The IMF and its Dubious Mechanisms to Deal with Argentina

The organism based in Washington imposes hidden conditions through separate non-public documents
After one year of talks, the Argentine administration could finally announce the so long awaited deal with the International Monetary Fund on, apparently, positive basis for the country. "We have came back to the world", repeats on every press conference the Chief of Cabinet, Alfredo Atanasof. However, subsequent investigations and suspicious declarations of President Eduardo Duhalde showed that the deal was not as good for the impoverished population.

After sealing the roll over deal with the IMF, Duhalde confirmed to the press a general increasing on public services fairs, ceding to the pressure of the privatized companies. Since then, a wave of rumors about secret clauses or agreements under the table between both parties started filling the political space.

The Minister of Economy, Roberto Lavagna, called quickly for a press conference, in which distributed to the national and international media copies of the heads of agreement with the IMF. Something was found there that was never reported before: a detailed plan to give the first steps towards the privatization of the Argentine public banks.

Despite denials, the government is preparing a "Strategic plan for transformation" of public banks. Also, three international consultants will participate on the bank restructuring, a process that will reach Banco Nacion, Banco Provincia and Ciudad, the most important national credit institutions.

As demanded by the IMF, the plan must include an opening of 10% to foreign capital, at the beginning. Furthermore, national banks won't be able to lend money to local companies if those credits are not backed by another foreign bank. So far, Anibal Ibarra, head of the government of Autonomous Buenos Aires, together with Ciudad Bank's chairman Roberto Feletti, presented the main opposition to the official project.

Elisa Carrio, candidate for president on April elections already declared that she would not acknowledge such agreement if gets elected. "This is the end of the middle size and small businesses", said Carrio to the local press. "Behind this agreement there is an intention of the foreign capital to take over national land", added making reference to the great amount of mortgages these banks handle.

A number of denounces have been presented stating that Argentina signed secret parallel documents with the IMF, hidden to the public opinion. This is allowed by IMF regulations but is of dubious compliance with the Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, which protects people's freedom of information.

The privatization process carried out in Argentina during the consecutive governments of ex President Carlos Menem, in the 90s, reduced the number of public banks in the country from 30 to 14. Today, there are only two national banks, ten provincial and two municipal banks. Without national banks, the flow of credits will be orientated to either multinational or local giants, straining even more the fate of local small producers.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo: Eduardo Duhalde, President of Argentina faces a new scandal after the agreement with the IMF.

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