Archive for 31 marzo 2013

DESCONFIAR DEL DINERO CRISTINISTA

31 marzo, 2013

El gráfico   que reproducimos  http://www.infobae.com/notas/694134-Dia-a-dia-como-fue-la-evolucion-de-la-cotizacion-libre-del-dolar-desde-2008.html

sirve para mostrar cómo Argentina – mal gobernada – viene perdiendo valor. Se comprueba porque el peso moneda nacional – no convertible a dolar 1 a 1  desde enero 2 de 2002, pierde valor frente al dolar. Insistimos: no sube el dolar, sino que baja el valor de Argentina y su moneda cristinista, y esos son  problemas típicos de los países autoritarios dirigistas fascistas incluso peronistas: a la sociedad se la engaña, y no se sabe cuantas reservas tiene el Banco Central, con certeza. Sospecha la oposición, y ya lo advertía nuestro blog desde su comienzo en 2009: país sin moneda confiable esta mal y posiblemente sus gobernantes roban a sus súbditos  al estilo fascista aunque sin matar gente, porque estamos en el tercer milenio y asesinar esta mal visto por la comunidad internacional a la que el Cristinismo quiere pertenecer. Y posiblemente nuestra Presidenta es bien intencionada, pero su visión de los problemas esta distorsionado por la influencia bolivariana resentida contra USA, y hasta ahora se suponía que hablar mal de los capitalistas ganaba votos para el Presidente demagogo que dice que está su país engañado o amenazado o estafado por el Imperio Norteamericano. El joven dictador de Corea del Norte lo demuestra.

NIVELAR VALOR DEL PESO

Los dictadores autoritarios eligen dinero inflacionario. Especialmente en países como Argentina, donde el Estado Federal se queda con todos los recursos de la emisión monetaria inflacionaria, y elige si ayuda a varios Gobernadores o Intendentes Municipales y castiga a otros, para poder perpetuarse en el Poder, y conseguir modificar la Constitución, que en Argentina a la Presidenta Kirchner no le permite hoy ser reelecta por segunda vez para el período 2015/9.

Terminar con la hiperinflación es posible, siempre que exista propósito de enmienda por parte de un Presidente con prestigio por ser recientemente votado por la gente. Carlos Menem frenó la hiperinflación=hipercorrupción menemista, inventando la convertibilidad 1 a 1 con el dolar, plan económico que le fue preparado por los economistas norteamericanos Steve H. Hanke y Kurt Schuler, que tuvieron su nombre oculto, y la gente supuso fue un invento genial de Domingo F. Cavallo, canciller entonces de Menem, creo. Menem era sensato y sabia que la hiperinflacion alfonsinista lo hubiera volteado al nuevo gobierno que presidia, y tomo al toro por los cuernos, y consultó con los que sabían  y en seis meses  desde abril de 1971 el dinero convertible argentino sirvió como moneda estable hasta que su sucesor el inútil enfermo Presidente de la Rúa  asesorado por su ministro de economía Cavallo, inventó una salida disparatada para evitar que los dolares huyesen del Banco Central, cuando el mercado mostraba que habíamos elegido a un horrible gobierno. Fue así como cometieron el delito criminal de impedir que el pueblo sacase su propio dinero de los bancos, supuestamente por noventa días  y el día 91 podríamos disponerlo libremente, pero…

Pero el mercado no les creyó a los bandidos gobernantes, y en pocos días surgieron tumultos populares incentivados por el peronismo duro, y al enfermo presidente lo hicieron desaparecer del cargo, expulsándolo por la fuerza en un helicóptero  y luego de varias trampas peronistas, terminamos con un no votado Presidente Duhalde, elegido en forma sospechosa – cambiaron la ley de acefalía – en la oscuridad de la noche de Año Nuevo, cuando el Congreso en pleno se reunió para destruir la moneda confiable nacional.

ESCOBA NUEVA BARRE BIEN

Menem, sensato y recién electo, pudo terminar la hiperinflación heredada, y fue premiado por la modificación constitucional que en 1994 autorizó una reelección por cuatro años. Su gestión exitosa se produjo antes de los dos años de tomar el poder, que incluso debió apresurar ante el hundimiento del incapaz Presidente Alfonsín  autoritario y demagogo, que amaba emitir dinero sin respaldo, para no quedar mal aumentando los impuestos a la sociedad,l y por otro lado, era incapaz de achicar gastos estatales. Alfonsín se había peronizado, de radical ya no tenia nada, al menos del radicalismo serio de Alvear, el ultimo confiable Presidente radical que tuvimos y terminó su mandato.

Hoy, Cristina no es escoba nueva, porque como suma para destacar que es Estadista, los 4 años de presidencia de Néstor  y ella Preside desde 2007, seria una escoba vieja y gastada, que no barrería bien. Máxime cuando ella niega que exista inflación y su incondicional empleada la Presidenta del Banco Central nos quiere convencer que las reservas de dicho banco existen. Pero el mercado es el que decide si el país, o mejor dicho, su Gobierno, es creíble o no, y esto se muestra en la depreciación mayor o menor del dinero argentino frente al termómetro indiscutido,  el dolar real, llamado paralelo o ilegal o blue.

La sensación del mercado es que el cristinismo nos quiere vender otro buzón, o al menos, forzarnos a que lo aceptemos. Hay variamtes sospechosas, entre ellas: a) las reservas reales del Central son mucho menores; b) hay pasivos ocultos por deudas no declaradas, ya que Argentina viene incumpliendo pagos a sus acreedores locales en grandes cantidades, y encima en forma forzosa incauta activos de jubilados y otras instituciones, en forma inconstitucional, porque el derecho de los particulares no se respeta por el Estado Autoritario; 3) fuertes indicios de delitos cometidos desde el Estado contra el patrimonio publico, y son muchas las denuncias penales y varios los juicios que avanzan contra los políticos oficialistas, aunque algunos se han logrado suspender en forma harto sospechosa.

EL ENIGMA DEL 2015

Si la Presidenta hace lo contrario a la sensatez, parece imposible que el precio oficial del dolar vuelva a coincidir con el del mercado paralelo o ilegal, habiendo prometido la Presidencia que no habrá devaluación del tipo de cambio actual, que esta sobre valuando su valor real y cada vez cuesta mas exportar  commodities que Argentina produce en mejores condiciones y cantidades, tipo la soja. Y si el problema cambiario sigue aumentando, de aquí a Octubre, cuando se produzcan las elecciones intermedias, cuesta pensar que un cristinismo en su etapa final, pueda “revaluar” el inconfiable signo monetario nacional. Cuesta, entonces, pensar que otra vez la publicidad estatal pueda convencer al electorado para que Ella consiga alrededor de un 47 por ciento de votos de diputados y senadores nacionales, que necesitaría para reformar la Constitución y obtener su segunda reelección,  hasta el 2019.

Esta incertidumbre va paralizando la economía  en forma leve, mientras se desvalorizan el dinero y el precio de los bienes que existen dentro de las fronteras argentinas. Una Argentina gobernada por Hugo Chavez, ya hubiera explotado, porque él era demasiado estatizador. Con Cristina, declinamos suavemente, pero la gente nota que la inseguridad aumenta. Y causa de ello es el desejemplo desde el Gobierno, que permite que funcionarios procesados esquiven a la Justicia, con procedimientos burdos. Cuando el prestigio se pierde, los gobernantes electos suelen perder las elecciones futuras, y mucho mas si necesitan una reforma constitucional para candidatearse para un tercer mandato consecutivo.

Es difícil que la desvalorización del peso frente al dolar verde – el único que vale, el paralelo – se frene en el futuro. Cristina tendría que declarar que se equivocó y su política socialista bolivariana es un fracaso. Pero ella parece convencida que es una presidenta exitosa y el país la necesita, para poder solucionar todas las injusticias que denuncia, existan o no. A Hitler lo eligieron por el voto, y cuentan que en pocos años, logró que el pueblo alemán trabajara mucho mas duro, aumentando de ocho a diez horas por día la jornada laboral, y esas horas extra las percibía la Patria, y no los trabajadores.  El pueblo empezó a confiar cada vez mas en su autoritario conductor y fue dejando de lado cosas que parecían secundarias, como el odio hacia el pueblo judío  que había sido reflejado por escrito en su famoso libro Mi Lucha. El éxito económico inicial obnubiló a los alemanes arios, y siguieron apoyando al personaje equivocado. Tan insensato resultó el Fuhrer, que se atrevió a ocupar Polonia, que tenia un tratado de protección mutua con el Commonwealth, y cometió el error de todo audaz  autoritario que se cree imprescindible. Creyó posible torcer la voluntad del Reino Unido, con bombardeos salvajes sobre Londres, pero perdió no solo muchos aviones, sino sus mejores pilotos, que cayeron en suelo británico  y cuando estaban vivos, los capturaban, de modo que sin aviadores y sin recursos necesarios para producir mas y mejores aviones en cantidad suficiente, el Fuhrer debe haber enloquecido aun mas. Y como si fuese poco, inicio una guerra contra Rusia, y termino siendo derrotado en todos los frentes posibles. Por suerte, Cristina no es enloquecida, ni desea iniciar campañas militares, pero todo hace pensar que sigue escuchando a la gente equivocada, la que le dice que todo está óptimo en Argentina.

Mientras Cristina siga de Presidenta, parece difícil que la confianza se recupere. Una pena, pero tendremos que esperar que ella siga cometiendo errores, y empobrecernos moral y económicamente  para que la sociedad argentina aprenda que con el autoritarismo prometedor engañador, retrocedemos como nación  Y de esa forma, aprenderemos – espero no tardemos demasiado – a elegir Presidentes que inspiren confianza. Tipo una Bachelet en Chile, para suceder al archi enriquecido millonario  presidente actual. Si faltan dos años y medio de Presidencia cristinista, y se dice que su modelo no cambiará porque es exitoso, temo el peso argentino se siga desvalorizando en forma mas acelerada, frente al dolar. La ventaja  de poder votar y elegir Presidentes indica que hay que esperar que su mandato termine, para bien de todos. Y que luego, la Justicia se ocupe de los bandidos…si los encuentra.

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ARGENTINE UPDATE – Mar 31, 2013

31 marzo, 2013

Enviado: domingo, 31 de marzo de 2013 11:29
Asunto: ARGENTINE UPDATE – THURSDAY, MARCH26, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES HERALD OP EDTuesday, March 26, 2013 |

  • 26/03/2013

The dirty past

Background on the new pope’s actions during the state terrorism in the late 1970s

by Tex Harris

For the Buenos Aires Heraldspan>

I served as the United States Embassy’s Human Rights Officer in 1977-79, during the height of the Argentine military’s campaign of state terrorism.

Every religious and secular group in that society, plus every Embassy with disappeared citizens, had the same internal debate on how to get back their missing — alive.

It was a tactical decision — short-term, urgent, lives were at stake.

 

The choice was stark — public confrontation or insider pleadings.

 

The Catholic Church and its religious orders, the Jewish DAIA, Argentina’s civil institutions, including its few human rights groups (Asamblea Permanente and Liga de Derechos Humanos) all opted for quiet approaches.

 

Everyone knew someone in a high place whom they thought could help free their disappeared. That was how Argentina had worked for decades. Connections, not institutions, mattered.

 

They were all wrong.

 

Only a small group centred around Emilio Mignone and Augusto Conte (both parents of disappeared children) understood the dimension and that the radical anti-terrorist war doctrine the military had adopted from the French campaigns in Algeria and Vietnam was totally different from past operations.

Connections no longer mattered, as the disappearances were not centrally controlled by the usual military structures. The battle against terrorism and subversion had been turned over to numerous autonomous operating cells — each kidnapping, torturing and murdering its own self-designated targets.

 

The Junta’s new anti-terrorist doctrine was impervious to the old-boy help system, which had been the norm in Argentina before.

 

Quiet pleadings were not effective when there was no day-to-day command and control connection between top brass and the independent capture/torture/kill operating units the military had established throughout the country.

 

The fecklessness of the religious and civil society organizations to get the disappeared returned alive was a failure both of will to confront the seemingly all-powerful military’s mega-scale human rights violations and a failure of understanding of the scope and horror of the new system of cell-based state terrorism the Junta had installed throughout Argentina.

 

The horror of the out-of-control Argentine state terrorism doctrine which killed more than 14,000 people clandestinely, and about 150 clergy, most with no connection to terrorism’s bombs and guns has to be remembered as both a multi-year mega human rights disaster and an incredibly failed approach on how to fight terrorism. Nunca Más!

 
——————————————————————–

1. POPE FRANCIS SEEMS RELUCTANT TO BE POPE, PREFERRING TITLE BISHOP OF ROME IN HINT OF PRIORITIES (The Washington Post)

 

2. THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW: POPE FRANCIS FORCES SUDDEN ABOUT-FACE IN ARGENTINE POLITICS (The Washington Post)

 

3. POPE MAKES 1ST APPOINTMENT, NAMES SUCCESSOR IN BUENOS AIRES (The Washington Post)

 

4. ARGENTINA: CRUNCH TIME APPROACHING (Financial Times)

 

5. SINGER PILING UP LEGAL VICTORIES SINKS BONDS: ARGENTINA CREDIT (Bloomberg News)

 

6. WALKING THE TALK (Foreign Policy Blog)

 

7. ARGENTINA TO OFFER HOLDOUTS MIX OF PAR, DISCOUNT BONDS: REPORT (Fox Business)

 

8. ARGENTINE CATTLE SECTOR BOUNCES BACK FROM 2009 DROUGHT (Reuters News)

 

9. ARGENTINA’S ISOL WINS WORLD’S BIGGEST CHILDREN’S BOOK PRIZE (Reuters News)

10. ARGENTINA’S CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY REBOUNDS IN FEBRUARY AFTER TOUGH 2012 (Dow Jones Business News)

 

1. POPE FRANCIS SEEMS RELUCTANT TO BE POPE, PREFERRING TITLE BISHOP OF ROME IN HINT OF PRIORITIES (The Washington Post)

By Nicole Winfield

March 27, 2013

 

VATICAN CITY — He still goes by “Bergoglio” when speaking to friends, seems reluctant to call himself pope and has decided to live in the Vatican hotel rather than the grand papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace.

 

It might seem as if Pope Francis is in a bit of denial over his new job as leader of the world’s 1.2-billion Catholics. Or perhaps he’s simply changing the popular idea of what it means to be pope, keeping the no-frills style he cultivated as archbishop of Buenos Aires in ways that may have broad implications for the church.

The world has already seen how Francis has cast aside many trappings of the papacy, refusing to don the red velvet cape Benedict XVI wore for official occasions and keeping the simple, iron-plated pectoral cross he used as bishop and archbishop.

 

On Thursday, his belief that a pope’s job is to serve the world’s lowliest will be on display when he washes the feet of a dozen young inmates at a juvenile detention center in Rome. Previous popes have celebrated the Holy Thursday ritual, which re-enacts Christ’s washing of his disciples’ feet before his crucifixion, by washing the feet of priests in one of Rome’s most ornate basilicas.

 

Such moves hint, even at this early stage, only two weeks into his papacy, at an apparent effort by Francis to demystify the office of pope.

 

Unlike his predecessors, he doesn’t sign his name “Pope Francis,” ending his official correspondence simply “Francis.”

 

To those closest he is still Bergoglio, and this week, Italian state radio broadcast a voice mail he left wishing a friend Happy Birthday. “It’s Bergoglio,” the pope said, using the surname he was born with.

 

Even on Day One, Francis didn’t acknowledge he was pope.

 

Speaking on the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica after his election the night of March 13, Francis told the tens of thousands gathered there that the cardinals’ task during the conclave had been to “give Rome a bishop.”

 

And bishop of Rome is the title he has emphasized repeatedly ever since — not vicar of Christ, or any of his other official titles.

 

“I do think there is something about trying to reduce the awesomeness, the grandeur and majesty of the papacy,” said John Allen Jr., Vatican columnist for the National Catholic Reporter. “Part of this is just his personality. He’s never liked pomp and circumstance.”

 

Indeed. Even after he became Argentina’s top church official in 2001, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio never lived in the ornate church mansion that Pope John Paul II stayed in when visiting, preferring simple rooms in a downtown building, warmed by a small stove on frigid weekends when the heat was turned off. He did his own cooking and rode the bus to get around town.

 

In that same vein, Francis announced this week that he wasn’t moving into the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace and would stay instead in the Vatican’s Santa Marta residence, the antiseptically clean, institutional-style hotel where he and the 114 cardinals who elected him pope were sequestered during the conclave.

 

Calling the hotel home, Francis indicated that he wants to live in a community with ordinary folk, not the gilded cage of the Apostolic Palace.

 

He will eat in the common dining room as he has for the past two weeks, and celebrate 7 a.m. Mass in the hotel chapel as he has each day, inviting Vatican gardeners, street sweepers, hotel workers and newspaper staff to attend.

 

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the decision to stay put in the hotel had been taken “for now.”

 

“We’ll see how it works,” he said.

 

In one concession, Francis did move in recent days from the hotel’s cramped Room 207, where he had stayed as cardinal, into Room 201, the larger papal suite, which has a study and sitting room to receive guests. The furnishings are a step up from the simple fare of the rest of the hotel: dark wood armoires and a bed with a matching headboard carved with an image of Christ’s face.

 

Francis’ initial refusal to move into the hotel’s papal suite is perhaps understandable, given the reluctance with which he accepted the job in the first place.

 

On Wednesday, the Vatican revealed what Francis said in the Sistine Chapel when he was formally asked if he accepted the outcome of the vote. “I am a big sinner. Trusting in the mercy and patience of God, in suffering, I accept,” he answered.

 

The decision not to take up residence in the Apostolic Palace might also signal a desire to keep his distance from the dysfunctional Vatican government Francis has inherited. One of his major tasks will be to rid the Vatican bureaucracy of the mismanagement, petty turf battles and allegations of corruption that were revealed in leaks of papal documents last year.

 

Francis does go to work each day at his “office” in the Apostolic Palace, where he meets with various Vatican officials. He uses the ornate Clementine Hall for larger audiences, such as his first formal addresses to representatives of the world’s religions and the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See.

 

In his March 20 audience with religious leaders, Francis sent an important signal about his view of the papacy and its relationship with other Christians. He addressed the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, as “my brother” — a fraternal nod to a church that split from Rome 1,000 years ago and has remained separated in part over disputes about the primacy of the pope.

 

To make that message abundantly clear, Francis’ chair was on the ground — the same level as all the other religious leaders — and not on a raised platform. Two days later, when Francis greeted diplomats accredited to the Holy See, his chair was up on a platform.

 

“To have a simpler view, less grandiose sense of the trappings of the papacy might be saying, ‘I want to be able to relate to you at a different level,’” said Anton Vrame of the Greek Orthodox archdiocese in the U.S.

 

Francis’ gestures, choices and emphasis were clearly an indication of his personality and the simplicity for which Jesuits are known, Vrame said.

 

“Is it a further simplification of the papacy that we’ve seen over the years? Potentially. It remains to be seen,” he said.

 

 

2. THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW: POPE FRANCIS FORCES SUDDEN ABOUT-FACE IN ARGENTINE POLITICS (The Washington Post)

March 27, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Catholic doctrine considers the pope to be God’s delegate on Earth. That alone might explain the remarkable about-face that Argentina’s populist president Cristina Fernandez and most of her followers have managed to pull off in the days since the cardinal she treated as a political arch-enemy became Pope Francis.

 

But there are more earthly reasons for her turnaround, factors that have more to do with the dirty and often contradictory Argentine political landscape that Jorge Mario Bergoglio knows so well.

 

Fernandez had sought to neutralize the Buenos Aires cardinal’s political influence for so long that she and her allies suddenly found themselves out of step with the joy most Argentines have shown at seeing one of their own running the Vatican.

 

For years, they had labeled him “chief of the opposition” and “accomplice of the dictatorship.” Supporters of the president reportedly even tried lobbying other cardinals to turn against Bergoglio when choosing a new pontiff.

 

But that was before he became Francis. Now he’s suddenly the pope who shares the same commitment to the poor and dream of a “Patria Grande” (Grand Homeland) that the populist leaders of Latin America have been pursuing. Fernandez announced this herself, after a private lunch at the Vatican with her former foe that had Argentines glued to their TV sets, marveling over the sudden change. “The president made the simple calculation that this confrontation was totally a losing proposition,” and so the government decided to try to co-opt the Argentines’ fervor for their pope, political analyst Claudio Fantini said.

 

In Argentina’s polarized political universe, which treats everyone as either a friend or enemy of the president, Fantini called this a “Copernican shift,” as if everyone suddenly learned the true center of the solar system.

 

And Francisco, whose sharp political skills have long been apparent to Argentines, responded with his own highly symbolic gestures.

 

He invited Fernandez to share his first official audience as pope and then ended speculation in Argentina that he might visit home before October’s congressional elections, which could determine whether she will have enough votes to undo constitutional term limits and keep ruling beyond 2015. The president’s opponents had hoped he would come in July or September, and perhaps push votes their way.

 

These and other gestures by Francis, 76, sent a signal that when it comes to the populist governments of Latin America, he’ll avoid the kinds of direct confrontations that feed divisive politics, and instead will seek to co-opt them as well, joining forces to help the poorest benefit from society. “Bergoglio is a conservative, but his church career has always been directed toward doing things for the poor,” said Fantini.

 

At first, Fernandez seemed stunned by the election of Bergoglio, the man whose opposition to gay marriage and adoption she had compared to the Inquisition. On these and other social issues, from providing free contraception to enabling transsexuals to change their official identities on demand to rewriting divorce laws, she had enough votes in congress to ignore his complaints. His frequent homilies urging Argentina’s leaders stamp out corruption and fix societal ills were an annoyance, but not a threat to her political power.

 

Suddenly, the old man who lived alone in a church office building across the plaza from her government palace had become the world’s the most powerful religious leader.

 

She delayed congratulating him for more than an hour after his name was announced, and then buried a reference to his selection 40 minutes into an otherwise routine speech that day.

 

She had refused for years to cross the plaza and meet with him. Now she would have to travel around the world and face him before the cameras.

 

Activists most loyal to Fernandez and her late husband, President Nestor Kirchner, were even more disoriented. For years, they had shown their annoyance every time Bergoglio criticized society’s ills in a homily, or met with opposing politicians behind closed doors.

 

But Francis’s election exposed the group’s otherwise well-hidden fissures — and threatened to break it apart.

 

Kirchnerism includes human rights leaders fiercely critical of the church hierarchy’s failure to openly confront the 1976-1983 dictatorship, and others with close church connections. There are activists for the rights of sexual minorities and the separation of church and state, but also Catholics who are proud members of the same Peronist party that has dominated Argentine politics for generations.

 

And just as some Kirchnerites were cheering for Bergoglio ahead of the conclave, others were trying to derail his chances.

 

The Argentine daily El Cronista Comercial reported that some officials even tried to circulate a dossier of allegedly incriminating stories about Bergoglio with cardinals before they entered the conclave.

 

The Fernandez government denied it, but Bergoglio’s allies described a similar campaign in 2005, when the cardinals were sent anti-Bergoglio emails just as they were preparing to choose John Paul II’s successor. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi called it a defamation campaign by a newspaper staffed by the “anti-clerical left.”

 

Lombardi was aiming at journalist Horacio Verbitzky, who kept publishing allegations in the pro-government Pagina12 daily even after Francis was elected, accusing Bergoglio of provoking the kidnapping of two of his Jesuit priests during the dictatorship.

 

Verbitzky wasn’t the only Kirchnerite unwilling to conform to the new posture.

 

National Library director Horacio Gonzalez took the microphone at a meeting of the “Carta Abierta” (Open Letter) group of pro-government intellectuals, called Francis a demagogue and described his election as some kind of global conspiracy.

 

“Every time he said something, he would shoot at the heart of the government, saying ‘there are poor people and you all are provoking it,’” Gonzalez complained. He called the papal election part of “a project to divert the masses from the political processes that aren’t controlled by the church.”

