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Argentina-Brazil relations

Argentina and Brazil are neighbouring countries of South America, and two of the most important economies in Latin America. The two countries combined represent 63% of the total area of South America, 60% of its population and 61% of its GDP.


Independence and consolidation

Argentina and Brazil share the Rio de la Plata basin an area where Portuguese and Spanish conquistadors collided in their ambition to conquer new land for their respective crowns. After achieving independence from the Iberian crowns in the early nineteenth century, the Argentine Republic and the Brazilian Empire inherited a series of unresolved territorial disputes from their colonial powers, involving Paraguay and Uruguay, the other two nations of the Rio de la Plata basin.

It was during this time that the Argentina-Brazil War, the first armed conflict between both countries, started. From 1825 to 1828 the forces of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata outfought those of the Brazilian Empire, until the signing of the Treaty of Montevideo that gave independence to Uruguay from both countries, as Great Britain, an historical ally of the Portuguese and the Brazilians, desired. Troops of both countries would face each other once again later, during the Platine War, when a coalition of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentine rebels managed to defeat Rosas and his Argentine Confederation (helped in turn by Uruguayan rebels led by Manuel Oribe). Another war almost happened during the 1870s when Brazil refused to accept Argentina's desire to take all the Chaco region for itself after the end of the War of the Triple Alliance when both countries were allies against Paraguay.

Brazil did not settle disputes with Argentina over its precise national boundaries until the early twentieth century. It had settled with Uruguay in 1851, with Peru in 1851 and 1874, with Colombia in 1853, with Venezuela in 1859, with Bolivia in 1867 and with Paraguay in 1872, but not with Argentina, Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname. However, it had consolidated most of its vast territory under a single authority by the middle of the nineteenth century, achieved as the result of the work of the empire's political elite.

In contrast, the Argentine Republic's nineteenth century experience was marked by infighting between contending factionsthose favoring a federalist republicstruggling against the strong centralist tendencies of the city of Buenos Aires (Unitarians). Argentina's unification and territorial consolidation under a single authority was completed by the 1880s.

Consolidated nations

Despite this inheritance of unresolved territorial disputes and numerous periods of muted hostility, the ArgentineBrazilian relationship was not defined by open hostility for most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. To be sure, there was competition on many levels, and their respective defense policies reflected mutual suspicion, but their bilateral relationship was not adversarial. After the mid-1850s, neither country resorted to coercion or the use of force to resolve territorial disputes, and during the only general war that took place in the Plata region the Triple Alliance War (18641870) Argentina and Brazil were allied against Paraguay.

Twentieth Century

Argentina and Brazil perceived each other as rivals, not enemies. Indeed, since their consolidation as viable nation-states in the late nineteenth century and until the mid-1980s, both countries kept a mutual distance from each other, despite sharing the abundant natural resources of the Rio de la Plata basin. For most of the twentieth century, their physical integration was hampered by security concerns, particularly following World War II. With the growing influence of the armed forces in their respective body politics in particular the rise of Germanic influences among members of the civilian and military elites priority was given to defending their national territories against a potentially aggressive neighbor.

Consequently, communication and physical integration between the two neighbors was limited. The benefits of developing closer economic, political, and cultural relations were not considered until very recently.

Since 1945, the most acrimonious bilateral dispute concerned the control of water resources along the Alto Parana basin. In 1966, Brazil and Paraguay concluded the Iguacu Act, announcing their intention to build a BrazilianParaguayan hydroelectric plant, Itaipu, on the Parana River, on the ArgentinaBrazilParaguay border. The Treaty of Itaipu was signed in Brasilia in 1973. However, Buenos Aires feared that Brazils project would hinder its own plans for the water resources development in the area. For almost a decade, the dispute soured bilateral relations and hampered efforts to forge closer economic and political links.

The dispute over water resources was finally resolved by intense diplomatic negotiations. In October 1979, the ItaipuCorpus Multilateral Treaty on Technical Cooperation was concluded, ending the dispute to the satisfaction of all three neighbors and opening the way for a dramatic improvement in relations. After the conclusion of the ItaipuCorpus Treaty, Brazilian president Joao Figueiredo visited Argentina, the first Brazilian leader to do so in more than four decades.

Figueiredo, the last president of the military rulers who had governed Brazil for 21 years, visited Buenos Aires in May 1980 and signed, among other agreements, a series of accords to collaborate on nuclear issues. Reflecting their shared opposition to the nuclear non-proliferation regime, Argentina and Brazil agreed to co-operate and exchange technical information, materials, and products on all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Following the resolution of the water resources dispute and the Brazilian presidents successful visit, an unexpected and traumatic event took place in Argentina that further improved bilateral relations: the 1982 Falklands War.

Falklands War

Three years after calling off the Operation Soberania in order to invade the Picton, Nueva and Lennox islands, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands on April 1982, starting a brief but important war with the United Kingdom. Brazil supported the Argentine claim over the Falkland Islands:

After hostilities ended in June 1982, Buenos Aires chose Brazil to represent its interests in London until full diplomatic relations with United Kingdom were restored in 1990. Thus, despite rivalry and historical suspicions, Brazils actions and policies during the most traumatic period of Argentinas recent history objectionable military rule, near-conflict with Chile and the Falklands War were fundamental to building trust between the two countries.

Argentina's defeat in the war against Britain hastened the end of its domestic military rule. General elections were held in October 1983, and President Raul Alfonsin was elected with a mandate to ensure that Argentinas recent past was not repeated. Among his main achievements, President Alfonsin started to resolve the enduring territorial conflict with Chile during his six-year term, and significantly improved relations with Brazil.

