Americas Policy Special Report
Argentinas IMF Agreement:
A Squandered Opportunity
by Alan Cibils and Martha Farmelo | May 2003
Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC)
Marta Ocampo de Vásquez is a founder of the world-renowned Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo. These white-kerchiefed women boldly confronted the grisly military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983 and to this day demand the return of their disappeared children.
Over two decades later shes still in the streets protesting, now against economic policy as well as political violence. The results can be just as deadly.
Look at the economic plan they left us with. And look at the state of the Argentine people. A country with such wealththe granary of the worldand people are dying of hunger! Until recently we said that 100 children a day died from malnutrition, but today wed have to increase that number. Its incredible.
According to official statistics, after four years of economic recession, approximately half of the work force is unemployed or underemployed. 1
The latter includes part-time employmenteven one hour per weekfor those seeking full-time work. More than half of the population lives in poverty, and roughly a third is indigent. In 2002, the economy shrank by 11%.
Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo: http://www.indec.gov.ar/
In January 2003, after a year of seemingly endless negotiations, President Eduardo Duhalde achieved his principal economic goalan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). On the part of the IMF, the agreement merely postpones payments coming due. In return, Argentina agreed to a package of blatantly recessionary policies.
The new IMF agreement is not only unnecessary for Argentinas recoverythe economy had been showing modest signs of recovery since the second quarter of 2002but causes considerable harm from the viewpoint of solving the countrys real problems: hunger, unemployment, and inequality. The agreement also demonstrates that inside the IMF nothing has changed. The institution continues to apply the same old solutions it did in the 1990s and before. In the case of Argentina, the IMF has not only failed to admit its mistakes, but is repeating them. 2
From Default to Capitulation
When seven-day President Adolfo Rodríguez Saá took office on December 23, 2001, he made the dramatic but largely inevitable announcement that Argentina would default on its public debtwith the exception of that held by multilateral lenders such as the IMF and the World Bank. In January, 2002, current President Eduardo Duhalde upheld that default and took the giant and perhaps equally inevitable step of ending almost eleven years of one-peso-to-one dollar parity by devaluing the peso, which lost 78% of its value.
Since then, it seems that the governments only plan for reactivating the economy has been to pursue a new agreement with the IMF, although that agreement proved elusive. During twelve months of unsuccessful negotiations, the IMF kept moving the goalposts. Each time Argentina appeared to have complied with the IMFs preconditions for a loan, the IMF raised new issues and demands. 3
At last in mid-November, protecting its slim Central Bank reserves and appearing to play hardball with its international creditors, Argentina paid only $79 million of an $805 million obligation to the World Bank and then missed payments on December 13 and 16 as well. As a result, the World Bank suspended disbursements of funds on pre-approved loans destined mostly for social programs.
Apparently fearful that Argentina might be so bold as to fall into official default with its multilateral lenders, 4 only days after the December non-payments, the IMF sent a negotiating team on an unscheduled trip to Buenos Aires. They evaluated progress toward a new loan agreement that would take effect before late January, when Argentina was scheduled to make a $1.065 billion payment to the IMF.
Finally, on January 24, 2003 the IMF and the Argentine government signed an agreement. This accord postpones payments due to the IMF through August 2003. 5 That is, it provides dollars that will never leave Washington, not funds to address the crisis. In return, Argentina agreed to deeper budget cuts, increases in utility rates, and initial steps toward privatizing public banks.
According to Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna, this is a textbook agreement. 6 Though his remark may have been designed to quell the numerous critics of the accord, he was correct to state that the agreement imposes classic IMF demands.
Any first-year economics student knows that slashing the budget during a deep recession is counterproductive. Still, the IMF accord demands budget cuts that will either deepen Argentinas recession or, at best, slow down recovery. This is in line with the typical IMF requirement of curtailing public spending as a precondition for loans, which prohibits increased spending in the vital areas of job creation and poverty alleviation.
