Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said on Saturday in Havana that the government will not pay “even half a cent” of its debt back to the International Monetary Fund before the country has exited recession.
The first thing we have to do in order to be able to pay is to exit the recession, Fernandez de Kirchner said at a presentation of her book Sinceramente (Sincerely) at Havana's international book fair.
If there is a recession no-one will pay even half a cent and the way you exit recession is through a lot of state investment.
Argentina needs to restructure US$ 100 billion in sovereign debt with creditors, including part of a US$ 57 billion credit facility that the IMF extended the country in 2018.
Dealings with the IMF are key as Argentina hopes to avoid a default amid a currency crash, steep inflation and a contracting economy. An IMF technical mission is expected in Buenos Aires this week to discuss obligations owed to the fund.
Fernandez de Kirchner said Argentina should get a substantial haircut on its IMF debt.
A leftist and militant Peronist, she has traveled frequently to Communist-run Cuba over the past year to visit her daughter Florencia Kirchner who is undergoing medical treatment there.
Her book presentation was attended by Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and a raft of other officials. The Argentine ex-president launched Sincerely, a compilation of personal anecdotes and reflections, in Argentina last year.
IMF chief Krislalina Georgieva and Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman last week held talks on the debt talks that both said were constructive. The talks, which lasted two-and-a-half hours, took place in the Vatican. Guzman said his talks with Georgieva were 'very good and constructive.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez had recently met Pope Francis and said the pontiff, who is also Argentine and lived through a previous debt crisis when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, had promised him to do everything he could to help with the current one.