TCS Daily


On the Need for Matrimonial Cruelty

By Alvaro Vargas Llosa - January 9, 2008 12:00 AM

Cristina Fernandez recently took office as Argentina's president. Until a few weeks ago, she was the country's first lady. The big difference, of course, does not reside so much in the fact that her former status was ceremonial and dependent on her husband, Nestor Kirchner, as in the fact that she will need to reverse most of his populist policies if she wants to succeed.

She is unlikely to do so. A recent scandal has reminded everyone in Argentina that the Kirchner couple is a firm political partnership.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Mulvihill, who is dealing with a case involving three Venezuelan spies, disclosed in Miami that a bag containing $800,000 seized at the Buenos Aires airport a few months ago was sent by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government to fund Fernandez's campaign.

Kirchner was a close ally of Chavez and sold billions of dollars worth of sovereign bonds to the Venezuelan government. Fernandez has rejected Mulvihill's accusation and reiterated her support for Chavez.

The Kirchners have benefited from an economic growth that is quite artificial. First came the huge devaluation of the peso in 2002, which made tourism and exports very cheap. Then came the high prices of Argentina's cereals and fuels, which Kirchner taxed in order to boost government spending. And then private creditors were told they would not receive more than 25 percent of what the government owed them.
The combination of these factors helped generate annual GDP growth rates of about 8 percent since 2003. Many Argentines have mistaken this bounce for genuine prosperity.

The truth is that there is scant private investment in Argentina and inflation is rising fast. Although the Kirchners have tried to conceal the inflation figures by bringing into the equation a number of products whose prices are officially controlled, most people in Argentina think the rate is above 20 percent. As if that were not enough, the country has gone from one energy crisis to another: The nation's abundant energy resources cannot satisfy rising demand because Kirchner's government kept prices frozen at one-third of market value and investors ceased putting their money in natural gas. Foreign direct investment has dropped by about 30 percent in the last three years.

In classic populist fashion, the presidential couple over four years raised public spending by 200 percent and wages by 40 percent, keeping interest rates below market levels, controlling prices and creating state enterprises. All of this has put more money in people's pockets, but sooner or later Argentines will pay a price. Those who voted against Fernandez in the main urban centers (Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Santa Fe and others) probably sense what is coming.

Following a long Peronist tradition, the Kirchners have concentrated unhealthy amounts of power in their hands -- part of the reason why Fernandez won the recent presidential election so easily. They have changed the structure of the Magistrate Council, thereby taking control of the judiciary. They also control the political apparatus of Buenos Aires province, which accounts for a very large chunk of the national vote.

Fernandez is now intending to establish a corporatist model by which economic and social laws will be negotiated with groups that supposedly represent civil society, but are really part of the Peronist clientele.

Women have had a tremendous impact on Latin American politics of late.
Fernandez's rise to power comes relatively soon after Michelle Bachelet was elected president of Chile. This tendency has been correctly interpreted as a sign that a significant part of the continent is coming to terms with the need for politics to transcend gender. However, unlike Chile, a country that limits the power of its presidents, Fernandez's Argentina is heavily dependent on presidential politics. This means that Fernandez will have more power than Bachelet -- and a much greater tendency to erode democracy and engage in economic populism.

Ironically, the only way for Fernandez to live up to the expectations she has generated is to perform an act of matrimonial cruelty, shedding her husband's legacy and shifting course dramatically.

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28 Comments

have to be cruel to be kind?
Positive thinking is all very well, but this is really pie in the sky to imagine that this politico's wife could, or would even want to actually change away from the same old Peronism of many years. We can expect the tired populism, corporatism, chavezism as always. They're all just more big government statists and fasscist-lite types,and I can only advocate a council of despair. If not for their crappy politicians Argentina would have everything going for it.

Assessing recent performance
There's an error inherent in the economic picture painted by Vargas Llosa. He says

"The Kirchners have benefited from an economic growth that is quite artificial. First came the huge devaluation of the peso in 2002, which made tourism and exports very cheap. Then came the high prices of Argentina's cereals and fuels, which Kirchner taxed in order to boost government spending. And then private creditors were told they would not receive more than 25 percent of what the government owed them.
The combination of these factors helped generate annual GDP growth rates of about 8 percent since 2003. Many Argentines have mistaken this bounce for genuine prosperity."

One has to remember that the Argentina they inherited was a basket case-- one that would have just gone belly up entirely if it had continued to adhere to the free market koolaid being offered by the World Bank and IMF. In such an event it would have remained ideologically pure. But creditors would have been repaid at a rate of zero cents on the dollar, not 25.