Argentinas intention to forge a closer relationship with Brazil was matched by Brazil's intention to do the same. While still under military rule, Brazil initiated a policy of improving relations with its South American neighbors, and Argentina was considered the key country in this effort. The initiative was accelerated after 1985 when Jose Sarney, became the first civilian president of Brazil since 1964. Soon after taking power, President Sarney met with President Alfonsin, and thereafter a series of diplomatic initiatives and presidential visits took place. The aim of these exchanges was to deepen the process of cultural, political, and economic rapprochement between Argentina and Brazil.

Democratization (1985)

After democratization, a strong integration and partnership began between the two countries. In 1985 they signed the basis for the MERCOSUL, a Regional Trade Agreement.

In the field of science, the two regional giants had been rivals since the 1950s when both governments launched parallel nuclear and space programs, however, several agreements were signed since then such as the creation of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC) to verify both countries' pledges to use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes.

Also on the military side there has been greater rapprochement. In accordance with the friendship policy, both armies dissolved or moved major units previously located at their common border (e.g. Argentine's 7th Jungle and 3rd Motorized Infantry Brigades). Brazilian soldiers are embedded in the Argentine peacekeeping contingent at UNFICYP in Cyprus and they are working together at MINUSTAH in Haiti and, as another example of collaboration, Argentine Navy aircraft routinely operates from the Brazilian Navy carrier NAe Sao Paulo.

Recent years

In 2007, Brazil and Argentina successfully launched a rocket into space, in the first joint space mission by the two countries. The VS-30 was launched from the Barreira do Inferno Launch Center and carried experiments from both countries. The national spaces agencies CONAE and AEB have been working together since the 1990s.

On February 22, 2008, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made a state visit to Buenos Aires. During his visit, the presidents established a binational commission on pursuing joint uranium enrichment for nuclear energy purposes. They also agreed on energy, transport and space satellite cooperation, and announced their decision to hold bilateral summit meetings every six months. Brazil also committed to ensure a steady supply of electricity to Argentina during peak winter months to alleviate sporadic power and natural gas shortages. "The strategic alliance between Argentina and Brazil is of the utmost importance", Lula da Silva told Fernandez after the meeting, reaffirming the strong ties between Brazil and Argentina.

On September 6, 2008, the President of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, traveled to Brazil to consolidate relations between the two countries. She was the guest of honor at the Independence Day celebrations that took place on September 7, 2008 and witnessed the military parade in Brasilia. The following day, she held discussions with President Lula on a variety of bilateral issues including energy, defense and nuclear cooperation.

In August 2008, Argentina and Brazil announced they were dropping the U.S. dollar and using their own currencies on all bilateral commercial transactions. In 2008, trade between the two countries reached 23.6 billion dollars a year, with Brazil as Argentina's largest trading partner, and Argentina as Brazil's second-largest partner.

State visits

;Recent visits by the President of Brazil to Argentina

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

*May 2225, 2003, Buenos Aires - Inauguration of Nestor Kirchner as President of Argentina

*October 1518, 2003, Buenos Aires and El Calafate - Official state visit

*July 78, 2004, Puerto Iguazu - Mercosur summit and private meeting with President Nestor Kirchner

*November 45, 2005, Mar del Plata - 4th Summit of the Americas

*November 30, 2005, Puerto Iguazu - Presidential meeting with Nestor Kirchner

*May 4, 2006, Puerto Iguazu - Quadripartite meeting between the heads of state of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela

*July 2021, 2006, Cordoba - Mercosur summit

*April 2627, 2007, Buenos Aires - Official state visit

*December 910, 2007, Buenos Aires - Inauguration of Cristina Kirchner as President of Argentina

*February 2123, 2008, Buenos Aires - Official state visit

*June 30 July 1, 2008, San Miguel de Tucuman - Mercosur and Unasul summits and private meeting with Cristina Kirchner

*August 34, 2008, Buenos Aires - Official state visit

*April 2223, 2009, Buenos Aires - Official state visit

;Recent visits by the President of Argentina to Brazil

Eduardo Duhalde

*January 14, 2003, Brasilia - Official state visit

Nestor Kirchner

*June 11, 2003, Brasilia - Official state visit

*March 1516, 2004, Brasilia - Official state visit

*May 9, 2005, Brasilia - South America-Arab Countries summit and private meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

*January 1819, 2006, Brasilia - Official state visit

*April 2526, 2006, Brasilia - Presidential meeting with Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Cristina Kirchner

*May 23, 2008, Brasilia - 1st UNASUL summit

*September 68, 2008, Brasilia - Official state visit

*March 20, 2009, Sao Paulo - Presidential meeting with Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva


Diplomatic missions:

;Of Argentina

Brasilia (Embassy)

Porto Alegre (Consulate-General)

Rio de Janeiro (Consulate-General)

Sao Paulo (Consulate-General)

Belo Horizonte (Consulate)

Curitiba (Consulate)

Florianopolis (Consulate)

Foz do Iguacu (Consulate)

Recife (Consulate)

Salvador (Consulate)

Uruguaiana (Consulate)

;Of Brazil

Buenos Aires (Embassy)

Cordoba (Consulate-General)

Mendoza (Consulate-General)

Paso de los Libres (Vice-Consulate)

Puerto Iguazu (Vice-Consulate)

See also

Argentine Brazilian

Foreign relations of Argentina

Foreign relations of Brazil

Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials


Union of South American Nations

Argentina and Brazil football rivalry

External links

Embassy of Brazil in Buenos Aires

Embassy of Argentina in Brasilia

Ministry of Foreign Relations of Brazil

Ministry of Foreign Relations, International Trade and Cult of Argentina

Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Argentina-Brazil relations

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