Cafiero arrived in Washington to oil the relationship with the Biden government in the midst of the negotiation with the IMF
WASHINGTON.- The chancellor santiago cafiero landed in Washington for a two-day official visit that will include a meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blink, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, third in the line of succession and one of the most influential figures in the Democratic Party. The visit will seek to oil the bilateral relationship in the midst of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in which the White House plays a decisive role.
Cafiero arrived in the morning to a frozen city covered in white after a heavy snowfall that began on Sunday afternoon and lasted until dawn, closed for the holiday that commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., the first of the anus. He was received by the ambassador, Jorge Argüello, with whom he finalized the preparations for his meetings at the embassy located on New Hampshire Avenue. Tomorrow, Cafiero has two meetings confirmed: In the morning, Blinken will receive him at the Department, and in the afternoon, Pelosi at Congress, according to the chancellor’s agenda. Cafiero will also have a meeting on Wednesday with analysts from think tanks of the city.
Although the visit is marked by uncertainty in the discussions with the Fund, which appear stalled, Cafiero’s visit to Washington will have a much broader agenda, and will not lead to a break or a defining advance in the negotiation. Neither Cafiero nor Blinken –especially Blinken– are directly involved in the process. The Treasury Department, where the government sees more obstacles than the State Department or the White House, has more weight in the discussion. The Joe Biden administration has so far offered a consistent message: the United States will support Argentina if it presents a solid economic plan that encourages growth and private investment.
Even so, Cafiero’s visit will leave the first face-to-face meeting of a foreign minister from the Alberto Fernández government with Blinken, Biden’s diplomatic chief, in Washington.This gesture of closeness, woven by Argüello’s efforts in the North American capital, will allow the bilateral relationship and the work agenda to be oiled, and clean up the noise of recent weeks in the relationship, in particular the scandal over the presence of the Iranian Mohsen Rezai, implicated in the attack on the AMIA, at the inauguration ceremony of the president of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, which was attended by the Argentine ambassador in Managua, Daniel Capitanich.
It was not a fact that went unnoticed in Washington. Brian Nichols, the State Department’s chief diplomat for Latin America, said on Twitter that the “hemisphere cannot look the other way while Ortega-Murillo undermine regional democracy and security.” The office of Senator Marco Rubio, one of the most influential Republicans in Congress, said that the government’s decision to send Capitanich “to Ortega’s illegitimate swearing-in is despicable.”
Cafiero arrives in Washington after Argentina assumed the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) with the accompaniment of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba, three dictatorships in conflict with Washington, and just before Alberto Fernández embarks on a tour to see the two main global rivals in the White House: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“The foreign minister’s visit is a useful signal. Your timing is good, given the CELAC presidency of Alberto Fernández and planned visits to Moscow and Beijing, all modestly provocative moves from Washington’s perspective. The Biden administration is eager for strong ties and there are plenty of opportunities to collaborate, including on climate,” said Benjamin Gedan, deputy director of the Latin America program at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
“That said, there is no diplomatic magic that can garner support for Argentina in the US IMF and other large members of the boardGedan added.
Gedan returned to the same claim that has been heard in Washington and on Wall Street since the beginning of Alberto Fernández’s presidency: the government must have a plan that offers a “credible path” to close the fiscal deficit and finish stabilizing the economy, dam of one of the highest inflation rates in the world despite price freezes and multiple stocks against the dollar.
“Even those who want to be with Fernández are not willing to support a weak agreement that would not achieve the minimum objectives,” he warned.
In the United States, they believe that Argentina and the IMF are on their way to closing a “light” agreement that will leave the structural reforms and the resolution of the underlying problems of the economy for later, and will only serve to refinance the maturities of the debt and avoid the greater damage of a non-payment of the country with the organism. Many warn that such a program will be born doomed to failure. But given the signs of stagnation shown by the negotiation in recent weeks, the possibility of a default with the Fund -a “non-payment” or arrears, in the jargon of the organism – has gained more strength.