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Piqueteros protest as Argentina makes massive IMF loan payments
Por Marie Trigona - Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003 at 6:45 PM
mtrigona@msn.com

Argentina will have to pay some 2.5 billion dollars in debt payments owed to the IMF and the Inter-American Development bank by Friday. This comes as a condition before IMF and U.S. Treasury will reach a short-term financial agreement with Argentina.

Piqueteros protest as Argentina makes massive IMF loan payments
Marie Trigona

January 14, 2003
Argentina will have to pay some 2.5 billion dollars in debt payments owed to the IMF and the Inter-American Development bank by Friday. This comes as a condition before IMF and U.S. Treasury will reach a short-term financial agreement with Argentina.

IMF Staff members have been in Buenos Aires for 5 days negotiating with the Duhalde administration to come to an agreement of whether Argentina must use it’s economic reserves to make loan payments due this week. Throughout the course of the week payments will be made as follows—today payment of 24 million to the Inter-American Development bank, tomorrow 682 million to the Inter-American Development bank, Thursday 805 million to World Bank, and Friday 998 million to the IMF.

Recently, the Duhalde administration has been struggling to negotiate an agreement for Argentina to avoid using economic reserves to pay the International Financial Institutions. Argentina’s Economic Minister, Roberto Lavagna noted today in Clarín, “that it seemed that the conditions are set to indeed use economic reserves to pay the debt.” The G-7 are pressuring IMF staff to come to an agreement with Argentina to prevent another default on World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank loans. Argentina’s government will make the payment with the hopes that the country’s credit will be improved.

Recent protests reflect that Argentina’s poorest reject the government’s negotiations with the IMF. Some 2,000 piqueteros from piquetero group, Barrios de Pie protested Friday January 10 in front of the Sheraton Hotel, where IMF staff are staying.

Massive marches December 19 and 20 declared an absolute rejection of a government that continually negotiates with the IMF and World Bank. “I came to the Plaza today with a lot of anger because the politicians are controlled by the IMF. The people did not make the foreign debt—it started with the military dictatorship. We are paying the debt at the cost of children dying of hunger,” expressed María de Neivaido, unemployed for 5 years.

The outlook for negotiations with the IMF and U.S. treasury is bleak with Argentina unable to make payments without dipping into its economic reserves.

As the government continually negotiates and answers to the IMF and World Bank, the country’s poorest pay the social costs for economic policies without receiving any signs of a resolution from the government. One year after the economic crisis, government, and the IMF have been unable to provide a solution.

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