No Buenos Aires: Economic Crisis

How Blake student learned of the Argentinian economic crisis through experience

Henry Schmidt ‘23 shares his experience traveling to 

Betsy Fries

Henry Schmidt ‘23 shares his experience traveling to Argentina.

Christina Chekerdjieva, Opinions Editor

 Traveling abroad in a foreign country is already intimidating- but what happens when you find yourself caught amidst an economic crisis during your family vacation? Henry Schmidt ’23 found himself in this situation when traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina with his family this winter break.

Argentina has a history of economic instability and political crisis. According to Bloomberg Business, since 1950,  Argentina has spent 33% of its time in recession, which affirms the theory that history will always repeat itself. With such a highly educated public, rich culture, and a strong tourist industry, it seems as though Argentina should be thriving.

So, what is causing this continuous crisis? Between 2003 to 2012, Argentina racked up almost $170 billion worth of debt, and the country struggles to choose whether to prioritize social spending or spend the money on eliminating the debt.

In short, Argentina spends more money than it has, and a lack of continuity in the central government contributes to its instability. Mounting debt contributes to the climb of inflation in the country as well. When Schmidt’s family attempted to withdraw local currency, the ATM would only allow them to withdraw a maximum of 2000 ARS per day, which is equivalent to $33 USD.

Their American credit cards were “blacklisted,” meaning that all transactions were immediately rejected in a process that was created to prevent fraudulent activity.

 Most of us are unaware of the economic struggles that Argentina faces. The only news we hear of Argentina usually comes from our Spanish textbooks. The economic crisis takes an immense toll on the Argentinian people, whose futures can be daunting and unknown. Because of the unstable futures of many Argentinian people, it is common for families to have members working in the United States that can help provide a stable income. While in Argentina, Schmidt’s family struck up conversation with a tour guide who has a daughter working in Florida for cruise company, which provides her with an opportunity to provide for herself and her family in ways she couldn’t do in Argentina.

After hearing their conversation, Schmidt says, “I felt really bad for what he had to go through next in life.”