Every country has its soft spots, and Argentina is no exception. Here are a few ways to easily provoke an Argentine into a heated argument.
1. Say Pelé is better than Maradona
Edson Arantes do Nascimiento a.k.a. Pelé and Diego Maradona are both world-renowned soccer legends. The difference is, Pelé is Brazilian and Maradona is Argentine. Each man played in 4 different world cups and are beloved by their countrymen, but Argentines don't just love Maradona, they practically worship him. To this day, you will see framed photos of Maradona hanging in bars, restaurants, and even some homes. Maradona is still regularly introduced at soccer games, even though he is in the stands rather than on the fields and fans still chant "Oooo-le, ole, ole, ole, DI-E-GOOOO DI-E-GOOO!" If you even suggest that Pelé was a better player than Maradona, you better be ready for a fight!
2. Refer to their language as "español" instead of "castellano"
Argentines have their own accent and even some of their own grammar rules, so they classify their language as "castellano." While there are some people who argue the validity of that claim, you do not want to tell an Argentine that they speak "español" unless you want to get into a lengthy debate. In reality castellano and español refer to the same thing, but that does not matter in Argentina.
3. Insult their wine
Argentina has some of the best wineries and vineyards in the world. Their famous Malbec is exported to countries around the world to be included in some very high-end wine collector's cellars. Their delicious wine is a symbol of national pride, so if you have complaints about their wine, you best keep them to yourself.
4. Remind them that they aren't European
Even though Argentina is obviously in South America, they like to consider themselves European when it comes to style, fashion and culture. They have a heavy Italian influence and Buenos Aires is often called the Paris of South America, so they take great pride in their class and style. Of course, most other Latin Americans laugh at this notion, but don't bring that up to an Argentine!
5. Trash talk Evita
Eva "Evita" Perón was the wife of former president Juan Perón. She was a beloved public figure who came from a lower class (a supposed prostitute) and then used her position to fight for the poor. She died at the age of 33 in 1952, but her memory still lives on. Her grave in Recoleta, Buenos Aires is a major tourist attraction in Argentina and is always covered in flowers. Sixty years later her face still appears everywhere. The Perón movement lives on through the Peronista political party, so to insult Evita is not only offensive to the people who loved her, but also to an entire political party. It is not an argument you want to stir up!
Of course, these are generalizations and there will be some Argentines who will not snap at the mere mention of these topics. However, to be on the safe side, I wouldn't push your luck with any of these!
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Featured photo credit: Global Jet via photo pin cc