Argentinean americans

by Julio Rodriguez


The word Argentina is derived from the Latin word "argentum," which in English means silver. For this reason Argentina is sometimes called "The Land of Silver." The official name of the country is Republic of Argentina. Located in the southernmost section of South America, the Republic of Argentina comprises 2,791,810 square kilometers, just over 15 percent of the continent's surface. Its area, including the South Atlantic islands and the Antarctic sector, covers 2.35 million square miles, which is about one-third the size of the United States. The 1991 Argentinean census counted more than 32 million people residing in the country. This amounts to 12 percent of the total South American population, making it the third most populous country on the continent after Brazil and Colombia. Approximately 90 percent of Argentineans are born Roman Catholics. About two percent of the population is Protestant and, according to recent Argentinean statistics, about 400,000 Jews live in Buenos Aires.

An ethnically diverse country, about 90 percent of the Argentinean population consists of immigrants from Italy and Spain and their descendants. In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, other ethnic groups, including Germans, Poles, Welsh, Irish, Lebanese, Hungarians, Czechs, Danish, French, Jews, Japanese, Koreans, and Swiss also chose Argentina for settlement. Almost half of the immigrants who arrived during that period eventually returned to their countries of origin. For many of them, Argentina was only a transitory haven. Motivated by the desire to escape the violence and poverty that plagued Europe during World War I, many immigrants set sail with the idea of improving their lot and eventually returning to Europe. In many cases, however, these immigrants remained in Argentina, either because they decided they had worked too hard to sell what had taken them so many years to obtain, or because their families and children had made Argentina their home. As a result, an atmosphere of nostalgia stemming from the impossibility of the immigrants' return to their homeland is deeply rooted in Argentinean culture, especially in its music. About 760,000 immigrants from Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay are also living in Argentina today.


Argentina is often considered a land with four geographical sections. The northwestern border lies in the Andes Mountains. South of the mountains, the country begins to flatten toward the tip of the continent, becoming rocky grassland. A high plateau region lies east of the Andes and slopes into a large, grassy area. This grassy area is drained by the Río Paraguay and Río Paraná, which themselves drain into the baylike Río de la Plata (River of Silver), the widest river on earth. The climate is mild in this region, the pampas, where two thirds of the people live.


About 300,000 American Indians were scattered throughout the large area that is now Argentina when the Spaniards arrived in the sixteenth century. These Indians fell into at least ten distinct groups with various lifestyles. The Guaraní, for example, farmed the fertile river valleys. More typical in the south were the Onas who lived by hunting animals such as the ostrich and seal and by gathering mollusks. Farther north, the Araucanians roamed the grasslands in bands of one to two hundred families, living off the wild animals that abounded in the area. Other tribes populating the area included the Incas in the northwest, the Charrúas in the east, and the Quechuas, Tehuelches, and Huarpes in the central and western regions. The Pampas inhabited the plains of the same name.


The arrival of explorer Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516 marked the beginning of 300 years of rule by Spain. More than 50 years would pass before Buenos Aires was founded in 1580, and it was to remain little more than a village for the next two centuries. There were a sufficient number of Spanish women to generate pure Spanish families, and thus began the Creole (Spanish born in the New World) elite. Unions between Spanish men and Indian women produced mestizo offspring, who grew into the artisans and laborers of colonial towns or the herdspeople and wagoners of the early countryside. Black slaves entered the country in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, becoming servants and artisans, caring for livestock, and planting or harvesting.

In 1776 political leadership of the large area claimed by the Spanish crown was centered at Buenos Aires. British troops tried to seize Buenos Aires in 1806, but residents fought them off and a decade later, in 1816, declared independence from Spain at the urging of the national hero José de San Martín. Buenos Aires was made the country's capital in 1862.