Specifically, in exchange for debt rollover, the government agreed to achieve a primary budget surplus (which excludes debt and interest payments) of 2.5% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Of this, 2.1% must be generated by the national government and 0.4% by the provinces. This represents a reduction in primary national spending (which excludes transfers of funds to the provinces) of 1.5% of GDP relative to 2002.
Clearly the IMFs intention is for Argentina to pay its debt above all other economic goals, even economic recovery. The intention seems to be fully shared by Minister Lavagna and his economic team, which in a January 27, 2003 press conference stated that their priority is to lower the nations indebtedness. 7
Given the current social catastrophe in Argentina, one would imagine that the countrys leaders would feel an obligation to direct public funds toward resolving serious problems of human welfare. But it seems that the IMF, Economy Minister Lavagna and President Duhalde see matters differently.
Less cash in circulation means less money for people to buy and sell goods and services, i.e., less economic activity. Monetary restrictions exacerbate economic depression. Recognizing this basic mechanism, Economy Minister Lavagna originally insisted there would be no monetary contraction.
However, the new 2003 IMF agreement explicitly stipulated that after the monetary expansion of February and March, the monetary base must shrink back to December 2002 levels. That would have required a dramatic contraction of 850 million pesos. Even experts were puzzled by the rationale for such a tight monetary policy, given that there are no indicators that expansion has led to inflation. In fact, in the short and medium run, the high percentage of unemployment and unutilized installed productive capacity should easily offset any inflationary tendencies caused by monetary expansion.
Thus, in mid-April, Lavagna and Central Bank President Alfonso Prat-Gay traveled to wartime Washington, DC to request IMF permission to expand rather than contract the monetary base. They were successful, which marks an implicit and unusual admission by the IMF that its initial policy requirement was erroneous.
Capital Controls and Exchange Policy
Controls on the inflow and outflow of capital are key to stabilizing the economy and avoiding disasters like the tequila effect that wreaked havoc on the Argentine economy after the 1994 Mexican peso crisis. Yet, the IMF agreement calls for the gradual elimination of the capital controls imposed just after the value of the dollar spiked in April 2002. The IMF has always resisted capital controls on ideological grounds since it steadfastly opposes any state interference in the market. The IMF maintains its opposition to capital controls despite the fact that such controls were very effective in halting the increase in the value of the dollar during 2002.
Also for ideological reasons, the agreement demands that Argentina adopt a totally free-floating exchange rate, although there is ample consensus outside of orthodox neoliberal circles that an intermediate schemesuch as government intervention to buy and sell dollars, known here as flotación sucia or a dirty float,is preferable to either a fixed or totally free exchange rate. The free-float scheme imposed by the IMF actually favors financial speculation in Argentina by promoting the free entry and exit of foreign capital in search of quick profits, thus increasing macroeconomic instability.
The IMF agreement lays the groundwork for the eventual privatization of Argentinas three principal public banks: Banco Nación, Banco Provincia (de Buenos Aires), and Banco Ciudad (de Buenos Aires). Minister Lavagna argues that the justification for privatizing public banks is to increase efficiency and transparency through trading on the stock market. 8
However, public trading on the stock market guarantees neither transparency nor efficiency, as the recent examples of Enron and WorldCom make painfully clear. In contrast, better supervision and prudent regulation would guarantee efficiency and transparency, especially if administered through effective government institutions with mechanisms of participation and oversight by civil society.
When the Duhalde administration first devalued the peso in January 2002, bank deposits were converted from dollars to pesos at the rate of one dollar to 1.4 pesos, while bank loans were converted at a rate of one-to-one. To compensate foreign and domestic private banks and public banks for this gap, the IMF agreement includes a provision by which the government must issue special bonds to the banks. This measure alone will swell Argentinas public debt by 105 billion pesos, to a total of 612 billion pesos.
According to several calculations, the debt already equals about 150% of GDP. 9 In other words, Argentina owes one-and-a-half times what the entire economy produces in a year, a figure that is both alarming and entirely unsustainable. It is equally alarming that neither the government nor the Congress has spurred public debate about refinancing the debt, debt forgiveness, or reductions in interest rates.
