Wednesday, January 29th 2014 - 21:00 UTC

New York Times blasts Cristina Fernández: “Argentina on the brink”

The New York Times published on Wednesday a very strong editorial criticizing the misguided policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez, arguing that once again 'Argentina is on the brink”.

The Argentine president during her first trip overseas (Cuba) since undergoing cranial surgery

 The piece from the editorial board of the NYT makes a quick recall of the last decade in which despite a fast-growing economy “Cristina Fernández squandered the recovery in recent years by increasing spending on wasteful subsidies and financing the government partly by printing pesos”.

The editorial points out that Cristina Fernández also hurt the economy by picking unnecessary fights with private businesses and investors, and despite some small steps to correct past mistakes, the president “will have to take much bolder steps to repair the damage”

Argentina on the Brink

More than a decade after it defaulted on its foreign debts, Argentina is again facing a financial crisis caused largely by misguided government policies.

The administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner recently devalued the peso and relaxed some capital controls in an effort to preserve the country’s dwindling foreign reserves. The government is hoping that these steps will ease some of the pressure on the currency, which does not float freely against the dollar. But Argentina needs to do a lot more to address inflation and other underlying economic problems that have led investors and ordinary citizens to bet against the peso.

In the years after its painful default in 2002, which wiped out the savings of millions of people, Argentina enjoyed a fast-growing economy thanks in part to the booming world demand for soybeans and other commodities the country exports. But Cristina Fernández squandered the recovery in recent years by increasing spending on wasteful subsidies and financing the government partly by printing pesos. As a result, inflation has shot up; independent economists estimate that consumer prices jumped 28% last year. The official inflation rate was only 10.9% but few economists or the International Monetary Fund find that data credible.

Mrs. Kirchner has also hurt the economy by picking unnecessary fights with private businesses and investors. In recent years, she nationalized an oil company, an airline and pension funds. And, in 2011, the country implemented controls on how many pesos its citizens could convert into dollars, which has helped create a thriving black market for currency transactions and undermined public confidence in the government’s economic policies. A recent poll showed that three-quarters of the country said the economy was headed in the wrong direction.

Government officials have begun taking some small steps to correct past mistakes. For example, the economy minister, Axel Kicillof, has been negotiating compensation for the oil company, YPF, that the government seized in 2012. And Argentina will put out a new inflation index next month to convince the I.M.F. to accept its official data again. But Cristina Fernandez will have to take much bolder steps to repair the damage.

50 comments Feed

Note: Comments do not reflect MercoPress’ opinions. They are the personal view of our users. We wish to keep this as open and unregulated as possible. However, rude or foul language, discriminative comments (based on ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, sexual orientation or the sort), spamming or any other offensive or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. Please report any inadequate posts to the editor. Comments must be in English. Thank you.

1 Britworker (#) Jan 29th, 2014 - 09:17 pm Report abuse
There is no turning this tanker around, you can't raise capital without investment and she has frightened them all off. All she has left is to squeeze her dumb electorate more and more. How much more do they have to give?
2 yankeeboy (#) Jan 29th, 2014 - 09:31 pm Report abuse
but we have oil, oil I tell you. oiiiilllllll...

better off waiting until she and her minions are gone with the stolen loot.
The next ruler can't be worse
or can they???
3 ilsen (#) Jan 29th, 2014 - 09:50 pm Report abuse
How bad does it have to get before she (& Gang) is gone? As bad as Vnzla? Worse?
4 golfcronie (#) Jan 29th, 2014 - 10:37 pm Report abuse
I thought that they had seized Repsol.
5 AzaUK (#) Jan 29th, 2014 - 10:56 pm Report abuse
Argentina is Done!
6 nigelpwsmith (#) Jan 29th, 2014 - 11:44 pm Report abuse
She's sticking around until the pips squeak.

She's squeezing every last drop out of the country before making the mad dash for the airport.