In 1930 the national government experienced a military takeover, an event that would repeat itself time and again in the coming years. In 1943 Argentinean soldiers seized control while Colonel Juan Domingo Perón Sosa began to muster support from the lower classes. In 1946 Perón was elected president and proceeded to become the workers' champion, backing labor unions, social security, shorter hours, higher medical benefits, and so on. His charismatic second wife, Eva (Evita) Duarte, inspired the masses as well, but in the long run Perón's policies raised expectations that remained unfulfilled. Exiled in 1955, he returned to lead the country again in 1973, then died and was succeeded by his third wife, vice president María Estela Martínez de Perón, who was deposed in 1976. Thus began a period of fierce repression that is sometimes labeled the "dirty war." Lasting until 1983, this period was characterized by imprisonment, torture, and murder of opponents to the military. An alleged 15,000 to 30,000 Argentineans, many of them Jews, "disappeared" during this period, giving rise to the charge of anti-Semitism. Meanwhile the Argentinean military was defeated by Britain in a 1982 war over ownership of the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands).

The Argentineans demonstrated against their government in 1982 and 1983, managing to elect Raúl Alfonsín president in 1983. Alfonsín's record as a champion of human rights and his reputation as a lawyer boded well for the people. Still, they are threatened by a history of military takeovers and the rising cost of living; the rise in prices was over a thousand percent in 1985.


Prior to the 1970s, Argentinean immigrants were classified by the U.S. government within the broad category of "Other Hispanics," and immigration statistics from before that time do not exist. Nonetheless, Argentinean immigrants to the United States are a relatively new group. In 1970 there were 44,803 Argentinean immigrants in the United States. The 1990 U.S. Census, which counted 92,563 Argentineans, indicates that nearly half of all Argentinean immigrants arrived in the United States in the last two decades alone.

Early Argentinean immigrants came to the United States, primarily during the 1960s, for greater economic opportunities. The majority of these immigrants were well-educated professionals, including a substantial number of medical doctors and scientists. Later immigrants—those who began to immigrate to the United States during the mid- to late-1970s—fled their homeland to escape political persecution during the "dirty war." This group was more diverse and less educated than their predecessors, although their educational attainment tended to be higher than that of Argentina's overall population.

In the 1970s, 20 percent of the Argentineans in the United States resided in the New York metropolitan area. In the 1980s, this percentage increased to just over 23 percent. This is partially due to the fact that New York City already had a large Argentinean population as well as many Italian immigrants from other countries. (It is therefore expected that New York would attract Italian-Argentineans.) New York City also has a number of organizations created to assist its large Argentinean population, including the Argentine-American Chamber of Commerce, which promotes business ventures between Argentina and the United States, and the Argentine-North American Association for the Advancement of Science, Technology and Culture. Overall, Argentinean Americans seem to prefer metropolitan areas, such as New York City, where 17,363 Argentinean Americans were counted in the 1990 U.S. Census, and Los Angeles, home for 15,115 Argentinean immigrants. The least preferred destinations are North Dakota and Montana, where only 15 Argentineans were counted in each state.

Acculturation and Assimilation

Statistics show that Argentinean American immigrants, as a group, have fewer children than Argentineans; young Argentinean Americans make up between 17 and 19 percent of the Argentinean

This Argentinean dance troupe was performing in a Hispanic Day Parade.
This Argentinean dance troupe was performing in a Hispanic Day Parade.
American population. There are also a higher proportion of married Argentinean American individuals at all ages, particularly between 20 and 29. Likewise, the number of separated and divorced individuals is significantly higher in the United States.

Argentina's ethnically diverse population challenges any attempt to ethnically classify Argentinean Americans. Some common terms applied to the peoples of South America are "Hispanic" and "Latino." These terms present problems when they are used to define Argentinean Americans as well as many other peoples from the Americas. The word "Hispanic" derives from the Latin word "Hispania," a proper name in Latin that describes the area also known as the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). To apply this term to Argentinean Americans, as does the questionnaire for the 1990 U.S. Census, excludes almost half of their population, most of whom are Italian born or of Italian descent. The term "Latino" also presents some major difficulties in describing the cultural and ethnic diversity of South America, which extends far beyond its Latin European heritage. The term Latin America bluntly excludes the native peoples of Central and South America, as well as its numerous immigrant groups who have little in common with the Latin European countries.


Argentinean cuisine is very rich and includes a variety of traditional recipes that have been passed on from generation to generation. Traditional Argentinean cuisine is based on dishes made with vegetables and meat, such as the mazamorra (made with corn), locro (a meat and vegetable soup), and empanadas (meat turnovers).

