Let's not forget that Argentina is a first rate mess too

We've been focusing on the violence in Venezuela, the street confrontations and Cuba meddling with special forces.  Let's not forget another country - Argentina.   

It is the 3rd largest GDP in Latin America, behind Brazil and Mexico. The US exports $16 billion and imports $6...or a nice $10 billion surplus:

"The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2012 were: Mineral Fuel (oil) ($2.5 billion), Machinery ($1.9 billion), Electrical Machinery ($880 million), Organic Chemicals ($794 million), and Plastic ($568 million).  

U.S. exports of agricultural products to Argentina totaled $164 million in 2012. Leading categories include: planting seeds ($26 million), feeds and fodders ($10 million), and snack foods ($9 million)."

My point is that Argentina is an important country, as the above figures suggest.  There are obviously lots of US jobs at stake anytime that your exports are that high.  

Normally, our friends in Argentina are getting ready for the upcoming World Cup every 4 years. Why not?  They have a great team and won the Cup in 1978 and 1986.   They are once again ranked high and a clear favorite for the 2014 Cup.

However, Argentines are talking about prices and the general chaos of their country's economy.   We saw this in The New York Times:

"Diego Gómez scurried around the food market, a labyrinth of bustling stalls in a gritty neighborhood far from the elegant avenues of central Buenos Aires. He did not stay long.

“My salary isn’t enough for anything,” said Mr. Gómez, 58, a blacksmith and father of four who earns less than $800 a month. After a few modest purchases, he left the market and headed home.

“It’s unfair that we suffer,” he added, referring to the increase in prices that followed a 19 percent devaluation in January of Argentina’s currency, the peso, which sent shock waves through emerging markets.

Mr. Gómez’s situation is common in Argentina as residents grapple with one of the world’s highest inflation rates, tilling the ground for social unrest, including a strike by schoolteachers and police sit-ins that led to widespread looting.

“Society is fragile; everything is hanging by a thread,” said Carlos F. De Angelis, a sociologist at the University of Buenos Aires who specializes in public opinion. “Inflation is the No. 1 concern.”

The article above confirms what my friend from Argentina told me Sunday afternoon. He said that his family is screaming on the phone.  They are not screaming anything nice about the Fernandez government, an administration that has tilted left and is now paying the consequences.

Let's keep an eye on Argentina.  A collapse would be very hard on other Latin America countries.

P.S. You can hear my chat with Fausta Wertz about US-Latin America & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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