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Money exchange controls limit Argentines from travelling to Brazil to greet Pope Francis

Saturday, July 20th 2013 - 05:46 UTC
Full article 9 comments
No Reais at the official rate for Argentine youth wanting to travel to Rio No Reais at the official rate for Argentine youth wanting to travel to Rio

Despite the pope is Argentine and on Monday he will be making his first pastoral trip overseas to Brazil, Argentine government strict currency controls are making it difficult for prospective pilgrims to travel. An estimated 60.000 Argentines are expected to travel to Rio do Janeiro for the grand event.

Thousands of young people, many of modest economic means, plan to travel to Rio for the Catholic Church's World Day of Youth to greet the Argentine native on his first trip abroad as head of the Church when he arrives on Monday.

But restrictions on exchanging Pesos for Brazilian Reais have complicated their plans.

“The government isn't being reasonable,” Buenos Aires-based Bishop Raúl Martín told the local media. “Obviously many Argentines were going to go to Brazil for this.”

Bishop Martín said some 18,000 youth have officially registered for the event in Rio, where many will sleep in schools sponsored by religious organizations and do mission work.

Local media estimates some 42,000 Argentines will attend.

Before travelling abroad, Argentines must apply for permission to exchange Pesos with tax regulators. They are asked details of their travel plans and must present documents, including details of their salaries, to authorities.

The problem is that many travelling to the World Day of Youth are too young to work, said Martín, and are being denied Reais because they have no proof of salary.

Taking money out of an ATM machine with a credit card, previously the option of last resort is no longer feasible in Brazil as Argentine withdrawals are restricted in countries that share a border with Argentina.

President Cristina Fernandez slapped new controls on foreign currency purchases just after winning re-election in October 2011, to try to stop capital outflows. Her unorthodox economic policies have led to uncertainty and significant capital flight.

Difficulty exchanging money has pushed many Argentines to the black market in search of dollars, and currency vendors line the streets of major cities whispering “change” to passing pedestrians.

Church leaders, however, do not want to encourage illegal activity and are simply requesting information from the government on how young people can legally obtain a limited amount of Brazilian currency, Martín said.

A spokesman for Argentina's central bank said existing regulations allow religious institutions to exchange money directly with the bank, though individuals travelling to see the pope on their own must apply with tax regulators as usual.
 

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  • Anglotino

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Brazil share a border with Argentina?

    Anyway perhaps Francis can work some magic with fishes and loaves to feed these poor starving Argentines with worthless pesos in their pockets.

    Jul 20th, 2013 - 08:23 am 0
  • argentine

    1 Anglotino (#) You ask for forgiveness, but I can't forgive you cos you're so stupid you can't even understand what you read. The article clearly says: “Taking money out of an ATM machine with a credit card, previously the option of last resort is no longer feasible in Brazil as Argentine withdrawals are restricted in countries that share a border with Argentina.” Don't expect magic or miracles. Just go ahead and use your own money to feed those poor starving Argentines with worthless pesos in their pockets.

    Jul 20th, 2013 - 10:24 am 0
  • Conqueror

    This is good news! All argies should be kept within their own borders. Although they shouldn't be imprisoned in other countries. It's not difficult to understand argies wanting to get into another country's prisons. Bread AND water. What bliss! And free as well. Just make it an international criminal offence for any argie to cross any national border. Although enforcement may be a large problem. No argie is capable of complying with any law!

    Jul 20th, 2013 - 12:40 pm 0
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