Internal tensions in the Government grow and complicate the agreement with the IMF
“What they ask of us from the IMF is unacceptable. We have to withstand the pressure and, if necessary, look for alternatives”. The reflection, exit from the mouth of two legislative swords of the vice president Cristina Kirchner, reflects the vision of this sector in relation to the negotiations of the government of Alberto Fernandez for an agreement with the international credit organization, a discussion that the Minister of Economy himself, Martin Guzman, sees in its “critical stage”.
While black-palate Kirchnerism affirms that the agreement that the IMF is trying to “impose” will “bring social chaos and make us lose the elections,” and its representatives loudly imagine the search for a bailout from China or Russia in the event of an inevitable default , Guzmán evaluates as positive the foreign minister’s tour this week santiago cafiero by Washington, where he garnered -assuring close to both ministers- the indispensable “political support” of the United States to achieve “greater understanding” of the creditors. Key referents of Albertism describe the existence of the Russian and Chinese options as “fantastic and exotic”, while insisting that, finally, they will end up achieving “the best bad agreement that can be achieved” with the IMF.
The obvious disagreements and internal discussions in the Frente de Todos in relation to “the” problem of Argentina slow down and complicate decision-making. Although they emphasize that “Alberto is going to be the one who makes the final decision”, the Government does not deny differences and shows its concern, as the chorus of dissidents -and even those who affirm that the default is not such a bad idea- seems to grow day by day, riding the obvious anger of the vice president with the IMF for its frustrated rescue of the Cambiemos government that ended in 2019.
While listening to the voices that, from the FDT, speak of looking for other paths and even “waiting for him to win (Luis Inacio) Lula da Silva in Brazil” to negotiate better (the election is in nine months), Guzmán faces an imminent payment to the IMF of just over US$700 million, and another two in the first quarter of the year. “Until now it has always been paid, and perhaps what we pay will be returned to us once we agree,” they say from the Palacio de Hacienda. Despite not planning a trip to Washington or a visit by IMF technicians in the short term, Guzmán and his team see it as an encouraging sign that the agency is working on a “resilience fund” for countries in trouble, as well as the recent “understanding” statements of the head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva and the space in his agenda that the Secretary of State, Antony Blink, gave Cafiero last Tuesday. “They are not minor data, they want to agree with us”, they graph in Economy.
In any case, from Albertismo itself they suggest that Guzmán, pressured by internal tension and after the “no meeting” (never confirmed) on Monday with Cristina Kirchner in her apartment in Recoleta, is the one who combines the accelerator and the brake. “Alberto wants to agree now, what the IMF is asking for seems reasonable to him, it is Guzmán who is now thinking more about it”, assures an old Albertista sword, who assures that the President is “surprised” with this possible new attitude of the Minister of Economy.
Critical, like the entire government, of the “irresponsibility” of the opposition in the matter, a minister from the national cabinet also gives a pessimistic view of the future of the negotiation. “I don’t get a good sniff of what’s going on”, graphs the cabinet member, in relation to the stagnation of the negotiations, the internal dissent and the appearance of “alternative” plans to an agreement with the Monetary Fund.
“Today the possibility of agreeing is 50 percent. If we agree to lower the deficit as they ask us, we lose the elections and (Mauritius) Macri, people will have a very bad time again. Alberto is a moderate, but also a man of power, he doesn’t want to go wrong,” says a Kirchner leader with a Latin Americanist profile, who applauds the upcoming presidential trip to Russia and China and his scheduled meetings with Vladimir Putin Y Xi Jinping, US rivals, both next month. “We show the Yankees that we have options,” says the referent, with “multilateralist” logic and something of a renewed Cold War.
While the vice president is active in Buenos Aires-according to a close leader, she is preparing her bags to participate, on Thursday, in the inauguration of Xiomara Castro as president of Honduras although in the environment of the vice president they maintain suspense-her son and leader of La Cámpora Maximo Kirchner He remains silent and ponders his next steps from Río Gallegos as a base of operations, according to two sources close to him. “The fundamental problem of Cristina and Máximo with the agreement with the IMF is the legacy, the political identity. There are things about this government that obviously make noise for the militancy”, reflects with an understanding tone an Albertista who knows the former president and her eldest son very well, today faced with the choice between preserving their political capital intact and helping the President reach an agreement. sustainable by the Argentine debt.
“Alberto has already discussed everything with Cristina. We are not going to do crazy things or hide anything from you, we are not going to ask him for permission either, ”says a historical squire of the President. “The B plans that propose defaulting have no ceiling or consensus. We are not going to commit suicide and the agreement is going to come. Bad, but we are going to have it ”, they assure from a key office of Balcarce 50, with the hope of an agreement that clears the growing internal ghosts.