 

Most Argentines apparently don’t share such ideas now. A new nationwide poll by Management & Fit found nearly two-thirds have a positive image of Francis.

 

Meanwhile, other respected figures emerged, vouching for Bergoglio. Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel said he’s in no way responsible for human rights violations. Emilio Persico, a leader of the pro-government Evita Movement, proudly recalled that Bergoglio led a mass to pray for the health of Hugo Chavez before the Venezuelan leader’s death.

 

To help reorient the government’s base of support, posters quickly appeared around Buenos Aires with the image of Francis over the words “Argentine and Peronist.” Another showed the hands of both Fernandez and Francis as she gave him a traditional set for drinking “mate,” an herbal infusion popular in Argentina, during their Vatican encounter. That poster carried the phrase “we share hopes.”

 

On her return to Argentina, the often-combative Fernandez described the new relationship in almost mystical terms.

 

“The marvelous thing is to re-encounter each other,” she said. “God made us in his image, but all of us in a different way, so that we have the option of deciding who we want to be. This is the human condition: diversity, plurality, and acceptance.”

 

Political analyst Ricardo Rouvier put it more cynically: that within Kirchnerism, politics triumphed over ideology.

 

“The first reactions from this space were ideological: he’s an ally of the dictatorship, a right-wing populist,” he said. Then came a “clearly political presidential reaction: moving rapidly from being perplexed and possibly uncomfortable to joining forces and actively participating” in the Francis phenomenon.

 

3. POPE MAKES 1ST APPOINTMENT, NAMES SUCCESSOR IN BUENOS AIRES (The Washington Post)

March 28, 2013

 

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has made his first bishop appointment, naming the bishop of Santa Rosa, Argentina as his successor as archbishop of Buenos Aires and the top churchman in Argentina.

 

Archbishop Mario Poli had been an auxiliary bishop in the Argentine capital in 2002-2008 while the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop.

The 66-year-old Poli, trained in social work, made news recently when he publicly dressed-down a priest who had posted a Facebook greeting on the birthday of former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla.

 

Argentine media say Poli is very much a priest in Francis’ vein, less political and more pastoral.

 

 

 

4. ARGENTINA: CRUNCH TIME APPROACHING (Financial Times)

By Jude Webber

March 27, 2013

 

Calling all pari passu anoraks.

Vladimir Werning over at JP Morgan has done some helpful maths and analysis to weigh up what Argentina needs to offer holdouts in its March 29 submission to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals as the climax of its “equal treatment” court saga nears.

Are we sitting comfortably? Let’s take a quick look at his arguments.

First a recap: the circle Argentina must try to square is how to craft an offer that i) will persuade the court it is not dishing out inferior treatment to the holders of debt unpaid since its $100bn default in 2001, led by Elliott, a fund; ii) is fair to the holders of more than 92 per cent of debt issued in restructurings in 2005 and 2010; and iii) doesn’t look like a political defeat for Cristina Fernández, the president.

There’s still plenty more at stake – the court’s stance on whether the Bank of New York Mellon will be barred from processing payments to restructured debtholders unless holdouts are paid, for one. (Remember that that is what injected the drama into all this and the fear that Argentina would pay no one and thus default).

But let’s let Werning walk us through some of the offer scenarios and things to watch for in Argentina’s brief on Friday:

 

1. Argentina has said it will never offer anything better than its previous debt swaps, indeed that its so-called “lock law” bars it from doing so. How to make that offer attractive enough, in net present value terms, is the stumbling block here.

 

2. “2010 – the remix”. Ambito Financiero newspaper suggested Argentina would offer the same bonds as in its previous swap, but in a novel combination: par bonds (ie the ones issued without a haircut, but repayable in 2038) for the principal (some $450m) and discount bonds (due in 2017) for the $1bn in past due interest, punitive clauses and the like. But Werning says this would add up to a “public acknowledgment of defeat” for the president. How close to the truth is Ambito? Who knows – the economy ministry is calling it “newspaper speculation”. Hmmm.

 

3. Could the remix plan be a game changer? If Argentina fully recognises past due interest, that would be quite a different proposition from a simple attempt to sweeten the 2010 offer. Werning says that could be attractive in NPV terms. The problem?

 

Is Argentina really ready to ‘blink’ in the game of chicken and, hence, will President Kirchner betray her promise to not pay holdouts more than restructured bondholders? Ambito’s article implies that this may be the case.

 

4. Confrontation: sticking to the lines of the 2010 restructuring, or similar, in a bid to force the court to make an unprecedented sovereign “cram down”. That would translate into a NPV way below the holdouts’ demands. Default fears resurface.

 

5. Compromise: Offering something sufficiently attractive, in NPV terms, that the court (and the holdouts) might actually bite. Sweeteners could include: offering a par bond rather than a discount bond; recognising payments on GDP warrants (that were themselves issued in the past as sweeteners); retroactive interest payments. The question is whether such offers would add up to enough.

 

6. Past-due interest. For Werning, this is key. In 2005 and 2010, principal was recognised but not past-due interest.

 

7. Adding it all up – check out the maths in Werning’s handy comparative tables

http://blogs.r.ftdata.co.uk/beyond-brics/files/2013/03/JPMorgan-holdout-chart.jpg

Argentina has until midnight on Friday, New York time, to get its offer in. Something – besides chocolate eggs – to get your teeth into over the Easter weekend, then.

 

 

5. SINGER PILING UP LEGAL VICTORIES SINKS BONDS: ARGENTINA CREDIT (Bloomberg News)

By Katia Porzecanski and Camila Russo

March 27, 2013

 

Argentina’s dollar bonds are extending the steepest losses in emerging markets after a U.S. appeals court rejected a request to rehear a case against holders of defaulted debt, increasing the likelihood the government will lose the battle.

 

The government’s $3 billion of bonds due 2033 that were issued in the country’s 2005 debt restructuring fell 1.9 cent to 54.07 cents on the dollar yesterday, the lowest since Nov. 28. The cost to protect Argentina against non-payment over the next five years with credit-default swaps surged 197 basis points, or 1.97 percentage points, the most in the world, to 3,129 basis points, according to CMA Ltd.

 

The pressure on Argentina to pay so-called holdouts from a restructuring after a record $95 billion default in 2001 has never been greater. A decision yesterday by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan leaves in place an Oct. 26 ruling that compels the nation to repay investors including billionaire Paul Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. when making payments on restructured debt. Bonds fell on concern Argentina will opt to cease payments on all of its debt if the court, in a related appeal, forces Argentina to pay holdouts in full.

 

“Argentina’s strategy for many years has been to prolong the process, and this closes a door,” Diego Ferro, co-chief investment officer at Greylock Capital Management LLC, said in a telephone interview from New York. Ferro’s firm oversees more than $500 million in emerging-market bonds, including Argentine debt, and is not involved in the litigation. “Argentina’s case is lost. The question now is how much they have to pay.”

 

Supreme Court

The question of the equal treatment of creditors, known as pari passu, now can only be debated further by the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest federal appeals court, which is unlikely to consider the case because the ruling is based on New York State contract law, Ferro said.

 

Norma Madeo, a spokeswoman for the Economy Ministry, declined to comment on the appeals court decision.

 

Argentina’s average borrowing costs rose 30 basis points yesterday to 14.88 percent, three times the average for developing-nation bonds in JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global index and the highest of 55 developing nations after Belize. This year, Argentine bonds have lost 18 percent, the worst performance in JPMorgan’s index.

 

The extra yield investors demand to own Argentine bonds instead of Treasuries widened 13 basis points to 1,306 basis points at 8:29 a.m. in New York, according to JPMorgan.

 

‘Not Good’

“It is certainly not good news for Argentina,” Guillermo Nielsen, Argentina’s former finance secretary who oversaw the 2005 exchange and now works as a consultant in Buenos Aires, said in an e-mail. “With more judges involved, the chances of changing the ruling are higher. Nobody sees the three judges already involved writing a new ruling contradicting, even softly contradicting, their previous orders,” he wrote.

 

The decision also goes against a request by the U.S. government, which in December filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Argentina’s request for a rehearing, citing concern about its assets and foreign relations.

 

In October, the three-judge panel of the appeals court affirmed a decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa that a pari passu clause in the original bond agreements prevents Argentina from treating holders of defaulted bonds less favorably than the holders of the restructured bonds. The appeals court also said Griesa may bar Argentina from servicing restructured debt without also making payments on the defaulted bonds.

 

Payment Proposal

Following an oral hearing on Feb. 27, the court asked Argentina to provide a suggested payment formula by March 29 since the nation’s lawyer “appeared to propose” an alternative to the formula devised by the lower court.

 

In November, Griesa, an 82-year-old judge who has been involved in the case for a decade, said Argentina must pay the entire $1.3 billion claimed by the defaulted-bond holders in principal and past due interest.

 

The country claims that a ruling forcing it to pay creditors who hold defaulted bonds would open it up to more than $43 billion in additional claims it can’t pay and trigger another default.

 

In the hearing last month, the nation’s attorney, Jonathan Blackman, said Argentina would offer holdouts the same terms as the ones rejected in the previous 2005 and 2010 swaps, which imposed a loss to investors of about 70 cents on the dollar. Argentina will have to be willing to negotiate a better offer to keep the court from upholding the lower court ruling, according to Joe Kogan, the head of emerging-market debt strategy at Scotia Capital Markets.

 

‘Other Ways’

“They start offering something low but signal to the court that they’re willing to pay more,” Kogan said in a telephone interview from New York. The so-called en banc rehearing to a larger group of appellate judges “was always such a long shot. I don’t think it should matter much. There are other ways out. Some that are more likely to materialize, some less likely.”

 

Kogan said Argentina could offer new par bonds due 2038 that have a higher coupon than those offered in the previous debt swaps of 2.5 percent. He recommends investors make a short- term bet on Argentine bonds and buy after yesterday’s losses.

 

While Argentina can still file a petition for an en banc rehearing on the outcome of the payment decision, full-court re- hearings are granted by the New York-based appeals court in only about 0.03 percent of cases from 2000 to 2010, according to a 2011 study by the Federal Bar Council.

 

‘Trade Reactively’

Volatility in Argentine bonds since the appellate court’s decision in October has more than doubled from the degree of prices swings in the six months prior, according to Bloomberg’s Riskless Return index. The nation’s debt securities have posted the worst losses in emerging markets in two consecutive quarters, dropping 20 percent in the period.

 

“There’s sensitivity to negative headlines and a knee-jerk reaction of selling first and asking questions later because of the complexity of the case,” Siobhan Morden, the head of Latin America fixed income strategy at Jefferies Group Inc., said in a telephone interview from New York. “You’re forced to trade reactively because it’s too difficult to predict the outcome.”

 

 

 

6. WALKING THE TALK (Foreign Policy Blog)

By Chris Bain

March 27, 2013

 

How Pope Francis can really help the poor — and why he’ll help the Catholic Church, too, in the process.

In the days since Pope Francis I was elected by the Papal Conclave, he has been quizzed on everything from his stance on the Falkland Islands to his role in Argentina’s “dirty war.” He has had to navigate diplomatic minefields — why was Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe at his inauguration, while British Prime Minister David Cameron wasn’t? And he has faced scrutiny over his position on social issues like marriage equality and women in the church. But at his inaugural mass last Tuesday, Francis showed once again where his focus has been since he first took his vows, and where he wants it to remain.

 

The pontiff, Francis told the hundreds of thousands in attendance, “must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important.”

 

It’s a message that’s more relevant than ever: Francis’s papacy begins at a time when the globe has never been more socially unequal, economically volatile, or environmentally unsustainable. This is a world where 870 million men, women, and children go to bed hungry every night, and where nearly one billion have no access to clean water; a world where whole countries are threatened with bankruptcy and seemingly stable regimes can collapse because of the price of grain; a world of manmade climate change and the plundering of creation for the few at the expense of the many.

 

The Roman Catholic Church, throughout its history, has worked for and alongside the poorest people in the world. Francis — a man with a strong history of working for the poorest in his home country of Argentina — now has the opportunity to reaffirm this focus, as well as expand the church’s engagement on issues of poverty. But what can he actually hope to accomplish?

 

Much of the Catholic Church’s work on poverty takes place at the ground level: It provides an estimated 25 percent of the care worldwide for people living with HIV and AIDS. It runs more than 5,000 hospitals, with nearly half of those located in the Africa and the Americas — the Catholic Health Association of the United States is also the largest group of non-profit health care providers in the country. The church runs nearly 20,000 clinics around the world, more than 15,000 homes for the elderly, those who are terminally ill, and the disabled, and nearly 10,000 orphanages, mainly in Asia.

 

But there is always room for the church to do more. Because it spans the world and stands outside the market, business, and government, it is well placed to look at the world afresh — especially at the beginning of a new papacy. It has the ability to offer a unique perspective on both the challenges of the poor and the actions of the rich that can cause poverty, from environmental degradation to the activities of global corporations. As pope, Francis can take advantage of the church’s tremendous reach and influence to open up new conversations with different sectors of society on how to tackle these challenges productively.

 

Pope Benedict took a step toward this goal with a 2009 encyclical — a letter sent by the pope to his bishops — called Caritas in Veritate, or “Charity in Truth.” In it, he warned of the dangers of unbalanced economic growth and against the pursuit of profit for its own sake. The encyclical had practical impact: The Catholic Church of England and Wales, for example, followed with a 2012 conference that brought major players in the business world — McKinsey, Barclays, and Unilever, among others — for a discussion on how business could better serve society.

 

At Francis’s inaugural, he spoke directly to the many powerful people in attendance — “those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political, and social life” — asking them to “be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another, and of the environment.” It’s a sign that he plans to continue to following the path that Benedict started down.

 

A renewed focus on social justice isn’t just at the heart of the church’s central purpose, in accordance with its faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ. It’s also a vital component of the renewal and re-energization many claim is necessary for the modern church.

 

The new pope’s emphasis on a church “that is poor and is for the poor” will resonate strongly with Catholic communities around the world. The majority of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics live outside Europe and North America. In ensuring the Catholic Church is responding to their priorities, Pope Francis can demonstrate to burgeoning congregations in Africa and the traditional stronghold of Latin America that he is a pontiff in touch with the immense challenges faced by ordinary people. And he also has a chance to engage new audiences in the increasingly secular developed world, who are looking for something more than the worship of material wealth and possessions.

 

Although an emphasis on care for the poor may be important for how the church is viewed by the rest of the world, this isn’t a “reformist” agenda — the Catholic Church has worked for and with the poor throughout its history. Recent popes have challenged Western society’s acceptance of the inevitability of poverty. Pope Benedict told us that the market was not the master of us all, but rather a tool that had to be used for the benefit of everyone, and that every human has the right to flourish to his or her furthest potential.

 

Francis’s papacy can build on these previous teachings to further enhance the church’s support for the world’s poorest. In the words of our new pope’s namesake, St. Francis of Assisi: “It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.”

 

 

 

7. ARGENTINA TO OFFER HOLDOUTS MIX OF PAR, DISCOUNT BONDS: REPORT (Fox Business)

By Helen Popper

March 27, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES –  Argentina, battling to avert a fresh debt crisis, plans to offer suing “holdout” creditors a 25-year bond equal to the face value of their debt when the country defaulted in 2002, local financial daily Ambito Financiero reported on Wednesday.

 

The country faces a Friday deadline to respond to a U.S. appeals court order that it provide an alternative payment formula to resolve litigation with creditors seeking to be paid $1.33 billion in capital and interest on defaulted bonds.

 

Argentina’s center-left government, which has said it cannot offer the holdouts more than what was received by bondholders who entered debt swaps in 2005 and 2010, must submit a formula and a timetable for carrying it out this week.

 

If the court does not accept the proposal, investors fear Argentina could default on $24 billion in restructured debt.

 

Ambito Financiero’s report on Wednesday said the government’s offer would propose giving the holdouts Par bonds equal in value to the bonds they have sued over at the time of the world’s biggest sovereign default.

 

The newspaper, which did not say where it got the information, said that would be equivalent to about $450 million in 2038 Par bonds.

 

Holdouts would be offered Discount bonds – which carry a steep haircut – in exchange for the rest of the money demanded by the creditors in accumulated unpaid interest.

 

No one at Argentina’s Economy Ministry could immediately be reached for comment.

 

In the 2010 swap – the terms of which Argentina says, by law, it cannot improve for the holdouts – a Discount bond maturing in 2033 and representing 33.7 percent of the face value of the defaulted debt was offered to institutional investors.

 

Par bonds for the full face value were also offered in the exchange three years ago, but only to small-scale investors wanting to tender a maximum of $50,000 or 40,000 euros in bonds.

 

“Offering Discounts for the past-due interest on the original bonds would constitute a more generous offer (than that of the swaps), and we have doubts that this will indeed be the offer proposed on March 29,” Citigroup analysts wrote.

 

“(That) would be inconsistent with the government’s previous statements that they would not offer holdouts anything more generous,” the bank’s research note stated.

 

Investors are closely watching the case, which is led by Elliott Management affiliate NML Capital Ltd and Aurelius Capital Management, because it has raised fears of a default on the restructured debt that was issued during the debt swaps.

 

Concerns ballooned after U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa ordered Argentina in November to pay into escrow the full $1.33 billion owed to the holdouts, an order Argentina immediately appealed.

 

Griesa’s payment order followed his February 2012 ruling, upheld on appeal, which found Argentina violated the equal treatment provision in the bond contract known as pari passu. His order is meant to block any payment to exchange bondholders if full payment is not also given to the holdouts.

 

REHEARING REFUSAL HITS BONDS

 

Argentina has said it cannot abide by the court order to pay the holdouts in full, meaning a rejection of the payment proposal it submits this week would increase the chances for a default on the restructured bonds.

 

A decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday to deny Argentina’s request for a rehearing on the underlying issues in this case hit the country’s asset prices on Wednesday.

 

Analysts said the court’s refusal appeared to be a warning to Argentina ahead of Friday’s deadline to present a payment offer.

 

“The development is a negative event for Argentine sovereign credit as it suggests little sympathy from the court to the arguments Argentina uses in its defense against holdout creditors in the ‘pari passu’ litigation,” J.P.Morgan said in a briefing note to clients.

 

“The timing of the decision to deny rehearing can be interpreted as a warning from the court,” it said.

 

Argentina’s 5-year credit default swaps were quoted at 3281 basis points on Wednesday afternoon, according to Markit.

 

Argentina’s 2017 bond sank to 71.9 after shedding more than one point on Tuesday. The country’s bond spreads over U.S. Treasuries on JPMorgan’s EMBI Global index widened 20 bps after blowing out 32 bps in the previous session.

 

 

8. ARGENTINE CATTLE SECTOR BOUNCES BACK FROM 2009 DROUGHT (Reuters News)

By Maximilian Heath

March 27, 2013

 

(Reuters) – Argentina’s cattle herd has grown to 51 million head and should keep recovering from a devastating 2009 drought that, along with price controls, forced ranchers to slaughter millions of animals before their time.

 

Between 2007 and 2010, 17 percent of the herd was slaughtered or died of thirst and hunger. That three-year period was marked by government price controls that discouraged beef production, and hot weather that peaked in 2009, turning prime grazing land into dust.

 

By the end of that three-year period only 48 million head of cattle were left and soy farming was fast encroaching on grazing lands made famous by Argentina’s iconic gauchos, or cowboys.

 

The government lifted beef price controls in 2010 as many ranchers took to feeding their cattle meal on feed lots, turning grazing pastures into more profitable soy farms.

 

“Starting in 2010, thanks to higher prices, ranchers started conserving more of their cows to be used for reproduction. The inertia of the three preceding years means that stocks should keep growing,” said ranching consultant Victor Tonelli.

 

Between 2010 and 2013 the Argentine herd gained from 3 to 3.3 million head, and it could gain another 2.7 million to reach a total of 54 million by 2016, Tonelli said.

 

Cattle market analyst Ignacio Iriarte said that of the 10 million head of cattle that were lost between 2007 and 2011, 3.5 to 4 million have been recuperated.

 

He said the size of the herd should stabilize soon as the retention of cows used for reproduction has been dropping in recent months, reflecting a dip in beef prices.

 

Argentina’s Ciccra cattle industry chamber said that in the first two months of this year 42.5 percent of slaughters in the country were of cows versus 39.3 percent in the same 2012 period. For herd size to remain steady, Ciccra says, slaughter of cows as opposed to bulls must not rise above 43 percent.

 

Some, however, have a more cautious view of the herd’s growth prospects over the years ahead.

 

“Yes, there was a restructuring of the sector in recent years, but today you will find that between 25 and 30 percent of the national herd is two years older than it should ideally be,” said Gervasio Saenz Valiente, an analyst with the Saenz Valiente, Bullrich and Co. consultancy.

“That will affect growth in the future.”

 

 

 

9. ARGENTINA’S ISOL WINS WORLD’S BIGGEST CHILDREN’S BOOK PRIZE (Reuters News)

By Simon Johnson, additional reporting by Alejandro Lifschitz in Buenos Aires

March 27, 2013

 

(Reuters) – Argentinian author and illustrator Isol won the world’s biggest prize for children’s literature on Tuesday with the jury for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award praising her ability to expose the absurdities of the adult world to children.

 

She beat “War Horse” author Michael Morpurgo, the former British Children’s Laureate, America’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” writer Eric Carle, and British fantasy writer Terry Pratchett among others to the annual prize.

 

The jury for the 5 million Swedish crown ($770,000) prize created by the Swedish government in 2002 said Isol, whose real name is Marisol Misenta, created picture books from the “eye-level of the child”.

 

“Taking the child’s clear view of the world as her starting point, she addresses their questions with forceful artistic expressions and offers open answers,” the jury said.

 

“With liberating humor and levity she also deals with the darker aspects of existence.”

 

Isol, who has written and illustrated 10 books of her own as well as other writers’ books, was born in 1972 in Buenos Aires and also works as a singer and a composer.

 

Her first book, “A dog’s life”, was published in 1997 and her books have now been published in about 20 countries.

 

Her latest book, “La Bella Griselda”, is the story of a princess whose suitors literally lose their heads as a result of their love of her.

 

Isol told Reuters that she was woken at 6.30 a.m. local time by the prize organizers with news of the award.

 

“I’m having to brush off my English, which was pretty rusty,” she told Reuters. “It is all really unbelievable, especially as the other nominees are amazing.”

 

Isol put her success down to being able to look at issues from a different perspective.

 

“It’s about being able, sometimes, like children do, to fearlessly ask questions and answer back a bit.”

 

Sweden’s Astrid Lindgren, one of the world’s most widely translated writers, is best known for her Pippi Longstocking books about the adventures of Pippi, her horse, monkey and friends Tommy and Annika. The prize was set up in the year of her death.

 

Last year’s winner was Dutch writer Guus Kuijer, whose books often deal with modern social issues from the perspective of pre-teens.

 

Other winners include Philip Pullman, author of the fantasy trilogy “His Dark Materials” and Maurice Sendak, who wrote the children’s classic “Where the Wild Things Are”. ($1 = 6.5212 Swedish crowns)

 

 

 

10. ARGENTINA’S CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY REBOUNDS IN FEBRUARY AFTER TOUGH 2012 (Dow Jones Business News)

By Ken Parks

March 27, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s construction sector recovered some of its former vigor in February after contracting last year due to currency controls and a weak economy, according to a government report.

 

Construction activity rose 3.1% from January and was up 4.4% from February 2012 in seasonally adjusted terms, the national statistics agency, Indec, said Wednesday.

 

The construction sector is a major employer in Argentina and historically has been the preferred investment option for many Argentines due to the country’s long history of high inflation and economic instability.

 

But the government’s decision to severely limit the public’s access to U.S. dollars during 2012 had a chilling effect on the residential real-estate market where home sellers for decades have demanded payment in dollars.

 

The abrupt slowdown in the economy also hurt the broader construction sector, which suffered its biggest annual decline since 2009.

 

After expanding 8.9% in 2011, Indec said the economy grew just 1.9% last year due to a crop-killing drought, weak exports to Brazil and government limits on imported goods and foreign currency.

