Athens and Buenos Aires, Sublime Similarities


The Argentinean Ambassador to Greece, Jorge Alejandro Mastropietro, recently wrote an extremely interesting article on the connections between Argentina and Greece.  He was not exaggerating when he wrote that Argentines from Buenos Aires feel immediately at home in Athens and vice versa.  We have heard the same thing, both from Porteños visiting Athens and from Athenians visiting Buenos Aires.  As soon as they reach the respective city centers, visitors report an eerie feeling of deja vu, an intimate familiarity with a place they have never been to before.

Further interesting connections include Greek participation in the Argentine revolution, a common passion for soccer (football in Europe), as well as similar approaches to life and ways of expressing emotions.  But there are some much more profound connections that are not mentioned in the article.  Argentina and Greece have many parallel watershed moments in their history, separated in time by roughly one decade in each case.

The Argentinean quest for independence began about a decade before the Greek revolution of 1821.  Following independence, both nations experienced enormous dependence on foreign capital in terms of loans and foreign investment.  In the second half of the 20th century both countries experienced repressive military dictatorships that ended in national tragedies involving islands; the 1982 Falklands War in the case of Argentina, and the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the case of Greece.  In the 21st century, many economists have pointed to the similarities between the Argentine economic crisis of 2001 and the ongoing crisis in Greece whose outcome remains to be seen.

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