The IMF is not going to be content with her fiddled figures. There's no way that they would accept an 'official' inflation rate of less than 25%, but I doubt that TMBOA will put out anything more than 15% at most.

In the meantime, the public are suffering more and more, demanding huge pay rises which can only be satisfied if she hypes up the printing presses and devalues the currency even more.

It's like watching a Kamikaze crash dive in slow motion. You know that the end is an inevitable BANG, but all the passengers are simply muttering....

“So Far, So Good!”
7 ilsen (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 12:18 am Report abuse
@4 Golf
Argentina's government said Monday, Nov 25, 2013, it has reached an agreement in principle to compensate Spain's Repsol for last year's 51 percent expropriation of the energy company.

Any updates? Or just blowing smoke up Repsol's ****?
8 yankeeboy (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 12:33 am Report abuse
7. Arg wants to pay the 5B with a very restricted bond Repsol wants cash.
Who in their right mind would take a bond from Argentina?
The Repsol board would have to consider they may be up for criminal charges if they make that kind of a deal with Arg looking like it going down the toilet.
I can't imagine any deals happening until another ruler is in place.
9 ilsen (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 12:58 am Report abuse
@8 Thanks for that.
So, ultimately, if the board of Repsol takes the bond, and the K gov. collapses and the economy with it, the bonds become worthless?

That's my impression
10 yankeeboy (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 01:15 am Report abuse
That's everyone's impression.
11 Klingon (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 01:24 am Report abuse
Well the writing is on the wall for what is about to happen.
The only question I have, is how do we position ourselves to take advantage of the inevitable crash that is going to happen?
It is a bit hard to pay Repsol when you are broke! All the govt can do is offer them some soybeans each year for the next 10 years.
12 ilsen (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 01:27 am Report abuse
So what is the alternative for Repsol?
13 yankeeboy (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 02:32 am Report abuse
12. Hold out, keep the court cases going so that no oil company can ship oil out of Argentina from Vaca Muerte. It stalls development and drives up imports. Eventually Argentina must concede like they are doing with everything else they've been fighting against for the last decade.
14 ilsen (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 03:39 am Report abuse
hmm.., quality point. Let the global markets force them into a corner, where no-one else will trade with them until they agree to play by the rules.

I like it!
15 brasherboot (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 04:41 am Report abuse
I wonder how long the citizens of Argentina will maintain their well known arrogance and conceit for everyone when the country finally collapses?
16 Troy Tempest (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 05:02 am Report abuse

Argentine Governor sacks 170 of 340 officials and makes the others take a 15% pay cut!

Worse yet, they find out by his announcement on YouTube
17 Zaphod102 (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 05:19 am Report abuse
...and he said it was only the beginning “of a process of cost reduction”!!!

If CFK has any sense she'll not be returning...
18 ilsen (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 05:39 am Report abuse
@ Thanks TT
Text is:
You’re fired: An Argentine regional governor raised some eyebrows on January 28 when he took to YouTube to announce a series of cuts, including 170 layoffs. Alberto Weretilneck of the Rio Negro province said he would be halving the number of provincial officials, from 340 to 170, while those remaining would take a 15 percent pay cut. Weretilneck added that the cuts were only the beginning “of a process of cost reduction”. Credit: Gobierno de Rio Negro.
Quality Administration.... Not!
19 Narine T. Nüster (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 05:41 am Report abuse

Argentina embarks on hetero-orthodoxy, she was flayed by the anti-argies.

Now some provinces in Argentina embark in ORTHODOX, FRIEDMANISH, neo-liberalist austerity.. SHE IS FLAYED by the anti-argies.