In addition, the Kirschners have never repudiated the remaining 75 cents of the debt. Once the economy gets to the point where full repayment is possible, it is very likely to be forthcoming.

Why? If it doesn't it will jeopardize its gains by stiffing the very investors it hopes to attract back into its markets.

It is certainly true that there isn't as much foreign investment as they'd like, and that inflation continues to be something of an issue. But still and all, it's a miracle that there's anything left of the place after the disastrous course of the 1990s. I think the Kirschners should be applauded for doing a lot of things right-- more so than any other recent national leader there.

In fact, come to think of it, they HAVE been applauded. By the voters. They see the current boom as being real, not artificial at all.

The downward spiral
I know certain ignorant voices will applaud the Kirchners for destroying the economy, restructuring the political apparatus to ensure "proper" voting, and flipping off investors. Roy proves that.

However, how has this worked for Chavez? His tainted philosophy is a South American cancer. Argentina is headed for an economic cliff and the Kirchners will jump out leaving the citizens of Argentina to face the long drop.

But hey, what do I know? I doubted Roy when he said Chavez was an outstanding leader and look what happened there...

A perfectly uninformed opinion
If you track the course of the Argentine economy since the 1980s you will not find any "downward spiral". Instead just about every analyst considers it a remarkable achievement that Kirchner was able to avert an obvious unfolding case of bankruptcy.

I would have a greater respect for your opinion if you even knew enough to be able to admit that Argentina had hit bottom through the missteps of a number of leaders, dug their hole further still by following bad advice from their creditors and tried and discarded several other knights on white horses before finally getting to the end of the tunnel with Mr Kirschner.

Yours is a knee jerk reaction, of the "if they're leftists they must be bad" variety. Try reading about Argentina if you want to add something meaningful to the discussion. It's a story of failed socialism, followed by failed neoliberalism, followed by more floundering, followed by some good creative thinking and helmsmanship.

A very apt title...
for your post.

It is interesting that you have no memory of your love affair with Chavez. Seizing control of the economy, media, and all governmental branches is always "creative thinking and helmsmanship". So it is no surprise that you find denying payment to investors to be "creative".

I know plenty about Argentina and South America. It seems I know far more than you. I can admit that socialism failed (as it always does), followed by a failure of neoliberalism, and followed by still more floundering. But you fail to understand the main reason: corruption and ignorance of the value of property rights.

You would compound the troubles of Argentina by suggesting even more socialism when the root of the cause still exists. If the Kirschners are your "white horse" then I will put my money on that horse winning the race to the bottom.

One more thing Roy, leftists are not always bad people but the leftist ideology is ALWAYS bad for the people governed by it. History stands by me on this one. To use your favored tactic of stifling dissent: "just about every analyst considers it" to be so.

Shallow analysis
You're not supposed to eat that stuff, Tex. It'll make you go crazy.

I've posted at some length about Chavez-- a very different fellow from Nestor Kirschner. I approved of his social programs and restructuring of the Venezuelan economy up to a point. Past that, I agreed with the Venezuelan public that his enthusiasm for power needed to be reigned in. Thus hobbled, I continue to think he has his uses. And I think the people of his country agree.

At any rate that strays from the point being explored in this thread. There is no "ignorance of the value of property rights" in Argentina today. What we are dealing with is an inability to repay all at once, following the severest form of economic crisis. But there is good faith, IMO, and good reasons for the demands on the public purse to be some day honored.

Look at it as though it were a run on a savings and loan. If everyone goes to the window Monday morning, they're not all going to get paid. Why? Most of that money is out on the street.

So either you can shut the place down or bail it out-- neither of which is going to happen in Argentina's case. Or you can try the third alternative:

BE PATIENT.

Your insistence on ideology as always being the answer to everything is not just tedious, it's erroneous. Right, left. Right, left. You need both to stay on your feet.

Equally shallow faith...
>"But there is good faith, IMO, and good reasons for the demands on the public purse to be some day honored."

Indeed there are good reasons to honor your debt. However, what justifies your faith that such a thing will occur?

>"BE PATIENT."

Patience has been kind to me in many of our discussions. This one will be no different.

>"Your insistence on ideology as always being the answer to everything is not just tedious, it's erroneous. Right, left. Right, left. You need both to stay on your feet."

Your knee-jerk support of every leftist and/or anti-American sentiment is pretty darned insistent as well. But I am sure it has nothing to do with your prejudices. Nope, it is just "what every analyst would agree with".

The IMF and World Bank are not paragons of the 'free markets'
They never have been, either. They are very statist institutions that have wrecked the formation and operations of free markets more than they have ever helped them.

