical function. He also dismisses AFSCA chief Martín Sabbatella. A judge immediately declares Macri’s attempt at a new order in the infected issue of media regulation. A group of AFSCA employees who oppose Macri’s decree tries to storm AFSCA’s premises but is prevented by police.
Government announces ‘statistical emergency’
The government announces a “national statistical emergency” and states that no statistics will be published until the state statistical agency Indec has been reformed and figures on GDP, inflation and poverty can be trusted again.
Export taxes and currency controls are abolished
One of Macri’s first decisions as president will be to abolish the export taxes on cereals and meat. The export tax on soy should be gradually reduced by 5 percent per year. The government hopes that this will lead to production increases and give the state greater revenue in the long run. The new government announces on December 16 that it will abolish the currency controls from the day after. As a result, the person’s value, already on the first day, falls by about 30 percent against the dollar, and inflation is accelerating. Shortly thereafter, representatives of the government meet with the mediators in the conflict with the American hedge funds.
Controversies surrounding the change of power
Disagreement around was the ceremony when Macri takes office to be held leading to a circus in connection with the change of power. Fernández de Kirchner believes that the entire ceremony should be held in the congressional building, while Macri wants to swear the presidency before the congress and then move to the presidential palace to take over the president’s ribbon and club from his representative. He appeals to the court to get his will done, claiming that Fernández de Kirchner’s term expires at midnight on the day of his admission. The court gives him the right, which leads to Fernández de Kirchner saying goodbye to a large gathering of followers the day before the joke and jokes that she will be transformed into a pumpkin at twelve o’clock, whereupon the senate’s new president Federico Pinedo is sworn in as interim president at midnight.for twelve hours. Fernandez de Kirchner then refuses to attend Macri’s entry on December 10.
Macri wants to strengthen regional cooperation
Prior to taking office, Macri visits both Brazil and Chile (where Uruguay’s President Tabaré Vázquez is also located). After the meetings, he talks about both the will and the need to increase regional trade. He also addresses questions about how Venezuela’s political problems affect Mercosur trade cooperation. However, he fails to convince Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to take a more critical stance on Venezuela’s President Maduro.
Ex-President Menem is sentenced to four years in prison
A federal court sentenced former President Carlos Menem to four years in prison for embezzlement. As a senator, however, he is immune to prosecution.
Macri wins the election
In the second round of the presidential election, PRO’s Macri wins by a marginal margin. He gets 51.5 percent of the vote against 48.5 for the Victory Front Scioli. Macri has already appointed his finance minister, former central bank governor Alfonso Prat-Gay, and Susana Malcorra as new foreign minister. The election will also be a setback for the Victory Front, which loses its majority in Congress. Cabinet chief Aníbal Fernández does not succeed in winning the governorship election in Buenos Aires, new governor instead becomes Maria Eugenia Vidal from PRO. The victory front, however, retains its position as the largest party in Congress. The opposition alliance Cambiemos, which includes PRO, wins the governorship elections in Córdoba, Entre Ríos, Santa Fe and Mendoza. However, the victory front is winning in twelve provinces, including Fernandez de Kirchner’s home province of Santa Cruz. Sergio Massa’s Party UNA takes over the governor post in Jujuy.
Scioli wins the first round of elections
The presidential election will be an even match between Scioli, which receives the most votes, almost 37 percent, against just over 34 percent for Macri. Massi comes in third place with just over 21 percent of the vote. This means that there will be a second round of elections between Scioli and Macri in November. In the congressional elections, the Victory Front loses its majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but still becomes the largest party with 114 of the 257 seats. Macris Cambiemos wins 43 seats and UNA 27 seats. It is better for the Victory Front in the Senate election, where the party gets 38 seats. According to analysts, whether Scioli or Macri win, the new president will have a more pragmatic policy than the representative. Scioli is considered to have a more nutritional friendly appearance than Fernández de Kirchner. One of the most important things for the new president is finding a way to solve the debt problems, so that Argentina can get new loans in the money market, which has not been possible for a decade. The budget deficit is estimated to be around 7 percent, and is mainly financed by Argentina printing new money. According to private sources, inflation is estimated to amount to about 20 percent. At the same time, those who exchange their pesos in the black market have to pay more and more for every dollar. Prior to the second round of the presidential election, Massi presents a list of demands to the candidates, which he wants them to fulfill in order to urge his voters to vote for Scioli or Macri (however, he has made a positive statement about Macri). The list includes increased pensions, higher penalties for corruption and more efforts to combat drug trafficking.