Argentina is perhaps best known for its beef. As John Hamill wrote: "There is this secret place, south of the border, where polite society hasn't totally surrendered to the body sculptors and cholesterol cops. Down there, people in restaurants, perfectly respectable people, still openly order huge, rare steaks" ("Where the 'Bife' Is," Travel Holiday 174 [March 1991]: 36-38). The excellence of Argentinean beef is known worldwide. Traditional Argentinean specialties are asado (grilled meat and ribs), parrillada, (Argentinean mixed barbecue), and empanadas.

Immigrant groups have significantly contributed to the Argentinean cuisine. Along with the traditional dishes, Italian pasta is often the main course on the Sunday table. There is a popular belief that on the 29th of each month eating ñoquis (Italian pasta) brings good fortune. A ritual has evolved out of this belief and consists in placing money, usually a flattened bill that is tied up into a bow, under the plate. The Spanish settlers also contributed to the wealth of the Argentinean cuisine. Typically Spanish dishes are derived from pork, such as chorizo (sausage), bacon, and jamón serrano (pork ham cooked in salt).

Another Argentinean specialty is the dulce de leche, a type of thick caramel made with highly condensed milk. One of the most popular sweet treats in Argentina, it is usually eaten on toast spread over butter. Argentinean cuisine has evolved a variety of desserts and pastries based on this product.


A traditional Argentinean beverage is mate, a type of tea grown in the north of the country. The tea is prepared in a small potlike container, called a mate, which is usually made from a carved, dried gourd. Curing techniques, intended to protect the gourd from cracking when water is poured into it, vary according to the region of the country and determine the taste of the beverage. Probably the two most widely known curing techniques use milk or ashes. After being cured, mate is then prepared in the gourd by adding the tea, called yerba mate, and water. The tea is sipped directly from the gourd with a straw.

Mate is a highly traditional beverage, and with the passing of time it has developed a unique symbology. For example, a host that provides cold and bitter mate expresses rejection or hard feelings toward the guest. Contrarily, mate served sweet and hot expresses friendship, welcome, or affection. Mate also differs according to region. In central Argentina, for example, mate is usually prepared with boiling water and sugar. In the northeast, a particular form of mate, known as the tereré, consists of mate prepared with cold water and usually without any sugar.


A traditional Argentinean custom following meals is the sobremesa. This word lacks a precise equivalent in English, but it describes the time spent sitting at the table after a meal in conversation, providing family members a chance to exchange ideas and discuss various issues. Argentinean meals usually consist of a light breakfast, and a hearty lunch and dinner. Dinner is usually served after 9:00 p.m. In some regions of the country people still take a siesta after lunch. Even in rather big cities, such as Mendoza, this custom is still observed. Business hours have been adapted to this custom. Most activities cease soon after midday and restart at about 4:00 p.m. Even the street traffic significantly wanes during these hours.


The most popular Argentinean character, often presented as a symbol of Argentinean tradition, is the gaucho. Although the gaucho is almost extinct, his attire is sometimes worn for parades and national celebrations such as the Day of Tradition. The attire of the gaucho has evolved with time. Originally, it consisted of a simple garment known as the chiripá, a diaper-like cloth pulled over lacy leggings, which was usually worn with a poncho. The gaucho 's traditional pants became baggy trousers that were fastened with a leather belt adorned with coins and silver and an elaborate buckle. A neckerchief and a short-brimmed straw hat were also occasionally worn. A traditional Argentinean woman, or china, would typically wear a long loose dress, fastened at the waist and sleeves. Sometimes the material of the dress would have colorful patterns, typically flowery ones, which would match the flowers in her hair.


One of the more popular Argentinean holidays is the Day of Tradition, celebrated on November 10. This festivity includes parades in the towns and cities of the country and folkloric shows known as

Geraldo Hernandez waves from the "Centro Argentino of New Jersey" float as it coasts down New York City's Fifth Avenue in the 1988 Hispanic American Parade.
Geraldo Hernandez waves from the "Centro Argentino of New Jersey" float as it coasts down New York City's Fifth Avenue in the 1988 Hispanic American Parade.
peñas. In these peñas folkloric music is played by regional groups and traditional food, such as asado or impends, is sold at small stands. In some peñas it is possible to attend a rodeo, where skillful horse riders, usually dressed as gauchos, display their equestrian abilities.