As for voters, believing in snake oil does not mean that it is 'real' (something more than just snake oil).

And by your standard, you'd applaud Hitler too (just like many did) because he got German unemployment to go from something like 40% to 4% in three years.

Be patient...HAHAHAHAH
That's what rapists tell their victims when they take their sweet time.

...and politicians who default on their contractual obligations with bondholders.

Same thing.

So much so that in both cases, the victims of each are so scarred that they don't care to do anything that might lead to a repeat of the experience. Same for witnesses who watch the rape/default.

So, Roy...please sell that 'BE PATIENT' line to the Argentines instead. They Argentines will have to be patient for a long, long time in waiting for the return of foreign investment. The rest of us on this thread you try to sell that line to are too busy crossing legs to listen.

What justifies my faith? Common sense
You don't think Argentina will do anything in its power to repay its bondholders? Why not? Don't they need to do that in order to regain any sort of credibility in the world?

Any intelligent leader will understand that the value of good will exceeds the value you gain by publicly ripping off a customer. Of course Mrs Kirschner, and every president that succeeds her, is going to try to keep an AAA bond rating.

I once had a tenant who had gone through bankruptcy, defaulting on $17 million worth of bank loans and overdue bills. Did he say "Wow, I got off easy, now I don't have to pay them back"?

No he did not. He said, and I quote "When I get back on my feet I'm going to have to do business with all those bankers, subs and suppliers. If I don't make good on my debts I'll never do business in this town again."

And he always paid his rent on time. He had a future ahead of him.

Let's put it this way
Argentina had already gone into default once, in 2001, under Fernando de la Rua. And the restructured debt was still more than the country could afford to pay. So Nestor Kirchner comes into office owing $80 billion he just doesn't have.

They'd already tried the austerity route, forcing business into a depression and firing so many government workers the newly poor were rioting in the streets. So he couldn't play the austerity card any harder. What would you have done?

The problem is that the IMF insists that debtor nations force disastrous remedies onto their people that the US itself would never agree to, in any circumstance. And the kinds of avenues available to the US just weren't available to Argentina. So he did the only thing left to him: restructure the loans and offer investors the best deal he could realistically give them.

A CEO inherits the sins his predecessors have left to him. Kirschner is considered a hero in Argentina for doing as well as he has with the mess. And they have no other politician they like, so they've elected his wife. What's wrong with that?

to Zyndryl re IMF
I've read somewhere that the IMF actually tries to prevent countries from adopting hard currencies, or gold backed. If countries were on a gold standard, for example, there would be no need for these statist organs, as you mentioned. Do you know anything more about that?

ihereting a basket case
Don't forget that the people who started the populist statism was the Peronists, and Kirchner et al are all of the same type of neo-fasscists. So they actually inhereted a very rich country after the war, and Peron and his descendants were the ones who wrecked the country.

Also, you said we keep bad mouthing socialists. But that can't be true because we applaud the 'socialist' government of Chile, when we see how they manage that country in comparison with Argentina. Would you like it if Argentina had such socialists in charge there too?

You? Common sense?
>"Any intelligent leader will understand that the value of good will exceeds the value you gain by publicly ripping off a customer. Of course Mrs Kirschner, and every president that succeeds her, is going to try to keep an AAA bond rating."

Sure. No "intelligent" leader would not repay back debt.

How about an "intelligent" leader who requires reductions in government spending, tax reforms designed to increase government revenues, and policies to stimulate export growth over the medium to long run? But no, that is not as good as "pay you later... maybe".

The rest of your post is yet another stupid story you believe has some bearing on the topic at hand. I always enjoy your stories because you seem to have one to fit the bill on hand for all occasions. This one is a triumph of human faith and dignity while most are stories of the stupidity of the average man and a bleak outlook of their future.

What a wonderful person you are to finally develop a sense of optimism... when it suits your needs.

The neoliberal medicine
This conversation would make more progress if you had the slightest familiarity with the material. You say

"How about an "intelligent" leader who requires reductions in government spending, tax reforms designed to increase government revenues, and policies to stimulate export growth over the medium to long run? But no, that is not as good as "pay you later... maybe"."

They tried that, back when they first got into trouble with repayments. The IMF gave them that bitter pill, and they swallowed it. The result was instant depression, unemployment so widespread the entire middle class plunged into poverty and a political upheaval so strong that the next three governments were thrown out of office. Those earlier governments of the 80s and 90s were the people who got Argentina into the mess.

