The standard imperialist history on Argentina: where if not on: BBC? (1 of 2)

Gorojovsky Gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar
Sat Dec 22 14:11:19 MST 2001


Extraordinary. Not for what it has of truth but for what it has of lies.

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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 06:33 GMT
IMF 'blamed' for Argentine crisis

Financial crisis and austerity measures caused violent protests

The IMF was "instrumental" in engineering Argentina's financial collapse 
because of irresponsible lending which "exacerbated" its foreign debt 
problem, foreign creditors have claimed.

Argentine people have seen their pensions taken away, unemployment soar, 
inflation jump and their industries decimated.

"The IMF... were instrumental in engineering this, lending an additional 
huge amount of money this year," Hans Humes, of Van Eck Emerging Market 
Funds and spokesman for a New York-based committee of Argentina's foreign 
creditors told the BBC's Today Programme.

Foreign creditors expect the collapse of the government to delay a 
restructuring of the nation's $132bn (£91.2bn) public debt and cause a 
default.

One rating agency said it will cost private investors half of the $97bn 
(£66.9bn) face value of their claims.

The International Monetary Fund decided two weeks ago to cut Argentina's 
$22bn credit line but denies it is to blame for the country's troubles.

Debt swap unlikely

Argentine President Fernando de la Rua resigned on Thursday as violence 
engulfed the country.

The widespread riots and looting were in response to more than four years 
of harsh austerity policies demanded by the IMF to repay the debt.

President de la Rua was only halfway through his four-year term and quit 
just hours after economy minister Domingo Cavallo.

The resignations mean the country is unlikely to be able make its planned 
20 January debt swap.

By swapping out of current bonds and into new low interest bearing loans, 
the government had hoped to cut its heavy debt servicing payments.

IMF blamed

"They (IMF) were really the last lenders to Argentina and have exacerbated 
the debt overhanging the country," said Mr Humes, adding the IMF should 
take its share of losses.

"This is a market where you make your own risk estimates and that should 
apply to the private sector as groups like the IMF who are way over their 
budget for lending to Argentina," he said.

"It's going to cut across everybody, banks, insurers, pension funds, every 
financial institution would have some exposure," Mr Hume said.

Default rating

Fitch, the credit ratings agency, said on Thursday that Argentina is likely 
to default on about $97bn of outstanding debt owed to private creditors.

The agency also said it did not believe that Argentina's currency peg, 
under which one peso is convertible into one US dollar, was viable, 
indicating a devaluation is the only option.

"The combination of a disorderly default and devaluation implies that 
creditors will ultimately be forced to write off at least 50% of the face 
value of their claims on the Argentine government," Fitch said.


Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at arnet.com.ar

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