Due to the influence of immigrant groups, Christmas in Argentina is usually celebrated much like it is in Spain or Italy. A Christmas tree, usually artificial and covered by cotton snow, is set up in every home. Often, a manger is arranged under the tree to evoke the time when Jesus Christ was born. The nativity is also dramatized by religious groups at churches, theaters, or public squares during the week preceding Christmas. This practice is called Pesebre Viviente ("Living Manger"). Like Americans, Argentineans celebrate the coming of Santa Claus (called "Papá Noel"), who is said to travel in a deer-driven sleigh with Christmas presents for the children. The two most important family reunions take place during Christmas and New Year's. Christmas is traditionally considered a religious celebration, whereas New Year's is a national celebration. Among young people it is customary to have dinner with their families, participate in the toast, which is often made at midnight, and afterward meet friends and dance until dawn. The Christmas dinner typically consists of a very rich meal, high in calories. The immigrant tradition has totally neglected the seasonal change and kept the traditional Christmas diet of the cold European winter, commonly serving turron and panetone (Italian).

Another important religious celebration is Epiphany, which in Argentina is known as the Day of the Three Wise Men. It is celebrated on the sixth of January. Children are instructed by their parents to leave their shoes at the foot of the bed or under the Christmas tree. By their shoes, they are also supposed to leave a glass of water for the wise men, and some grass for the camels they ride. The children usually write a letter with their requests for presents and leave it with the shoes, water, and grass. The night of the fifth of January children typically go to bed very early in the evening, expecting to get up early to receive their presents. On the following morning, the sidewalks and public squares are filled with children playing with their new toys.


The official language of Argentina is Castilian Spanish. Nevertheless, other languages and dialects are still in use in some communities of the country. Among the native languages Guaraní is probably the most widespread; it is spoken mainly in the north and northeast of Argentina. Among the Spanish and Italian communities, some people speak their native tongues. In Buenos Aires, newspapers are published in English, Yiddish, German, and Italian. The variety of Spanish spoken in Argentina is referred to as "Spanish from the Río de la Plata." This variety extends throughout Argentina and Uruguay and has some particular characteristics regarding phonology, morphology, and vocabulary.

Differences in phonology (pronunciation) can usually be associated with the geographic location of the speaker. For example, in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires the letters "y" and "ll" in Spanish are pronounced similarly to the English "j" in "John." Elsewhere in the Americas or Spain those letters tend to be pronounced as the English "y" in "yawn."

Probably the most significant morphological characteristic of Argentinean Spanish is the verb form for the second person singular pronoun, which in standard Spanish is ("you" singular, in informal conversational style), and in Argentinean Spanish is vos . The verb form accompanying this personal pronoun is different from its equivalent in standard Spanish. For example: tú juegas (you play) in standard Spanish, is vos jugás in Argentinean Spanish. In the present tense, this form can be derived from the conjugated verb of the second person plural used in Spain: vosotros (you all). The use of vos in Argentinean Spanish is known as voseo, and it is still the source of some controversy. Some Argentineans believe this form to be incorrect and sometimes disrespectful. It has even been considered a national disgrace. The argument is that the use of the voseo form unnecessarily separates the Argentineans and Uruguayans—who use it—from other Spanish-speaking peoples.

As in other South and Central American countries, local Spanish language has been enriched by numerous terms borrowed from native languages. For example, the words vicuña (vicuna) and choclo (corn, or maíz in standard Spanish) have been borrowed from the Quechua language. Immigrants have also made important linguistic contributions to the variety of Spanish spoken in Argentina, especially the Italians. In "Lunfardo" (Argentinean slang) there are countless words derived from Italian. Their usage is widespread in informal, everyday language. For example, the verb laburar (to work) in Lunfardo comes from the Italian word laborare. The standard Spanish verb is trabajar. The common Argentinean greeting chau, which in Argentina is used to say "bye-bye," comes from word ciao, which in Italian means "hello."

