Obviously, Art Basel has access to all the greatest resources in the world, both monetarily and intellectually. Their bringing that to Buenos Aires has its obvious benefits to the city, but it's also tinged with an air of colonialism—at the very least, it looks a lot like art world missionaries who have come to spread the Good Word of international collecting. Read about it at Artnet.
Buenos Aires has both a thriving art scene and a relatively rich econony, and so the question I came to again and again was why its artists aren't more prominent on the international stage, as is the case in other Latin American cities like São Paulo and Mexico City. Some told me that it's just too far, but obviously if the country imposes a day's worth of paperwork and high protectionist tariffs on the art leaving the country, well, people ain't buyin' it. I regret not asking what the Art Basel Cities program is going to do to address this. It's going to be a few more years before we see how it pans out.
Buenos Aires, btw, is gorgeous. Like Paris, but sexier.