This month, the Holy Father Pope Francis, referring to the serious “ecological debt” that humanity lives, affirmed that the ecological debt refers in a certain way to the question of the external debt “whose pressure usually hinders the development of peoples”, and now even more so in the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic. And he added: “The post-pandemic can and should be a new beginning taking into account all these aspects, also related to the implementation of scrupulous negotiated operations for the cancellation of the foreign debt registered in a more sustainable and fair economic structure, aimed at supporting the climate emergency. “
Chronicle of an evil that never ends
Argentina’s foreign debt is not born from a cabbage. It is born from the greedy spirit of our rulers associated with the desire for domination and greed of the financial powers.
Juan Bautista Alberdi (1810-1884) central figure of our civil struggles, author of the “Bases and starting points for the political organization of the Argentine Republic” (1852), was the liberal intellectual who most influenced the content of the Constitution National of 1853, where he embodied the model of a federal republic with a compound system that synthesized the interests of the provinces and national unity.
In this brief chronicle of the debt we take him as a beacon because he was a liberal who had a sense of country. He knew where the center of national interests lay. And for that very reason he was firmly opposed to the plans of the Buenos Aires oligarchy that turned Argentina into a semi-colony of the British Empire.
The history of Argentine foreign debt began with Bernardino Rivadavia in 1824, when he contracted the first loans with Baring Brothers for one million pounds sterling, of which five hundred thousand came.
Chronicle of the evil of the Argentines
Later on, Juan Bautista Alberdi explained: “In new countries where skill is more abundant than judgment, the name of loan for public works is frequently given to what are actually public works for loans. Thus, as soon as the loan is obtained, the public work is without purpose. The more unrealizable, the better the work serves its purpose, which is the loan itself ”.
Of that first million pounds sterling, Martín García and his minister Bernardino Rivadavia and the members of the Debt Negotiation Commission were responsible, Felix Castro, Braulio Costa, Miguel Riglos and Juan Pablo Saenz Valiente, all Anglo-Argentine liberals.
Since then the debt increased to 14 million pounds at the end of the presidency of Domingo F. Sarmiento in 1874, to 38 million in 1886, 78 million in 1904 and 121 million in 1916. Who was in charge of the debt negotiations with Great Britain during the governments of Julio A. Roca and Miguel Juárez Celman was the liberal lawyer Wenceslao Pacheco who was also the author of the nefarious “guaranteed banks” law.
After the return to convertibility and with the “support” of the Morgan bank, President Alvear and his minister Víctor M. Molina, a rigid supporter of “free trade”, increased the foreign debt to more than 140 million pounds sterling in 1928.
In 1933, with the Roca-Ruciman Pact, a public debt agreement was established that will only be paid during the second government of Perón in 1952.
When Argentina stopped being an external debtor
The military coup of June 4, 1943 finds Argentina with a foreign debt close to 80 million pounds sterling, around 325 million dollars. Between 1944 and 1945, no new loans were taken and, after the amortization of the period, the debt was reduced to 264 million dollars until it was fully paid off, for the only time, in 1952, our National State becoming a creditor after 120 years. of debt. Perón throughout his administration (1946-1955) refused to be part of the brand-new IMF and World Bank organizations created by the Bretton Woods agreements in 1944.
Accession of Argentina to the IMF
In September 1955 the RL military coup overthrew Perón. The military that provoked the coup immediately signed the Argentine membership of both organizations. Thus, Argentina, which joined the IMF and the World Bank (Prebish, 1956), became a debtor for more than US $ 1,000 million during the administrations of the net liberal ministers Verrier, Blanco and Adalbert Krieger Vasena. But things would get even worse with the return of the military in the 1960s and 1970s.
In effect, the foreign debt expanded during the democratic government of Arturo Frondizi, the administrations of del Carril and Alvaro Alzogaray, and in March 1962 it was estimated at 1.8 billion dollars and when the military coup that overthrew Illia took place on 28 June 1966 the external public indebtedness reached the figure of 1,768 million.
From 1966 to the end of the dictatorships of Onganía, Levingston, Lanusse, the external debt reached 4.8 billion dollars. Ministers Kireger Vasena and Aldo Ferrer. Since Cámpora and until the death of Perón (efforts by José B. Gelbard and C. Rodrigo), the debt only increased 90 million dollars, but during the government of his widow, Alfredo Gómez Morales and Celestino Rodrigo, ministers of economy, it reached the record figure of 7,800.
During the government of the dictatorship known as the National Reconstruction Process, the debt grew at a frantic rate: to 27,200 million with General Videla, 35,700 with General Viola, 43,600 with General Galtieri and 45,100 million dollars with General Bignone . Their ministers were José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz and Lorenzo Sigaut.
With the return of democracy in 1983, things did not change much on this issue, since in 1989 when Alfonsín resigned, the debt climbed to 58.7 billion dollars. And much worse was the Menem decade, with the successive ministers of economy, Miguel A. Roig, Erman González and Felipe Domingo Cavallo. The foreign debt increased exponentially, despite the fact that the funds from the privatizations of the State companies (Cavallo-Dromi) had been swallowed up. At the end of the liberal experience under the name of Peronism in 1999, the debt reached 186,880 million dollars. The government of De la Rúa (José Luis Machinea) had two years to bring it to 214,143 million dollars.
Already in the XXI century and after the “default”, the restructuring and the exchange implemented by the government of Néstor Kirchner, with the administration of Minister Roberto Lavagna, the debt was reduced in March 2005 to 157,615 million dollars and it is assumed that At the end of 2007 it had dropped to $ 123,197 million, although by March 2008 it had grown again to $ 142,500 million.
When the town is recovering, a new blow
During the government of Mauricio Macri under Nicolás Dujovne, the debt increased by 44,000 million dollars which, like many other debt flows, disappeared but the people must pay it.
The Justicialist government of Alberto Fernández-Minister Martín Guzman received a foreign debt of 320,000 million dollars.
The illegality of legal foreign debt
And here we Argentines are, sinking again in the mud, victims of the criminal handling of the power of our leaders and the powerful of the world. Throughout history, they did not do anything else but cover up their illegality in the legality of international loans that, as Juan Bautista Alberdi warned, do not have the work, development or growth as their destination to get out of the poverty. The only purpose they have is the profits that they leave to those who manage the loans on both sides. Then let the downstairs do it!
Francisco, in the presence of the head of the IMF, economist Joseph Stiglitz and Minister Guzman, highlighted that “impoverished people in highly indebted countries bear overwhelming tax burdens and cuts in social services, while their governments pay debts contracted that are unsustainable” .
“It is not lawful to demand the payment of unsustainable debts”
Pope Francis, recalling the words of the Polish Pope Saint John Paul II, said that “debts must be paid” but that “it is not lawful to demand or claim their payment when it would in fact impose political options such as to lead to hunger and despair. entire populations ”. (Vatican, February 2020).
Monsignor Ellacuría, witness to the faith Francisco, freedom, the media and democracy Mapuches: the message of peace of Pope Francis