 

Indec is thought to overstate growth somewhat due to the widespread belief among economists that the agency underreports inflation. Many economists think annual inflation is now well above 20%, while Indec’s latest data put inflation at 10.8% in February.

 


Sen. J. William Fulbright, from his 1989 book, The Price of Empire:

“Violence has become the nation’s leading industry.   It is not an enthusiasm for war but simple economic self-interest that has drawn millions of workers, their labor unions, and their elected representatives into the military-industrial complex.  To those who build them, weapons mean prosperity, not war.  For the industrialist they mean profits, for the worker, new jobs, and the prospect of higher wages; and for the politician, a new installation or defense order with which to ingratiate himself with his constituents.  These benefits, once enjoyed, are not easily parted with…
Yet this militarization of the economy is undermining us internally.  Weapons are not reproductive; they are sheer non-productive assets.  They do not contribute to the welfare of the country in any positive way.;  On the contrary, they drain resources–human as well as material–that could be applied to making our consumer products competitive, or to restoring all the infrastructure that has been so rapidly deteriorating:  bridges, railroads, highways, water systems, and above all, our sorely neglected public educational systems.”

Los Harris are at OUR NEW home in DC Area:
1450 Emerson Ave #403 || McLean, VA 22101
cell:   1 (703) 407-9989    || home: 1 (703) 442-4775
afsatex@gmail.com         ||  skype:  afsatex
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——————————————————————————————————-

Sen. J. William Fulbright, from his 1989 book, The Price of Empire:

“Violence has become the nation’s leading industry.   It is not an enthusiasm for war but simple economic self-interest that has drawn millions of workers, their labor unions, and their elected representatives into the military-industrial complex.  To those who build them, weapons mean prosperity, not war.  For the industrialist they mean profits, for the worker, new jobs, and the prospect of higher wages; and for the politician, a new installation or defense order with which to ingratiate himself with his constituents.  These benefits, once enjoyed, are not easily parted with…
Yet this militarization of the economy is undermining us internally.  Weapons are not reproductive; they are sheer non-productive assets.  They do not contribute to the welfare of the country in any positive way.;  On the contrary, they drain resources–human as well as material–that could be applied to making our consumer products competitive, or to restoring all the infrastructure that has been so rapidly deteriorating:  bridges, railroads, highways, water systems, and above all, our sorely neglected public educational systems.”

=================================

 

BONOS: AUDAZ ¿CONTRAOFERTA? K

30 marzo, 2013

Interpretaba yo en forma pesimista el fallo del Honorable Thomas Griesa, confirmado, en el sentido de que habíamos sido derrotados totalmente en la litis, y a los que iniciaron la demanda, corresponde ponerlos al día respecto de lo pactado, sin tener en cuenta que un porcentaje muy alto de acreedores hayan resignado parte de su crédito, por temor a no cobrar jamas. Imaginaba que la sentencia sostenía que lo atrasado en materia de intereses impagos,  con mas los gastos del juicio, había sido lo decidido por la Justicia de Nueva York, y que el plazo concedido de pocos meses, era tan solo para que el deudor buscara una forma de pago del monto total, de manera que “pari passu”, los reclamantes perciban lo que hubiera correspondido, si Argentina no hubiera producido el default.

La audacia K es admirable: sostienen que si pagaran la totalidad al vencedor en la litis, los acreedores mayoritarios que ya aceptaron las quitas, podrían reclamar la diferencia y esto sería una cantidad impagable para Argentina. Es obvio que el tribunal de Nueva York no considerará que Argentina se burla de una sentencia, y que no se produce un desacato a un fallo claro. Esto equivale a chicanear muchos dolares, en la confianza de que es posible apelar a la Corte Suprema Federal, Tribunal que trata temas interestatales, y no suele meterse en asuntos de cada Estado de la Unión  que tienen sus tribunales e incluso hay 3 instancias, la primera seria Thomas Griesa, la segunda, la Cámara de Apelaciones de 3 miembros, y la tercer instancia, hubiera sido la Cámara de Apelaciones con todos sus trece miembros, propuesta ya rechazada días atrás. Se nota que el chicaneo o demora – si no me equivocara en la apreciación de lo que ordena la Cámara de Apelaciones en el sentido de ofrecer una forma seria de pago justo para compensar lo atrasado y cumplir pari passu, (es decir, como si el default no hubiese perjudicado a los acreedores que demandaron ) Argentina hubiese quizás sido vista con mejores ojos en calidad de país deudor, que sufrió un delito desde el propio Estado, cuando los presidentes de la Rúa y Duhalde en forma ilegal, dispusieron el criminal corralito y la insensata pesificacion que equivale a la destrucción intencional  del propio papel moneda nacional, algo insólito en el mundo civilizado. Si eso no es traicionar a la sociedad y sumirla en la pobreza, en forma anticonstitucional, cualquier otra cosa puede sucedernos. Y de hecho, lo hemos visto, ya que el duhaldismo y el kirchnerismo han violado impunemente los derechos patrimoniales de la gente, hasta ahora. Pudieron hacerlo, porque cambiaron la mayoría de la Corte Suprema de Justicia, gracias a la audacia de Néstor Kirchner. Pero hoy en día, si la Presidenta – hoy una “lame duck” que no puede constitucionalmente ser reelecta -, deja la presidencia, los Jueces Supremos que queden se harán un picnic constitucional, porque ya no tendrán obligaciones morales hacia quienes los designaron: el matrimonio K, en conjunto, digamos.

EL DERECHO PERONISTA

Sospecho – y el resultado del juicio de los llamados Fondos Buitres lo aclarará, y es posible yo me equivoque – que hay dos sistemas distintos de Justicia, en este mundo supuestamente civilizado. La clásica visión de que las deudas deben ser canceladas en la forma pactada, era lo que me enseñaban en la UBA en 1956/61, pero con los años, el fascismo peronista y militar fue cambiando de criterio y se resolvió de a poco, a borbotones, que los deudores son los buenos y los acreedores los malos. Por eso, los capitales fueron desapareciendo del sistema financiero y hoy no se ven las viviendas que se hubieran construido si Argentina hubiera seguido siendo un país civilizado conforme a la constitución liberal que tenemos. Si el fascismo peronista no hubiera llegado, o la demagogia ulterior militar y alfonsinista, agrego. El sistema peronista se planta frente al capitalismo asqueroso y al momento de pagar, le exige acepte percibir menos de lo que se prometió, bajo la presión de no pagar jamás. Teoría buena para potencias militares poderosas, tipo el Tercer Reich, que en el mediano plazo terminaron arruinando a los alemanes y buena parte de Europa. Igual sucedió en la Cuba sovietizada, que arrasó con el derecho de propiedad y consiguió expatriar a un porcentaje considerable de gente que elegía la libertad, a costa de perder sus bienes en la Isla. Otros igualmente quedaron sin bienes y sin libertad, eran – supongo – los mas pobres, los que no podían o no se animaban dejar su tierra natal. En pequeña medida, igual nos sucedió cuando el jamas votado Presidente Duhalde destruyó la moneda peso convertible argentino, y nos destruyó intencionalmente la moneda seria, para favorecer a un grupo de empresarios que necesitan siempre tener moneda nacional débil  para que el salario de los trabajadores – medido en dolares – sea mas bajo y así las industrias artificiales puedan continuar. Tipo la siderúrgica  automotriz, y varias otras que nacieron en la Argentina peronista cuando distintos grupos de empresarios audaces lograron enriquecerse asociados con los distintos gobiernos de turno para hacer sus propios negocios a costillas del salario bajo de trabajadores altamente capacitados, como sucedió desde el primer peronismo hasta hoy.

Por desgracia, la educación con el fascismo peronista se viene resintiendo, el nivel parece ir bajando, los resultados lo muestran: ya no estamos a la cabeza de América del Sur, y en cualquier momento – de seguir el fascismo destructivo e igualador de desiguales – seremos el país mas empobrecido del subcontinente. Una cosa es aceptar que Brasil nos gane al fútbol, pero otra que ellos tengan mejor nivel de vida que nosotros.

Veremos como los tribunales de la Unión resuelve el conflicto peronista de no querer Argentina pagar lo que debe, algo que el Presidente Avellaneda no hubiera siquiera inducido, en la época en que liderábamos esta parte del mundo, con el aporte de capitales y tecnología extranjera. No pagar deudas y pretender ser respetados internacionalmente es el eterno drama fascista, en manos de países desarmados, como Argentina después de Malvinas. Galtieri desafió al Reino Unido y perdimos, en Malvinas, porque supuso que USA nos defendería. Antes, los militares habían desconocido el laudo que decidió que las islas Picton, Nueva y Lennox eran chilenas, y nuestras fuerzas militares llegaron – se comenta – a adentrarse decenas de kilómetros en nuestro hermano Chile, hasta que un llamado telefónico – supongo del Secretario de Estado de la Unión – frenó todo y se inventó pedirle al Vaticano que arreglara el litigio, que finalmente, tras una serie de demoras para salvar la imagen militarista, terminó convalidando – en lo que a tierras se refiere – el laudo desconocido, pero para disimular nuestra derrota, se hicieron dibujos sobre las aguas del sur, de modo que nuestros fascistas militares no fuesen abucheados por haber fracasado en su carácter de “custodios del territorio nacional”, el argumento que siempre usaron para manejarnos a su disposición  siendo ellos defensores del “cristianismo occidental”, como si la sociedad argentina fuese estúpida y prefiriese el comunismo soviético al liberalismo norteamericano, en el sentido de modelo de organización nacional mas adecuado a nuestra idiosincracia sudamericana. Cuando el hábil y demagogo Presidente Alfonsín sometió a referendum nacional el proyecto de “arreglo” del Cardenal Samoré, los argentinos mayoritariamente votamos por su aprobación  hasta Carlos Menem, un Gobernador peronista  opositor, se plegó a la paz en Sudamérica. Eso confirmaba que los pueblos quieren la paz, y los militares medran y se enriquecen con la guerra, aquí y en el resto del mundo, casi.

Recién estaba releyendo sobre La gran guerra, entre 1839 y 1852, declarada por el general Fructuoso Rivera al tirano Rosas, para resolver la hasta entonces insoluble pugna entre los que aspiraban a la unión con el mundo de vanguardia, y los retrógrados ultra asesinos pero católicos  Por suerte, Dios ayudó a Rivera y los argentinos todos que se unieron para que la libertad – en el sentido de lo que aspiraban San Martín y Bolívar – funcionara, y se produjese la apertura al mundo de vanguardia, pudiendo los ríos ser navegables en forma libre, como clausula constitucional desde 1853, y así Sudamérica fue marcando un camino de progreso que funcionó, hasta que el militarismo retrogrado fascista se fue imponiendo, apenas el fascismo en Europa indicaba que la alianza de los fusiles con las sotanas era un progreso para el mundo. Y por fortuna, los fascistas perdieron, y el mundo es hoy mas libre, incluso Argentina la argentina cristinista, donde los Presidentes ya no asesinan, pero intentan dominar porque el autoritarismo militar pasó intacto a la clase política  luego de la derrota de Galtieri, y al aparecer Alfonsín como Presidente y hacernos creer que ya somos una república democrática  cuando sabemos que el autoritarismo ladrón continua vivo en varios países de la región, incluyendo el nuestro.

Panamá muestra el resultado de un país exitoso, que atrae capitales porque aprendieron sensatez, y además tienen un Canal hoy agrandado y propio, que les produce ganancias e importancia estratégica. Ellos se pusieron del lado correcto, se aliaron a los progresistas norteamericanos, al momento de abrir el paso http://www.infobae.com/notas/703447-El-Gobierno-ya-presento-su-oferta-a-los-bonistas-en-Nueva-York.html, que no pudieron terminar los franceses, un siglo circa atrás, y se alejaron de Colombia. Poco a poco, la sensatez prima, los modelos bolivarianos chavistas desaparecen, los modelos integradores en pie de igualdad, progresan. El ALCA es un modelo continental que parece mucho mas útil que el Mercosur y el Unasur, ambos proyectos anti-norteamericanos equivocados. Y explicaré porqué: la UNIÓN es el conjunto hoy de 50 estados casi independientes, unidos precisamente por esa Constitución que los defiende para ciertas cosas: de los enemigos, y sobre todo, les proporciona una moneda confiable y una seguridad jurídica envidiable, ademas de la tecnología y capacidad intelectual indiscutida, no solo la nativa, sino la de los cerebros extranjeros que se mudan a USA precisamente para vivir en paz y libertad. Individualmente, si no se hubieran unido, quizás serian hoy parte de Canadá  pero lo cierto es que el modelo norteamericano  de respetar la propiedad y la iniciativa privada en vez de tener un Estado autoritario al estilo fascista, es lo que les permitió dirigir en el mundo, desde un siglo y medio atrás  y todo hace pensar que China podrá llegar a tener mayor producto bruto, pero si se lo divide por la cantidad de habitantes, sera siempre un país menos desarrollado económicamente que USA y esperemos, que una Argentina no fascista, proyecto no imposible, porque ya lo fuimos y con él crecimos a la cabeza de la región.

CONCLUSIÓN: el resultado final del juicio con los acreedores bonistas en Nueva York dará la pauta sobre si el Derecho Peronista donde el deudor desprecia al acreedor y el inquilino al propietario y el trabajador al empleador puede perdurar internacionalmente en el mundo global, o si las leyes internacionales equitativas y justas serán las que se impongan. Estas ultimas se parecen demasiado a las que nos enseñaban en la Facultad de Derecho: los pactos libremente contraídos deben ser respetados y cumplidos, especialmente cuando las partes contratantes son Estados Soberanos.

Economistas ¿onanistas o sastres?

30 marzo, 2013

Los números y estadísticas fracasan, cuando el elemento que las mide, cambia su valor. En Argentina, la desvalorización de nuestro dinero fue tan enorme, a partir de que el coronel Perón tomó la Presidencia en 1945  en adelante, que los contadores públicos y auditores sostuvieron – gracias al dr. Bertora – que habia que actualizarlos conforme a la perdida de valor del dinero, porque hacia 1966 circa ya no servían para su objetivo: que el empresario pudiese tener información seria de sus negocios, con balances trimestrales, al estilo inglés y norteamericano. Paises que por tener monedas serias – libra esterlina y dólar – no necesitaban actualizar sus balances, porque seguían siendo veraces. A diferencia de la argentina fascista, que se desbarrancó y aun no puede estabilizar siquiera la informacion que los presidentes reciben de ministros de economía poco capaces o poco honestos. De allí que Argentina viva sin presupuesto serio, y haya vuelto a entrar en el peligro inflacionario, que tan solo se cortó apenas una década, con la convertibilidad – atadura al dolar 1 a 1 – que devolvió confianza al país.

Leo entristecido hoy http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1568090-diez-anos-de-kirchnerismo-crecimiento-con-inflación y temo no entiendo nada, o el autor entiende menos que yo. Porque el parece una persona seria, y confía en el dolar como valor serio, como si fuese para Bergoglio  el misterio de la Santísima Trinidad. Y si los Presidentes argentinos se han guiado por sus economistas, irán al Cielo, como santos inocentes engañados por a su vez engañados economistas que no advirtieron que también el dolar va perdiendo su valor, frente a tres commodities: oro, petroleo, trigo y soja. Si – via internet – controlamos precios de estos bienes, y lo comparamos con el dolar histórico desde 1999 (cuando Menem entregó a Fernando de la Rúa la Presidencia) hasta hoy,  en promedio hacen falta tres y pico veces  mas dolares para comprar las mismas commodities.

Lo malo no es que los economistas todos parezcan ignorar la depreciación del dolar, sino que insistan en mantener un peso archi depreciado sin valor confiable a mediano plazo para los argentinos, máxime cuando tenemos presidentes engañadores demagógicos que aspiran a perpetuarse en el Poder, alterando la Constitución.

La historia cuenta que el Rey Midas aspiraba a tener todo el oro del mundo, y se produjo el milagro de que toda cosa que tocaba, se convertía en dicho metal. Se sintió feliz por un buen rato, pero cuando sintió ganas de comer, con su mano tomó una pata de pollo cocinado, y esta se transformó en oro. E igual paso con los restantes alimentos, en forma tal que el poderoso Rey murió por inanición, creo era el fin del cuento.

Hoy el oro del mundo no alcanzaría para intercambiar bienes y servicios esenciales para la gente – pan de trigo, en Argentina, y quizás arroz en China e India  – y las distintas naciones sensatas se las ingenian para importar y exportar, teniendo como prioridad la comida para la población, obviamente después del agua que es casi gratis en gran parte del planeta.

Los presidentes argentinos a partir de de la Rúa y Duhalde demostraron su incapacidad, y luego del desastre hiperinflacion=hipercorrupción alfonsinista,  – a su vez, desestabilizado dicho Presidente demagogo dirigista por la gigantesca deuda externa dejada por los militares con Videla y Martinez de Hoz, y Galtieri con Malvinas. Y antes por otros gobiernos bandidos, incluyendo Frondizi (comprador de votos peronistas) y el propio Perón.

PAÍS SIN MONEDA ES INVIABLE

Los presidentes no quieren aprender o sus economistas les vendan sus ojos. Sensato fue Adolfo Rodriguez Saa, Presidente interino que en diciembre de 2001 anunció que no designaría Ministro de Economía,l y curiosamente pocos días después tuvo que huir en automóvil hasta su provincia desde Chapadmalal, porque se decía había sido amenazada su familia… Parece un cuento mafioso, porque al poco tiempo apareció sin ser votado un Presidente cuyo primer acto de gobierno fue deshacer la moneda confiable que había creado Carlos Menem con ayuda de Steve H. Hanke y Kurt Schuler, el peso convertible a dolar uno a uno. Que al ser abandonado el 2 de enero de 2002, provocó en una sola noche, el hundimiento económico de Argentina, ante el asombro del mundo. No para los pocos que recordamos el cuento de que alguien había aconsejado al Fuhrer a destruir la libra esterlina, para derrotar al Commonwealth sin tener que luchar bélicamente, y comenzaron a falsificar papel moneda inglés. Otros cuentan que era Lenín el que aconsejaba destruir el papel moneda enemigo para derrotarlo sin disparar un solo cañonazo. En ambos casos, el sentido común y la historia enseñaban algo que ni Duhalde ni sus economistas quisieron o pudieron saber: que la hiperinflacion destruye la civilizad, al dejarla sin “metro” para calcular valores estables.

AHORRAR EN DOLARES

A falta de moneda nacional creíble hoy – y de Presidenta, debemos con tristeza admitir – lo ideal sería permitir que la gente pueda ahorrar en dolares en el país  siempre y cuando la confianza vuelva, luego de los embates autoritarios fascistas de los últimos tiempos que parecen ordenados por Cristina, a pesar de mostrarse amiga del Papa Argentino. Pero, partamos de la presunción de que Cristina tiene buenas intenciones, y sus asesores la engañan, tipo los sastres al Rey que estaba desnudo… Confieso que si yo tuviese dolares, no los depositaria en los bancos argentinos hoy, por miedo a que el cristinismo vaya por mas y se quede con míos  Esto, repetido por varios millones de personas, causa un clima de desconfianza, ya que el pueblo mira hacia arriba, y en la cuspide pareciera estar tan solo Ella, la indispensable para decidir todo lo que cuenta en materia de producción económica en Argentina. Aunque Cristina prometiera que Marco del Pont aliente al pueblo a depositar dolares en nuestros bancos, la duda existiría  y el porcentaje de personas que no lo haría, sospecho es muy grande. La alternativa es tipo la que tienen los navegantes: esperar que cambien los vientos, y mientras tanto, esperar y cuidar que las velas no sean destruidas por los huracanes que parecen azotar a la vapuleada economía argentina, un país siempre tan prometedor, pero siempre desgobernado, al menos para lo que oimos decir y nosotros escribimos.

Problema parecido tienen nuestros hermanos venezolanos, aunque para ellos la espera es breve, en menos de un mes, sabrán si el modelo chavista continua o si el país que supongo Bolívar deseaba dos siglos circa atrás, puede llegar a concretarse. Pero nosotros deberíamos esperar al 2015, y en octubre, cuando se elija el futuro presidente de Argentina, y dos años y medio es demasiado tiempo a mis 74 años. Pero también para los jóvenes emprendedores que crearían riqueza e invertirían o buscarían inversores para Argentina, si el modelo bolivariano cristinista desapareciera por arte de magia.

Por suerte, Argentina casi podríamos vivir de lo nuestro, sin importar demasiadas cosas, por un tiempo, aunque seguiríamos siendo salvajes. Mas sensato es asociarnos con países serios y prósperos, y pedirles ayuda para mejorar la forma de administrar, por parte de nuestros intendentes, gobernadores y Presidentes.

Construir viviendas, escuelas y hospitales sería lo primero, y eso no requiere importar casi nada, salvo grandes maestros para nuestros Gobernantes, repitiendo en otra escala, lo que hizo Domingo F. Sarmiento cuando importó maestras desde Boston, para que enseñaran a nuestras jóvenes argentinas el arte de enseñar las cosas que la juventud de aquella época necesitaba. Hoy, las cosas cambiaron, por internet se puede aprender a la distancia, algo mas barato y  se hace en el Planeta en gran escala. Mas Argentina sigue salvajizada, la Presidenta va por mas, o sea que tiene unas aspiraciones para su pueblo bastante pobres, aunque sea millonaria en dolares. Culpemos entonces a los falsos sastres mentirosos, hoy devenidos en economistas, que le  muestran números y balances falsos para convencerla  que  los dolares – cual seres pensantes – quieren huir y el gobierno debe encarcelarlo para que  mejore el nivel de vida nacional merced a un modelo dirigista autoritario bolivariano. Una pena, tan exitosa, tan seductora, tan millonaria y tan desinformada..,.

PUJA SALARIAL INFLACIONARIA

28 marzo, 2013

El fracaso del modelo cristinista fascista peronista se nota. Los sindicalistas reclaman mas de lo que la economía privada y estatal pueden afrontar, porque el conjunto nacional se empobrece, ya que el Estado Nacional dilapida y roba demasiado y debe  emitir papel moneda inflacionario en cantidad creciente, para continuar en el Poder y seguir desgobernando o gobernando para el bienestar del Amo y asociados ilícitos. Por suerte para “el pueblo”, existen las elecciones bianuales y el presente año el cristinismo recibirá un mensaje objetivo de la mayoría socia. Si Cristina es tan grande Estadista como propagandea, el cristinismo sacará la mayoría de los votos, y su modelo seguirá hasta la elección siguiente, mas importante, en 2015, porque se juega la Presidencia Argentina.

Hay una regla que sirve para los países donde las elecciones son bastante libres y explica porqué los fascistas odian los pueblos voten cuando ellos ven fracasar sus modelos autoritarios bandidos.

Sostener que  “el salario no debe ser una variable de ajuste” es un error que cuesta demasiado al conjunto social. Cuando un país está bien organizado y administrado, aumenta la producción y los salarios crecen en términos de poder adquisitivo. Caso contrario, disminuyen. “Salario! es la participación que corresponde al sector del “trabajo” dentro de la riqueza de la sociedad. Años de prosperidad significa bienestar de trabajadores y empresarios y capitalistas. Lo opuesto sucede cuando existen desgracias, tipo guerras o gobernantes bandidos, que empobrecen al conjunto social, exceptuando a los Amos.

La mentira cristinista tuvo pocos años de éxito, porque se negó que la inflación había recomenzado, al costo de engañar con los indices de precios y falsear el INDEC. Ahora, resulta difícil corregir los indices, porque ya es tarde: al cristinismo desde el exterior no se le cree, y desde adentro del país, lo veremos este año en las próximas elecciones. Las maniobras torpes oficialistas para intentar seguir engañando, perjudican al cojunto social, porque la confianza es algo que cuando se empieza a perder, es muy difícil remontar, máxime siendo este el ultimo mandato constitucional de Cristina, que no puede ser reelecta en 2015, a menos que consiga alterar la Constitución Nacional.

