“If someone signs with the Fund in five minutes, it means that life has been complicated for the country,” says President Alberto Fernández about the agreement with the international organization. He talks about the state of the negotiations, the attitude of the opposition leaders and the responsibility of the IMF itself. “The Fund says that it will analyze the program that the country proposes, but in truth what it tries to do is impose a program on us and we do not agree. And therefore we continue to look for a solution that suits Argentina.”
Q: What are your expectations regarding the payments foreseen by the IMF according to what former president Macri left “arranged”?
– Argentina is absolutely prevented from facing that payment. You need to keep talking. The Fund has just issued a report where it assesses how the program it signed with the Macri government evolved and recognizes that the debt should have been restructured; it talks about foreign debt instead of public debt and that there should have been regulations to prevent the loan from being used for a wild flight of foreign exchange. None of this happened, says the Fund, we do not say so. The Fund has a liability fee. And beyond the responsibilities that each one has – I am talking about the national government at that time and the authorities of the Fund at that time – it is necessary to bear in mind that in addition to having given an unspeakable credit in technical terms, a pandemic ensued and therefore You cannot ask a country like Argentina for more demands than what Argentina can give.
– What is the discussion with the Fund now?
–The discussion is to see how the program should be. If it is a program that allows us to continue ordering the economy but making it grow and with the idea that growth we will be able to meet the payments, or is it again to return to the eternal recipe of the Fund where they say “adjust the economy, if they adjust the The economy will shrink the economy, if they shrink the economy they will have to import less and they will have to import fewer inputs to produce and those dollars will remain to pay me. ” The truth is that we are not here to do that. That is why the discussion is delayed. The Fund in its statutes says that it will analyze the program that the country proposes, but in truth what the Fund tries to do is impose a program on us and we do not agree. And therefore we remain firm looking for a way out that suits Argentina.
What is seen in the last conversations is that the position of the United States is orthodox, how do you unblock that? What alternative does Argentina have?
– The United States until now has not had a clear position on the Argentine program, because it was never put to the consideration of the board in its fullness. The loan that Argentina received in 2018 had the sole purpose of sustaining Macri in a government that was falling apart and in an economy that was virtually bankrupt. I think The United States is being cautious. It is more what is speculated than what is known. If one takes into account what the United States is doing internally today, it should accompany our proposal because the United States is carrying out a Keynesian plan of great magnitude. Regarding surcharges, I think that we in the G20 achieved three objectives that we set for ourselves. The first that the subject is subject to treatment in the Monetary Fund. It is an issue that exceeds Argentina. Within the Democratic Party there is also a debate. 13 representatives of the Democratic Party have asked the Treasury to ask the Monetary Fund to review that issue. In addition, the G20 asked the Fund to create a new credit program for what they call post-pandemic resilience. And finally it accepted that the special drawing rights that many countries do not use can be provided in the multilateral system. We took a very important first step, getting the support of the G20 and European countries, fundamentally.
What are your expectations regarding Foreign Minister Cafiero’s trip to the United States in the coming days?
“ It’s a meeting with the Chancellor, with (Antony) Blinken. It will be the first time that you see each other face to face. I am always optimistic. Hopefully the meeting bears fruit.
– He said that it was impossible to pay what was agreed at the time by Macri. Is the default an alternative that Argentina can evaluate today?
–The only evaluation I make is to seek an agreement with the Fund that takes into account the premises that I have always raised. An agreement that does not delay the growth of Argentina, that allows it to grow in order to pay. In order to pay, you must first grow and order the economy. We are in a process where we are ordering the economy little by little and in 2021 we have achieved the highest growth in the country in its history, more than 10 points, with which we managed to recover everything that we fell in the pandemic and a little more .
Q: How do you evaluate the position of the opposition, which is so reluctant to analyze a situation in which they are responsible?
– Within the opposition there are two positions. I cannot put the attitude of the governor of Jujuy on an equal footing, with the attitude of some PRO leaders, because they are very different. That is a problem that is going to run through generations. The reasonable thing is to give a clear message about the dimension of the problem that Argentina has, which at times seems to me that it is not noticed. I want everyone to understand that in 2015, Argentina did not owe $ 100 billion to private creditors. And in 2018 Argentina did not owe a penny to the International Monetary Fund. Too bad these were decisions they made.
– Former President Macri said that he would have solved it in five minutes and former Governor Vidal said that it would have been solved easy because they would have given him more credit.
-I don’t even get angry with what they say because I realize that it is what they believe. And if I believed like Macri, I would have fixed it in two minutes. I would have signed all the conditions that the Fund put on me without measuring the effects that this would have on our people. If someone signs an agreement in five minutes, it means that it made life difficult for the country.