Six candidates take part in the presidential election
The main candidates in the October 25 presidential election are now ready. Victory Front’s Daniel Scioli promises continuity while PRO’s Mauricio Macri, in the leadership of opposition alliance Cambiemos (Let’s Change) wants to reduce the state’s role in the economy, abolish currency controls and make it easier to exchange pesos for dollars. Macri also wants to negotiate with the US hedge funds, but promises to keep a tight line in these discussions. Scioli also wants to get rid of the complicated currency system, albeit at a slower rate than Macri. He has also not ruled out talks with representatives of the hedge funds. However, Sergio Massa is not completely calculated from the match. The candidates also include Margarita Stolbizer from Progresistas, Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, from Federal Compromise and Nicolás Del Caño from the Left Front.
Scioli, Macri and Massa achieve success in the primary elections
In the primary elections Daniel Scioli from the Victory Front gets the most votes, just over 38 percent, more than 8 percent more than the second PRO’s Mauricio Macri. The victory front, however, has a poor result in the province of Buenos Aires, where it usually has a strong position (and where Scioli is governor). In a dirty election campaign, its candidate in the governorship election, the government’s cabinet chief Aníbal Fernández, is accused of involvement in murder and drug smuggling. Fernández, however, wins, but with little margin. The government side claims that the charges against Fernández are fabricated in order to undermine his position before the election. In media, criminals have claimed that the Cabinet chief was the brain behind three drug smugglers’ murders in 2008 and that he had a leading role in a drug cartel.
Menem is being prosecuted for making it difficult to investigate an attack
Former President Carlos Menem and twelve other people are facing trial. According to prosecutors, they prevented the investigation of the suicide attack against a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994, when 85 people were killed.
More money for pensioners
At the beginning of the month, the president announces that pensions will be increased by just over 12 percent from September 1. This means that pensions increased by a total of 33 percent in 2015.
Strike paralyzes the country
A large transport workers’ strike strikes large parts of Argentina. The strong transport workers’ union protests, among other things, that its members are not compensated for the high inflation. President Fernández de Kirchner has set a ceiling for how high wage increases may be, which stands at 27 percent, while inflation for the year appears to land around 30 percent.
Major manifestations against female violence
Several notable murders of women in the spring shake about Argentina. In April, a preschool teacher was killed by his former husband in front of all his students. And a 14-year-old girl was beaten to death by her boyfriend after it turned out she was pregnant. At the beginning of the month, demonstrations are being held against the violence of women in Buenos Aires and several other Argentine cities, which according to the Telam news agency gather a total of 200,000 participants. In 2012, a new law came into force that gives the offender a higher penalty if the crime is gender-related.
Fernandez de Kirchner to Russia on a state visit
President Fernandez de Kirchner travels to Russia for a two-day state visit. She meets her Russian colleague Vladimir Putin. In Moscow, the two countries conclude a series of framework agreements on defense, energy and economic cooperation. Among other things, Russia promises to invest in the construction of a hydroelectric plant in the Argentine river Neuquen, and Russia will also build a new reactor at a nuclear power plant in Argentina. According to analysts, Russia wants to increase its trade relations with Latin America as a result of the sanctions imposed by the EU and the United States on Russia because of the crisis in Ukraine. Argentina, in turn, is in search of foreign investment to pay off its debts.
Before this finance minister gets conditional judgment
Former Finance Minister Felisa Miceli is sentenced in April to a conditional prison sentence of three years for corruption. She is also prohibited from holding a public office for six years (see December 2012).
New opposition alliance is formed
The Radical Party (UCR), the Republican proposal (PRO) and the Citizens Coalition agree to form an alliance for the elections later that year. The fact that UCR, unlike the other alliance parties, has a national organization is considered to strengthen cooperation. In the primary elections, UCR leaders Ernesto Sanz, Mauricio Macri and Elisa Carrió will compete to become the alliance’s presidential candidate.
The state takes over train traffic
The government announces a nationalization of all commuter train traffic. The process of increased state involvement in the railways began in 2012/2013 after several serious train accidents. No compensation shall be paid to the relevant train companies. When Congress votes on the matter in April, nationalization is also supported by large parts of the opposition.
Demonstration in support of the President
Tens of thousands of people gather in Buenos Aires to show support for the president.
Chinese company will build two nuclear power plants
During the month, Argentina concludes an agreement with the Chinese company China National Nuclear Corporation to build two new nuclear power plants.