La disputa entre Cristina y el gobernador de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, es antinacional y antipopular. Sucede que el sistema populista bolivariano llega a su fin, derrotado por la inflación que no puede ser ocultada demasiado tiempo. La comprobación es que no hay clases en la Provincia de Buenos Aires (y otras) porque los maestros quieren que sus salarios se actualicen recuperando el valor perdido por la inflación. Pero el Gobernador se ha plantado en una cifra que los maestros no quieren aceptar, por el hecho de que la Provincia de Buenos Aires no tiene dinero para actualizar tanto los sueldos erosionados por la inflación. Y como tanto Cristina como Scioli son peronistas dirigistas, y Ella es la única que puede decidir emitir billetes de banco inflacionarios para los maestros de Buenos Aires, comienza el drama o final de la tragedia peronista actual: si emite dinero para las maestras de Buenos Aires, el conjunto del país puede advertir que  la inflación es alta, y  Cristina es ineficaz como Presidenta. Y si no emite, cristinismo y sciolismo – juntos o separados – sacarían menos votos legislativos nacionales y provinciales el corriente año. Con lo cual las chances de modificar la Constitución para una re reelección cristinista bajarían, siendo Buenos Aires alrededor del 38 por ciento de la población del país  Por ultimo, ayudar a Buenos Aires, y no a las restantes 22 provincias, implica malquistarse Cristina con demasiados Gobernadores. Con el Intendente Macri parecen odiarse mutuamente, pero las clases en la Capital Federal – no tan desadministradas como la Nación Argentina – ya  se iniciaron y continúan  aunque a los cristinistas les duela. Porque un modelo que sabe educar a sus niños parece obviamente superior a otro que no lo consigue, porque la puja por los salarios provocan huelgas y horas perdidas, que perjudican a todos los alumnos y a un porcentaje de los mismos maestros, los que tienen vocación de servir y educar.

TÁCTICA DEL GOBERNADOR

Cristina y Scioli parecen jugar a la ruleta rusa, pero es posible que a ultimo momento, ella afloje y ayude al Gobernador. O quizás los sindicalistas peronistas adviertan que el ciclo este fascista peronista cristinista ha terminado, y que conviene aceptar lo único que el gobernador Scioli puede pagar, porque de lo contrario, los colegios cerrarían y los maestros deberían ser despedidos. Un típico caos peronista, que termina con el fracaso del modelo resdistribuidor, un invento fascista  que a los argentinos nos perjudicó, porque la cultura del trabajo de fue perdiendo y el producto bruto nacional viene bajando, en relación con el que Argentina tenia antes de que el peronismo gracias al golpe militar de 1945, pusiese al Coronel Perón como delfín  y ganase las elecciones, usando la propaganda y los enormes recursos que entonces tenia el Estado Argentino.

Me gustaría el fascismo argentino peronista cristinista termine definitivamente, y se reimplante aquel liberalismo cristiano nacional y popular que nos permitió civilizarnos y crecer espiritual y materialmente, desde la Constitución de 1860 hasta que la conjura militar eclesiastica nazionalista de 1930 entronizó el dirigismo redistribuidor totalitario, que nos sigue carcomiendo hasta hoy. Liberales en serio, ya no existen…

PERON, CRISTINA Y BERGOGLIO

El redistribucionismo fracasa siempre, Perón y Cristina lo evidencian. El que parte y reparte, se queda con la mejor y mayor parte.

– como Francisco hoy –  es distinto, y exitoso, porque su trabajo siempre fue para su Iglesia, que necesita que los humanos aporten dinero a las arcas vaticanas, a cambio de la promesa de un “mas allá en el cielo con permanente vista a Dios”, algo que ha sido hábilmente manejado desde hace muchos siglos, y permitió que el Vaticano sea un museo de riqueza terrenal  mal habida. Bergoglio lo sabe, y se esfuerza en exhibir su propia pobreza y humildad, incluso debe estar en estos días lavando los pies a niñas y niños encarcelados, pero eso es un rito milenario que con el transcurso del tiempo ha permitido que buena parte del mundo occidental se aleje de Roma. El papa Ratzinguer, con práctico sentido común  decidió renunciar y convocar a los jesuitas – algo así como  los Marines de la Iglesia – para convertir en invisibles a los pedófilos e impedir estafas a las arcas vaticanas que la debilitan desde adentro, si sus  propios Obispos la fueron esquilmando desde hace largo tiempo.

Hace años, sugeríamos importar Obispos Catolicos de USA o de Inglaterra o Irlanda, que conservan y preservan la cultura del trabajo, tipo aquel Monseñor Dwyer – discípulo de Cardenal Spellman – que organizó Techo Foundation, C.F.L.A. – CATHOLICS FOR LATIN AMERICA – una organización de familias norteamericanas que creían en “To help the poor to help themselves”, (no regalar pescado sino enseñarles a pescar) y vinieron a Argentina a insertarse en la Cava, una villa en San Isidro, donde trabajaron duramente algunos años, hacia 1964 circa, pero luego desaparecieron. Quizás por el tercermundismo u otro grupo resentido clerical. Hoy, rezad para que  Bergoglio se ocupe del tema, hacen falta predicadores tipo aquellos padres salesianos que enseñaban a trabajar y ganarse el sustento con las propias manos, en vez de pedir ser mantenidos por el fascismo de turno, peronista o cristinista.

ARGENTINE UPDATE – Mar 27, 2013

27 marzo, 2013

Enviado: miércoles, 27 de marzo de 2013 13:50 Asunto: ARGENTINE UPDATE – WEDESDAY, MARCH 27, 2013 – Falklands/Malvinas Report   

 

1. BLOW TO ARGENTINA IN DEBT SHOWDOWN: US APPELLATE COURT DENIES FULL REHEARING OF ORDER TO PAY (The Washington Post)

March 26, 2013

 

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — A U.S. appellate court has dashed Argentina’s hopes for a full rehearing of a judge’s ruling that it must pay $1.3 billion to the bond investors it calls “vulture funds.” Tuesday’s ruling denying a rehearing by the full U.S. Second Court of Appeals means Argentina’s ongoing appeal will be decided by the same three-judge panel that already mostly ruled against the South American government.

The denial was issued without explanation, in a terse three-sentence order from the full appellate court.

Argentina has until midnight Friday to explain just how it proposes to pay its debts to NML Capital Ltd.

2. U.S. COURT DENIES ARGENTINA REQUEST TO REVIEW RULING ON CREDITORS  (The Wall Street Journal)

By Ken Parks

March 26, 2013

BUENOS AIRES—A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday denied Argentina’s request that the full court review a ruling that barred the South American nation from treating creditors who own defaulted Argentine debt less favorably than investors who swapped those securities for new bonds.

The decision was widely expected as the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals rarely grants rehearings by its full 13-judge body. But it’s still an important setback for Argentina as it tries to avoid a new default in a legal battle with creditors whose outcome could set an important precedent for future sovereign debt restructurings.

Argentina has now largely exhausted its legal options for overturning U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa’s order that it treat its creditors equally and pay investors suing for full repayment on bonds dating back to the country’s 2001 default.

“The decision closes off one more route by which Argentina could have sought to reverse Judge Griesa’s controversial decision and make all of its recent legal troubles go away,” Joe Kogan, head of emerging-market debt at Scotiabank, said in a note.

Argentina’s Global 2017 bond issued under New York law closed 0.5% lower, at 664.00 pesos ($130) in Buenos Aires.

A three-judge panel is still considering a separate appeal by Argentina against a ruling that ordered the Argentine government to pay litigating creditors the full amount they are owed at the same time it makes payments on its current bonds.

The second circuit has given the Argentine government until the end of Friday to devise a plan to pay about $1.33 billion in court awards won by creditors, including Elliott Management LLC’s NML Capital and Aurelius Capital, who are suing for full repayment on defaulted bonds.

President Cristina Kirchner has said that her government is willing to give creditors, whom she disparagingly calls “vulture funds,” another chance to accept a bond swap under terms they previously rejected in 2005 and 2010.

After successfully winning lower court rulings in their favor, NML and Aurelius may have few incentives to accept anything less than their legal claims for all unpaid principal and interest.

J.P. Morgan director Vladimir Werning said Tuesday’s developments could be a signal for Argentina to consider “blinking” rather than holding its ground in a case he described as a “game of chicken”.

“We interpret the timing of the court’s denial for a rehearing as a message to Argentina that it should not expect much flexibility from the court if it is not willing to embrace flexibility when it designs and files its ‘pro rata’ payment proposal,” Mr. Werning said in a note.

An adverse ruling could put Argentina in the position of either refusing to pay holdouts and defaulting on its bonds issued under New York law, or paying holdouts with the risk that investors who swapped defaulted bonds for new debt also sue the government for similar treatment.

Argentina’s battle with creditors stems from its default on about $100 billion in 2001. The South American nation has since restructured almost 93% of that debt by offering investors a deal that at the time was worth about 33 cents on the dollar.

Holdouts have sought to collect on their U.S. court judgments by trying to seize Argentine government assets in other countries.

In October, Judge Griesa blocked Argentina from making payments on its exchange bonds unless it paid the holdouts $1.33 billion, a ruling that the appeals court suspended while it considers Argentina’s appeal.

In a previous ruling, the judge found that the equal treatment clause in the defaulted bonds ranks the payment obligations on those securities at least equally to other debt issued by Argentina.

Argentina has said it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary, though many analysts are skeptical the high court would take up the case.

3. ARGENTINA’S TWO-FRONT WAR ON DEBT AND DOLLARS  (The Wall Street Journal)

By Michael J. Casey

March 26, 2013

Through the long, bitter legal battle over her country’s unpaid debts, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has refused to entertain the idea of settling with a group of hard-bargaining foreign investment firms she calls “vultures.” But with Mrs. Kirchner now also at war with currency speculators, a deal with holdout hedge funds might actually be her best bet.

Under orders from a U.S. appeals court, Argentina must this Friday detail how it would repay the principal and accrued interest it owes a group of investors holding bonds that have been in default since 2001. The government is expected to offer little more than the terms attached to two prior debt-swap deals, which returned about 33 cents on the dollar.

But with a lower court endorsing their argument to receive 100% of their claim, there is little incentive for the holdout funds to accept a deal they have rejected twice. And events back home, namely a currency crisis that is exposing the high cost of this battle, may eventually drive Argentina to agree to some sort of deal.

The Argentine peso is now 38% weaker in the black market than the official rate. The government is tightening capital controls to stanch the hemorrhaging in its foreign-currency reserves. Since it is effectively cut off from international capital markets, in part because of its struggle with the holdouts, that $41 billion stockpile is a vital source of funds for paying foreign creditors.

The government is using a variety of tactics to hang onto those dollars: controls on imports, official scrutiny of businesses’ and travelers’ applications for foreign-exchange purchases, and a tax on overseas credit-card transactions that was last week raised to 20%.

Such measures have slowed dollar outflows. But history shows they almost always backfire, mostly by stoking inflation and doing such harm to public confidence that the government is forced to devalue the currency. J.P. Morgan JPM +0.25%noted last week that while the controls have succeeded in containing dollar outflows, this is now offset by unintended constraints on private-sector dollar inflows. One example: Brazilian miner Vale’s recent cancellation of a $6 billion potash investment project because of cost overruns, a direct result of inflation and import restrictions.

An alternative is for the government to get dollars from international lenders. But to do so, it must normalize relations with all its creditors.

The bond holdouts, which include hedge funds run by Elliott Management and Aurelius Capital, have seized assets such as the Argentine central bank’s New York bank accounts and one of the Argentine navy’s training frigates in Ghana. The risk of further such disruptions, as well as a general reputation for maltreating foreign investors, means that if Argentina were to start reissuing new sovereign debt, it would pay a hefty premium.

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For a return to markets, bond investors would also want to see an economic-policy overhaul, including an end to capital controls. This would likely result in a convergence in the official and black-market exchange rates somewhere in the middle. That would hurt arbitragers. But a weaker official peso would be a boon for Argentina’s all-important grain exporters, whose taxes form a big chunk of the government’s revenue.

All this would in turn drive down Argentina’s risk premium-manifest in the whopping 17-percentage-point spread between yields on dollar bonds issued during its two prior debt exchanges and those on U.S. Treasurys.

With an eye on midterm elections in October, Mrs. Kirchner will likely resist such actions. Argentines, who paid a high price for their 2001 crisis, aren’t generally supportive of handing holdouts a profitable payout. One way or another, though, market realities and U.S. judicial rulings should eventually force her into a deal with foreign creditors.

Vultures are ugly birds, but they often get fed.

4. ARGENTINA: AND THE NOOSE TIGHTENS (Financial Times)

By Jude Webber

March 26, 2013

Just three days before the deadline for Argentina to spell out its offer to holdout creditors, a US appeals court has slammed shut one of Argentina’s possible avenues of appeal – piling more pressure on Buenos Aires to make sure its offer on Friday is good.

Argentina had requested an ‘en banc’ hearing – that is, a rehearing by all 13 judges of the Second Circuit court of appeals, rather than allowing a three-judge panel to have the final say – after the second circuit last October upheld parts of a controversial ruling by New York judge Thomas Griesa.

That had sparked fears Argentina would tumble into a fresh default while the scars on the 2001 crash, leaving $100bn unpaid, remain raw.

On Tuesday, the Second Circuit replied tersely (H/T Joseph from Alphaville for uploading the doc):

The petition is denied.

Why does the en banc hearing – which was statistically a long shot – matter anyway?

Because it means that if Argentina does not win its legal battle before the Second Circuit against holdout creditors led by Elliott, a US fund, the only appeal option left to it will be the US Supreme Court. The prospect of that court even agreeing to hear the case is far from certain, to say the least.

Argentina has a deadline of March 29 – i.e. midnight on Friday – to tell the court just what it was prepared to offer the holdouts. The court asked Argentina to spell out:

(1) how and when it proposes to make current those debt obligations on the original bonds that have gone unpaid over the last 11 years; (2) the rate at which it proposes to repay debt obligations on the original bonds going forward; and (3) what assurances, if any, it can provide that the official government action necessary to implement its proposal will be taken, and the timetable for such action.

Argentina used to thunder that the funds it decries as vultures don’t deserve and won’t get a single penny. It has relaxed its position fractionally, now acknowledging that they can be paid something – but they should only be entitled to get what the holders of 92 per cent of its defaulted debt accepted in debt swaps in 2005 and 2010.

While that sounds fair and equitable to many – certainly in Argentina – markets are not so sure it will fly with the court. Here is Bank of America Merrill Lynch:

The local consensus is that, on 29 March, Argentina will present a payment proposal similar to the 2010 exchange, and that it will not be good enough for the Appeals Court.

The denouement to this drama approaches with Argentina’s Easter offer. Will it herald resurrection or crucifixion?

5. FALKLAND OIL CLAIMED BY ARGENTINA SEES ISLANDERS JOIN 1%: ENERGY (Business Week)

By Brian Swint

March 27, 2013

The Falklands’ first commercial oil discovery will make the islands in the South Atlantic rich, bringing the British territory of 2,563 people $10.5 billion in tax revenue over 25 years.

As the bounty transforms the fishing and tourism-dependent economy, tensions may worsen with Argentina, which claims sovereignty over the islands and their mineral wealth. The Latin American country last year threatened to sue any company involved in Falklands drilling and its foreign minister said yesterday the islanders have no right to self-determination.

The local government is already starting a wealth fund to manage the cash. On the agenda: paving the main highway from the airport to the capital of Stanley, improving the port to take larger ships and reimbursing the 60 million pounds ($90 million) the U.K. spends annually on soldiers, jets and ships to defend the islands, which Argentina attacked in 1982.

“In times of recession, it’s difficult for people in the U.K. to justify spending money on a small population on the other end of the world,” said Andrea Clausen, 41, who owns a transport business and is a member of the Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce. “But as long as Argentina claims the Falklands in its constitution, the threat won’t go away.”

The offshore Sea Lion oil discovery may generate government revenues of about $160,000 per person each year when it starts production 2017, according to Edison Investment Research. That’s equivalent to the after-tax income of a top 1 percent earner in Britain, figures from the Institute of Fiscal Studies show.

Learn Lessons

Britain has no claim on the windfall, which will change life on the islands in ways residents are struggling to grasp. Falkland officials in December visited Norway and the Shetland Islands to learn lessons from similar funds, to avoid inflation or poor financial management.

The discovery “will no doubt be transformational for the islands, increasing government revenue several times over,” Mineral Resources Minister Stephen Luxton said in an interview. “What we’re looking for in a sovereign wealth fund is long-term economic security, a second string to our financial bow to the fishery,” he said, referring to the territory’s commercial fishing business.

It’s the islands’ decision about whether to spend money from oil revenue on defense, an official for the U.K. foreign office said, who declined to be identified in line with government practice. U.K. spending per islander is close to the median British salary of 26,500 pounds last year.

Argentina’s Claim

Oil wealth may prompt Argentina to step up pressure on the U.K., which first settled the islands in 1766, to resume talks over sovereignty. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said the Falklands’ status perpetuates colonialism.

The U.K. rejects Argentina’s claim. A referendum last month saw all but four Falkland citizens vote in favor of staying British, three decades after Argentina invaded and Margaret Thatcher went to war to retake the territory.

Fernandez asked her countryman Pope Francis to help persuade the U.K. to open talks on sovereignty of the islands, a day before he became the 266th bishop of Rome.

Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said yesterday that the Falklands referendum was illegal and wasn’t recognized by the United Nations. The U.K. rejected an offer by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to mediate on the dispute.

Sea Lion contains about 400 million barrels of oil, according to Rockhopper Exploration Plc (RKH), the explorer that made the discovery three years ago. Premier Oil Plc (PMO), a U.K. oil company, agreed to take over operating the field last year with a $1 billion investment. Premier expects spending up until first oil, still four years away, to be about $3 billion.

Rockhopper rose 4.5 percent to 158 pence as of 9:47 a.m. in London. Premier slipped 0.8 percent to 390.6 pence.

Tax Regime

Based on the Falkland’s tax regime, which gives the local government 33 percent take from corporation taxes and production royalties, the islands can expect to receive $3.9 billion in royalties and $6.6 billion in tax revenue over the life of the field, according to Edison Investment Research, a consultant. That equates to about $4 million per islander, or $160,000 per person a year over the 25-year life of the field.

Those figures may increase further if more oil is found around Sea Lion or if gas finds to the southeast of the islands drilled last year are deemed to be commercial. Falkland Oil & Gas Ltd (FOGL). sold part of its assets to U.S. producer Noble Energy Inc (NBL). and Italy’s Edison SpA, a unit Electricite de France SA that’s unrelated to Edison Investment Research. Borders & Southern Petroleum Plc (BOR) said in January that its Darwin prospect probably holds 210 million barrels of condensate, a light crude associated with gas production.

Strong Potential

“There’s strong potential for more reservoirs to be discovered and developed,” said Ian McLelland, head of oil and gas at Edison Investment Research in London. “In time, it’s not unreasonable to think that there will be significantly larger discoveries than Sea Lion.”

The Falkland government is still in the early stages of planning and hasn’t made any decisions about how to spend the money, Luxton said. He said the first infrastructure projects would probably be a new deepwater port and upgrading the main road between the airport and the capital.

Argentina’s invasion sparked a 74-day conflict in which 255 British and 649 Argentine military personnel died, along with three islanders. The U.K. now maintains 1,200 military personnel in the British Falklands garrison.

Defense Spending

“As far as many Falkland Islanders are concerned, using some of the money for defense would be something popular,” Luxton said. “In Norway, they didn’t encourage domestic investments to prevent inflation in the country. We haven’t got into detail yet, but these are the kinds of things we’re thinking about.”

Norway started its sovereign wealth fund in 1990. It’s now the largest in the world, with about 4 trillion kroner ($715 billion) in assets after returning 13.4 percent in 2012.

Shetland, the group of U.K. islands north of Scotland’s mainland that Falkland officials also visited last year, set up the Shetland Charitable Trust in 1976 to manage the influx of money from the discovery of North Sea oil.

The Falkland Islands also saw revenue rise quickly in the 1980s as commercial fisheries were built. The government on its website boasts that the economy, based on fishing, agriculture and tourism, is self-sufficient except for defense.

The islands have already made an initial deposit into a new Oil Development Reserve of 8.3 million pounds, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, a Las Vegas-based consultant on public investors. The Falkland Islands have the smallest population of any of the funds listed on the organization’s website.

The Falkland authorities have a good track record, said Clausen, who’s lived there since she was three. Islanders are mostly confident that the oil money won’t be squandered.

“People may be a little bit nervous, but they’re equally excited,” she said. “They want to know that our way of life won’t be destroyed by the impact of oil, and that it will be carefully managed.”

6. ARGENTINE BONDS FALL AFTER FULL-COURT REHEARING BID REJECTED (Bloomberg News)

By Katia Porzecanski and Camila Russo

March 26, 2013

Argentina’s dollar bonds sank after the nation lost its bid for a full federal appeals court hearing in New York to reconsider a ruling to pay holders of defaulted bonds.

The nation’s restructured notes due 2033 dropped 1.19 cent to 54.76 cents on the dollar at 2:45 p.m. in New York, the lowest price on an intraday basis since Nov. 29, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield on the bonds jumped 34 basis points, or 0.34 percentage point to 16.20 percent.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan today said the full court won’t rehear the appeal, leaving in place an Oct. 26 ruling that bars Argentina from treating restructured-debt holders more favorably than holders of the repudiated debt. As the nation runs out of options, investors are concerned Argentina will opt to cease payments on its exchange bonds if the court, in a related appeal, orders them to repay so-called holdouts from the country’s $95 billion default in 2001 in full.

“This announcement and its timing is a warning for the markets,” Jorge Piedrahita, chief executive officer of New York-based brokerage Torino Capital LLC said in a telephone interview. “It’s clear that the court doesn’t have a favorable position toward Argentina.”

The cost to protect against an Argentine default in the next five years rose 386 basis points, the most in the world, to 3,510 basis points, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The swaps trading implies a 92 percent probability of default over that time period.

The court is separately considering the details of how a lower court may enforce the October ruling. The judges on March 1 directed Argentina to provide a suggested formula for paying the holders of defaulted bonds by March 29. The court said Argentina’s lawyer, in a Feb. 27 oral argument, “appeared to propose” an alternative to the formula devised by the lower court.

The extra yield investors demand to own Argentine bonds instead of Treasuries rose 15 basis points to 1,275, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI Global index. That’s the highest in emerging markets after Belize.

7. ARGENTINE SUPERMARKETS EXTEND PRICE FREEZE TO TAME INFLATION (Bloomberg News)

By Daniel Cancel

March 26, 2013

Argentine supermarkets agreed to extend a freeze on prices until the end of May as the government seeks to tame 25 percent inflation, the fastest in the Western Hemisphere.

The freeze by supermarkets, including local units of the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), France’s Carrefour SA (CA) and Chile’s Cencosud SA (CENCOSUD), began Feb. 1 and was scheduled to expire April 1. To lighten the impact of the extended freeze, supermarkets will create a partnership to issue shopping cards that will charge retailers 1 percent commission compared with the 3 percent charged by credit card companies, Juan Vasco Martinez, head of the Supermarket Association said.

“We agreed to extend the price freeze until May 31,” Vasco said in an interview with CN23 television. “We’re working on issuing the cards as soon as possible to reduce commissions.”

Argentina, South America’s second-largest economy, was censured by the International Monetary Fund on Feb. 1 for underreporting official inflation data. A report published by opposition lawmakers and prepared by independent economists estimated prices rose 25 percent in the year to Feb. 28 while the government’s statistics agency put the increase at 10.8 percent. In February, prices rose 0.5 percent from January, according to the agency, compared with the 1.2 percent estimate by the economists, who aren’t named because they would be exposed to fines for releasing statistics that aren’t in line with official data.

State-run news agency Telam reported that supermarket executives met today with Interior Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno to discuss prices and credit card commissions.