Although sovereignty is fundamentally a political issue, it has economic manifestations and tremendous social significance. This is especially true since Argentinas economy has been moving toward nearly total management by the IMF. A situation of IMF tutelage would fulfill proposals made by the late MIT economist Rudiger Dornbusch and his Chilean colleague Ricardo Caballero to hire foreign consultants to run the Argentine economy. 10 These proposals, issued shortly after the crisis, caused a major uproar in Argentine political circles.
Under the January 2003 agreement, IMF control pervades the Argentine government. The accord stipulates that the IMF will directly supervise the provinces financial accounts and will participate in drafting legislation to reform the financial relationship between the provinces and the national government. Furthermore, the agreement calls for private consultants and technical staff from the IMF and World Bank to be involved in welfare planning, the restructuring of public banks, and negotiations with privatized public utilities.
During agreement negotiations, the IMF demanded a 30-50% hike in public service tariffs. The Argentine courts declared this measure unconstitutional on the basis of the recent National Emergency law that froze utility rates at current levels. A new law proposed by the governmentbut not yet passedwould increase rates by a far more modest 10%.
Moreover, in May 2002 Congress passed two highly controversial measures by slim margins to satisfy the IMFs pre-conditions for new loans. The first measure made it more difficult to prosecute economic subversion (a type of white-collar crime) by bankers and businesspersons, despite U.S. and IMF condemnation of corruption in Argentina. Argentines believe the IMF supported this measure to protect foreign bankers from prosecution for capital flight and other crimes. The second measure made it easier for foreign and local creditors to take possession of bankrupt businesses.
Sign Here, Please
Before the agreement was signed, Lavagna gave the impression that he was unwilling to accept an accord that represented such a total capitulation to the IMF. Several variables were on his side. Economic indicators at the time suggested that the economic free fall might have been slowing and even reversingbefore this desperately sought agreement.
Third-quarter 2002 figures showed real (after-inflation) growth of 1.5%. After four years of recession this was an encouraging sign, especially since first-quarter growth was down 16.3% from the previous year. Exports grew by over 30% during 2002, although they have since leveled off.
Furthermore, the economy was running a large trade surplus and a significant current account surplus. Inflation was high in the first months after the January 2002 devaluation, but was brought under control remarkably sooner than many people had anticipated. On the one-year anniversary of banking restrictions known as el corralito, or little playpen, the government lifted limits on withdrawals from checking and savings accounts and, surprisingly, Argentines did not scurry to buy dollars.
Meanwhile, the Group of Seven (G-7, the worlds seven major industrialized economies) was lobbying in favor of Argentina to avoid default. The G-7s motives were not altruistic but strictly pragmatic, as later demonstrated by the demands for rate increases for European-owned utilities. Argentina was on the verge of entering into default with the IMF, which would have done lasting damage to the institutions image as the organizer of the creditors cartel.
So how does one explain the governments last minute capitulation? In part, it appears due to the political aspirations of both President Duhalde and Minister Lavagna. Most likely neither wanted to go down in history as the one who led Argentina to default with the IMF. The capitulation could also have been due to pressure from the Argentine financial establishment, given that the agreement contains juicy benefits for them, including compensation for the asymmetric conversion of dollars to pesos for bank deposits and loans, and potential deals involving the privatization of public banks. Most likely, the Argentine governments acquiescence stemmed from a combination of these factors.
What Can be Learned from This Accord?
First, the January 2003 agreement shows that the IMF has not only failed to admit its mistakes, but is repeating them. The depth and duration of Argentinas economic crisis has led to apparent consensus among all but the more right-wing sectors of Argentine society that the current economic model has failed. In contrast, it appears that the IMF is either unable or unwilling to learn from its mistakes, since the institution continues to apply the same solutions it did in the 1990s and before.