No charge against the president
At the end of the month, Judge Daniel Rafecas decides that there is no evidence against President Fernández de Kirchner and Foreign Minister Timernan that justify a prosecution. Rafeca claims to have read through Prosecutor Nisman’s 350-page report carefully and says he has not found anything that suggests a secret settlement between the Argentine government and Iran (see January 2015).
The intelligence service SI is closed down
The Chamber of Deputies votes at the end of the month to close down the intelligence service SI. 131 votes for 71 against. The Senate has already approved the proposal. The opposition expresses concern that the new organization AFI will be linked to the Chancellor of Justice, a post now held by a person close to the government, as well as the role given to the army chief. The process of forming AFI should be started 90 days after the President approves the law.
Nisman’s death triggers protests
A judicial inquiry begins in the middle of the month to investigate allegations of the president and the foreign minister trying to darken Iran’s role in a bomb attack against a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994 (see January 2015). Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita, who has inherited Nisman’s case, gives the assignment to a federal judge Daniel Rafecas. The judge is said to have hesitated to take on the assignment. Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich accuses the prosecutor (and the opposition) of having carried out a “legal coup” through his decision to continue the investigation. A spokesman for the president also criticized the decision, which he said was aimed at undermining democracy. Nisman’s family starts their own investigation into his death. It is led by his ex-wife Sandra Arroyo Salgado, who is a judge herself. On February 18, a month after Nisman’s death, hundreds of thousands of Argentines gather in a silent manifestation in Buenos Aires, organized by the city’s prosecutors. Nisman’s family and several opposition politicians also participate in the manifestation. Similar protests are also being held in other Argentine cities. Ahead of the marches, several senior government officials tried to downplay their earlier statements about the legal process. (A forensic investigation conducted on behalf of the Nisman family shows that the prosecutor could not have taken his own life, or that it would have been an accident.)
Continued trips around Prosecutor Nisman’s death
Clarín newspaper reports that among papers found in Alberto Nisman’s apartment (see January 2015) there is a draft arrest warrant for the president and the Foreign Minister. Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich claims that Nisman was provided with false information in order to throw the government away. According to media, Nisman’s evidence against the president consists of tape recordings that he should have received from intelligence agents.
Prosecutors found dead under mysterious circumstances
Prosecutor Nisman is found dead in his bathroom. According to police, the autopsy indicates that he himself has fired the killing shot. The next day, Nisman testified against President Fernández de Kirchner before a congressional committee. The two police officers who were on duty to protect the prosecutor are dismissed. Nisman’s death triggers protests with thousands of participants in Buenos Aires and several other Argentine cities. The president states after a few days that Nisman did not commit suicide but that his murder was part of a conspiracy to throw down the government. However, she says nothing about who should have been behind the deed. As a consequence of the events, the President later announces that the country’s intelligence service, the Secretaría de Inteligencia (SI), will be dissolved. SI is to be replaced by the Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI) whose managers are to be appointed by the government, after approval in the Senate. The opposition is critical to this, which is feared will lead to an even greater politicization of the intelligence service. After only communicating via social media, the president appears on TV, a wheelchair (she has broken her ankle) and completely dressed in white. Plans for a restructuring of SI appear to have been ongoing even before the murder. By mid-December, SI’s top executives had left. They have been replaced by people with close ties to the current government. It is also mentioned that since 2013, SI has been increasingly divided into several factions, some of which are loyal to the incumbent government, others not. Rumors are that people at SI provided judges with information that could be used in a possible prosecution of the president and others in the circle around her when their mandate expires.
The president is accused of darkening Iran’s role in bombing
Prosecutor Alberto Nisman accuses President Fernández de Kirchner of participating in a darkening of Iran’s role in a bombing attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires in 1994. According to Nisman, President and Foreign Minister Héctor Timernan, secretly and through intermediaries, had worked to get Argentina Iranian oil in exchange for two men, at high positions, who were suspected of the deed would be granted immunity from prosecution. The government rejects this. The judge in the case claims that Nisman’s evidence has major flaws. Nisman had been appointed by Néstor Kirchner in 2004 to investigate the terrorist attack that claimed 85 lives. In 2006, he pointed out several Iranians who he claimed were behind the deed.
Many want to represent the Broad Progressive Front in the presidential election
Several people have announced they want to become the center-left Alliance Broad Progressive Front (FAP) presidential candidate in the October elections. These include former Deputy President Julio Cobos and former Governor of the Central Bank Alfonso Prat-Gay. In January, Hermes Binner, former Santa Fe governor, joins the crowd. The government is expected to resume talks with some hedge funds that have claims on the Argentine state. At the same time, reports that there is a shortage of consumer goods.