8. ARGENTINA’S YPF, DOW CHEMICAL UNIT ANNOUNCE JOINT VENTURE PLAN (Fox Business)

By Taos Turner

March 26, 2013

Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF SA (YPF, YPFD.BA) has signed a preliminary agreement to form a joint venture with Dow Argentina, the local unit of Dow Chemical Co. (DOW), to explore for shale gas.

The companies now enter into talks on how to work out the final details of a deal to uncover unconventional gas in the so-called Orejano block in Argentina’s resource-rich Neuquen province.

Neither company said how much it plans to invest in the project.

“The agreement between both companies is fundamental for the development of shale gas in the country…” YPF said in a statement late Tuesday.

Dow Argentina and YPF also agreed to work together to come up with ways for further develop the petrochemical industry in Argentina. Argentina ranks third in the world, behind China and the U.S., in potentially recoverable shale-gas reserves, with 774 trillion cubic feet, according to a study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Argentina also has large quantities of shale oil.

Argentina stopped exporting gas in 2004 to ensure it had enough gas to meet domestic demand that was rising alongside its then booming economy.

But demand for gas grew at a faster pace than production, turning the country into a net importer and requiring the government to spend billions a year on imported energy. YPF is attempting to reverse this trend and put Argentina on a path to energy independence by investing in exploration and production and getting other local and foreign companies to do the same.

9. ARGENTINA MARKETS MIXED AHEAD OF HOLDOUT DEADLINE, SETBACK IN CASE (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

By Shane Romig

26 March 2013

BUENOS AIRES–Argentine stocks and bonds closed mixed Tuesday as the rally overseas failed to trump trepidation back home as a key deadline approaches in the legal case between Argentina and its creditors who have snubbed debt swaps and are suing for full value on the defaulted bonds they own.

Markets also hit a headwind due to a setback in that case, when the court rejected a petition from Argentina to hear the appeal in front of the full panel of judges.

Argentina’s Merval Index of leading shares edged 0.4% higher to 3,417.32 points despite the sharp gains seen on Wall Street. Volume was moderate at 53 million pesos ($10 million).

Banco Macro SA (BMA, BMA.BA) slid 2.6% to ARS12.95, while steel maker Siderar SA (ERAR.BA) jumped 2.7% to ARS1.94.

Bonds also drifted in the local market, with the dollar-denominated 2017 Bonar bonds closing unchanged at ARS696. Peso-denominated GDP warrants rose 1% to ARS6.83, while the dollar-denominated warrants slid 0.8% to ARS0.84.

However, Argentine bonds traded overseas did worse after a U.S. appeals court denied a request that the full court review a ruling that prevented Argentina from treating holdout creditors less favorably than investors who swapped those securities for new bonds.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals said its full 13-judge body won’t rehear Argentina’s appeal of an October ruling by a three-judge panel of the same court. The panel had upheld U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa’s order that Argentina had to pay holdout creditors if it paid other bondholders in New York.

The spread on Argentina’s 5-year credit default swaps widened to 3128 basis points, from 2907 basis points earlier in the session and from 2957 basis points Monday, according to data provider Markit.

Despite the setback for Argentina Tuesday, an appeal to the three-member appellate court panel continues.

The federal appeals court in New York has given Argentina until March 29 to submit a plan to pay investors who have won court awards for about $1.33 billion. Argentine officials have signaled they won’t offer better terms than the 33 cents on the U.S. dollar made in a 2010 debt exchanges that saw creditors swap defaulted bonds for new debt.

Meanwhile, the Argentine peso weakened to close at ARS5.1200 to the U.S. dollar on the regulated MAE foreign-exchange wholesale market, compared with ARS5.1170.

The government strictly rations the sale of foreign currencies like the dollar to businesses and individuals to protect the central bank’s international reserves from capital flight.

The central bank also intervenes in the exchange market on an almost daily basis as it tries to buy dollars to build its reserves, while gradually weakening the peso to help exporters.

Strict capital controls that limit the amount of foreign currency Argentines can legally purchase have led some people to seek dollars through informal channels.

On the black market, the peso eased to about ARS8.30 per dollar, from ARS8.27, according to the newspaper El Cronista, which publishes an average of rates collected from black-market traders.

10. U.S. APPEALS COURT DECLINES TO REHEAR ARGENTINA BOND CASE (Reuters News)

By Nate Raymond

26 March 2013

* 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals declines to full-court rehearing

* Argentina sought reconsideration of October appellate decision

* Argentina’s economy ministry declines comment through spokeswoman

NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday denied Argentina’s request to reconsider a ruling that favored creditors who opted out of two of the country’s debt restructurings.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York declined to grant a so-called en banc rehearing, in which the full court would have reviewed a decision by a three-judge panel of the court that went against Argentina in October.

In a brief order, the 2nd Circuit said its 13 active judges had considered Argentina’s petition for a rehearing and denied it. No reason was given.

The earlier decision required Argentina, which has refused to repay bondholders who opted out of its restructurings, to treat all of its bondholders equally.

Tuesday’s ruling was a set-back not just for Argentina but also the U.S. government, which had contended in court papers the earlier ruling ran “counter to longstanding U.S. efforts to promote orderly restructuring of sovereign debt.”

The decision leaves Argentina with one appeal outstanding before the 2nd Circuit, after it appealed a trial judge ordering Argentina to pay into escrow the full $1.33 billion owed to the holdout bondholders.

A decision in that appeal remains pending. Argentina is expected to respond by Friday to a request by the court on March 1 for the “precise terms” for any alternative payment formula it would use to resolve the litigation.

In an analyst note Tuesday, BNP Paribas said Friday’s filing “is to be seen as a window of opportunity for the sovereign to satisfactorily address the Court’s interpretation of its legal obligations.”

A spokeswoman for Argentina’s economy ministry declined to comment.

The case stems from Argentina’s $100 billion sovereign debt default in 2002. Argentina has been fighting demands for payment from the holdout bondholders, who refused to participate in debt restructurings in 2005 and 2010.

Around 92 percent of the bonds were restructured, and holders received 25 cents to 29 cents on the dollar.

Holdouts led by Elliott Management affiliate NML Capital Ltd and Aurelius Capital Management have sought full payment. Argentina calls these funds “vultures.”

The decision Tuesday marked another setback for Argentina in its efforts to reverse a February 2012 decision by U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa holding it had violated the “pari passu” clause in its bond documents requiring it to treat creditors equally.

The 2nd Circuit subsequently upheld that finding and sent the case back to Griesa to determine the how the payment mechanism would work and how injunctions the judge issued would apply to third parties and intermediary banks.

The 2nd Circuit heard arguments on February 27 on the appeal of Griesa’s November decision on those issues.

Representatives for NML and Aurelius had no immediate comment Tuesday.

The case is NML Capital Ltd et al v. Republic of Argentina, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-105.

11. ARGENTINA ECONOMY: THE BALANCE OF PAYMENTS WORSENS DESPITE CONTROLS (Economist Intelligence Unit – ViewsWire)

26 March 2013

Despite comprehensive capital, import and foreign-exchange controls, the current account posted a substantial deficit in the fourth quarter. As a result, the current account was just in surplus in full-year 2012, coming in at US$479m, equivalent to only 0.1% of GDP. While controls reduced capital flight, and there were relatively good inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2012 on the back of mining sector projects, the continued use of the foreign reserves to repay external debts meant a further deterioration of the overall balance-of-payments position and another substantial reduction of the reserves last year.

Controls have proven most effective in protecting the trade account. In full-year 2012 the trade surplus rose by almost 20%. But in the fourth quarter, the trade surplus actually fell by around 5%, suggesting that controls are producing diminishing returns, while the underlying problem of currency overvaluation continues to damage exports, which fell by 5% year on year in the fourth quarter.

A weaker services account

In addition, there was a stark deterioration of the services deficit in 2012, which widened by more than 50%. This mainly reflected underlying competitiveness problems that hampered all services exports. But a particular driver of the deterioration was the tourism account. The major problem is inflation, which has made domestic tourism more expensive. Foreign-exchange controls have also discouraged foreign tourists, while failing to deter Argentinians from travelling abroad. In principle, foreign exchange for foreign travel is still available, and despite recent government measures intended to discourage foreign travel (including steep surcharges on credit card use abroad) travelling abroad remains attractive in a context of high inflation. This was evident in the fourth-quarter data. Although services imports did fall slightly (by 3% year on year) in the face of new controls, this was vastly outweighed by a drop of over 10% in services exports.

Some good news

Controls have at least reined in the income deficit, which had doubled in the five years between 2006 and 2011, to US$12bn, before narrowing slightly last year, to US$11.3bn, on the back of reduced profit remittances. There was some other positive news on the capital account. A breakdown of FDI and portfolio flows is not yet available, but net non-financial private-sector flows returned to positive territory in 2012 as capital flight was limited by controls and FDI was boosted by mining sector projects.

However, this was outweighed by a large deficit on the part of the financial (Central Bank) and non-financial public sector of US$5.9bn, mostly reflecting a debt repayment strategy that centres on the use of the Banco Central de la República Argentina (BCRA, the Central Bank) to pay down external debts (in the absence of any access to other sources of finance). As a result, despite a still-marginally positive current account, and net positive private-sector capital flows, international reserves fell by US$3.3bn in 2012, in a further sign that, in the absence of a more comprehensive economic policy programme to reduce distortions, foreign-exchange controls are proving ineffective at achieving their ultimate goal of supporting the international reserves and the currency.

A shaky outlook

Looking ahead, there is continuing cause for concern. The mining investment that provided a welcome boost to FDI in 2012 will falter in 2013, given the recent decision of Vale (Brazil) to suspend its major US$6.5bn mining project in the face of adverse local operating conditions. Meanwhile, there is no sign of a pick-up in export earnings, without which the trade surplus will start to deteriorate once again. The trade surplus halved in the first two months of 2013 as export earnings continued to fall, even as signs of a recovery in imports began to emerge. The government is, moreover, still reliant on the foreign reserves for repaying its external debt commitments. In this context, speculation of a devaluation will persist for at least the next quarter, when the authorities will be dependent on a strong influx of dollars from a bumper soya harvest to boost the reserves position and the peso. Any bad news on this front would therefore represent a serious blow to the economic outlook for Argentina.

12. ARGENTINA ECONOMY: QUICK VIEW – MODEST GDP GROWTH CONTINUES (Economist Intelligence Unit – ViewsWire)

26 March 2013

Event

The monthly economic activity index rose by 0.3% in seasonally adjusted month-on-month terms and by 3.2% year on year in January, suggesting that a weak economic recovery is continuing.

Analysis

January was the sixth consecutive month of positive but modest economic growth. In these six months, growth has averaged 0.3% month on month. If current trends were to continue in the rest of 2013, this would produce GDP growth of 3.3% (our current forecast is in fact 3.5%). But the economy still feels sluggish. This is partly because growth remains so much slower than during the boom years of the past decade. Average monthly growth of 0.3% is a far cry, for example, from the 0.9% monthly average posted in the second half of 2009, the last time Argentina was emerging from a recession.

Many sectors, moreover, remain subdued. Construction has continued to contract early in 2013, industrial production remains sluggish, and export earnings actually fell in the first two months of the year. The consumer confidence index produced by the well-respected Universidad Torcuato di Tella has picked up from a low of 42 in September, but at 47 in February remained below a level of 50 that is seen as indicative of growth.

The confidence shock produced by the imposition and progressive tightening of controls may be wearing off gradually. However, the risks to the growth outlook remain high. The environment for business remains weak, as evidenced most recently by the decision of Brazil’s Vale to suspend an important mining investment in the country. At the same time, the government has failed to address underlying structural economic weaknesses, with high inflation (the result of extremely expansionary fiscal and monetary policies) in particular representing a threat to private consumption, business investment and the export sector. Fears that this will ultimately translate into a rundown of reserves and peso devaluation risk tipping the weak economic recovery back into recession this year.

13. ARGENTINA: KEY DEVELOPMENTS (Economist Intelligence Unit – ViewsWire)

26 March 2013

Outlook for 2013-17

Ms Fernández’s opinion poll ratings are weakening and social unrest is rising. In Argentina’s clientelist political system, supporters could soon begin to desert the president and start jockeying to succeed her at the 2015 election.

The government is increasingly reliant on heterodox interventionist policies implemented on an ad hoc basis, but far from solving underlying structural problems, these policies will further impair the economic outlook.

After a hard landing in 2012, GDP growth should pick up in 2013 on the back of a bumper agricultural harvest. But in the rest of the Fernández administration, distortions and interventionism will continue to deter investment.

Weaker domestic demand should produce very modest disinflation over the forecast period, but with fiscal policy still expansionary and supply-side pressures persisting, inflation will remain stubbornly high.

A rapid managed nominal depreciation of the peso against the US dollar in 2013, of 15%, is expected. But in a high-inflation environment, real peso appreciation will continue, increasing the risk of a sudden, sharp adjustment.

Having been in surplus ever since the 2002 maxi-devaluation, the current account will swing into deficit during the forecast period, despite trade, foreign-exchange and capital controls.

Review

The government, frustrated by the use of legal injunctions by its opponents, has presented new judicial reform proposals to unblock the court system. But the proposals have been criticised as populist and passage will prove tricky.

The latest round in the battle between the Argentinian government and holdouts took place on February 27th, when all parties presented oral arguments to the New York appeals court. A ruling is expected in the coming months.

Battles over wages continued as teachers went on strike at the end of February. The teachers are demanding a wage rise of 30% amid rampant inflation. Many provinces will have difficulty financing large wage increases.

December was the third consecutive month of positive but modest economic growth, suggesting that economic recovery is under way. The December figure pushed fourth-quarter growth up to 1.5% quarter on quarter.

Data for Buenos Aires show transactions in the property market falling to their lowest on record in 2012, below previous troughs in 2009 and 2001 (the year of Argentina’s historic currency and financial crisis).

The trade surplus halved in January despite controls. Competitiveness problems and a persistent energy deficit are hitting the external sector.

14. ARGENTINA EXTENDS PRICE-FREEZE ACCORDS FOR 2 MORE MONTHS (Reuters News)

26 March 2013

BUENOS AIRES, March 26 (Reuters) – Argentina’s government forged an agreement on Tuesday with top retailers to extend a freeze on prices for another two months, the latest attempt to contain inflation estimated by private economists at above 20 percent a year.

The price accords first went into effect for 60 days in early February, after the government reported January inflation at a nearly three-year high. The country’s deputy secretary for consumer defense confirmed they will now last until late May.

President Cristina Fernandez’s center-left government spends heavily to stoke domestic demand and economic growth, fanning inflation. But while the economic expansion slowed sharply last year, prices continued to rise swiftly.

Argentina’s inflation data has been widely discredited since 2007 and the International Monetary Fund has warned it could sanction the country over its statistics.

The government reported 10.8 percent consumer inflation in 2012 versus private estimates that hovered closer to 25 percent – one of the highest rates in the world.

The INDEC national statistics institute said on Tuesday it would finish designing a new, national consumer price index sometime between September and December this year. Analysts initially viewed the new index with optimism, but that faded as it has taken several years to create and doubts over the current, Buenos Aires-based data have persisted.

The price accords were signed by local supermarkets such as Coto and La Anonima as well as foreign-owned stores including Jumbo, Carrefour and Wal-Mart.

Supermarket sources said previously that the price-freeze accords could be extended until October mid-term elections, which will test Fernandez’s popularity. Opinion polls show that high inflation is among Argentines’ top concerns.

15. ARGENTINE GOVERNMENT, SUPERMARKETS AGREE TO EXTEND PRICE CONTROLS (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

By Ken Parks

26 March 2013

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s government and supermarket chains reached an agreement on Tuesday to extend a two-month-old freeze on prices through the end of May.

President Cristina Kirchner has resorted to price controls on supermarket goods in an attempt to contain inflation that most private sector forecasters say is running at more than double the official 10.8% rate. Years of unchecked inflation have caused turmoil in the country’s foreign exchange market and spurred unions to demand even higher wage increases.

The latest price agreement followed a meeting Tuesday morning between Domestic Commerce Secretary Guillermo Moreno and supermarket representatives, state news agency Telam reported, citing unnamed government sources.

Susana Alonso, a spokeswoman for Mr. Moreno, confirmed the price accord and said that the supermarkets also agreed to launch a low-cost credit card, Supercard, early next month.

The card follows weeks of media reports that Mr. Moreno had tried to reach a deal with banks to lower the fees they charge on credit card transactions.

A spokesman for the United Supermarkets Association couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Mr. Moreno is thought to wield considerable influence in the Kirchner administration as a top economic adviser to the president. His unofficial duties are said to include negotiating price controls with the private sector and enforcing government restrictions on imported goods.

The first price accord Mr. Moreno struck with supermarket and home appliance chains in early February was scheduled to expire on March 31, which led to media speculation the government would have to extend the controls or risk a spike in supermarket prices in early April.

Inflation is widely thought to be running well above 20% due to the central bank’s policy of financing government spending. One measure of the money supply tracked by the central bank rose nearly 36% on the year in February.

Mrs. Kirchner’s apparent tolerance of inflation in her pursuit of economic growth has hurt exporters in the manufacturing sector, and caused locals and foreign investors to pull their money out of Argentina.

The Kirchner administration adopted the first of increasingly strict currency controls in late 2011 to prevent capital flight from depleting the central bank’s international reserves.

The controls have largely been effective in staunching capital outflows, though leakage continues as some Argentines seek out the dollar to protect their savings from inflation.

But they pay a steep premium to buy greenbacks.

The price of dollars sold through a murky network of clandestine money changers and foreign exchange houses stood at about 8.27 pesos on Tuesday, after surging to almost 9 pesos last week, according to the newspaper El Cronista, which publishes an average of rates collected from underground currency dealers.

With the right government approvals, businesses and tourists can buy a limited number of dollars at the regulated exchange rate of about 5.12 pesos.

The gap between exchange rates is hardly welcome news as some businesses look to unofficial dollar quotes more than the regulated spot market rate when setting prices.

16. IN RARE MOVE, ARGENTINE CORN HEADS TO UNITED STATES (Reuters News)

By Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume

26 March 2013

BUENOS AIRES/CHICAGO, March 26 (Reuters) – The first shipment of Argentine corn to the United States this year is on its way with more to follow, marking an increase in orders from the South American country to the world’s top corn producer as it recovers from drought, traders said on Tuesday.

The United States usually imports small amounts of the grain each year, mostly from Canada. Cargos from faraway Argentina are rare. It sent less than 72,000 tonnes of corn to the United States in 2012, about the amount than can fit in one large ship.

In the two years before that, Argentina sent no corn to the United States, according to the agriculture ministry.

Last year’s U.S. drought slashed U.S. supplies and kept corn prices historically high this season. Buyers are looking for affordable alternatives and Argentine corn is relatively cheap.

“One vessel is heading to the United States from here and I know of a couple of trades that have been done,” said a Buenos Aires-based industry source who asked not to be identified.

The cargo is the first to go from Argentine to the United States this year, the source added.

“The United States lost one third of its corn production, so there’s a black hole there,” he told Reuters, adding that Mexico is also a favored destination for Argentine corn these days due to thin U.S. supply.

Mexico typically buys more than 90 percent of its imported corn from its northern neighbor.

The United States last year had its worst drought in more than a half century, tightening global grain stocks and raising fears of a world food crisis should the extreme weather suffered in producing countries over recent years continue.

Benchmark Chicago corn futures have risen about 13 percent since January because of drought-reduced U.S. supplies, making Argentine corn a relatively attractive alternative.

In Argentina the average spot price for corn at the country’s ports was $276 per tonne free-on-board (FOB) on Tuesday. U.S. corn at the Gulf Coast was offered at about $315 per tonne FOB.

One U.S.-based grains trader said there were up to eight Argentine corn cargoes on the books for shipment to Mobile, Alabama, but another said that those purchases had been canceled and that most Argentine corn imports this year would enter the country by way of East Coast ports.

Argentina – the world’s No. 3 corn supplier – expects a 2012/13 harvest of 25.7 million tonnes compared with a drought-stricken 21.2 million tonnes in the 2011/12 crop year, according to official forecasts.

More than 14 percent of 2012/13 corn has been gathered to date and the bulk of the crop will be harvested in April, according to the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange.

The season got off to a soggy start when strong rains lashed Argentina’s fertile Pampas plains, delaying planting, but sunshine finally prevailed, setting the stage for what is expected to be a record crop.

 

,ARGENTINE UPDATE – Mar 26, 2013

27 marzo, 2013

Asunto: ARGENTINE UPDATE – TUESDAY, MARCH 26TH AND MARCH 21ST   

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Queridos amigos,
Les adjunto una aclaración  (resumida en Clarín y completa en Página 12) sobre la actuación de nuestro padre Emilio para la liberación con vida de los jesuitas Jalics y Yorio en 1976. Ante tantas versiones queremos dejar en claro el papel importante que jugo Emilio recordando lo que él mismo publico en Iglesia y Dictadura (1986) y su testimonio en el juicio a las Fuerzas Armadas de 1985.
Afectuosamente,
Isabel
Mi nueva dirección es   isabelmignone@gmail.com  (cerré la de yahoo)

Destacan el rol del fundador del CELS en la liberación de dos curas

19/03/13

Isabel, Mercedes y Javier Mignone dieron a conocer ayer un comunicado en el quedestacan el rol de su fallecido padre y fundador del CELS en la liberación de los sacerdotes jesuitas Yorio y Jalics.

En la nota resaltan que “la eficaz actuación de Mignone para que fuesen liberados los presbíteros fue relatado por el mismo Mignone en su testimonio en el Juicio a las Fuerzas Armadas el 15 de julio de 1985 donde repitió lo que se cita arriba y agregó lo que el Coronel Flouret le mandó a decir a través de la Embajadora Lillian OConnell de Alurralde (amiga de Mignone), “Dígale a Mignone que él no sabe lo importante que fue su intervención para la liberación de los sacerdotes Jalics y Yorio, en aquella investigación que él estaba realizando.” Con respecto a la actuación de la Iglesia Católica, Mignone sostuvo “que en algunas ocasiones la luz verde para que actuaran los militares fue dada por los mismos obispos”. Refiriéndose a muchos obispos y al Provincial Jesuita de entonces Jorge Bergoglio, Mignone dijo “¡Qué dirá la historia de estos pastores que entregaron sus ovejas al enemigo sin defenderlas ni rescatarlas!”

