Dancing re-election on the IMF Titanic

Mauricio Macri and Alberto Fernández

There are few Argentines who invested as much in sustaining their self-esteem as Mauricio Macri. Psychoanalysis has always been -especially after his kidnapping- and, more here, ontological coaching, gurus of all kinds and conferences on personal and collective improvement were the cocktail with which the former President invested in his perception of himself. It was not for less. It was necessary to retrace the eternity of a hyper narcissistic paternal gaze. The one who looked at him from above and with disdain even from the drawer itself.

For all this, it is likely that Macri has avoided reading by himself the Report of the Ex Post Evaluation (EPE) that the Norwegian Odd Per Brekk coordinated for the Monetary Fund on the loan he granted to Argentina in 2018 and has let himself go for the light interpretation that the main involved made of it, Nicolás Dujovne and the former head of the Central Bank, Guido Sandleris, among others.

But if the former President stopped for a moment in trying to decipher the amount of euphemisms with which the international financial organization softens the lethal diagnosis in the background, he would understand that his dream of a second term in government will have to adapt to this new geopolitical paradigm. International where even the IMF itself understands that there is no more margin in countries like ours to govern thinking only of the owners of power.

Mauricio Macri and the former Minister of Finance, Nicolás Dujovne
Mauricio Macri and the former Minister of Finance, Nicolás Dujovne

That Macri thought mainly of those who have the most, as something intrinsic to his stamp of origin, it became clear when a couple of months ago before CNN he justified his going to the IMF to be able to “pay the Commercial Banks that wanted to leave Argentina”.

However. Two years later, the Fund recognizes that the government of Mauricio Macri should have restructured the private debt (instead of paying, to those private banks that had come to stamp financially with the high rates in pesos of that moment and the support of one dollar cheap which basically made a record rate in the world in dollars and sit them to negotiate saying “I can no longer pay you, let’s see how we continue”) and that he should have put “capital control to prevent the flight of foreign currency”. That is to say, a hold on the dollar long before it ended up putting it to prevent precisely those banks from taking the cheap dollar abroad.

The unusual thing about the report is that it recognizes in several sections that it was the Argentine government that put “red lines”, Red lines in the agreement. Unusual, because until now there have never been debtor countries that put conditions on them. In this we must acknowledge Dujovne and Macri for their audacity.

It is clear that for obvious reasons the IMF cannot literally acknowledge that the loan was used to finance the leak. To say it exhaustively would be self-incriminating. But it is not necessary. Insisting that the country should have restructured debt and that it should have tightened capital controls is enough to draw the conclusion.

File photograph in which a logo of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was registered, in one of the entrances of the main headquarters of the entity, in Washington DC (USA). EFE / Jim Lo Scalzo
File photograph in which a logo of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was registered, in one of the entrances of the main headquarters of the entity, in Washington DC (USA). EFE / Jim Lo Scalzo

Something like whoever wants to hear that hears.

The so-called EPE of the Fund is still a kind of report of the SIGEN that does not have the entity of one of the AGN. The General Syndicate of the Nation (which would come to be the EPE of the IMF) in Argentina makes reports and sends suggestions to the different organizations. The Office of the Auditor General of the Nation monitors expenses, makes external control and raises and reports to Congress. That step is next at the IMF. But it will take years for that external opinion of the IEO (independent evaluation office) to be completed.

That is why it is so important to read between the lines the work of a year and a half summarized by the Norwegian Odd Per Brekk. Because it is the basis of what comes in the draft according to the IMF. And it is clear then that capital control is no longer an archaism of the Peronist government, of populism or of monetary heterodoxy, but almost a requirement of the international financial body itself.

Nor did all the internal sectors of the national government read the IMF report too deeply or coincidentally. For some it had “little taste” for others like the President or the staff of the economic team it was “lapidary”. Not very very. Not so so. But it is clear that There are many things that the IMF cannot technically explain.

In any case, this first report in that sense is basic. He wonders if the objective of the program, which was to guarantee the credibility of the Argentine financial system, was achieved or not. And in light of the result it is very clear that no.

Alberto Fernández and the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán
Alberto Fernández and the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán

What is clear is that for these people (the previous government) the IMF is the son of the maid and the driver. His friends (financial or speculative capital) took a risk that they did not really take, knowing that later the broken dishes were paid by the IMF, which is an employee of them.”. The definition corresponds to one of the members of the government who translates to Alberto the round trip with Kristalina Georgieva.

Almost at the same time that the IMF published the report (quite a gesture to the government because it could not have made it known), the country had to disburse another 1.85 billion dollars from the meager reserves in order not to default. That is the other point in which pro-government deputies criticized the budget that Martin Guzmán sent to Congress and that in the end they did not end up voting. “It should have put the disbursements to the IMF signed by Macri for next year. So it was white on black to what that agreement subjected us, “they chicaneled the minister when he went to speak with the block of the Frente de Todos en Diputados.

It is clear that Guzmán is run by public opinion on the right and on the left by Kirchnerism in power. He does not complain. In private he recognizes that this internal pressure ends up helping him to get some advantage in the face of the intransigence of some members of the Bureau.

The minister continues to awaken internally loves and hates. One of the main criticisms made of him and not only by Kirchnerism but also by some Albertists is the restricted handling of information. “Many things are not told even to the President himself”, they complain. In the ministry they fight back: “we have known the content of the IMF report for months. If we had shared it, it wouldn’t have been the bomb it was this week. It would have leaked inexorably. So we don’t do things so badly… ”.

What is clear is that now we are entering discount time. The geopolitical context is a little more favorable. The triumph of the left in Chile marks a turning point in the region. Just as Argentina has a historical tradition of the present state, of the state as an engine of well-being and with a tendency towards redistribution, especially after 2001 (a worldview shared by Peronism and radicalism in the last century), Chile seems to have put an end to it. exclusion as the axis or paradigm of the country that, with its variants, more or less has been maintained since Pinochet to date.

Between the triumph of Gabriel Boric of the Chilean left and Lula’s visit to the Plaza de Mayo included, Alberto Fernández seems to have given himself an injection of willful optimism. This week he acknowledged that he wants to run in 2023 for his own re-election. A utopia that very few dared to outline in public, much less after the catastrophic electoral defeat.

Malena Galmarini should have Olivos’ water components tested more frequently. With less psychoanalysis and fewer gurus around, Alberto Fernández begins to have glimpses of disconnection with reality similar to those of his predecessor.

Who tells them. Maybe it’s the water.

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Dancing re-election on the IMF Titanic

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