Wensday, January 16, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 73



Argentina faces hard times, long recession

Shireen Connor

A new semester and another column on world affairs is my New Year's gift to y'all. I don't know about your Christmas, but my holiday this year
was pretty lucrative, despite the current recession in this country.

After basking in my materialistic glory for a few days, I decided it was time to turn the news back on and see what else the world had been up to. I
was despondent to hear about Argentina and the really depressing holiday season it had this year.

The country had already been battling against a four-year-long recession when, this holiday season, things really took a downfall.

The Washington Post reported on Dec. 24 that in early December unemployment in Argentina hit rock bottom, with a national percentage rate of
18.3 percent. This was of absolutely no assistance to the massive debt the nation has accumulated the past few years. They owe a steep $132
billion, which is enormous considering Argentina only has a gross population of roughly 36 million.

With all this going against them, Argentineans certainly did not have a holly, jolly holiday. More and more shops were forced to have "going out
of business sales" as opposed to "holiday sales." The Post also reported that the most popular gifts this season were staple items, such as
deodorant, soap, toothpaste, etc.

Now in the back of one's mind, one may be thinking, "Well, that is not too bad." Well, it is. Unlike the stereotypical Latin American country,
Argentina hasn't usually been poor. So this new low standard of living is hard to swallow.

With the rest of America, and even the world, concentrating on the wars in the Middle East, it is important to look at the despondent situations in
other countries as well -- and to count our blessings.

Connor, a sophomore psychology
major, can be reached at moxiegirl22@hotmail.com.

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