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El país|Miércoles, 20 de marzo de 2013

Sobre el secuestro de Jalics y Yorio

Por Isabel, Mercedes y Javier Mignone *
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A raíz de las múltiples informaciones y opiniones emitidas desde la elección del cardenal Jorge Bergoglio como papa Francisco queremos aclarar la valiosa y efectiva actuación de nuestro padre Emilio Fermín Mignone para que fueran liberados los padres Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio el 23 de octubre de 1976. Estos padres jesuitas estuvieron detenidos varios días en la Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada, donde también estuvo detenida nuestra hermana Mónica (detenida-desaparecida el 14 de mayo de 1976). En su libro Iglesia y Dictadura, El papel de la Iglesia a la luz de sus relaciones con el régimen militar (Ediciones del Pensamiento Nacional, 1986), que es una crítica constructiva a la Iglesia Católica a la cual perteneció hasta su fallecimiento, Mignone relata: “Conozco detalladamente la detención ‘desaparición’ y liberación de los sacerdotes jesuitas Orlando Yorio y Francisco Jalics. Ambos residían en el barrio de emergencia del Bajo Flores y fueron detenidos al mediodía del domingo 23 de mayo de 1976, con la intervención de más de cincuenta efectivos de la Infantería de Marina, mientras oficiaba misa el presbítero Gabriel Bossini. Aparecieron anestesiados en un bañado de Cañuelas cinco meses más tarde, el 23 de octubre. Según información de los vecinos fueron depositados durante la noche por un helicóptero. De acuerdo con su relato (nota: Mignone se había entrevistado con ambos) habían sido mantenidos tres días en la Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada –que reconocieron–, amarrados y encapuchados. Luego los trasladaron a una casa quinta en Don Torcuato, donde estuvieron encapuchados, engrillados y esposados hasta su liberación. En declaraciones judiciales, el presbítero Yorio fue interrogado sobre Mónica Quinteiro, María Marta Vásquez de Lugones y posiblemente mi hija Mónica (César Lugones, Horacio Pérez Weiss, Beatriz Carbonell y María Esther Lorusso también fueron integrantes del grupo del Bajo Flores)”, (páginas 262-63).
Nuestra hermana Mónica junto con los compañeros mencionados arriba hacía trabajo social en el mismo barrio del Bajo Flores donde residían los presbíteros Yorio y Jalics, y la búsqueda de nuestra hermana y sus compañeros estuvo muy ligada a la de los presbíteros. Es así que durante esa búsqueda el 1º de julio de 1976 el almirante Oscar Montes, entonces jefe de operaciones navales y luego ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, recibió a Emilio, quien fue junto con el señor José María Vásquez, padre de María Marta. Emilio continúa su relato diciendo: “Negó saber nada de nuestras hijas, pero admitió que los sacerdotes Yorio y Jalics habían sido detenidos por la Infantería de Marina. Entre tanto, Massera negaba la participación de su arma. Transmití la información de Montes, en setiembre de ese año, al coronel Flouret (a quien fui a ver acompañado del padre Rodolfo Ricciardelli de la villa del Bajo Flores), el cual –me dijo– informaría de la novedad al general Videla, por orden de quien estaba instruyendo un sumario”, (página 263).
La eficaz actuación de Mignone para que fuesen liberados los presbíteros fue relatada por el mismo Mignone en su testimonio en el Juicio a las Fuerzas Armadas el 15 de julio de 1985, donde repitió lo que se cita arriba y agregó lo que el coronel Flouret le mandó decir a través de la embajadora Lillian O’Connell de Alurralde (amiga de Mignone): “Dígale a Mignone que él no sabe lo importante que fue su intervención para la liberación de los sacerdotes Jalics y Yorio, en aquella investigación que él estaba realizando”.
Con respecto a la actuación de la Iglesia Católica, Mignone sostuvo que en algunas ocasiones la luz verde para que actuaran los militares fue dada por los mismos obispos. Refiriéndose a muchos obispos y al provincial jesuita Jorge Bergoglio, Mignone dice: “¡Qué dirá la historia de estos pastores que entregaron sus ovejas al enemigo sin defenderlas ni rescatarlas!”, (página 174).
Nuestros padres creían en la verdad y en la necesidad de darla a conocer. Ocultarla es como esconder a Dios.
* Hijos de Emilio Mignone.
1. ‘DIRTY WAR’ PAST OF POPE IS SHROUDED (Los Angeles Times)

By Richard Fausset Andres D’Alessandro

26 March 2013

Contradictory clues cloud human rights issues. Supporters say accusations are politically motivated.

Mercedes Alvarez is among the many here who will never believe that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentine chosen to be pope, did anything unsavory during the dark days of this country’s “dirty war.”

She is aware of the allegations against him. And she has written them off as political gamesmanship.

“What’s happening,” the homemaker said the day before Pope Francis was inaugurated in Rome last week, “is that our president had been fighting with him, and she is trying to hurt his reputation.”

Alvarez, 60, had been praying in a little church in the poor barrio of Bajo Flores, where, 36 years earlier, two Jesuit priests had been snatched by elements of Argentina’s right-wing dictatorship who suspected the men of being Marxist guerrillas. They were detained for five months and tortured, then released.

Critics claim the crime occurred with the complicity of Bergoglio, who was a leader of Argentina’s Jesuits at the time. They say he gave unmistakable signals to the military that the priests were dangerous leftists and no longer worthy of the church’s protection.

But there is much that remains opaque in the matter of the kidnapped Jesuits.

The accusations have been around for years, but no court has accused Bergoglio of wrongdoing. He has argued that he lobbied the junta to free the kidnapped priests and quietly worked to hide or protect many other suspected dissidents during Argentina’s period of dictatorship, from 1976 to 1983, when as many as 30,000 people were killed or disappeared.

But Bergoglio has had to make that case amid a stream of revelations about other Catholic leaders’ collaborations with the junta. In a jailhouse interview last year, the former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, who is serving a life sentence for human rights abuses, said that some top church officials were aware of the dictatorship’s kidnappings and killings of dissidents.

At the same time, many Argentines like Alvarez, who are disposed to think the best of the new pope, suspect that the concerns about him are pure propaganda cooked up by an Argentine left eager to discredit Bergoglio, a social conservative known to clash with Argentina’s left-wing president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

The main chronicler of the priests’ kidnap case is investigative journalist Horacio Verbitsky, a former member of a ’70s-era leftist guerrilla group who tends to favor the policies of Kirchner’s populist government. It was Verbitsky’s past and political slant that allowed a Vatican spokesman, shortly after Francis’ election, to dismiss the complaints against the new pope as a campaign by “left-wing, anti-clerical elements.”

But Verbitsky is also highly regarded for shedding light on some of the worst abuses of the dictatorship. He famously established that security forces drugged dissidents and dropped them from airplanes and helicopters into a river.

The two kidnapped priests always denied that they were linked to left-wing guerrillas. In the mid-1990s, one of them, Francisco Jalics, described his ordeal in portions of a self-help book he wrote. He and fellow Jesuit Orlando Yorio’s work in the 1970s with the poor in Bajo Flores, he wrote, had caused them to be viewed with suspicion by some in the Argentine right.

More specifically, Jalics describes one “person in question” who was spreading rumors that he and Yorio were allied with the guerrillas. The priests confronted this person, whose identity they never revealed, and said that he was putting their lives in danger.

The individual said he would try to convince the military that the pair were not terrorists, according to Jalics. But later, Jalics wrote, he came to the conclusion that this person “hadn’t complied with his promise, but rather, on the contrary, had presented a false complaint [about us] to the military.”

Verbitsky claims that this “person in question” was Bergoglio, based on a letter that Yorio, the second priest, wrote to a Jesuit authority in 1977. (Verbitsky declined to provide a copy of the letter.) Verbitsky also claims that Jalics confirmed the story in a 1999 interview.

Bergoglio has strongly denied that he ever gave the men up. In a 2010 biography, he says he pleaded to have them released, visiting twice with Emilio Massera, the navy official who was a key architect of the dirty war, and twice with Videla.

On March 15, two days after Bergoglio was chosen as pope, Jalics, who lives in a German monastery, issued a statement saying that he was “unable to comment” on Bergoglio’s role in his kidnapping but was “reconciled” with the events after discussing them with Bergoglio.

Verbitsky noted that the statement did not indicate that Jalics thought Bergoglio was innocent. Jalics subsequently issued another statement in which he said “Yorio and I were not given up by Father Bergoglio.”

On Thursday, Verbitsky reported Jalics’ latest statement but also mentioned, as he has previously, an Argentine Foreign Ministry document he had discovered. The typed document, apparently written by a government official, explains the reasons for denying Jalics a new passport in 1979. It notes that Jalics and Yorio — who died in 2000 — had been detained in 1976 for “suspected guerrilla contact.” That detail was supplied, the document says, by Bergoglio.

In his biography, Bergoglio acknowledges discussing Jalics’ past with the official. But the cardinal added that the official failed to write down another part of the conversation in which Bergoglio said the men were not linked to the guerrillas.

As Argentina continues the process of bringing secrets to light, it is possible that details will emerge about the conduct of the now-pope. But thus far, the Vatican’s posture is clear: “There has never been a credible accusation against him,” spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

2. LIKE POPE, LOCALS LIVED TERROR OF THE ‘DIRTY WAR’ (The Palm Beach Post)

By John Lantigua

25 March 2013

Just like the new Pope Francis, Laura Fleischman of Jupiter lived through the bloody military dictatorship in Argentina from 1976-1983.

That era is now known as “la guerra sucia” — the dirty war — during which thousands of Argentinians opposed to military rule were kidnapped, tortured and in many cases killed.

The role of the Catholic Church during that epoch has always been controversial. Some priests and nuns, especially those who worked with the poor, were victims.

Meanwhile, most of the leaders of the church — including Jorge Mario Bergoglio, head of the Jesuit order in Argentina then and now Pope Francis — did not speak out publicly against the bloodletting. According to Bergoglio’s biography, he worked behind the scenes to save would-be victims. For some in Argentina, what he did was understandable and praiseworthy. For others it wasn’t enough.

The death toll from the dirty war varies — from 9,000 to 30,000. But Fleischman and most other survivors agree on a principal point.

“Fear permeated the society,” said Fleischman, a sociologist now working with the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. “Anyone who went through it has flashbacks.”

Fleischman recounted the day she saw a person kidnapped off the street in broad daylight by a government death squad.

Ford Falcons and fear

“I was about 12,” she recalled. “I was on a bus, looking out the window and saw these men in regular clothes jump out of this Ford Falcon car, grab someone, throw the person face-down on the ground and then push them into the car and speed away.”

Ford Falcons were the preferred vehicles of the military intelligence squads, Fleischman, 50, and other Argentinians recalled. Just the sight of one could be paralyzing.

The official terror affected Fleischman in another critical way. She wanted to attend an elite public secondary school in Buenos Aires, “like a magnet school,” but her parents refused because the school was seen as a center for liberal thought and for that reason it would be dangerous.

‘Night of the Pencils’

“The school gave classes in which students went and worked with the poor,” Fleischman recalled. She knew that was dangerous. The sister of an elementary school classmate had worked in a soup kitchen in a poor area of Buenos Aires and had been kidnapped and killed by government agents. Working with the poor was considered a subversive, possibly communist activity in the eyes of the military government.

Fleischman’s parents’ fears were soon realized. In September 1976, in an incident that became notorious as “the Night of the Pencils,” 10 secondary school students, ages 16-18, who belonged to a political organization at a nearby magnet school, were kidnapped by state security agents. They were all tortured at secret government detention centers. Six of them were never seen again and are presumed dead. Those six were “disappeared,” a term in the terror lexicon that has become particularly associated with the Argentinian dictatorship.

Fleischman said fear colored everyday life.

“If you were reading certain books, books seen as suspicious by the regime, you wrapped the covers in newspapers so that nobody would know what you were reading,” Fleischman said. “You lived in fear. You learned what not to say.”

Claudia Saul Sadler, a therapist from Argentina now living in West Palm Beach, recalled the military taking over in 1976 after a series of violent attacks by leftist guerrilla groups against the civilian government, including assassinations of military officials, explosions and violent bank robberies. She was in elementary school at the time.

“When the military junta first took over, my parents were relieved,” she said. “They were against the terrorism of that time.”

But soon it became clear that the military was not just targeting armed opponents. Thousands of people snatched from their homes and right off the streets had no histories of violence. They included journalists, academics, labor organizers, professionals, social workers and left-leaning clergy.

School principals turned in students

“Anyone, but especially persons seen as intellectuals, could be seen as subversive,” Saul Sadler said. “I knew people whose family members were disappeared. Soon we had no freedoms.”

Fleischman recalled that high school principals who sided with the military would turn in students suspected of subversive ideas. Teachers used rulers to measure the hair of male students because long hair was considered suspicious.

The military made no bones about taking power and killing unarmed civilians. General Jorge Videla, the head of the original junta, announced publicly that one could be considered a terrorist even if he committed no violent act but was guilty of “activating people through ideas contrary to our Christian and Western civilization.”

“As many people as necessary must die in Argentina so that the country will again be secure,” Videla said.

Many military leaders were eventually tried and convicted for their crimes but it took many years. Videla, now 87, was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison.

Saul Sadler, 47, said that by the time she reached high school, it was against the rules to form a student political organization.

“We had one anyway but it was underground,” she said. Her group published a clandestine newsletter, called Contra Viento, Against the Wind, which included information on human rights abuses.

Fernando Gonzalez, 59, originally from Argentina and now a music critic and cultural affairs writer in Miami, was drafted into the Argentinian army a year before the military coup. That happenstance allowed him to witness the terror by both sides.

In August 1975 he was helping to move weapons in Buenos Aires when his unit was intercepted by guerrillas. Gonzalez watched his commanding officer, a captain, shot multiple times and killed just feet away from him. Gonzalez was terrified.

Daily fear: ‘victim at any moment’

After he was released from the army, he returned to civilian life as a musician. He was part of the arts world of Buenos Aires, which could be dangerous because people were being disappeared simply because of the way they looked and who they knew.

“There was this random quality to the violence,” he said. “Anyone could be a victim at any moment. That was the climate we lived in. You lived in terror.”

Gonzalez soon made some rules for himself: Never be seen in a group of more than three people and never write down anyone’s phone number. He was also very careful about giving anyone his number.

“That other person gets picked up for something, they find your number on him and the next thing you know they’re knocking on your door,” he said.

Some defenders of the military have said that the two sides were equally violent. Gonzalez strongly disagrees.

He said the Argentinian military and Army numbered about 200,000 people, while armed guerrillas were never more than a few hundred. He said the army used the armed guerrillas as an excuse to target all its ideological enemies. “The violence from the two sides was not equal.”

As for the role of the church, Saul Sadler said the fact that the Catholic hierarchy never spoke out against the military made most Argentinians feel “the church was in cahoots with the military.”

Gonzalez, who was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools, concurred. “The church has a long history of siding with the powerful and their interests, he said.

Bergoglio, in his earliest pronouncements as pope, said he wants the church to serve the poor.

But the history of the church in Argentina makes Gonzalez skeptical that a real commitment to fight poverty will come quickly. Other critics of the church say its opposition to birth control calls into question its willingness to fight poverty.

But Gonzalez gives Francis credit for at least focusing on poverty.

“Bergoglio is saying all the right things,” Gonzalez said. “Maybe all this attention, and his new job, will bring change. Maybe.”

3. ARGENTINA’S TRADE AND FOREX: URUGUAY TELLS IT LIKE IT IS (Financial Times)

By Jude Webber

March 25, 2013

Don’t export to Argentina; trade relations are at their worst ever.

That, anyway, appears to be the stark view of Uruguay’s vice president and economy minister.

 

According to Uruguay’s El País newspaper, Fernando Lorenzo, the economy minister, had this simple advice to food industry leaders in a closed meeting last September:

Gentlemen, forget about exporting to Argentina.

Sound familiar? You may have read something similar beyondbrics last week, when Brazi’s Valor Econômico noted:

Brazilian businessmen complain that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is to cross Argentine customs with certain goods. In 2004, less than 4 per cent of Brazilian exports to Argentina faced some kind of restrictions. In 2008, this was 13 per cent, in 2011 20 per cent and In 2012, 100 per cent.

Meanwhile Danilo Astori, Uruguay’s vice president, is also going in for some straight talking.

Here he is speaking to El País last week about the impact of Argentina’s decision to stick a surcharge on overseas purchases made with Argentine credit cards, and to apply the same levy to tickets for air travel:

I don’t want to poke my nose into sovereign matters that don’t concern me but I do want to say that this hurts Uruguay seriously. This is the worst moment for our economic and trade relations with Argentina for a long time.

There’s more. Argentina’s policy is, he said:

… very protectionist in international relations, something which affects us, very interventionist and excessively regulatory… With things like this, you can’t expect good results.

Meanwhile, Uruguay’s president, the famously blunt-speaking José Mujica, has described dealing with Argentina as “mission impossible”.

One result of all this intervention is the mismatch between Argentina’s official and parallel exchange rates. Last week’s sharp movement in the latter — to 8.75 pesos per dollar, a cool 72 per cent difference with the punitive official rate of around 5.1 — was apparently something of a wake-up call to the government.

Cristina Fernández, the president, summoned her economic team and they seem to have decided that something must be done. But between some members who apparently favour “market” solutions (er, wouldn’t that mean a devaluation?), another advocating a multiple exchange rate regime and others who think Argentina should not only tough it out but toughen its line still further, what action will be taken remains unclear.

Two hints have emerged, though. Import restrictions could be eased, the president says, though details are still to come.

And the black-market dollar must be brought to heel. The governemnt’s price and dollar Rottweiler, Guillermo Moreno has been on the phone to exchange houses in Buenos Aires ordering the unofficial dollar to be reined in. His latest call: to slash it to 6 pesos from the current 8.48. Now what was it Mujica was saying again?

4. GRAIN EXPORTERS OWE ARGENTINA ALMOST $1 BILLION IN TAXES (Bloomberg News)

By Pablo Gonzalez and Silvia Martinez

March 25, 2013

Cargill Inc. and Bunge Ltd. are among grain exporters that owe the Argentine government $951 million in taxes and won’t be eligible for a reduced interest rate under a payment plan unveiled by the government today.

Argentina will reduce monthly interest charges to 1.35 percent from 2 percent for some unpaid taxes that were due Feb. 28. The payments can be made in as many as 120 monthly installments, the government said.

“Grain exporters have been excluded as they were disingenuous and therefore don’t deserve a plan to regularize their situation,” Ricardo Echegaray, head of Argentina’s Federal Administration of Public Revenue, known as AFIP, said today at a press conference in Buenos Aires.

The second-largest South American economy has boosted federal tax collection to 31.8 percent last year from 16.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2002, according to the Buenos Aires-based Center for the Implementation of Public Policies Promoting Equity and Growth.

The nation is seeking full repayment with interest from Cargill ($228 million), Bunge (BG) ($126.3 million), Molinos Rio de la Plata SA ($197 million), Louis Dreyfus Corp. ($141 million), Nidera SA ($132 million), Vicentin SAIC ($62 million), Aceitera General Deheza SA ($48 million) and Oleaginosa Moreno Hermanos Sacifia ($17 million).

Andres Alcaraz, a spokesman for Camara de la Industria Aceitera de la Republica Argentina, the nation’s association of grains exporters, declined to comment on Echegaray’s statement. Cargill and Bunge didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.

The local unit of HSBC Holdings Plc, which last week was accused of tax evasion of 224 million pesos ($44 million), won’t be allowed to apply either as it faces a criminal case for alleged money laundering, Echegaray said.

5. FALKLANDS LAWMAKERS: ‘WE HAVE NO DESIRE TO BE GOVERNED BY ARGENTINA’ (CNN Wire)

By Catherine E. Shoichet

25 March 2013

(CNN) — Falkland Islands lawmakers say they won’t back down in the face of Argentina’s efforts to claim the South Atlantic territory.

Residents of the islands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas, voted earlier this month to remain under British rule. That leaves no room for debate, lawmakers from the islands wrote in a letter to the United Nations published online Monday.

“The referendum result makes it clear that we have no desire to be governed by Argentina,” they wrote. “Continued harassment of our economic development and intimidation of those who want to do business with us and invest in the islands will not change this fact. The more Argentina presses our small community, the harder will be our resolve.”

But Argentina’s top officials and supporters in many Latin American countries have a different take. They argue that the referendum was invalid and have decried the United Kingdom for pushing a colonialist approach onto the territory.

“It is as if a consortium of occupiers had voted on whether to continue illegally occupying a building,” Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said earlier this month. “The results were fixed.”

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and other Latin American leaders are scheduled to meet Tuesday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other U.N. officials over the matter.

The meetings have drawn the ire of the Falkland Islands government.

“Mr. Timerman’s frantic efforts to lobby the international community to ignore our voice strikes us here as the diplomacy of desperation,” Falkland Islands Assembly member Gavin Short said in a written statement.

The islands, which raise their own taxes but rely on the United Kingdom for defense and foreign policy, are one of 14 British Overseas Territories and have been under British rule since 1833.

The two countries went to war over the territory in 1982 after the then-military government in Argentina landed troops on the islands. Argentina put its death toll from the conflict at around 645. Britain says its civil and military losses amounted to 255.

For more than a year, renewed rhetoric between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the islands has escalated to a fever pitch, with both sides accusing each other of colonialism.

Prince William’s military deployment to the islands last year further fueled tensions, drawing sharp criticism from Argentinian officials.

The British government accuses Argentina of trying to coerce island residents by intimidating those involved in fishing and oil exploration and trying to isolate the remote islands by limiting access by sea.

Located about 480 kilometers (298 miles) east of the tip of South America, the Falklands have long been coveted as a strategic shipping stopover and potential wellspring of natural resources, including lucrative fisheries and a growing oil drilling industry.

About 1,600 people were eligible to vote in the referendum earlier this month, officials said.

Asked whether they wanted to remain a British Overseas Territory, more than 99% of Falkland Islands voters who cast ballots said yes, according to a government spokesman. Just three people voted no, spokesman Darren Christie said.

Pictures at the polls showed some residents of the islands draped in Union flags as they cast their votes. Cars displayed banners that read, “We’re British and proud.” A parade honoring British heritage marked the start of voting Sunday.

The vote drew praise from British Prime Minister David Cameron.

“It’s the clearest possible result there could be,” he said, “and the fact is that the Falkland Islands may be thousands of miles away, but they are British through and through, and that is how they want to stay.”

6. ARGENTINA’S YPF, BOLIVIA’S YPFB PLAN JOINT E&P AGREEMENT (Platts Commodity News)

By Charles Newbery

25 March 2013

Buenos Aires (Platts)–25Mar2013/753 pm EDT/2353 GMT  Argentina’s state-run energy company YPF and Bolivia’s state-owned oil company YPFB signed a deal Monday to explore and develop hydrocarbons together.

YPF CEO Miguel Galuccio and his YPFB counterpart, Carlos Villegas, inked the memorandum of understanding in La Paz, YPF said in a statement.

“The goal is to coordinate joint projects and make use of the technical experience of both companies for developing areas with conventional and unconventional potential,” they said in the statement.

The companies said the partnership would start with studying blocks for exploration that have “high prospectivity for future development.” Three new blocks in Bolivia are to form part of the agreement, YPF said.

Argentina and Bolivia are seeking to expand oil and natural gas production after periods of decline. Argentina’s oil production has dropped by a third to 570,000 b/d from a peak of 847,000 b/d in 1998 and gas has dwindled 16% to 120 million cu m/d from a record 143.1 million in 2004 on low exploration and few finds.

YPFB, which saw production sag after a nationalization of the industry in 2006, is starting to rebuild output, with gas production expected to surpass 70 million cu m/d over the next few years after running steady at 40 million cu m/d for much of the last decade.

For YPFB, the deal, if finalized, would gain it access to YPF’s knowledge and skills in developing shale resources.

YPF started developing shale oil and gas in 2010-2011 in Vaca Muerta, a southwestern play in Argentina thought to have some of the greatest potential in the world. YPF plans to team up with Bridas, backed by China’s CNOOC, and Chevron to develop shale resources on a mass scale in Vaca Muerta, starting this year.

YPFB’s Villegas said the deal would help build hydrocarbon production in Argentina and Bolivia to supply countries in the southern half of South America. Argentina and Brazil are the two importers of Bolivian gas, buying about 40 million cu m/d between them. Chile and Uruguay are thought to also want Bolivian gas supplies.

Bolivia has the second-largest conventional gas reserves in South America after Venezuela, while Argentina’s shale gas resources are estimated to be the world’s third-largest after those of China and the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

YPF and YPFB over the past year have signed other study agreements that YPF said will “soon” lead to a final deal for exploring the Yuchan block in Bolivia.

YPF, through a subsidiary, also is building a gas-liquids separation plant for YPFB in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

YPF plans to invest $37.2 billion through 2017 to boost oil and gas production 32% in Argentina, helping return the country to energy independence that was lost in the 1990s.

7. ARGENTINA PESO WEAKENS AS INFLATION, DEBT CONCERNS RISE (Market News International)

By Charles Newbery

25 March 2013

Argentina’s peso this week will remain under pressure to depreciate on concerns the government is failing to contain inflation and find a way to settle its debts with holders of defaulted bonds.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s administration last week took a latest step to control capital flight, which has been on the rise on faster inflation and peso depreciation.

The government raised the withholding tax on foreign purchases made by credit and debit cards to 20% from 15% and extended it to cash purchases of foreign airfare and travel packages at home. It also imposed a requirement on travel agencies to inform authorities details on every person who travels abroad.

Argentines have been traveling abroad more often since 2011 to stretch their pesos further.