In some cases, the linguistic influence of Castilian Spanish upon a community of speakers of a different language has given rise to a new language variety. For example in Belgrano (Buenos Aires) there is an important community of German immigrants. The variety of German spoken there is known as "Belgrano-Deutsch," which uses terms such as the verb lechen (to milk; from melken in standard German), derived from the Spanish word leche (milk).

Family and Community Dynamics

Because of their strong Spanish and Italian heritage, the Argentinean family is characterized by the close relationships traditionally maintained by these peoples. The family often extends to cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and sometimes even the families of the in-laws. Grandparents play an important role within the family. In Argentina, family reunions are usually carried out on a weekly basis. Sundays and observed national holidays are often spent with relatives and friends, and typically an asado (Argentinean barbecue) or Italian pasta become the favorite choice for lunch. The family is often the focus of social life in Argentina, especially after marriage. Children usually spend a longer time living with their parents than they do in the United States. Sometimes they stay with them until they get married. Although this situation is at times imposed by economic necessity, there are also some gender biases in this respect. Women who live alone, for example, run the risk of being negatively labeled. In the cities this situation is better tolerated but it is still seen as odd. Argentinean families are usually not as geographically widespread as their American counterparts.


The wedding ceremony commonly consists of three main events. The first is the bride and bridegroom's shower party, which varies according to the social class and region of the country. In the middle class it usually consists of parties separately organized for the bride and bridegroom by their friends. In most cases the parties are organized so as to surprise them with tricks and prendas. The second event is the formal wedding, which is held before a state officer, usually a judge of the peace at the local civil registry. This establishes the matrimonial contract and the legal rights of the couple. Both the bridegroom and bride usually wear formal clothes for this event, which usually takes place in the morning during a business day. Two witnesses—commonly friends of the couple—are required to sign the entry in the book of civil matrimony. After the ceremony, the people present throw rice on the couple as they leave the building. Rice stands as a symbol for wishes of prosperity and fertility.

The third celebration consists of the church wedding ceremony, attended by the families and friends of bride and bridegroom. It is customary for the bridegroom not to see the bride before this ceremony. The belief is that if he does, it could bring bad luck to the couple. Therefore, the bride and bridegroom usually get dressed at their homes and meet in the church. After the ceremony, the newlywed couple greets friends and family at the entrance of the church and again rice is thrown on the couple, symbolizing economic prosperity and a fruitful marriage. Afterwards there is usually a party that is often very structured. The wedding pictures of almost any couple include these ritualized customs: cutting the cake and dancing the waltz. The wedding cake often has strings coming out of it that are attached to little gifts inside. Single women each pull a string and the item they receive symbolizes their romantic fate. For instance, if a woman pulls out a little ring then that means she will marry next; if she pulls out a thimble, she will never marry; and if she pulls out a lock—like a small padlock—her parents will not allow her to get married anytime soon.


Children have a very important role in Argentinean culture. Traditionally they are protected in the family from the world of adults. There are many celebrations that are actually intended for children, such as Epiphany, Christmas, the Day of the Children, and baptism. In a Catholic family baptism is the first ceremony in which children participate. During this ceremony the newborn is assigned its godparents, who are usually relatives or friends of the family. Traditionally, the Argentinean President becomes the godfather of the seventh son, which is a rare occurrence. The commitment that the godparents make includes providing advice and spiritual guidance to the godchild. Sometimes they are also expected to look after the children in case of the parents' unexpected death. To be a godparent today is more a symbol of the confirmation of the close bond or friendship between the parents and the selected godparents. It is also very common to have a set of godparents for the wedding ceremony in Catholic families. Usually the godparents are another couple whose function is to give advice to the newlyweds on matrimonial matters.


Another traditional party celebration, representing the turning point between adolescence and womanhood, is informally known as Los Quince. Held on a girl's fifteenth birthday, the celebration is usually organized by the relatives and friends of the teenage girl. She wears a dress similar to the white dress worn by brides, although the color can be other than white, like pink or light blue. Customarily, the father dances a waltz with his daughter after dinner, followed by the girl's godfather and her friends, while the rest of the guests stand in a circle. In some cases the whole family attends mass in church before the party.


