Argentina has been at the center of various global crises in recent history. As of the beginning of the 20th century, developed Western countries - ainly Britain - tried to economically and politically dominate Argentina in order to benefit from its abundant agricultural products and production power in an effort to take over its various resources. However, the military coups in Argentina and also the Peronist-Populist reign have not been very different to the Western hegemony forced on Argentina.
During the junta period that commenced with the General Jorge Videla coup in 1976 and lasted until 1983, an unprincipled and unqualified neoliberalism was imposed on the country, destroying the Argentinian economy. The policies that were applied during the junta period also continued after 1983 resulting in the destruction of the country's agricultural potential and causing unnecessary debts and a high outflow of funds, ravaging the public finance balance of the country. The factories of international companies turned into labor camps, there was high exploitation of labor, high outflows of capital, debts were paid under high interest rates and despite the abundant underground treasures, the labor force and agricultural production power the country started suffering from mass poverty. During 1983 and 1989 the economic and political policies of the junta period continued and in the Carlos Menem period, which started in 1989, the neoliberal policies forced upon the country deepened, paving the way to the outbreak of the 2000 crisis.
The Minister of Economy Domingo Cavallo, during the Menem period, prioritized controlling inflation in order to close the public sector deficit and switched the Currency Board policy, which keeps the value of the local currency at high levels. As a result of this policy, due to the high valuation of the Peso, Argentina's foreign trade deficit increased and an economy purely based on imports with high debts emerged. In reality, the Currency Board policy is a monetary policy that has been imposed on countries such as Argentina and Turkey under inflation targeting policies. In this system, the local currency is overvalued, thus imports become cheaper, exports become more expensive and shortterm capital inflow is encouraged. When the crisis became inevitable due to the high devaluation, the country's resources became cheaper overnight. As a result, Argentina's labor and its agricultural, industrial products and other similar resources and funds were exported at lower prices than their real value.
In Latin America, at the beginning of the new millennium both political and economic feuds became prominent and this feud continued during the Lula period in Brazil, the Michelle Bachelet period in Chilli and the Cristina Fernandez Kirchner period in Argentina. During the global financial crisis of 2008, Argentina made important moves. It nationalized the retirement funds, which were around $30 billion (TL 64.31 billion). Argentina gained an important advantage with the debt swap in 2005, the most important one in its history. Argentina traded its foreign debts equaling $103 billion with valuable papers worth $41.8 billion. Did the creditors agree?
They had to since there wasn't anything they could do. Various banks, retirement agencies and personal investors in Europe gave up 70 percent of their receivables and accepted Argentina's debt swap. Argentina had already declared that it will not be capable of paying a part of its debts, which were around $100 billion in 2001. After this default and the debt swap, Argentina was successful in achieving good growth rates and lowering unemployment. However, the debts of the country were public debts.
When we look back, since the beginning of the 1990s many lessons were learned from the crisis in Asia and Latin America. When we consider Argentina's situation, the phrase used is mostly "Argentina preferred default" instead of Argentina went bankrupt and this is not a direct default or bankruptcy but a technical objection made by the country.
Argentina first objected to the securities issued (in accordance with the Fiscal Agency Agreement) back in 1994. It then agreed to pay the price of these securities through swaps in 2005 and 2010. While about 91 percent of the investors agreed, some didn't agree to the hedge fund swap conditions. A law, named the "Argentina Lock," was passed in order to force all investors to agree to swap in 2005, thus preventing payment of previous securities.
U.S. courts ruled that the Lock Code was contradicting the pari passu principle: "The securities will constitute ... direct, unconditional, unsecured and unsubordinated obligations of the republic and shall at all times rank pari passu without any preference among themselves. The payment obligations of the republic under the securities shall at all times rank at least equally with all its other present and future unsecured and unsubordinated external indebtedness."
In other words, referring to security issues, all securities are equal and these securities are also equal to the securities issued in foreign currencies. Therefore, the court declared that without closing the previous securities issued, Argentina will not be able to pay for the new securities and bonds issued.
On the other hand, Argentina interprets the pari passu rule as not all security holders being equal but only the securities in the same issuance class to be equal within themselves.
Therefore now, Argentina is not making any payments to hedge funds that are waiting like vultures, and it shouldn't either. The Argentinian head of state declared that these hedge funds are scavengers like vultures and they will not be paying the additional payment of around $15 billion. Argentina has again delivered an important lesson to the developing countries; the East and the South in the world will not submit to the corrupted financial games played by Western countries.
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