I rest my case.
20 ilsen (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 05:46 am Report abuse
@19... Case? you do not have a case, except the suitcase (maleta) that you will need to run away, Fool!
Toby/ Narine (or what ever false persona you have today…) - I have exposed you before as a fraud and a fake. As is obvious by your silly false, 'EUian' (your word) voice in some posts, and your angry ‘anti-Anglo’ voice in others.
Your comments are worthless. Nobody respects you.
EU – ian is not a Nationality nor a Country. It is not even a recognized word!
You may have several screen-names but the intelligent, educated Posters on this forum know you as a Fool.
Your are not worthy of an informed response.
Please be quiet when the adults are speaking.
21 lsolde (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 10:17 am Report abuse
Don't sugar your words, ilsen.
Tell him/her/it straight!
Narine the nong, listen to some good advice, disappear.
22 ChrisR (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 10:54 am Report abuse
Only slightly off point.

The Immigration Dept has published a list of the countries that applicants for residency originate from and the numbers involved. Can’t remember the actual numbers but I can remember the countries and who has the largest applicants: France (never seen one), Italy (yes), Germany (yes) and which country was the largest and accounted for more than all the others put together: ARGENTINA!

We went for our cedulas on Monday and waiting for “special processing” was a family group of SIX Argentines, all with the same rather prominent conk, even the women.

Presently I have a Chileno and an Argentine working on some improvements to my casa. Great guys, good workers. Couldn’t get my usual guy (a Uruguayo) he was only taking new work from next September.
23 Conqueror (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 11:29 am Report abuse
@14 Small point. What effect do you think argieland agreeing to play by the rules will have? Let me remind you of a characteristic called “viveza criollo”. You can look it up on wikipedia if you haven't heard of it. Let's take the years after the Falklands War. Argieland became “reasonable”. There were agreements on hydrocarbons and fisheries. It lasted about 10 years. Then Nestor realised it was getting argieland no closer to possession of the Islands. So he tore the agreements up, threw his toys out of his pram and went off in a huff. There is a principle in international law known as “uti possidetis”. At the end of an armed conflict, territory stays with the possessor. “Uti possidetis” was confirmed as a principle by the ICJ in 1986. And who possessed the Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands at the end of the war? You would have thought it was all over. It's one reason argieland doesn't go to the ICJ. But still argieland presses on. That's what argieland thinks of rules and international law. Only to be applied if it means argieland will win. There is only one solution that “might” turn argieland into a moral, decent, law-abiding state. It would have to be governed by someone else. The UN perhaps. With suitable, trustworthy nations having immediate control. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States. Note that there would be no African, Asian, Central or South American states. Government at federal and state levels would be administered by the control nations. Very similar to what was done in Germany post-WW2. The control nations would probably need to be in place for 50 or more years. Restructuring the educational system, the judicial system, the perceptions of the populace. Until “viveza criolla” becomes unacceptable. Corrupt individuals would get minimum 10-year sentences. Double for “officials”. Even after control was returned to argies, the control authorities would remain.
24 Briton (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 11:42 am Report abuse
As CFK would naturally say-
its all for me,
and nothing for the rest of you,

she is grasping at straws,
25 nigelpwsmith (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 02:23 pm Report abuse
She'll soon be grasping for breath as the piano wire tightens around her neck.

Who knows, it might even be the Police that string her up!
26 Michael May (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 02:59 pm Report abuse
Due to the CFK government’s folly there is virtual unanimity in criticism of Argentine policy. That being said, the country will endure after 2015 and the next government will need to implement more orthodox policies to clean up this mess, especially to replace the crumbling infrastructure that was built during the Menem Administration. While it is easy to criticize the current government and its policies it is more difficult to suggest solutions to problems that affect not only Argentina but also other countries who have re-adopted policies and theories that have been disproven by other states with similar natural resources and social development levels. It is a pity that the CFK government and many on this site only wish to refight the Falklands/Malvinas War
27 Briton (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 07:23 pm Report abuse
Trouble is, CFK is desperate for that all elusive

And that make her a deluded and dangerous woman,

No victory, no iconic
28 nigelpwsmith (#) Jan 30th, 2014 - 10:10 pm Report abuse
Deluded certainly.