Second, it would appear that there is no such thing as a favorable agreement with the IMF, nor is it possible to reach one that remotely benefits Argentina. It is clear from the content of this accord that the IMFs only concern is that Argentina pay its debt, even at the expense of economic growth. Although economic recovery would presumably be the most effective way to assure that the country pays up, the IMF has shown a preference for immediate compliance at the cost of long-term stability. IMF adherence to disproved policies that have led to one economic disaster after another reflects a fundamentalism more typical of religion than economics.
Furthermore, in public statements on the causes of the current crisis, the IMF places the blame squarely on Argentina. IMF Director of the Western Hemisphere Department and point person for Argentina, Dr. Anoop Singha Peter Sellers look-alike and the butt of countless wisecracks in the Argentine mediarepeated the IMF dogma in an April 10, 2002 press briefing: In our view, failures in fiscal policy constitute the root cause of the current crisis. 11
However, this view is not supported by official Argentine statistics, which show that Argentina has run a primary fiscal surplus since 1993. Furthermore, public spending as a percentage of GDP had been decreasing before the crisis, not increasing as the IMF posits. 12
Argentina, National Government Spending and Revenues (1993-2002)
In millions of current pesos
– Total Spending as % of GDP
– Interest Payments
(included in Total Spending)
– Interest Payments as % of GDP
Deficit or Surplus (Rev-Spend)
Deficit or Surplus as % of GDP
Primary Spending (excl. interest)
Primary Surplus or Deficit
Primary Spending as % of GDP
Primary Surplus or Deficit as % of GDP
Source: "Argentina Since Default," CEPR Issue Brief , September 2002, based on information from the Ministry of Economy, Argentina.
Based on this mistaken analysis, the IMF continues to insist on the wrong solution to Argentinas crisisgreater budget cuts as a precondition for further loans. It argues that such austerity will revive investor confidence that, in turn, will stimulate economic recovery.
Countless Argentines disagree. Indeed, many argue that the only possible solution to the crisis is a general moratorium on all of Argentinas debt, including that held by the IMF, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Only then will Argentina be able to apply resources generated through its primary and commercial surpluses to economic reactivation that prioritizes a more equitable distribution of wealth, job creation, reactivation of demand, and medium- and short-term development policies.
In this sense, the Duhalde administration wasted a historic opportunity to do the right thing: to take advantage of its status as a transitional government to declare a generalized debt moratorium, break with the long-exhausted economic model of permanent budget cuts, and focus instead on the urgent problems that plague Argentina today: hunger, unemployment, and inequality.
Alternatives for Recovery
There is no shortage of comprehensive proposals for recovery. The Grupo Fénix (Phoenix Group) is a team of more than thirty well-known Argentine economists based at the University of Buenos Aires. They presented Economy Minister Lavagna with a comprehensive five-year economic proposal that would yield jobs and food for thousands of destitute families in the first year alone. 13 Nor is theirs the only comprehensive reactivation proposal out there.
Many of their ideas are similar to those of recent presidential candidate Elisa Carrió and her Alternativa para una República de Iguales (Alternative for a Republic of Equals, ARI). The ARI is one of the only parties to outline a detailed program for pulling Argentina out of the crisis. 14 Likewise, several alternative proposals have been put forward by the Central de los Trabajadores Argentinos (CTA). 15 The CTA is a progressive, non-partisan labor federation founded in 1992 by a group of union leaders that wanted to create a non-partisan, non-traditional labor federation that would oppose then-President Menems structural adjustment policies. (At that time, most labor groups were affiliated with the Peronist Party.)
In general, alternative proposals consist of nine central measures:
Eradicate hunger with a redistributive shock using monthly subsidies for unemployed heads of household, each of their children and senior citizens with no pension. In addition to alleviating poverty, this measure would jump-start the economy by channeling resources to those who spend 100% of their disposable income, which would boost the internal demand for local products and generate jobs in small businesses.
Create jobs with labor-intensive public works through classic Keynesian economy-stimulating projects, such as massive construction of low-income housing or service projects such as daycare centers and community health programs.
