In 1913 Argentina was the 10th richest country in the world, today it is ranked no 63 according to the CIA World Fact book (2011),
A country rich in natural resources, the potential to be self sufficient in energy, with vast tracts of fertile land and a relatively modest 40m inhabitants, ought to be as well off as its near neighbour Brazil, yet it is trailing.
Throughout the 20th century Argentina suffered from political instability with barely a decade passing without a coup. Patronage and dynasty have surfaced in successive bids to hang on to power most famously typified by the Perons and now more recently the Kirchner's, first Nestor, and then Cristina following the tragic early death of her husband.
When the recessionary chips are down it seems old habits die hard with currency restrictions, exchange controls and nationalisation all back on the agenda.
The tough talking President is at loggerheads with the IMF over allegedly understated inflation numbers and has recently suffered the setback of seeing a prestigious tall ship used for cadet training seized in Ghana for non payment of debt.
Where next then for Argentina; with significant social welfare entitlements funded through loose monetary policy the voter block supporting the President will likely hold up. The key professional and middle classes though are looking further afield as the storm clouds gather and the bad times threaten to return.
Argentina's connections with Britain go back over two centuries and Jersey can play a significant role supporting those who legitimately hold disclosed wealth overseas, and if the political worries can be calmed, could be a valuable conduit for international capital coming to Argentina, helping with much needed infrastructure development.
What Argentina needs for sustainable development is a respect for property rights, enforcement of contract law, functioning debt and equity markets and a reliable judicial system which keeps its distance from the government of the day. It has an abundance of bright young people, has traditionally had a terrific education system, and it's commodity rich economy ought to be able to trade successfully with resource hungry nations such as China.
Open markets will ultimately be Argentina's friend and encourage trade with developed and developing countries – protectionism and graft will only propel it to yet another crisis.
The democratic dividend of the last twenty years was hard won and should be carefully cherished as the best hope for a brighter future. Trade after all is preferable to Aid and President Fernandez can still avoid the IMF red card, but time is short, and its running out.