Indeed, many of the politicians at the G20 thought she was an escaped lunatic off her medication.

She must be taking industrial quantities of Lithium....
29 Narine T. Nüster (#) Jan 31st, 2014 - 12:45 am Report abuse

And what system would actually work?
30 Michael May (#) Jan 31st, 2014 - 01:25 am Report abuse
Well, certainly not the one being presently implemented in the country. That being said there are many solid Argentine executives with multinational companies, international organizations and elsewhere. So foolish policy is not caused by something in the drinking water. I am sure that we in the U.S. and those in the U.K. and in virtually every country can proffer examples of poor policies being proposed and, too often, implemented by foolish politicians.
31 yankeeboy (#) Jan 31st, 2014 - 10:49 am Report abuse
29. There are loads of “systems” that work in the world. The problem is Arg is corrupted beyond any help.
You need a Dictator for a generation to fix what ails you.
Wipe out corruption, teach people to work, respect laws, respect rpoprty rights, respect contracts.
You can't do this in a few years. You have to teach the next generation because this one is lost.
32 Jonaz_BsAs (#) Jan 31st, 2014 - 12:33 pm Report abuse
Forget the dictator “solution”. Argentina today is built on victimization, a lot of it stems from eras of dictatorship. A new dictatorship will only end in another blowback - like the current Montonero-disaster.

Fix the judicial system and the educational system and Argentina is a country - a real one - within 20 years.
33 yankeeboy (#) Jan 31st, 2014 - 12:53 pm Report abuse
32. Without a strongman in charge you can't fix anything.

I should have added personal responsibility to my list.
34 Philippe (#) Feb 01st, 2014 - 08:23 am Report abuse
To be punished by the NYT is worse punishment than any possible “UN punishment!”

35 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 03rd, 2014 - 08:27 pm Report abuse
Jonas I tend to agree with you to some extent. I think allowing la campora into the public schools is a serious error and lends to indoctrination. However, overcoming what has already been deep rooted will be a challenge that may not be surmountable. Schools are suppose to be a place for one to develop thinking skills. Unfortunately is has become a place to pontificate and profess they ways of socialism and communism.

As for the courts....that is a system all it's own. However, dictatorships is not the answer. One cannot not possible believe in democracy to even remotely consider a dictator as a path to democracy.

Was the Shah good for Iran?
Hussein for Iraq?
Noriega for Panama?
And while some may not care because they do not live there, I prefer to see a bad democracy then no democracy....after all....I live in the latter.
36 British_Kirchnerist (#) Feb 04th, 2014 - 01:29 am Report abuse
“arguing that once again 'Argentina is on the brink””

Once again indeed - but why should we believe it this time when always wrong before?

#19 “Now some provinces in Argentina embark in ORTHODOX, FRIEDMANISH, neo-liberalist austerity..”

Which ones? And can Cristinita and the movement whip them out of it?

#35 “Was the Shah good for Iran?
Hussein for Iraq?”

No despite both being US stooges. Cristinita is no stooge, and neither would the others would look so pretty in white as she now does, so what's your point...
37 Troy Tempest (#) Feb 04th, 2014 - 03:44 am Report abuse
36 BK
“ Cristinita is no stooge, and neither would the others would look so pretty in white as she now does, so what's your point... ”

What's yours??

Cristina is ugly to the core of her soul, if she has one.
38 ilsen (#) Feb 04th, 2014 - 04:08 am Report abuse
Does Argentina still exist? Really? OMG! I thought is was just one of those 'nostalgia tele-novelas' It's still really here, wow, you couldn't make it up!
How come? Why haven't all the sensible counties closed it down and told them to start again? Surely that would be best?
Think it needs a re-write....
39 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 04th, 2014 - 10:00 am Report abuse

Go to Argentina or shut up!!! Period. The place is in their death spiral.
40 nigelpwsmith (#) Feb 04th, 2014 - 10:38 am Report abuse
Dictatorship is not the answer.