Reindustrialize via efficient import substitutions in contrast to IMF-sponsored indiscriminate trade liberalization. This means using protectionist policies such as tariffs and quotas to limit imports that compete with key local goods, until Argentinas industry is up, running, and competitive. The goal is also to boost export revenue by increasing the value added to Argentine exports (e.g., shoes instead of leather or sweaters instead of wool). In 2002 de facto import substitution reached 12 billion pesos when imports fell by more than half as a result of the mega-devaluation of the peso early in the year.
Boost tax collection , mostly through control of evasion. To both increase tax revenue and redistribute income, the economists of the Phoenix Group would reduce the regressive 21% value-added (sales) tax, lower taxes on essential goods, and increase levies on luxury items. They would make income taxes more progressive and introduce currently nonexistent taxes on capital gains and earned interest income. Furthermore, they would implement hefty taxes on exports, since they believe these dollar-denominated profits belong to the people and should be used for the public good.
Recoup the peso as the national currency . A currency has three functions: as the unit of account by which people measure how much goods and services cost; as the means of exchange by which people conduct their transactions; and as a store of value being the currency in which people save. Today, the dollar still overshadows the peso in all three functions. De-dollarizing the economy will require a profound cultural change. To this end, some argue for eliminating the use of dollars except for imports, exports, payment of foreign obligations, or foreign travel.
Reconstitute the financial system , rebuilding confidence in the countrys feeble financial institutions. This requires another significant cultural change. The Phoenix Group believes that new banking laws are necessary to increase domestic investment rates through internal savings and loans to people and businesses. It also recommends that foreign banks be limited to providing credit for exports, rather than acting as the motor of the economy.
Reorient international trade , making Mercosur (the Southern Cone trading bloc) the centerpiece of Argentinas international trade policy. The Phoenix Group and other national economists have criticized the Bush administrations proposal for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, which would integrate all of the Americas into a single free-trade agreement. By strengthening Mercosur instead, Argentina could forge more symmetrical trade and investment relations that mutually benefit the countries of the region.
Revamp the role of the state . Arguing along Keynesian lines, the government must again assume an active role in the economy through four mechanisms: strong fiscal policies (using public spending to reactivate the economy), monetary policies (relinquished entirely during eleven years of peso-dollar parity), exchange rate policies (as opposed to letting the peso float freely), and regulation of financial activity, including controls on the in-flows and out-flows of foreign capital.
Renegotiate the debt . A global restructuring of the debt should involve loan forgiveness, lower interest rates, and a grace period of several years. The Phoenix Group insists on suspending payments during negotiations to protect scarce Central Bank reserves and to use the nations commercial surplus for economic reactivation. The ARI proposes a three-year moratorium on all debt payments, during which time the debt would be renegotiated. Furthermore, new debt should be internal, based on domestic savings, and if international debt is incurred it should be denominated in local currency rather than dollars. Finally, private debt is the private sectors problemthe state should neither intervene nor repeat the massive transfers of private to public debt that took place in 1982 and 2001.
The general consensus among Argentines that the current economic model has failed has created appreciable political space for new alternatives such as these. There are other signs that Argentines are ready for change as well.
The Frente Nacional Contra la Pobreza (FRENAPO) is an alliance promoted by Central de los Trabajadores Argentinos (CTA), the Argentine Agrarian Federation, a small business association and human rights groups. In the days just before President Fernando de la Rúas resignation in December 2001, FRENAPO mobilized more than three million Argentines who voted yes to a monthly subsidy of 380 pesos for unemployed heads of household, 60 pesos for each of their children, and 150 pesos for senior citizens with no pensionthe distributive shock described above. The proposed amounts have since increased due to inflation (40% in 2002). The government currently pays families a flat workfare subsidy of 150 pesos per month.
Change vs. Continuity
However, in first-round presidential elections held April 27, 2003, relatively few Argentines voted for change. The election was closely disputed between five candidates. Only one of them, Elisa Carrió, presented a progressive alternative to business as usual, but her relatively new party had a weak organizational base and her decision to reject corporate financing made it impossible to compete with the Peronist party machine.
