Argentina President Kirchner Continues her Meddling Ways — Now She Wants to Screw the Economy Some More

There’s good reason to believe that Argentine President Kirchner has been keeping her hands in the Presidential Piggybank, establishing a retirement fund illegally.  

Now that her brain surgery is over, she’s shown to be back to her meddling ways and is continuing her stroll towards leaving South America’s country in worse shape financially than it’s been since the boys in uniform crashed it in the 70s and early 80s.

 

Argentina will continue to intervene in the economy, including the foreign exchange markets, President Christina Kirchner’s new chief of staff Thursday.

Jorge Capitanich, who was sworn in Wednesday, told reporters the government would continue to embrace policies that protect Argentina’s industry and de-emphasize the role of exports.

Kirchner reshuffled her cabinet this week in response to a poor showing by her wing of the ruling Peronist party in last month’s legislative elections.

The Argentine president, who has two years left in office, has faced rising criticism of her handling of the economy, including a shortage of hard currency.

Central Bank reserves are on the brink of falling below a $32 billion dollars — a huge decline from $52 billion just three years ago — in part because of government efforts to support the official rate of six pesos per dollar.

Under the current system, the government has imposed a fixed rate for the peso-to-greenback exchange.

But restrictions on dollar purchases has allowed a parallel black market to flourish, where the dollar is trading almost 10 pesos.

Capitanich said the government nevertheless plans to keep its “floating managed exchange rate.”

Buenos Aires also will try to reach agreements with producers to hold down prices while still “ensuring profitable business conditions,” he said.

“A lot of people need the state,” Capitanich told reporters

“We know that the business sector wants to defend its own interests and that the state must play a regulatory role,” said Capitanich, a former governor of the northern state of Chaco.

Capitanich said the government was on the road to getting the upper hand over 27 percent inflation rate, and anticipates that economic growth next year will surpass six percent.

Stocks plummeted earlier this week when Kirchner announced the cabinet changes, including Capitanich and new Economy Minister Axel Kicillof.

A lawyer by training, Kirchner has angered Argentina’s business class through her failure to control inflation, her protectionist economics, import restrictions, the nationalization of companies such as energy giant YPF, and her foreign exchange controls.

The poor, however, revere the Peronist president for her fight against poverty, generous social welfare programs and improved retirement pensions — even though Argentina’s economy is sluggish and violent crime is on the rise.

Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist based in South America.  

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