It didn't work before and only made Argentines believe that Viveza Criolla was the normal way to behave. If you do not own something, you seize it and forget about the consequences.

Democracy doesn't work either.

Argentina has existed so long without a proper honest representative system, that the moment they have a democratic election, they vote into power the person who bribes them with enough money, rather than the person who has the best solution to get the country out of the mess it's in.

The solution that might work is Guardianship.

If another nation was willing to take over, install an honest system of government, fair and just courts, an education system which teaches the young that it is not correct to live by Viveza Criolla, that you have to work hard if you want to be rich, that you have to respect your neighbours and work for the common good to get on in the world.

Sadly, the only way this will happen is if Argentina collapses first.

It worked in Japan. It worked in Iraq (if there weren't insurgents), It worked spectacularly in Germany, although the Germans were just misled and at heart they were already industrious. They just needed someone to show them the way - but now they are walking off the track again towards economic domination, instead of a military one.

The only 2 nations which could pull off this economic conservatorship are the United States or China. But now that the States are in the process of pulling out of Afghanistan, I cannot see them wanting to start another military venture in their own continent, except maybe in Venezuela and Cuba.

So it looks as if China may be the only country willing and financially capable of taking over Argentina. But given that they are also a dictatorship, it does not bode well for Argentina's future.
41 lsolde (#) Feb 04th, 2014 - 10:49 pm Report abuse
lt is not in anyone else's interest to allow China to have bases in the South Atlantic.
The Argentines would rue the day, they allowed the Chinese to have a foothold in their country.
l think that the Falklands would be untenable also & we could count on Antarctica being plundered.
42 British_Kirchnerist (#) Feb 05th, 2014 - 12:25 am Report abuse
#39 “#35

Go to Argentina or shut up!!!”

But you are #35, your shouting at yourself lol =)

#40 ”It worked in Japan. It worked in Iraq (if there weren't insurgents)”

You really are one dumb neocon. The defeat of Japan was indeed progressive and necessary but now its new PM is a big supporter of the shrine honouring the war criminal beasts who enslaved thousands of westerners and millions of Asians and trying to repeal the pacifist constitution, all egged on by the west to counter China. It takes a lot to turn South Korea against the western alliance with North Korea breathing down its neck but Shinzo Abe has kinda done the trick. I saw that new film The Railway Man recently, about the Burma Railway, and was angry that these fascist war criminals who committed such atrocities against (among many others) my own country are now being rehabilitated by Japan's neocons

But your even more spectacularly wrong on Iraq, as your own caveat of “without insurgents” goes to show. ANY country that is the victim of the kind of aggressive war that Bush and Blair unleashed on Iraq will fight back; to use the Pacific analogy Iraq was not Japan but Korea, China, or even (with less capacity to resist of course) America in the context of the Pearl Harbour aggression. So there would always be resistance and even if there had not been the predatory motives of Bush and Blair would not have led to anything positive. The funny thing is that like with Abe actually the ones who really were our legitimate enemy, al-Qaeda, are now being encouraged by imperialism again in Syria (as they were first in Afghanistan against the Russians). Imperialism clearly has no real borders, principles, enemies or friends, just the bottom line

Btw I've seen your posts before nigel and never found you so offensive, despite your being on the other side. But we really need to get over this colonial mentality, both on principle and because the reality is so spectacularly different from “guardianship”...
43 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 05th, 2014 - 09:24 am Report abuse
Great come back on a typo bk, yet you knew whom I was referring to. You really need to see what you support because you are blind to reality.
44 nigelpwsmith (#) Feb 05th, 2014 - 10:04 am Report abuse

Yes it would be terrible if the Chinese took over. A huge embarrassment for the Argentines and the rest of South America, but I see no alternative.

The United States is certainly not going to do it. They have far more pressing problems closer to home. Besides, Venezuela has a lot more oil than Argentina.