The Peronists failed to agree on one candidate and instead ran three. Former President Carlos Menem and fellow Peronist Nestor Kirchner, governor of the Province of Santa Cruz, will face a run-off election on May 18, 2003. Menems tenure of 1989 to 1999 is famous for sweeping neoliberal reforms that many believe destroyed the economy. Kirchner represents a continuation of the Duhalde administration, and he has even stated his intention to keep Duhaldes economy minister, Roberto Lavagna. Current polls show Kirchner leading Menem in the run-off by a 30-35 point spread.
Since the December 2001 uprising that precipitated the dramatic resignation of President Fernando de la Rúa, people in the U.S. and around the world have taken keen interest in Argentina. In addition to becoming a center of attention for the antiglobalization movement, Argentina has become a frequently visited and well-studied laboratory for social and economic alternatives driven by need and solidarity, such as barter clubs. Millions of Argentines at more than 4,000 sites around the country trade everything from fresh vegetables to dentistry to used clothing and household goods.
Beatriz Rivero coordinates a club in the working-class neighborhood of Boedo. She said that last year barter suffered a serious decline when forgers flooded the system with false barter credits, shrinking the supply of tradable goods. Now she routinely turns away people who come to buy with credits but bring nothing to trade. Having confronted this problem, barter seems to be on the rise again.
Also on the rise is the number of worker-occupied factories. In countless instances, business owners have suddenly closed a factory, spirited away the money, and abandoned 200 or 300 working-class families in the process. In many cases those families have then organized to continue working to sustain their source of employment, often paying off some of the owners debts. They have faced persistent and sometimes violent repression, especially when owners perceive that the workers are turning a profit. 16 According to the National Movement of Recuperated Factories, there are currently 140 worker-occupied businesses that provide 15,000 jobs.
Alternatives like barter and worker-occupied factories have only a marginal effect on the economy. Still, they are of great consequence because they fire up the collective imagination and challenge the status quo regarding alternative modes of production and changing power relationships.
Diana Maffía is the adjunct ombudsman for the City of Buenos Aires in charge of gender and human rights. The phenomenon of the worker-occupied factories is spectacular, she states. Those families say Were going to keep working and organize among us to sustain this factory. This reflects their collective capacity to believe they can do without an omnipotent authority and rather produce results for themselves.
As part and parcel of their solidarity with movements like these, U.S. activists should push for a revamped U.S. policy toward Argentinaone that prioritizes economic growth and a redistribution of wealth. Policy activism must focus on pressuring for change within the U.S. Treasury, especially in its inextricable relationship with the IMF and World Bank.
For example, activists can join the 50 Years Is Enough Campaign run by the U.S. Network for Global Economic Justice. 17 The campaign calls for the immediate suspension of the policies and practices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group, which have caused widespread poverty, inequality, and suffering among the worlds peoples and damage to the worlds environment. Concerned citizens can also join the Jubilee USA Network that continues the Jubilee 2000 Campaign for debt cancellation. 18
Activists should also work to prevent the creation of the Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism (SDRM)the IMFs proposed international bankruptcy court for insolvent nations like Argentina. In an April, 2003 report, the Jubilee USA Network rejected this proposal largely because the SDRM applies only to debts claimed by the private sector. Jubilee insists that the IMF and World Bank must put its share of the debt portfolio up for consideration as well. Furthermore, the SDRM appoints the IMF the main arbiter in convening the supposedly independent panel that decides who is eligible for debt relief, and designs and monitors the policy commitments made by the debtor country at the time of debt restructuring. Those who support an international bankruptcy mechanism must work to ensure that the institutions and procedures are fair and transparent, and that the IMF participate as just of many creditors rather than the main arbiter.
In addition, solidarity efforts should call for analyzing the legitimacy of the Argentine debt. As an April 2003 Jubilee report points out, much of the debt consists of loans to unaccountable dictators which were stolen with the knowledge and even collusion of the creditors, loans used to finance the tools for suppressing democracy, or loans for wasteful and harmful failed development projects.
