Former Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo assured that Argentina’s current problems are much more serious, than back in 2001 since nowadays “people are desperate because they want to preserve the value of their savings and the Government does not allow them to do so”.
He also said the cheque tax should only be applied in emergencies and also blasted President Cristina Fernandez speech in Harvard University. But “she showed herself as she really is”.
“The current problem is much worse than that of 2001. At that time people bought dollars but in only one market, with total freedom. Thus, there was one value. Now there’s no convertibility because people do not have the freedom to buy foreign currency. People are desperate because they want to preserve the value of their savings; they want to buy dollars which the Government does not allow them to do” Cavallo assured.
Regarding the cheque tax, the former Economy Minister said it should have been lifted after the economic crisis was over. “Since then, they have used it as permanent tax when it should have been only an emergency resource. This is a distortive tax that makes the Argentine economy less competitive”
The former Economy minister from presidents Carlos Menem and Fernando De la Rúa was also critical of the presentation made by Cristina Fernandez before the students of Harvard at the John Kennedy Government School, last week.
“To be honest she was at her best, as she really is”, said Cavallo with some irony. But “the US and world public opinion had a rare chance of knowing who is President Cristina Fernandez and how she acts and proceeds”. On the other hand “under estimating Harvard students, was senseless”.
During her conference before a packed house in Harvard, President Cristina Fernandez answered questions from students and among other things said there was no foreign exchange clamp in Argentina; that she regularly meets and talks with journalists; that she can account for every penny of her assets because ‘she was a very successful solicitor when practicing law, as successful as she has been as president”.
As to the possibility of a constitutional review to open the way for a third consecutive mandate, the president was evasive: “it’s not whether I want it, but rather of what I can and should do. It is an abstract question because the Constitution does not allow a third mandate. At home we discuss many things: a constitutional reform does depend on me or an only political party”.
On inflation she denied the non-official accepted 25% as opposed to the official 10%. “If inflation was at 25% the country would blow up”. With the same attitude she dismissed that inflation in the US was 2%: “do you really believe that”.
But the Argentine president also accused the Harvard students, many of them from Argentina, of repeating ‘monochord questions’, invented by a few journalists, when they should be properly informed and asking better questions about what is really going on in Argentina.
Finally she scorned a couple of students on their questions instead “of realizing how fortunate they were in being able to attend Harvard when so many Argentine students don’t even make it to the University of La Matanza”, a very low standard graduate school in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.