Kirchner's scheduled U.S. appearances spark protests in New York, Washington, D.C. and Boston
ATFA Urges President Kirchner to Address Escalating Criticisms from the World Community
WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 26, 2012) - As President Kirchner travels the United States this week to speak at the United Nations and deliver public addresses at Georgetown and Harvard Universities, American Task Force Argentina issued the following statement:
"President Kirchner's visit to the United States to promote her agenda comes at a time of growing unrest in her country over that agenda, and it is clear that relations between Argentina and key allies are at a tipping point," said ATFA co-chairs Robert Shapiro and Nancy Soderberg.
"The international community is increasingly concerned about the irresponsible policies of the Kirchner regime. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has admonished Argentina for its protectionist policies; further censure is pending from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF); the United States, Canada and European allies have opposed loans to Argentina by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), and the Obama Administration has revoked Argentina's preferred trade status. The Argentine economy needs infusions of foreign investment, and its government must now find new partners to develop untapped energy resources, just months after nationalizing the Spanish-owned oil company, YPF.
"We urge President Kirchner to address the many concerns raised by the international community, including: her government's refusal to participate in the periodic economic reviews required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF); the ongoing use of false official statistics on inflation and economic growth; growing constraints on freedom of the press; and the continued unwillingness to address outstanding debts owed to U.S. and other foreign creditors. These actions are critical to restoring prosperity for the people of Argentina."
The co-chairs also expressed concern about the mounting injustices against Argentina's free and independent media:
"The evidence is everywhere that the government will use whatever means necessary to shut down media perceived as critical of the administration. In addition to its attacks on Clarín, President Kirchner is also targeting individual journalists who remain committed to independent reporting. This is unacceptable practice for a democracy and a G20-member nation. We encourage colleagues in the U.S. to speak out against abuses against free media."
At home, the Argentine government has provoked outrage among its citizens, resulting in mass protests across the nation in response new restrictions and infringements, including the tracking of citizens' credit cards and harassment of its critics in the media. Protest demonstrations called "cacerolazos" recently broke out against Kirchner and her government, protesting her tightening controls of the economy, corruption scandals and increasing violent crime.
Argentina has also been widely criticized for its heavy-handed tactics to muzzle independent media. Just last weekend, the government ran a threatening TV commercial which calls Clarín Group "a truly illegal national network" and promises to force Clarín to divest its cable networks on December 7. La Nación reported that the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) issued a "strong rejection" of the government's TV commercial. "We deplore the government using a commercial spot to put out political propaganda on television with the intent to threaten a media outlet that doesn't follow its point of view and to pressure judges to issue a decision that favors it," chairman of the IAPA committee on freedom of the press, Gustavo Mohme, was quoted as saying.
Last week, the IMF reprimanded Argentina for under-reporting inflation statistics and exaggerating economic growth. There have been six recent complaints filed with the WTO against Argentina over trade barriers which "do not appear to be related to the implementation of any measure justified under the WTO Agreement," as stated in the European Union's formal complaint to the WTO. Additionally, Argentina recently nationalized the previously Spanish-owned Repsol YPF oil company. And the Argentine government has persistently refused to pay its debts to the Paris Club and U.S. creditors for many years, even ignoring more than 100 U.S. court order to do so.
Traditional allies of Argentina in multilateral forums have recently moved to oppose further multilateral development assistance. According to news reports, Canada, the United States, Spain, France, Denmark, Austria and Finland all voted against a $500 million loan at the IADB this month, while Germany, Belgium, Holland and Israel abstained. On Wednesday, August 29, the U.S., Germany and Spain voted against another IADB loan for Argentina.
-30-About the American Task Force Argentina
The American Task Force Argentina (ATFA) is an alliance of organizations united for a just and fair reconciliation of the Argentine government's 2001 debt default and subsequent restructuring. Our members work with lawmakers, the media, and other interested parties to encourage the United States government to vigorously pursue a negotiated settlement with the Argentine government in the interests of American stakeholders. To contact us, email email@example.com or call 888-662-2382.
American Task Force Argentina PO Box 3197 Arlington VA 22203-0197