The role of women in Argentinean society has changed in the last few decades. While daily tasks such as cooking, laundry, care of the children, and shopping are still the domain of women, the number of women who pursue careers in addition to fulfilling their roles as mothers and wives is increasing. Little by little, women are entering typically male-dominated fields such as politics, economics, engineering, and law. Argentina was, in fact, the first American country to have a woman president.

The situation of the Argentineans in the United States seems to be somewhat different. Married women seem to be more restricted in American society. In a recent study about migrant Argentinean women called "Migrant Careers and Well Being of Women," one of the interviewed subjects affirmed: "I only go out with my husband," "I live locked up," "I'm afraid to go out." In this report it is further stated that "for those married women who wanted to return to Argentina there was family conflict, since most husbands wished to remain permanently in the United States." Yet, "the unmarried seemed better adjusted and reported more freedom and less family pressure than in Argentina. 'A woman in the United States can live alone, work, travel, and nobody thinks anything bad of her. In Argentina they would think I am crazy.' 'As a single woman, I would have a more restricted life in Argentina—there is more machismo. "'

In Argentina it is usual for couples to ask their parents or a sibling to babysit for their children. These conveniences are often unavailable to immigrant women who may find it necessary to look after the children and postpone their own work or professional career. For example, in the report quoted above, an Argentinean immigrant woman stated: "I miss the family. I have to do everything at home by myself. If I lived in Argentina my mother, sister or friend would take care of the children sometimes. Here even when I don't feel well I have to continue working."


Education is still praised by Argentineans as one of the most important assets an individual can have. In Argentina, private and public institutions offer a wide range of possibilities for elementary, high school, and university education. The choice between a public or private institution often depends on the economic capabilities of the family. In the last few years there has been a significant surge in the number of bilingual schools. Perhaps the most common combination is Spanish and English, but there are also renowned elementary and high schools that offer bilingual instruction in Spanish and Italian, or Spanish and German. Religious schools are also widespread, and during the last two decades they have started to open to coed education.

In Argentina education is mandatory from six to 14 years of age. Elementary school ranges from the first to the seventh year, while high school is optional and can comprise between five to seven years of study in some vocational schools. Universities are either private or government-financed. Government-financed universities are free and often the only admission requirement is completion of a high school degree, although some universities may request an entrance examination. Careers that enjoy a certain social prestige, like medicine, law, engineering, and economics, are popular career choices among young students. Because of such educational attainment, most Argentinean immigrants have assimilated relatively well in the United States, particularly in careers associated with science and academia.


The rituals and ceremonies of the Catholic church are widespread throughout Argentina. The Declaration of Rights, which prefaces the Argentinean Constitution, states that the Roman Catholic religion shall be protected by the state since the majority of Argentineans profess this faith. Furthermore, the Constitution provides that the president of the country be a Roman Catholic. During the last decades the Argentinean Catholic church has undergone a significant crisis, reflected not only in absenteeism in the churches but also in the small number of seminary students and novices. It is therefore common for many Argentineans to affirm their religious beliefs and simultaneously confess their lack of involvement within the church. Among Argentinean immigrants in the United States there seems to be a corresponding trend.

Employment and Economic Traditions

Many Argentineans in the United States are characterized by their high level of education: technicians, skilled workers, and professionals in general make up the majority of Argentinean immigrants in the United States. However, statistics show about 50 percent of the Argentineans who entered the United States from 1965 to 1970 were manual workers. Possibly this increase is due to the fact that periods of economic and political stability in Argentina had limited prospects not only for professionals but also for people involved in other occupations. Immigration then became more massive and included people from different social classes. The statistics showed that by 1970, the percentage of Argentineans with ten or more years of education was four times higher in the United States than in Argentina. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, about 21 percent of the Argentinean immigrants residing in the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and New York had a bachelor's degree or higher education.

The percentage of Argentineans between 25 and 59 years old in the workplace has been increasing. In 1980, 58 percent of Argentinean women immigrants between 25 and 59 years old could be found in the workplace, compared with 52 percent of the general female U.S. population and 24 percent in other South and Central American countries. The United States seems to offer women increased opportunities for employment. Male Argentinean Americans tend to participate in activities such as manufacturing industries, commerce, transportation, communication, and construction. They have a lower participation in activities such as agriculture, hunting, fishing, and silviculture.