Such international solidarity for Argentina is sorely and urgently needed. On December 5 and 6, 2002, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Founding Line) held its annual 24-hour march of resistance. Speaking of the economic crisis and children dying of hunger, Marta Ocampo de Vásquez said, This is why we demonstrated with the slogan saying Then and now, the struggle is the same.
(Alan Cibils < firstname.lastname@example.org > is an Argentine economist and researcher for the Washington, DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research. Martha Farmelo < email@example.com > is a writer and activist and currently a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs.)
For More Information:
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Madres de Plaza de Mayo-Línea Fundadora):
Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo :
Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS):
Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR):
Central de los Trabajadores Argentinos (CTA):
Frente Nacional Contra la Pobreza (FRENAPO):
Indymedia Argentina :
Barrios de Pie (piqueteros):
Red Global de Trueque :
Asamblea Popular de Palermo Viejo :
Asamblea Popular de Almagro :
On the debt:
On the debt:
On the debt:
On the debt:
On the debt:
On the debt:
World Social Forum in Argentina :
1 For official data on poverty and unemployment, see the website of the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censo (National Institute of the Census and Statistics): http://www.indec.gov.ar/ .
2 See La Argentina desde la cesación de pagos: el FMI y la depresión, by Alan Cibils, Mark Weisbrot and Debi Kar, Realidad Económica #192. An English version of this article can be found at: http://www.cepr.net/argentina_since_default.htm .
3 See La Argentina y el Fondo: Quién pierde más sin el acuerdo, by Mark Weisbrot and Alan Cibils, Clarín, Suplemento Económico , December 1, 2002. An English version of this article can be found at: http://www.cepr.net/argentina%20crisis.htm .
4 The World Bank gives countries a 90-day grace period within which to remit late debt payments before falling into official default on their loans.
5 The IMF statement announcing the agreement can be found at: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2003/pr0309.htm . The English version of the statement is at: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2003/cr03101.pdf . The Spanish version of the agreement can be found at the Argentine Economy Ministrys website: http://www.mecon.gov.ar/finanzas/sfinan/fin_acuerdo.htm .
6 See Una carta de delcaración de amor conocida, by David Cufré, Página/12 , January 28, 2003.
8 See Ibarra aseguró que el Banco Ciudad no se abrirá al capital privado, by David Cufré, Página/12 , January 29, 2003.
9 See Una pesada herencia que condiciona al próximo gobierno, by Ismael Bermúdez, Clarín , February 17, 2003.
10 See Argentina: A Rescue Plan That Works, by Rudiger Dornbusch and Ricardo Caballero, at: http://web.mit.edu/rudi/www/media/PDFs/APLANFORARGENTINA.pdf .
11 See press briefing, Buenos Aires, April 10, 2002 at: http://www.imf.org/external/np/tr/2002/tr020410.htm .
12 See the article cited in footnote 2 above for an extensive refutation of the IMF view.
13 The Grupo Fénix proposal can be found at: http://www.econ.uba.ar/www/planfenix/principal/fenix.htm .
14 The ARI proposal can be found at: http://www.ari.org.ar/ .
15 The CTA proposal can be found at: http://www.cta.org.ar/docs/documentos.shtml .
16 Thousands of Argentines converged to support the worker-occupied Brukman clothing factory in downtown Buenos Aires after the police violently evicted the workers in the wee hours of Good Friday (April 18, 2003).
17 For more information, see http://www.50years.org/ .
18 For more information, see http://www.jubileeusa.org/ .
Published by the Americas Program of the Interhemispheric Resource
Center (IRC). ©2003. All rights reserved.
Alan Cibils and Martha Farmelo , Argentinas IMF Agreement: A Squandered Opportunity, Americas Program Special Report (Silver City, NM: Interhemispheric Resource Center, May 2003).
Writers: Alan Cibils and Martha Farmelo
Editor: Laura Carlsen, IRC
Web: Tonya Cannariato, IRC