No one else has the military muscle or the inclination to come to Argentina's rescue. Most countries have been burned - through the bonds that were defaulted - so they would rather deal with domestic issues and hear about Argentina on the news.

I don't believe that the Chinese would go after Antarctica. They would exploit the Argentine oil. China is very dependent on Iranian crude and they cannot guarantee that this will continue to flow if Tehran keeps trying to obtain the bomb.

I also don't believe that the Falklands would be at threat, seeing as the Americans have so much tied up in them. It's not as if Beijing would want to upset both the United Kingdom and the United States on another foreign expedition. Not when Argentina would be so much trouble on its own.

The only alternative to China would be the other South American states. But most of them are in as much financial trouble as Buenos Aires, so that is a bit of a non-starter.

I really do not see any other solution, other than to let them fester in their own mess. They wouldn't be much of a threat to the Falkland islands, but they would be a drain on their neighbours.
45 British_Kirchnerist (#) Feb 06th, 2014 - 01:03 am Report abuse
#43 “ You really need to see what you support because you are blind to reality”

And yet nobody's replied to my chapter and verse on the hypocritical workings of imperialism, wonder why that is...
46 Captain Poppy (#) Feb 06th, 2014 - 01:29 am Report abuse lick kirchner's shithole and you are clueless to what REALITY is in Argentina.
47 nigelpwsmith (#) Feb 06th, 2014 - 10:27 am Report abuse
@42 & @45
We don't respond to crap! You need psychiatric help.
48 Troy Tempest (#) Feb 06th, 2014 - 05:48 pm Report abuse
45 BK, 47 Nigel

So... are we to infer from BK's rant that defence of the Fslklands is not “guardianship”, but “in reality”, our “colonial mentality” that is “imperialist” in nature ???

Or do we just want to prevent political and economic opportunists, whose “colonial mentality”, “imperialist” in nature, from dispossessing (stealing)
a peaceful population of what has been their home, livelihood, and personal freedom for the past 180 years?
49 nigelpwsmith (#) Feb 06th, 2014 - 08:03 pm Report abuse
The Falklands are neither a Guardianship or a colonial territory.

It is the rightful home of the Falkland Islanders & they are the rightful descendants of the Vernet Colony.

The Islands have been the property of the Crown since 1690 when the first person landed on them. He was British and was followed by other Brits in 1766.

Argentina has never 'owned' the Islands. They were held by the British long before Argentina was even a state. Even the Spanish acknowledged that the United Kingdom had a rightful claims to the Islands (along with Spain) after the Falklands Crisis of 1770-1. They subsequently acknowledged sole British sovereignty in 1862.

Argentina tried imperialistic expansionism by sending troops to the Islands in 1982, but they were routed and surrendered.

BK did not offer any explanation or understanding of the workings of imperialism. He doesn't understand it.

He confuses what happened in Iraq or Afghanistan with imperial expansion, but doesn't realise that it was all about oil and containing the threat from Iran.

If it was truly about imperialism, then British & American troops would still be in Iraq and both countries would be enjoying the profits from the Iraqi oil they sold.

He thinks that the Japanese historians who are trying to rehabilitate the Japanese military and their actions are somehow glorifying war crimes. Again it is nothing of the sort. Although there were war crimes by the Japanese (and the Germans), the majority of their forces fought (and died) according to their military code. Japan is merely honouring those men who died protecting their homeland with national pride. The Japanese still regret the crimes they perpetrated against the British, the Americans & the Chinese.

The big difference is that the Argentines have never apologised for their imperialistic war crimes.

They've never apologised for the injury they caused to the Falkland islanders, or for using school rooms as latrines, or laying mines indiscriminately.
50 Troy Tempest (#) Feb 06th, 2014 - 10:36 pm Report abuse
Thanks Nigel, well said !

Far clearer and better expressed than I could have done, that's for sure

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!


Get Email News Reports!

Get our news right on your inbox.
Subscribe Now!