Individual and Group Contributions


Leopoldo Maximo Falicov is a physicist at the University of California, Berkely and the author of Group Theory and Its Physical Applications (1966). Mathematician Luis Angel Caffarelli teaches at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Harvard graduate Enrique Anderson-Imbert teaches Hispanic literature and has written several works on such Argentinean figures as Rubén Darío and Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. Dermatologist Irma Gigli is a director at the University of California, San Diego, who has also taught at Harvard Medical School and New York University Medical Center.


Composer Lalo Schifrin wrote the music for the television series Mission Impossible and is well known for his film, classical, and jazz works. Opera director Tito Capobianco founded the San Diego Opera Center and the Pittsburgh Opera Center. Geny Dignac is a sculptor whose award-winning works have appeared in exhibits throughout the world.


Verónica Ribot-Canales became a U.S. citizen in September 1991. In April 1992 she switched her sports nationality from Argentina to the United States. She has competed in three Olympics, winning 12 South American titles for Argentina. Ribot-Canales has represented the United States since 1996.


Television in Spanish is available from Mexican broadcasts, which very rarely include any material for Argentineans. One of the most popular Argentinean Television channels is available through the Television Station SUR, in Miami, Florida.

Organizations and Associations

Argentine-American Chamber of Commerce. Located in New York City, this organization promotes business ventures between Argentina and the United States.

Contact: Carlos Alfaro, President.

Address: 10 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 1001, New York, New York 10020.

Argentine Association of Los Angeles.

Provides information on Argentina and supports Argentinean American activities. Located in Los Angeles.

Argentine-North American Association for the Advancement of Science, Technology and Culture.

Professionals, academicians, and institutions working to promote scientific, technological, and cultural exchanges between Argentina and North America. Sponsors research programs and debates.

Contact: Victor Penchaszadeh, President.

Address: 234 West Delaware Avenue, Pennington, New Jersey 08534.

Casa Argentina.

Conducts activities that involve the Argentine culture, including folkloric dances, movies, music, and books.

Contact: Antonio Pesce, President.

Address: c/o Francisco Foti, 5940 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60639-2740.

Telephone: (773) 637-4288.

Embajada Argentina en Washington, D.C. (Argentine Embassy).

Provides information on Argentina.

Address: 1600 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009.

Telephone: (202) 238-6400.

Fax: (202) 332-3171.


Online: .

Museums and Research Centers

Argentinean Information Service Center (AISC).

This center provides information about conditions in Argentina to governmental and nongovernmental institutions. AISC has also compiled a list of individuals who were abducted, imprisoned, or killed in Argentina during the late 1970s. Supports organizations and activities that internationally promote respect for human rights and democracy. Holds bimonthly meetings.

Contact: Víctor Penchaszadeh, M.D., Executive Secretary.

Address: 32 West 82nd Street, Suite 7-B, New York, New York 10024.

Telephone: (212) 496-1478.

Sociedad Sanmartiniana de Washington (San Martín Society of Washington, D.C.).

This society promotes study and historic research on Argentinean General José de San Martín's life and work. Sponsors periodic commemorative ceremonies, including San Martín's birthday (February 25, 1778), Argentinean Independence Day (July 9, 1816), and the anniversary of San Martín's death (August 17, 1850). Holds annual meetings and publishes periodicals.

Contact: Cristian García-Godoy, President.

Address: 1128 Balls Hill Road, McLean, Virginia 22101.

Telephone: (703) 883-0950.

Fax: (703) 883-0950.


Online: .

Sources for Additional Study

Cattan, Peter. "The Diversity of Hispanics in the U.S. Work Force." Monthly Labor Review, August 1993, p. 3.

The Dynamics of Argentine Migration, 1955-1984: Democracy and the Return of Expatriates, edited by Alfredo E. Lattes and Enrique Oteiza [translated from Spanish by David Lehmann and Alison Roberts]. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development; [Buenos Aires, Argentina]: Centro de estudios de población, 1987.

Freidenberg, Judith, et al. "Migrant Careers and Well Being of Women." International Migration Review. 22, No. 2, p. 208.

Tulchin, Joseph S. Argentina and the United States: A Conflicted Relationship. Boston: Twayne, 1990.

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