Inflation is expected to surpass 30% annual this year, from 25% in 2011 and 2012. The peso on the official market dropped 17% to 5.0997 to the U.S. dollar last week on the year, up from 8.1% year-on-year depreciation in the same period of 2012.

This has made Argentina more expensive than even Europe and the U.S.

Argentines are looking for ways to protect their savings against inflation and currency depreciation given the government has made it illegal to buy dollars for savings. They are traveling abroad and loading up on goods there at lower prices, in particular tablet computers and other electronics.

The central bank allows the purchase of a certain amount of dollars at the official exchange rate for traveling abroad, one of the few ways to get dollars. The requests for tourism dollars nearly doubled to $5.6 billion in 2012 from $3.2 billion in 2011, according to central bank data.

The increase in the withholding tax on foreign travels and shopping, announced March 20, led to a surge in the black market rate, with the peso leaping to 8.75 per dollar for a 72% premium over the official rate. The rate had been 8.27 the previous day and 8.08 two days earlier.

The black-market rate has since leveled off at 8.45 per dollar, purportedly as exchange houses came under government pressure to cut the rate and the central bank increase the dollars in circulation.

Economists say the flight to dollars is a response to the losses from holding pesos, as banks are paying 12-14% for 30-day deposits, or more than 10 percentage points less than inflation.

The economy is stagnating and jobs are becoming harder to find.

CFK last week expressed concern for inflation. She threatened to liberate imports if manufacturers and retailers refuse to drop their prices.

More imports could help cut inflation, but at the expense of international reserves, a vital source of financing for the state, economists said. The reserves dropped 5.1% to $41 billion March 21 from $43.2 billion at the start of the year.

Argentina remains blacklisted from international credit markets, and its return does not look imminent.

Argentina has until this Friday to submit precise terms to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York for any alternative payment formula and a timetable for resolving litigation with creditors claiming $1.33 billion for the defaulted bonds they hold.

The government will report shopping mall and supermarket sales Tuesday followed by construction activity and public services consumption Wednesday. Banks, financial markets and government offices will be closed Thursday and Friday for Easter.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ OLD NEWS CLIPS FROM MARCH 21ST..  FYI..

 

1. PRIEST KIDNAPPED BY ARGENTINE JUNTA SAYS THAT HE WAS NOT DENOUNCED BY FUTURE POPE (The Washington Post)

March 21, 2013

Berlin — A Jesuit priest who was kidnapped by the argentine military junta in the 1970s said Wednesday that he and a fellow cleric weren’t denounced by the future Pope Francis, then leader of Argentina’s Jesuits.

 

The Rev.Francisco Jalics, a Hungarian native who now lives in a German monastery, said in a statement that he was following up on comments about the case last week because he had received a lot of questions and “some commentaries imply the opposite of what i meant.” He did not elaborate.

Jalics and another priest, Orlando Yorio, were kidnapped in 1976.

 

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now the Pontiff, has said he told the priests to give up their work in slums for their own safety, and they refused. Yorio, who is now dead, later accused Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work.

In a statement last Friday, Jalics said that Bergoglio had long since reconciled. He said they “hugged solemnly” at a meeting in 2000, and that he considered the matter closed.

 

Jalics said in that statement, posted on the German Jesuits’ website, that he “cannot comment on the role of Father Bergoglio in these events.”

He elaborated on Wednesday, saying: “the fact is: Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced by Father Bergoglio.”

Jalics said “false information was spread” at the time that he and Yorio had gone to the slums because they were part of a guerrilla movement — and he suspects those rumors were the reason why the priests weren’t freed immediately.

 

“I myself was once inclined to believe that we were the victims of a denunciation,” Jalics said. But “at the end of the 90s, after numerous conversations, it became clear to me that this suspicion was unfounded. It is therefore wrong to assert that our capture took place at the initiative of Father Bergoglio.”

Nobody disputes that Bergoglio, like most other argentines, failed to openly confront Argentina’s 1976-1983 military junta as it kidnapped and killed thousands of people in a “dirty war” to eliminate opponents. But opinions differ on how much responsibility the new pope personally deserves for the argentine Catholic Church’s dark history of supporting the murderous dictatorship.

The new pope’s authorized biographer, Sergio Rubin, argues that the Catholic Church in general failed to confront the junta, and argentine human rights activists have noted that Bergoglio never collaborated with the dictatorship.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, noted Friday that Argentine courts had never accused Bergoglio of any crime, that he had denied all accusations against him and that on the contrary “there have been many declarations demonstrating how much Bergoglio did to protect many persons at the time.”

Jalics is currently out of Germany and wasn’t immediately reachable for comment.

2. ARGENTINA: “BLUE DOLLAR” HITS NEW HIGH (Financial Times)

By Jude Webber

March 20, 2013

Watching Argentina’s unofficial exchange rate is suddenly like being at an auction: on Wednesday it has risen breathlessly, hitting 8.75 pesos per dollar. Yesterday it was 8.27 pesos, Monday it was 8.08. And breaching the 8-peso barrier was a milestone in itself. What’s going on?

First of all, a quick backgrounder: Argentina officially has one exchange rate, which is currently around 5.1 per dollar. But dollars are in short supply (the government has had no access to international capital markets since its default on nearly $100bn in 2001, and it has been using central bank dollar reserves since 2010 to pay debt), so the government imposed currency controls nearly 18 months ago, which have make it virtually impossible for people to get their hands on greenbacks.

Add in inflation estimated by private economists (government figures are tainted and the world trade organisation is the latest to cry foul) to be running above 25 per cent, plus the fact that at times of uncertainty, Argentines traditionally stampede for the dollar and you have the cocktail of short supply, rising demand, ergo rising prices on the black market.

Though the black market for dollars is small, the soaring “blue dollar”, as the unofficial rate is nicknamed, is a far more accurate indication of the real value of a dollar than the grossly overvalued official peso, and looks stomach-churningly (for Argentines) like a big devaluation or some other kind of economic pain is getting ever closer.

So what has prompted the latest frenzied rise? The government on Monday tightened the screws on its capital controls, hiking a 15 per cent surcharge on the use of argentine credit cards abroad to 20 per cent, and extending that 20 per cent levy to airline tickets and holiday packages bought in Argentina.

The levy on foreign purchases and use of cards abroad (which the government says is deductible from income or wealth tax at the end of the year) was taken in stride by travelling argentines because the official rate plus the levy was still less expensive than the “blue” rate.

The government probably feels comfortable with tightening such a measure since its core electoral base comes from the working class – not a big purchaser of international plane tickets or things abroad.

But where will it all end? Depends on the government, really.

Here’s the opinion of one senior market player, who – not surprisingly – declined to be named:

No one can be surprised at this. The surprising thing is that the government isn’t taking any measures [to improve economic policy]. There shouldn’t be any more patches [to policy]. And a devaluation won’t help things – you’ll just have to keep devaluing. That was what Latin America did in the 1980s. They need to define economic and monetary policies but instead they just come out with patches on top of patches. It’s like they’re driving a car but they don’t know where they’re going, they’re just trying not to crash. They’re using up all the gas, and they still don’t know where they’re going.

Which begs the question, when will Argentina run out of gas? High prices for soya, Argentina’s top cash crop, is saving Argentina from crisis, for now. But that’s hardly a recipe for long-term success.

Meanwhile, expect the blue dollar to hit new highs, probably very soon.

3. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, POPE SUPPORTED CIVIL UNIONS IN ARGENTINA, ACTIVIST SAYS (CNN Wire)

By Rafael Romo, Jose Manuel Rodriguez, and Catherine E. Shoichet

20 March 2013

BUENOS AIRES (CNN) — Less than an hour after he fired off an angry letter to Catholic Church leaders about their handling of Argentina’s same-sex marriage debate, Marcelo Marquez says his phone rang.

He was surprised to hear the voice on the other end of the line. It was Jorge Mario Bergoglio, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, and now the pope.

What Bergoglio said to him at a meeting soon afterward that year, 2010, was even more surprising, Marquez said.

For months, church officials had made sharp, public criticisms of the push to legalize same-sex marriage in the South American country. But privately, Bergoglio seemed to be more open to discussion, according to Marquez.

“He told me. … ‘I’m in favor of gay rights and in any case, I also favor civil unions for homosexuals, but I believe that Argentina is not yet ready for a gay marriage law,'” said Marquez, a gay rights activist, a self-described devout Catholic and a former theology professor at a Catholic seminary.

The pope’s reported willingness behind-the-scenes to accept civil unions as a compromise may offer new insight into how he will lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

A public battle

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was one of the leaders of the Catholic Church’s public charge against legalizing same-sex marriage in Argentina. He engaged in a notorious war of words with the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who supported the measure.

Bergoglio put himself in the middle of the fight, calling the proposed legislation “a destructive attack on God’s plan.”

With a front-page counterpunch, the president said the church possessed “attitudes reminiscent of medieval times and the Inquisition.”

Some point to the public battle as evidence of Bergoglio’s traditionalist views.

But behind closed doors, Marquez said, the man who would become pope appeared to be more open to discussion of the issue.

In another meeting, Bergoglio told him he had always treated gay people with respect and dignity.

“I have accompanied many homosexual people during my career to tend to their spiritual needs,” Bergoglio said at the time, according to Marquez.

Pope was ‘very open, very frank’

Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis after he was elected pontiff last week, may have voiced his support for civil unions in other circles.

Andres Albertsen, a former pastor of the Danish Church in Buenos Aires, said Bergoglio made similar comments about civil unions to him in a private meeting.

“In this conversation that we had, he showed himself to be very open, very frank with me,” Albertsen told CNN en Español on Wednesday. “He told me that he would have accepted a civil union.”

According to a story published by The New York Times on Wednesday, Bergoglio also told bishops at a 2010 meeting that the church should support civil unions for gay couples.

CNN could not independently confirm the details of the Argentine bishops’ meeting, which was also described in a July 2010 article published by Argentina’s Clarin newspaper.

“Bergoglio — faithful to his moderate position — proposed continuing measured actions. … He would suggest, also, that the church discreetly accept the intermediate alternative of the civil union — authorizing a series of rights (inheritance, social work) — that would not equate to marriage nor permit adoption,” wrote journalist Sergio Rubin — now Bergoglio’s biographer.

But that proposal was rejected by bishops, who voted instead to begin a high-profile, public battle against same-sex marriage, Rubin wrote.

Pushing for dialogue

A senior Vatican official said he could neither confirm nor deny The New York Times report at this point, adding that while Pope Francis might have expressed such a view while he was a cardinal, he should be given time to develop his policy position as pontiff.

Alejandro Russo, the rector of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires, said it was unlikely the pope had ever expressed such a view, even in private.

In 2007, Bergoglio publicly criticized Buenos Aires’ government for allowing civil unions, Russo said. His relationship with the mayor of Buenos Aires soured over the matter.

Gay rights advocates in Argentina later argued that civil unions, allowed in a several states, were a positive step that conferred some benefits to same-sex couples, but didn’t go far enough. The same-sex marriage measure, they said, would treat homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally before the law. It would permit gay couples to adopt, and also allow the inheritance of property.

Argentina approved a law legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide in July 2010.

Even though Bergoglio was one of the law’s most well known opponents, Marquez said on Wednesday that he hopes the pontiff will remain open to discussion, just as he appeared to be several years ago in Buenos Aires.

“We are going to try to have a dialogue with the pope,” said Marquez, who works for Argentina’s National Institute Against Discrimination. “It’s frightening, but I think it must be done.”

‘He’s really moderate on this issue’

Word of the pope’s reported support for civil unions in Argentina sparked debate, with some praising his stance and saying it was a hopeful sign of possible reforms.

“He wanted to respect human rights. That’s the real surprise here, that people say, well he’s anti-gay. You can be anti-gay marriage and not be anti-gay, and I think there’s a distinction here,” said the Rev. Edward Beck, a CNN contributor and host of “The Sunday Mass” on ABC Family. “He’s really moderate on this issue, it seems.”

Others, though, were more skeptical.

One Argentine journalist said Wednesday that he wasn’t quite ready to celebrate.

In an article titled, “Francis, the pope that declares war on us and later calls us on the phone,” journalist Bruno Bimbi said it wasn’t clear how the pope will handle the issue of same-sex unions.

“Maybe the lion has become a lamb. Maybe, as a priest told me the day his election was announced, maybe he is worried about his biography and wants to go down in history. I do not know,” Bimbi wrote. “Whatever he does, this time he won’t be able to blame others for the pressures. Now he’s in charge.”

4. WHAT ARGENTINE PRIESTS KNEW ABOUT THE ‘DIRTY WAR’ (NYT Blogs)

By Mort Rosenblum

20 March 2013

In 1975, I watched Buenos Aires churches fill with distraught mothers praying futilely for news of missing sons and daughters. Troubled police officers frequented the confessionals. Most Argentines suspected that President Isabel Perón and her Rasputin, José López Rega, were behind official death squads that made so many people disappear. Priests knew the details.

A military junta bundled Ms. Peron off to exile in 1976 and unleashed full-bore repression. They called it war, but it wasn’t. Disparate acts by unconnected rival leftist groups brought institutional torture and official terror. Military flights dumped victims at sea. Still alive, they would gasp in water and sink.

For three crucial years, as placid Argentina headed toward hell, I was based in Buenos Aires. I arrived in 1973 when night noises ranged to wailing tango chords and traffic din. Within a year, those were punctuated by spine-curdling shrieks as victims were bundled into those famous Ford Falcons without license plates. By the time I left in 1976, after the coup, we slept in different places each night because of unsettling threats. When profiles of those shadowy death squads emerged, they were as we had thought: off-duty cops commanded by high-ranking police and military officers. Many were devout family men who believed themselves on a mission for God and country. My sense is that the “war” would have been far less dirty had the Roman Catholic church stood up to its perpetrators.

“The church behaved appallingly badly,” Robert Cox recalled on the phone from South Carolina. As editor of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald back then, he hammered away at the military’s excesses which national dailies all but ignored. I never met Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis but then superior of Argentine Jesuits. Mr. Cox knew him well.

Mr. Cox helped the human rights campaigner Emilio Mignone search for two priests kidnapped by death squads. They resurfaced after five months of brutal torture. Although a court case was dropped against Father Bergoglio, both priests accused him of playing a part in their captivity.

In his book “Dictatorship and Church,” Mr. Mignone excoriated the Roman Catholic hierarchy for inaction. But, Mr. Cox recalled, he did not say that the Jesuit superior handed over the two priests. “Mignone believed Bergoglio was like a pastor who lost his sheep and did nothing to find them,” he said.

That is what I saw on a large scale. As Associated Press bureau chief, I was finally able to link the government to death squads because a U.S. Embassy attaché, an F.B.I. official, decided to spill the beans. At the time, only Mr. Cox and his American-owned paper had the courage to demand answers about mysterious disappearances. No one gave them. My informant sketched a complete, gruesome picture. But I could not quote him.

The church could have spoken out publicly while privately giving reporters leads to follow. Some priests worked quietly to help families find missing loved ones. But Argentine prelates were leery of activist priests elsewhere in Latin America. Some shared the junta’s belief that the military was defending a wider world with a noble campaign against Communist threat.

The same might be said for Gerald Ford’s administration, which knew much and did little. But politicians and diplomats answer to a lower order. The church saw widespread government-backed atrocities up close on a daily basis. It leaders apparently concluded that the end would justify the means. But it didn’t.

5. ARGENTINE PRESIDENT TIGHTENS FOREIGN EXCHANGE CONTROLS: TIMELINE (Bloomberg News)

By Eliana Raszewsk

March 20, 2013

Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner introduced the following controls since her re-election in October 2011 to stem capital outflows and shore up Central Bank reserves.

Some dates are approximate and are subject to revision as more information becomes available. The list starts with the latest measures and ends with the first.

2013:

March 18: Argentina increases a tax on credit- and debit-card purchases made abroad and on foreign shopping by internet to 20 percent from 15 percent. The tax agency extends the tax to purchases of tickets for international travel and package tours, and to the payment of foreign services such as hotel accommodation, restaurant dining and car hire.

March 14: Central Bank restricts the use of credit and debit cards for placing bets abroad.

Feb. 22: Capital outflows fell 84 percent in 2012 to the lowest since 2006 after Fernandez tightened currency controls.

The Central Bank said outflows totaled $3.4 billion in 2012 after $21.5 billion left the country in 2011. The economy received a net inflow of $163 million in the fourth quarter, the second consecutive quarterly inflow.

2012:

Sept. 6: Central bank revokes authorizations for private banks and exchange houses to operate in the country’s airports and ports. The measure was taken to protect tourists from “abusive” practices such as using unfair exchange rates, the bank said.

Sept. 3: The tax agency extends the 15 percent tax advance on credit-card purchases made abroad to include debit cards and to international internet purchases using credit cards.

Aug. 30: Tax agency director Ricardo Echegaray tells credit-card companies to add a 15 percent tax advance to all purchases their clients make abroad. The tax agency will review credit-card statements to check if travelers exceed the $300 duty-free allowance on goods brought into the country.

July 17: The government extends the time allowed for some mining companies to repatriate export revenue to as many as 180 days. The government also extends the deadline for laboratories and agriculture companies to repatriate export revenue.

July 5: The Central Bank issues a list of acceptable reasons to justify foreign currency purchases. The list doesn’t include savings nor future purchases of real estate. All dollar purchases for any reason other than those on the list are “suspended,” the bank says.

Individuals are allowed to buy a limited amount of dollars for purposes including foreign travel, mortgage payments and to send to family members traveling abroad who run out of money.

June 8: The Central Bank suspends the minimum reserve requirement on dollar deposits for two months as savers withdraw the U.S. currency from bank accounts.

June 6: President Fernandez says she’s switching her savings into pesos from dollars and urged aides to do the same. Fernandez says she would convert money she invests in fixed-term dollar deposits to pesos because “it’s more profitable.”

May 28: Argentina further tightens control of the exchange market, requiring residents who want to buy foreign currency for travel abroad to provide details of the trip to the tax agency.

May 18: The Central Bank announces capital outflows slowed in the first quarter due to the tighter controls on the exchange market. Investors withdrew $1.6 billion, compared with $3.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.

May 15: The Tax Agency tightens rules to clamp down on foreign- exchange trading outside the regulated market. The agency said it will monitor more closely people who buy U.S. dollars in the official market and then sell them in the unregulated market to profit from the higher price for dollars paid by dealers outside official channels.

April 1: The Central Bank limits dollar withdrawals from cash machines overseas to individuals who have dollar-denominated accounts. The move prevents argentines who only have peso accounts from fueling capital flight by withdrawing dollars at cash machines while they are abroad.

March 22: The Senate approves changes to the Central Bank’s charter to allow the government unlimited use of the bank’s international reserves to pay debt. The changes also enable the institution to boost loans to the government to help cover a widening budget deficit.

March 14: The government tells oil companies to boost output to help cut imports. Subsequently, YPF SA, the country’s largest oil company, loses 12 licenses in five provinces.

Feb. 17: The Central Bank reports capital flight slowed from a record pace in the fourth quarter. Investors withdrew $3.3 billion from South America’s second-biggest economy in the October-through-December period, down from $8.4 billion in the previous quarter.

Feb. 1: Argentina tightens controls on imports, prompting complaints from Brazil, the country’s main trade partner.

Jan. 26: The Central Bank increases from Feb. 1 capital requirements for banks that distribute payments to shareholders to 75 percent more than the minimum required for financial institutions from 35 percent previously.

2011:

Dec. 22: The Senate approves an anti-terrorism law that states the buying or selling of foreign currencies outside the official market may be considered an act of terrorism. Prison sentences of as long as eight years can be imposed for “conduct that affects the economic and financial order.”

Dec. 1: The Central Bank reports that capital flight accelerated to the fastest pace in at least four years in the third quarter as investors concerned about inflation and a weakening peso pulled cash out of the country.

Capital flight totaled $8.4 billion in the July-to- September period compared with $6.1 billion the previous quarter. Outflows rose to $18 billion in the first nine months of 2011 from $9.2 billion a year earlier.

Nov. 3: The government’s representative on the board of YPF SA votes against a 2.81 billion peso dividend to shareholders, including controlling company Spain’s Repsol.

Oct. 31: Individuals and companies are required to obtain authorization from the federal tax agency before purchasing foreign currency.

Oct. 27: The Central Bank sets new rules requiring foreign investors to register currency inflows tied to investments in property and other local assets. Those who fail to register funds brought into the country will need to seek the central bank’s permission before they can repatriate any proceeds.

Oct. 26: Argentina orders oil, gas and mining companies such as Xstrata PLC, Total SA, Petroleo Brasileiro SA and Pan American Energy LLC to repatriate all future export revenue.

Fernandez also orders insurance companies to bring back all investments and funds held abroad.

Oct. 25: Tax agency officials visit Buenos Aires exchange houses, ordering customers who are seeking to buy as little as $100 to fill out currency exchange forms and provide identification and proof of income. José Sbattella, head of Argentina’s anti-money laundering agency, says the government is trying to crack down on investors who use other people to buy dollars for them.

Oct. 23: Fernandez is re-elected with 54 percent of votes, the most obtained by a presidential candidate since Juan Domingo Peron in 1973.

6. THE MEDIA SLANDER A NEW POPE (Investor’s Business Daily)

21 March 2013

Media: The left has been trying to paint the new Pope Francis as someone with a dark past dating to Argentina’s dirty war. One problem: Their allegations are falling apart. So now it’s all about endlessly repeated innuendo.

Tell a lie often enough, and it becomes truth. That seems to be the premise for the constant references to “persistent doubts,” “raising questions,” “alleged charges” and other weasel-word qualifiers the press uses about the new pope.

They can be found in the likes of the New York Times, the Daily Beast, the BBC, Der Spiegel and others.

The idea seems to be to repeat scurrilous claims about the new pope’s supposedly dark past without any proof for them. Through repetition, the phony charges become accepted as truth.

And if the pope’s men try to set the record straight, they will merit headlines like “Vatican denies … ,’ as if it’s the one on the defensive. In truth, as the facts come out, it’s the media that should be on the defensive.

Nothing the media have alleged has panned out at all.

They claim that Bergoglio, the top Jesuit provincial in Argentina in 1976, “withdrew his protection” for two Jesuits who preached liberation theology and later were kidnapped and tortured for five months by the regime.

It’s a lie, because protection means license for a priest to say mass. Bergoglio never withdrew that, nor did he throw them out of the Jesuit order, despite the fact that Orlando Yorio and Franz Jalics preached Marxist-tinged liberation theology, associated with people who became guerrillas and, in general, lived a 1970s urban guerrilla lifestyle that created trouble for the church.

Bergoglio testified that he asked them to leave the slums for their own safety, and for “administrative, not ideological” reasons. After they were kidnapped, he worked to get them released.

Did Bergoglio give the regime information about them? Another juicy charge that falls flat.

Jesuit priest Thomas Reese, in the National Catholic Reporter, points out “Not only did (Bergoglio’s conversation with the regime about the two Jesuits) take place after they were arrested and after they were released, it was after they were safely out of the country. Nothing (he) could say would endanger them nor was he telling the government anything it did not already know. He was simply trying to convince a bureaucrat that it was a good idea to extend the passport of this man.”

And did Bergoglio let the military hide political prisoners on church property so they wouldn’t be seen by the International Commission of Human Rights? Even the chief instigator of the charges, Argentine investigative “journalist” Horacio Verbitsky, says it’s not true.

“Bergoglio has no intervention in this — in this fact,” Verbitsky told radio show host Amy Goodman. “Indeed, he helped me to investigate the case.”

With this many claims falling apart, the hard reality is, they don’t merit the light of day. But they are being repeated in the media — as “allegations” “dark shadows” and other murky terms because the media here are at odds with the Catholic Church and want to discredit it.

They’ve pulled similar stunts on the supposed dark Nazi pasts of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Pius XII — and pretty well gotten away with it.

