Just a step away from blood and anarchy
In his first public appearance since taking office Argentine president Eduardo Duhalde confirmed the devaluation of the Argentine peso and called for a new strong alliance of the productive community, backed by a convergence of the political and productive powers of the country.
Addressing a hundred of Argentina's most representative members of the business community, president Duhalde admitted the country "was just a step away from anarchy and blood", and said that the decades long "alliance of the political establishment with the financial power was over", and promised an unrestricted "defence of our national interests" in the framework of international agreements. "The devaluation is a fact, let's talk about the productive community, the convergence of public and private interests to get Argentina moving again", underlined Mr. Duhalde. "There are no miracles, what we have ahead is very tough, but I'm completely convinced Argentina will be successful", said Mr. Duhalde who described himself as the "president of the transition". The Argentine president indicated his first task was to guarantee social peace, put an end to anarchy and ensure that his successor will receive an orderly Argentina back on its feet and moving. Looking straight to his audience the Argentine president said "It's your job, your responsibility to get production rolling again, from the garage workshop to the big enterprises". Mr. Duhalde also announced he was stripping himself of all party responsibilities and links to guarantee he will rule for all Argentines, and will not be competing for the 2003 election. Contrary to what was expected the Argentine president did not advance details of the economic package and added that an omnibus bill had been sent to Congress for its consideration. "We must awaken a national conscience, the notion that we must consume Argentine products, respect Argentine labour and goods", said president Duhalde, although he immediately added "I'm not talking of protectionism". Mr. Duhalde said that current economic policies that date back several decades condemned 600,000 Argentines to poverty in 2000 and "in 2001 we destroyed the middle class". The brief speech received a favourable impression from businessmen and union leaders.