Sir: I've been to buenos aires four times, to take dance lessons. MyYour question is legitimate and until recently my answer would have been different, and this my regular readers know well.
website is noseintheair.wordpress.com ... some of my later visits are
chronicled there. I've lurked at this blog awhile, and came back to
check it out again, since I may be coming "down there" again. But the
news about restrictions on dollars is unsettling. Thus I approach you
for information, like any preparedness-minded individual would, and
ask you if this good a dollar-bearer, or bad for a dollar - bearer. I
am not looking to profit from misery, or engage in shady dealing. ...
But I would like to avoid entanglements with the authorities on
account of simply being uninformed. If those I interact with
(teachers, hostel operators) will take dollars, what is the risk to
When someone asks about safety when traveling to Argentina (and most other South American countries for that matter)my advice is usually the same: Have a good time but be more careful than usual. Stay within the areas that you see are clearly intended for tourists, like down town Buenos Aires, mind any bag or purse you may have, know it may be snatched just like with cameras and cell phones, don’t leave values unsecured in the hotel room, use a cab company recommended by the hotel. Argentina is a country with a serious crime problem but for tourists that didn’t have an Indiana Jones complex it was ok. Good hotels, food and entertainment.
Today things have changed.
Tougher Argentine Terror Laws Concern Opponents
Argentina’s New Anti-Terrorism Law Ignites Terror
Strictly speaking according to the new and much criticized Antiterrorist law you could get in trouble. If you combine this with the recently created “Financial Investigation Division” under the control of AFIP (local version of IRS) they can pretty much throw you in jail for anything, from buying or selling dollars or paying to anyone with them, exchanging them, or for protesting in any way or form. Again if they throw the book at you, the new law recently approved says you can spend 15 years in jail. Even paying in pesos can get you in trouble, because the new law is so broad. Using dollars in any way other than exchanging them for a rip off in official institutions can be considered a form of financial terrorism. Yes, just for having USD dollars.
According to what has been said by the Minister of economy and Secretary of State numerous times on print and media, the idea isn’t to send people to jail for 15 years for touching a dollar, the idea is to simply and I quote “install a sense of fear in the population” of owning foreign currency. They have the right to do it, but they kind of say they wont, they just grant themselves the power to do so if they see fit. See, their heads are so high up their butts that they don’t even see anything wrong with making such claims.
There’s been outrage among the socialists that used to blindly support the current government, understanding that from now on they stand on fragile ground whenever they protest in any way or form. If its not 100% officially consented, you can go to jail for a long time just for protesting in Argentina.
Since you asked me I have to give you an answer. No, don go unless you think its worth the risk. The new law has been approved, the warnings are as clear as they can be, its up to you to decide. I simply think that in this climate its just not worth the risk. I’ve seen people be afraid of doing transactions in dollars, I had a friend of ours try to buy my sons savings (USD) which she desperately needed for a trip. My son is nine.
I just wouldn’t travel to any country where according to a new law they recently passed, they have a right to throw you in jail for almost anything. The law gives a ridiculously broad definition of what they could take as terrorist, from civil disorder to trying to ruin the country’s finance by selling or buying foreign currency, or knowingly or not financing “terrorists”, no minimum amounts mentioned. Its all up to their “good” judgment.
Ridiculously enough, Argentina’s IRS (AFIP) already had their own CIA, called Financial Intelligence Unit. “Unidad de Infomracion Financiera”. According to themselves, IN THEIR OWN WEBSITE, well, what a terrorist or financial terrorist for that matter is isn’t exactly defined! So if you cant tell me what it is, why the hell do you have a law that can put that undefined person in jail for 15 years!!?
http://www.uif.gov.ar/eng/financiamiento.html (I purposefully don’t hotlink it, its in English but its up to you to visit their website or not)
That’s the situation as of today. You have to decide. As for my advice: It’s just not worth it.
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