But this game may be different because they’ve made common cause with Argentina’s neo-fascist government, which has blasted the new pope as “the leader of the opposition” and has been conducting a smear campaign of its own since 2005. That’s when Bergoglio’s name emerged as a potential successor to John Paul II.

Verbitsky and his Pagina 12 newspaper have close ties to the Argentine government. Indeed, the Buenos Aires Herald reports that Verbitsky is an adviser to President Cristina Kirchner. And he has a terrorist past of his own. Yesterday, the newspaper Clarin reported Argentina’s government distributed a dossier to the Vatican cardinals’ conclave in a bid to derail Bergoglio’s election.

Kirchner and her late husband tried to shut that paper down, just as they’ve tried to derail Bergoglio. It’s a disgusting spectacle to see the media here swallowing propaganda, given Kirchner’s record of lies — and Bergoglio’s record of truth-telling.

But that’s what they are doing as they repeat this innuendo. Call it a dirty war of words.

7. FOCUS ON PAPAL INVESTITURE MASKS ELECTORAL MANOEUVRING IN ARGENTINA (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Laurence Allan

20 March 2013

Rapidly moving political undercurrents in Argentina are focused as much on the 2015 presidential contest as on mid-term elections in 2013.

IHS Global Insight perspective

Significance

Daniel Scioli, governor of Buenos Aires province, yesterday ordered a reorientation of public spending in the province in response to labour protests, whilst the main focus of Argentine media and political attention was on the papal investiture in the Vatican.

Implications

Scioli’s move signals an intensification of strategic manoeuvring for the October 2013 mid-term elections, with other actors across the political spectrum also now upping the ante.

Outlook

The Buenos Aires governor’s move aims to deflect criticism from the federal government, but recent political dynamics underline that Scioli will increasingly face challenges to his position as the number one heavyweight Peronist outside of the federal government.

Key Peronist figure Sergio Massa–

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and a long list of prominent Argentine political figures were in Rome yesterday (19 March) to mark the investiture of the first Latin American pontiff, the Argentine Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis. Those political actors will hope that their own enthusiasm for Bergoglio will chime with the enthusiasm that many Argentines have demonstrated for him.

Pressure grows on presidential rival

However, whilst the focus of the Argentine media and political classes appeared focussed on the Vatican, significant political dynamics were playing out on home turf. Daniel Scioli, governor of Argentina’s most populous, and politically and economically important province, Buenos Aires, yesterday responded to ongoing labour strife by ordering a spending freeze on public works which do not yet have an assigned budget and an adjustment of costs in seven ministries of the provincial administration. Those moves come after several weeks of mounting pressure around salary increases for public sector workers in the province, who are demanding a 30% pay rise. Scioli has so far resisted that – his best offer has been 22.6% – but yesterday’s move signals that the pressure of regular street protests and other industrial action in recent weeks is having an effect. Teachers’ labour unions in the province are today beginning a 48-hour strike and protests against Scioli .

Scioli is attempting to handle this very damaging dispute at a time when the province’s finances are under extreme stress. Disputes between the province and the federal government of president Fernández over tax revenue sharing (known as coparticipación) have been intensifying since late 2012, as Scioli has struggled to deal with a series of challenges, including on policing and transport. Whilst his administration has blamed the Fernández government for holding back funds, her supporters have alleged that day to day problems in the province are caused not by a lack of funds, but by Scioli’s inability to govern effectively.

Scioli has long been viewed as a potential presidential candidate for the governing Justicialist Party (Partido Justicialista: PJ), in which Fernández’s Victory Front (Frente para la Victoria: FpV) faction is currently dominant. Scioli has said that he would not run against a Fernández candidacy in 2015 – but in any case she is currently constitutionally banned from running again, potentially putting Scioli into pole position for 2015. However Scioli is widely disliked within the FpV. He thus needs to carefully balance antagonism against them, with the reality that there remains a wide potential pool of support within the wider PJ, and the broader Peronist movement it politically represents. That explains his comments yesterday that “Cristina knows that I always accompanied her”.

Other challenges on the radar

Meanwhile, Scioli is likely to face other challenges to his support base. He has attempted to avoid becoming too closely identified with any one ideological position within the Peronist movement as part of an obvious strategy to appeal to as wide a range of anti-Fernández Peronists as possible. However, also yesterday Argentina’s former minister of the economy Roberto Lavagna spoke about his own efforts to build an opposition coalition for the October mid-terms. Lavagna said he would stand for the PJ, but as befits his identification with the centre-right of the party, aimed to do so in coalition with the definitely conservative Republican Proposal (Propuesta Republicana: PRO) party, and other parties. While Lavagna himself is unlikely to emerge from the mid-terms as a major player, his comments yesterday illustrate the dangers to Scioli of potential support from the right and centre of Peronism being captured by other political forces.

One political actor who has kept a low profile in recent weeks seems likely to be a major threat to Scioli in 2015, Sergio Massa, intendente (mayor) of the city of Tigre on the outskirts of Buenos Aires has roots in the political centre-right, and was Fernández’s head of cabinet from mid-2008 to mid-2009. However, now estranged from Fernández, he seems clearly capable of drawing on a range of support across the Peronist spectrum, and his recently formalized Peronist Renovation Front (Frente Peronista Renovación: FPR) faction has begun to build a profile in congress and more widely.

Outlook and implications

The FpV federal government is thus involved in a not very covert campaign to discredit Scioli – the first target is to weaken his support base in Buenos Aires province, where approximately one-third of Argentine voters reside, in the October 2013 mid-term legislative elections. That will also weaken Scioli’s ability to attract support for a presidential candidacy from within Peronism. Meanwhile, the Fernández government has, according to some analyses, increased the rhythm of its spending on social programmes in the province – conservative daily newspaper La Nacion today assessed that federal spending is supporting 58 social cash transfer programmes in the province with a cost of around USD12 billion. Whilst true that the province itself also runs a wide range of social programmes, the federal government has far greater resources with which to provide such services. No matter how justified that spending is in practical terms, as ever, its co-ordination with the electoral cycle seems more than a coincidence.

Political activity in recent days is thus certainly focussed on the October mid-terms, but with the overarching objective of 2015 dominating all. As things stand, Scioli looks set to face an increasingly difficult battle from a number of different directions to retain his status as the non-FpV Peronist most likely to become president in 2015. Should his legislative allies be diminished after October, his political support base is likely to diminish and move towards other aspirants to that Peronist role, notably Massa.

8. ARGENTINA POSTS MAJOR SLOWDOWN IN GROWTH DURING 2012 (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Paula Diosquez

20 March 2013

Activity in the manufacturing, agriculture, and construction sectors decreased during 2012 showing the negative impact of import barriers and foreign exchange restrictions.

IHS Global Insight perspective

Significance

Argentina’s official data show an increase in seasonally adjusted GDP during the fourth quarter of 2012, when compared to the questionable growth registered in the third quarter of the year.

Implications

The still-significant annual growth rate in domestic demand continues raising concerns because it is a result of individuals shielding themselves against inflation by purchasing goods and services.

Outlook

In the next few quarters, economic activity is expected to show slightly more dynamism as the manufacturing sector moves beyond the negative impact of import barriers, which reduced the availability of intermediate inputs during 2012. Nonetheless, economic growth will remain sluggish as inflation continues to erode real wages because wage adjustments will lag behind, thus cooling private-sector consumption.

The National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) of Argentina released figures for GDP in the fourth quarter of 2012, showing meagre but positive annual results. Argentina’s GDP expanded 2.1% year-on-year (y/y) in October-December. In addition, the positive result observed in the previous quarter has been followed by an improvement in performance in quarter-on-quarter (q/q) terms, according to the data released. Indeed, taking into account seasonally adjusted figures, GDP increased 1.3% q/q during October-December.

In annual terms, Argentina’s GDP growth was influenced mainly by still-increasing domestic demand and a decline in external demand. Real exports of goods and services shrunk, driven by the decrease in goods exports in real terms. At the same time, the volume of imports decreased as a result of the import barriers imposed by the government, down 2.1% y/y in the last quarter of 2012. Household demand growth decelerated in comparison with the previous year, from 8.8% y/y in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 4.4% y/y in 2012. Gross fixed-capital formation posted an annual decline in the last quarter of 2012 as investment in construction activities by the private sector, and to a lesser extent in machinery and equipment, decreased in October-December 2012.

By sector, GDP averted an annual decline in the fourth quarter, due to significant growth in the service sector, up 4.2% y/y – which accounted for 64.8% of GDP. Indeed, activity in the financial intermediation sector expanded 18.9% y/y, the transport, haulage, and communications sector rose 4.3 y/y, and the public sector services increased 3.6% y/y. On the other hand, activity in the manufacturing sector decreased 1.3% y/y, while construction activity dropped 5.7% y/y. According to data from the monthly industrial production survey, industrial manufacturing decreased – led by oil refining, vehicle assembly, and cement, among others. Meanwhile, there was an expansion in the retail and wholesale services, up 3.8% y/y.

Outlook and implications

When analysing full year results, GDP expanded 1.9% in 2012. This is a stark slowdown when compared to the 8.9% y/y registered in 2011. Moreover, there seems to be a break in the trend of publishing extremely positive growth rates in the government’s official statements. The slowdown in economic activity was not only a result of the choking of the manufacturing sector but also the slump in the export sector. Indeed, the series of foreign-exchange controls have created a wedge between the official exchange rate and the parallel market exchange rate, which in turn serves as an implicit tax hike to the export sector as their earnings are disbursed in local currency using the official exchange rate that does not fully reflect the increase in costs observed in the country; thus reducing the incentives for the sector to increase production. A 1.9% GDP expansion in 2012 implies that the government will not have to pay the GDP warrants in 2013 (tied to a 3.4% expansion in 2012) thus implying savings of approximately USD3.0–USD3.2 million; nonetheless since these funds have already been accounted for in the 2013 budget we expect them to be a partial lifeline for the government and be re-allocated to cover operational fiscal spending.

9. U.S. DOLLAR SURGES AGAINST ARGENTINA PESO ON INFORMAL MARKETS (Dow Jones Global Equities News)

By Ken Parks and Shane Romig

20 March 2013

BUENOS AIRES–The U.S. dollar surged to record levels against Argentina’s peso on the black market Wednesday due to new foreign currency restrictions and seasonally high demand for greenbacks by Argentine tourists ahead of the five-day Easter holiday weekend.

The widening chasm between the regulated exchange rate and parallel rates poses a serious challenge to an economy beset by annual inflation that most analysts say is running at about 26%. Some businesses use the “blue dollar,” as the black market dollar is known in Argentina, as a reference for setting the prices of goods and services.

Argentines paid about ARS8.75 per dollar on the black market, compared with about ARS8.05 last Friday, according to the newspaper El Cronista, which publishes an average of rates collected from underground currency dealers.

Television station TN also reported a black market rate of ARS8.75, without citing sources.

Meanwhile, the cheap, but difficult to get, official dollar was quoted closing at ARS5.0950 on the regulated MAE wholesale exchange market.

A trader at a Buenos Aires-based foreign exchange house attributed Wednesday’s spike in the “blue dollar” to speculative buying in the wake of new regulations aimed at curbing the outflow of dollars for tourism.

“It’s crazy,” said the trader, who asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the subject. “Day by day people are seeing fewer and fewer ways to buy dollars… Nobody wants to sell their dollars.”

A spokesman for the central bank, which regulates the foreign exchange market, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The peso has also weakened sharply in recent weeks as measured by another unofficial exchange rate, the blue-chip swap.

Businesses that need hard currency to pay for imports or sophisticated investors who want to get their money out of Argentina buy local stocks and bonds, and then sell them offshore for dollars.

The implied exchange rate using shares of steel tube maker Tenaris SA (TS, TS.BA)–long a favorite of traders who engage in the blue-chip swap thanks to the stock’s high liquidity in Buenos Aires and New York–was about ARS8.48 Wednesday, compared to ARS6.80 at the end of last year.

Though perfectly legal, the authorities frown on the transaction and brokers who are overly aggressive in their use of the blue-chip swap risk running afoul of regulators.

Economists say that if the gap between official and parallel rates persists or widens, it could cement expectations that the peso is in for a swifter depreciation, or even devaluation, on the regulated spot market. That in turn would likely spur even more demand for scarce black market dollars.

Since late 2011, the government of President Cristina Kirchner has strictly rationed the sale of dollars and other currencies to prevent a run on the Central Bank of Argentina’s international reserves by jittery foreigners and Argentines whose peso holdings are being eroded by inflation.

Mrs. Kirchner’s focus on spurring rapid economic growth through high government spending and low interest rates at the expense of price stability is one reason investors pulled more than $73 billion out of Argentina since she took office in December 2007.

Businesses now have to receive government authorization to import goods, while Argentines have been banned from buying dollars for savings purposes.

Those people who want to travel must ask the federal tax agency, Afip, for permission to buy dollars at the official exchange rate or turn to the black market. Afip has been approving up to $100 a day for travelers.

On Monday, the agency increased a tax on offshore purchases with credit cards issued in Argentina to 20% from 15%.

In the tax decree, Afip accused several tourism agencies of conspiring to help people funnel hard currency out of the country.

Currency controls and restrictions on imported goods have been successful in choking off capital outflows, with one measure tracked by the central bank falling to just $3.40 billion last year from $21.50 billion in 2011.

But the central bank has struggled to rebuild its international reserves after the government borrowed $9.3 billion to pay creditors last year.

Those reserves stood at $41.1 billion on Tuesday, a drop of almost $2.2 billion from the end of 2012.

Economic research firm Abeceb said in a note the controls have also strangled capital inflows, especially financing for companies.

“The indirect costs associated with this scheme are not to be underestimated, especially on overall economic activity and investment in particular due to greater uncertainty and operating problems for companies,” Abeceb analysts wrote.

10. ARGENTINA ECONOMY: GOVERNMENT TIGHTENS THE SCREW ON FOREIGN CONSUMPTION (Economist Intelligence Unit – ViewsWire)

20 March 2013

In its latest move to keep foreign capital flight in check and protect foreign reserves, the government has ramped up the surcharge levied on overseas credit and debit card use for its citizens (the so-called foreign consumption tax) and extended its scope to cover all overseas tourism services sold domestically, irrespective of the method of payment. Far from helping correcting distortions in the foreign exchange market, this additional measure is expected to add to currency depreciation and inflationary pressures.

Argentinians who, while abroad, use debit cards for purchases or credit cards for cash advances now face a surcharge of 20% on their transactions, up from 15% when it was first introduced in September. The surcharge has also been extended to domestic purchases of tickets for travel abroad, overseas holiday packages and other tourism services from domestic travel agencies regardless of how payment is made, even if it is a cash payment in Argentinian pesos. The increase also applies to all internet purchases in foreign currency.

More distortions to correct

The move reinforces government measures to stem foreign capital flight and protects the foreign exchange reserves of the Banco Central de la República Argentina (BCRA, the Central Bank), which are needed for servicing the public debt. Although these measures have been successful-reducing private-sector dollar flight six-fold last year-the authorities have been left struggling to correct the fallout stemming from its policies. Following the tightening in 2011 of restrictions on the purchase of foreign currency for all but holiday purposes, demand for travel dollars rose by 76% last year. That contributed to the tourism sector turning from recording a net surplus on tourist spending in 2011 of US$300m to a net deficit of US$3bn last year.

Between its introduction in September and the end of February, the authorities collected just short of Ps1bn (US$200m) as a result of the surcharge. The effect for overseas tourism purposes has been to devalue the peso by around 20%, creating a “dólar turístico” exchange rate, currently of around Ps6.12:US$1, and in effect imposing a punitive tax on foreign travel. In theory the surcharge is deductible against other tax obligations such as income tax or wealth tax. However, the relatively small number of tax deduction claims made to date point to widespread abuse of the system.

Record premium on black market as incentive to abuse system

In addition to barring several thousand people from future applications because they obtained foreign currency for reasons not connected with travel, the authorities are investigating at least two travel companies and a currency exchange company suspected of using overseas tourism as a conduit for capital flight. Even with the 20% surcharge there is still ample incentive to abuse the system and swallow the losses, when demand has pushed the premium for buying dollars on the black market to a now-record margin of 60% above the official exchange rate.

Increasingly outlandish effort to correct distortions and fill loopholes created by the restrictions imposed in the foreign exchange market will only add to currency depreciation and inflationary pressures. Despite increasingly clear signs of the need for policy reassessment to take place, there will be little or no movement in the run-up to the legislative election this year.

11. ARGENTINA’S BLACK MARKET PESO HITS LOW AS CONTROLS TIGHTENED (Reuters News)

20 March 2013

BUENOS AIRES, March 20 (Reuters) – Argentina’s black market peso slid 5.5 percent to close at a record low against the dollar on Wednesday due to further government controls aimed at keeping dollars in the country, traders said.

The informal peso, which is measured by Reuters, ended at 8.70/8.75 per dollar, bringing the difference with the official exchange rate to 71.7 percent.

President Cristina Fernandez, who uses central bank foreign reserves to pay debt, imposed controls on foreign currency purchases soon after she won re-election in 2011 and they have been tightened considerably since then.

On Monday, her government hiked a levy on credit card purchases abroad by five percentage points to 20 percent and extended the measure to holiday packages paid for at home.

The credit card charge can be used as a tax credit to be deducted from income or wealth tax at the end of the year.

Argentines have long used the U.S. dollar as a refuge from economic uncertainty and high inflation at home. Markets have reacted mostly negatively to Fernandez’s interventionist policies and local dollar demand has grown in recent months.

Buying dollars and other foreign currency at the official exchange rate is virtually banned, forcing many to turn to the black market and pay a high premium over the official rate or pay the credit card levy to withdraw cash overseas.

The peso closed flat in official, interbank trade at 5.0950/5.0975 per dollar.

12. WTO FAULTS ARGENTINA ON TRADE POLICY, DATA TRANSPARENCY (Reuters News)

By Tom Miles

20 March 2013

GENEVA, March 20 (Reuters) – The World Trade Organization added its voice on Wednesday to criticism of the quality of Argentina’s inflation data, and said the country’s restrictive trade policies could fuel price pressures.

“The acceleration of inflation is a source of concern, although it does not appear to be fully reflected in the official data,” the WTO said in a survey of Argentina’s trade policies.

The documents were drafted by the WTO secretariat for this week’s periodic country review at the WTO headquarters in Geneva.

Trade policy reviews, which come around every six years for developing countries like Argentina, are a very rare opportunity for WTO officials to pass comment. Normally they remain entirely neutral, leaving the WTO’s 159 members to challenge each other.

The inflation data took into account only variations in the consumer price index in Greater Buenos Aires, the document said.

Argentina has already been reprimanded by the International Monetary Fund for the quality of its data, and it has been given until Sept 29 to take action.

The WTO also said that, while Argentina’s export policy was seeking to stabilise the price of exportable products in the domestic market by applying duties, a policy of discouraging imports could push up the price of imported products, affecting inflation.

According to official data, Argentina’s inflation rate was 0.5 percent in February, down from 1.1 percent in January. But the figures are widely disputed and private economists estimate consumer prices rose by 1.8 percent in February.

The WTO also said Argentina was using more non-tariff restrictions such as import licensing and registration requirements, but the clarity of some of its rules “tended to be undermined by the apparent lack of transparency”.

Five WTO members launched trade disputes against Argentina last year, alleging overly restrictive rules on goods imports. One of the five, Mexico, later withdrew its complaint after the two countries signed a pact on car imports.

But litigation brought by another three – the United States, European Union and Japan – is going ahead. The fifth, Panama, has made a wider-ranging complaint.

Argentina is likely to face a barrage of questions about its policies during the closed-door meeting on Wednesday and Friday, and WTO members have already sent written questions, resulting in a confidential 322-page dossier of Argentina’s responses.

 

Lanata, Loser y Griesa

27 marzo, 2013

Esta mañana por Radio Mitre, se preguntó al famoso economista Claudio Loser x los fondos buitres, ya que uno de los integrantes de la radio está indignado ante la mera posibilidad de que Argentina deba pagar mas de lo que pagó a los que aceptaron la quita, le parecía una injusticia. Me sorprendió que Loser hablase en forma vacilante, con la esperanza de que una nueva “piolada” cristinista permitiera el próximo viernes ofrecer un poquitito mas a los “buitres” y estuviese algo esperanzado que la justicia neoyorquina lo aceptaría. Por suerte, dijo no ser abogado, en el sentido de no entender derecho de N. Y. Y ahora en internet me encuentro su opinión http://www.cronista.com/economiapolitica/Claudio-Loser-El-desdoblamiento-cambiario-es-una-solucion-posible-pero-no-perfecta-20130325-0018.html que a mi nada me convence. A los economistas argentinos les descreo, son o se hacen los irremisiblemente estatistas, y con eso tienen éxito internacional y algunos se vuelven millonarios, como Domingo Felipe Cavallo, que de derecho entiende tan poco, que asesoró a de la Rua a firmar el criminal – en el sentido de delito penal – corralito, que a los pocos días costó la expulsión a su enfermo Presidente Fernando de la Rúa, y comenzó el golpe de estado que nos mantiene otra vez al pueblo sometido a la inflación fascista. Por suerte para los estadounidenses, tienen un sistema juridico creible, con el cual logran captar ahorros y capitales que usan en forma inteligente, al servicio de la economía estadounidense y de los dueños de los capitales. El cristinismo es lo opuesto: usa por un tiempo los capitales y el patrimonio de los argentinos y extranjeros, para enriquecer a sus partisanos, y los capitales huyen, en forma inteligente, de cualquier forma, aunque ciertas empresas cambian de manos y quedan – se dice – en poder de los amigos oficialistas. El fascismo que sufrimos desde 1930 hasta hoy nos ha costado muy caro, incluyendo la aventura en Malvinas que derramó sangre, amen de las disputas internas – alentadas por Perón en su largo exilio en España – para poder derrotar a los militares, y volver él mismo al poder, cosa que logró demasiado tarde. Duró ocho meses en la ultima presidencia y murió, cometiendo el poco  democrático error de designar a su esposa Isabel como Vice Presidenta. Ella, al enviudar, quería renunciar y  huir, pero su entorno peronista lo impedía  y luego de derrocada ella, los militares tampoco la dejaban en libertad, la tuvieron años presa para intentar aprovechar su imagen, hasta que finalmente consiguió retornar a España, donde vive sin problemas, al amparo del gobierno español autoritario y fascista.

Hoy me intriga el futuro de Cristina. Se dice insiste en controlar los precios en forma estatizante, para ganar las elecciones de octubre y poder modificar la Constitución para conseguir otra re elección para 2015/19, y no imagino como conseguirá escapar de la hiperinflación en el curso de su actual mandato, si continua con la política económica antinacional de su modelo, o incluso, si acepta ese desdoblamiento cambiario sugerido por Loser. Porque sin moneda, no existe país civilizado, volvemos a la época de las cavernas: el ahorro y el crédito desaparecen, máxime si los jueces argentinos han enseñado que los pactos no se cumplen y la Justicia lo apaña. Esa mentalidad hace que Loser crea que a los jueces norteamericanos podemos engañarlos con ofertas que perjudiquen a los confiados bonistas adquirentes de bonos argentinos emitidos en Nueva York. Espe Loser se equivoque para que los presidentes argentinos aprendan que las deudas deben ser pagadas, si queremos progresar en el tercer milenio. Bergoglio coincidiría, el Vaticano entiende de finanzas y bancos, y su misión como Francisco es – aparte de la pedofilia – evitar nuevos escándalos financieros internos  que perjudican a la Iglesia y la empobrecen algo..

CRISTINA pacta con “EL IMPERIO”

26 marzo, 2013

http://www.infobae.com/notas/702902-YPF-firmo-un-acuerdo-con-Dow-para-el-desarrollo-de-shale-gas-en-Vaca-Muerta.html  BOLIVARIANISMO OLVIDADO!!!

PERDIMOS: los K eran los BUITRES

26 marzo, 2013

http://www.infobae.com/notas/702855-EEUU-la-Justicia-denego-el-pedido-de-la-Argentina-para-revisar-el-fallo.html