At the UN Security Council brainstorming session on “terrorism”, Fernández de Kirchner did not mince her words. Her candour was breathtakingly courageous.
Argentina now has the best growth in Latin America, which had been possible because $193 billion in debt had been restructured. Today, it carried one of the lowest debt loads in the world.
Turning to the Security Council, she said that as long as the votes of the five permanent members counted more than those of other countries, nothing would ever be resolved. As a non-permanent member of the Council, she had questions about who had armed the “bad guys”. But one group had led to another, and now there was ISIS. “Where does this come from?” she asked. Some might be able to answer such questions, she said.
Posted October 04, 2014
Forewarning of Fernández
Fringe critics of Fernández de Kirchner’s address at the UN forget that the fuss about Argentinian debt is but noise.
By Gamal Nkrumah
October 04, 2014 “ICH” – “Al-Ahram” – – Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner deserves acclaim and commendation from the international community. At the UN Security Council brainstorming session on “terrorism”, Fernández de Kirchner did not mince her words. Her candour was breathtakingly courageous.
Fernández set the record straight, much to the consternation of Western powers. “Our investigation’s results indicate that Iran wasn’t behind Argentina’s terrorist attacks,” she lambasted the West.
The Argentinian president did not beat around the bush. “You killed many innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan under the name of war against terrorism,” she said, referring to the West in general and to Washington in particular. Small wonder Western leaders have little enthusiasm for Fernández’s decorum and demeanour.
The West marches to the beat of its own drum. “Hizbullah of Lebanon is a recognised great organisation in Lebanon, not a terrorist group,” Fernández extrapolated.
Undaunted by walkouts and grunts of disapproval, after acknowledging that both Argentina and the United States have been subject in the past to terrorist attacks, Fernández urged the West to be more understanding and compliant with the rest of the world, sighting Buenos Aires’ memorandum of understanding with Iran. Washington and its Western allies are capable of following the Argentinian example.
So Argentina took on two meanings for two separate groups of nations: those emerging powers such as Russia, India and China for whom Fernández is tailor-made for them; and Western powers who have no political place for the Argentinian leader, primarily because she spoke her mind.
And then, Fernández detonated her bombshell. “Today you pretend making a coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but in fact you’re their allies,” the Argentinian president stated calmly and collected.
It was against this backdrop that the debt row between Argentina and its Western creditors erupted. “Argentina wants to pay, can pay and is going to pay all its debts to all bondholders,” Fernández assured.
Argentina was promptly pronounced in contempt of court. US Judge Thomas Griesa ruled that Argentina must repay borrowed funds before it can repay other bondholders. The outspokenness of Fernández was undoubtedly a crucial factor in compressing the time available for negotiations over Argentina’s debt.
What little trust remains between developing and emerging nations and the West was fast dissipating. The ruling by the US court was flawed from the outset, for no domestic court, regardless of the country, has jurisdiction over another sovereign state. The US had deliberately sundered, wedged apart Latin America in the past. The contemporary continent is no longer artificially conjoined. It speaks with one voice.
Buenos Aires undertook no preliminary soundings. The position of Fernández was revealed in public, before the world, and arguments over Argentina’s debt began in earnest. What the Western media declines to disclose is that Argentina has already duly, fully and promptly paid 92.4 per cent of its creditors and is simultaneously endeavouring hard to pay the remaining 7.6 per cent. Instead, Western pundits focus on Argentina’s presumed recession and double-digit inflation.
The Argentinian Congress, in a move highlighting a new spirit of national confidence and defiance, has approved legislation to restructure the country’s debt and sidestep a
US court ruling that recently pushed the government into its second default in 13 years. After a 16-hour debate, Argentinian congressmen and women were resoundingly in favour of the baronial stance and posturing projected by Fernández at the UN.
Buenos Aires, once dubbed the “Paris of South America”, is no “Banana Republic”. After Argentina defaulted on about $100 billion of debt in 2001, the country negotiated a settlement with the majority of its bondholders to repay a certain portion of the amount owed. None of these irritants alone would constitute a deal-breaker, but together they have fed into a souring of US-Argentinian relations.
Judge Griesa, “pushing 85 with visible health problems, and very fond of napping around any time of day”, in the words of Jorge Vilches, a former op-ed columnist for The World Street Journal, is no authority on US-Argentinian relations and must not be permitted to call the shots.
It is President Fernández who runs the show. According to Western media reports, Griesa ruled that Argentina could not pay the other creditors until it settled with the holdouts. That triggered a default when Argentina was prevented from paying $539 million in interest due 30 July.
Judge Griesa’s ruling “violates international law” and “has no practical effect other than to provide new elements helpful to the slanderous political and media campaign conducted by vulture funds against Argentina”, Vilches elucidated in the US-based leftist/alternative media virtuoso Counterpunch.
“Griesa holds the sad record of being the first judge to declare a sovereign state in contempt for paying a debt, after failing in his attempt to block the restructuring of the foreign debt of Argentina,” Vilches expounded.
The best that can be said of the Argentinian debt crisis is that it is a figment of the imagination of Western pundits and politicians. Argentina’s next debt deadline is 30 September, when the country must pay some $200 million. The government sped up the approval of the law, seeking to avoid defaulting on those bonds.
In the longer view, it is Western bankers and their bellicose political ilk that should be censured. So what if two hedge funds, NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management, have demanded full repayment of the $1.5 billion they are owed? Fernández has been lionised for standing up to Washington, but the brouhaha over Argentina’s debt crisis will not change the course of a country that has chosen the path of respect rather than belligerence towards the likes of Iran and Hizbullah.
See also –
“Not A Good Sign” Argentine Stocks, Bonds Crash As Central Bank Chief Resigns: Just a day after Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, in a televised speech, accused central bank employees of helping local bankers to speculate against the Argentine peso in hopes of forcing the government to devalue the currency, Juan Carlos Fabrega – the head of Argentina’s Central Bank – has quit.