I will note in passing that when the US has similar problems they just print more money, and deficit spend their way back into prosperity. Unfortunately, Argentina doesn't have that option. So they get the bitter medicine, which has never worked for any nation.

Kirschner was the first newly elected leader to be able to find the path out of disaster. And his way has not been particularly ideological, other than to be heading in the opposite direction from the path the IMF pointed to. It has been working just fine and he has been able to pay his creditors about thirty cents on the dollar-- a lot better than the nothing they had before he showed up.

I thought the story about my tenant had less to do with human faith and dignity than it did with plain common sense. It's always a good idea to act in good faith when youre paying off the people you do business with. If you don't, you end up doing no business at all.

A gratuitous slap
The IMF and World Bank are neoliberal institutions whose mission it is to employ mostly US money in funding development schemes. The design of those schemes is to indebt the debtor nation to our designs, so their economy becomes subservient to ours. That, I believe, is as good a definition of capitalist behavior as any.

In Argentina the scheme backfired, as it did in many other places. The failure of this development plan is the principle reason why all those countries (other than Peru and Chile) have now turned to the left. For them, anything is better than what they were doing then.

"And by your standard, you'd applaud Hitler too (just like many did) because he got German unemployment to go from something like 40% to 4% in three years."

What an ugly, needless thing to say. It has nothing to do with my comment. Nor does it contribute to our understanding of Argentina. What is it with you?

Facts from the Factbook
This kind of partisan thinking isn't helping your understanding a bit. All leftists aren't alike and neither are all right wingers.

It was said long before Peron ever got there, that Argentina was "the country of the future... and always will be." They have never been able to capitalize on their natural wealth of silver, cattle and wheat. It has all ended up squandered, by one government or another.

If we look at Kirschner's performance as compared to any other Argentine leader, the man looks awfully good. If you want to blame him for being a "leftist" I guess that means Lenin was his fault too.

I don't buy it. Argentina has a more viable economy now than it's had in many years. As the CIA sees it,

" Eduardo DUHALDE became President in January 2002 and announced an end to the peso's decade-long 1-to-1 peg to the US dollar. When the peso depreciated and inflation rose, DUHALDE's government froze utility tariffs, curtailed creditors' rights, and imposed high taxes on exports. The economy rebounded strongly from the crisis, inflation started falling, and DUHALDE called for special elections. Nestor KIRCHNER was elected President, taking office in May 2003, and continued the restrictions imposed by DUHALDE. With the reemergence of double-digit inflation in 2005, the KIRCHNER administration pressured businesses into a series of agreements to hold down prices. The government also restructured its debt in 2005 and paid off its IMF obligations in early 2006, reducing Argentina's external debt burden. Real GDP growth averaged 9% during the period 2003-06, bolstering government revenues and keeping the budget in surplus."

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ar.html#Econ

Further comment
It would be interesting to see what kinds of gyrations the US would have to go through if we ever had to balance our federal budget, as Kirschner was able to do with Argentina's. Do you think everyone would be able to get paid off in the first couple of years?

Today's total federal debt: $9,203,966,807,726.38.

"The estimated population of the United States is 304,044,108, so each citizen's share of this debt is $30,271.81. The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $1.49 billion per day since September 29, 2006!"

http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

Neoliberalism accompanied by...
a brutal dictatorship that did away with protectionist policies and wiped out ("disappeared") a militant, politicized work force.

Such brutality ended in economic, social, and military disaster (Falklands anyone?). By the time the dictatorship ended the country's industrial capacity had shrunk by 30 percent and capital flight had dramatically increased Argentina's foreign debt.

Free markets are not free if you are wiping out 30,000+ citizens and engaging in international land grabs. You seem to have left out the whole tyranny thing but you were never good at giving a complete story. But hey, I have no familiarity with the topic.

After the dictatorship came another bout of socialist stupidity intended to combat the neoliberal ideas of the military. Crash and burn.

Next in the neoliberal argument is Menem. The shock to the Argentine economy was too much for the citizens to bear considering abrupt trade liberalization bankrupted much domestic industry and production.

The cornerstone policy package was a currency board system that pegged the Argentine peso to the US dollar on a one to one exchange rate. While this initially helped to curb inflation, as the dollar strengthened vis-a-vis other currencies, Argentina became increasingly unable to export.

Menem privatized state enterprises at ridiculous levels: mail services, airports, the rail system, social security, the national oil company, and all utilities were sold at unbelievably idiotic prices. State monopolies were transferred to the private sector, resulting in extraordinary profits to company headquarters abroad.

All of these neoliberal policies created the central flaw in Argentina's neoliberal experiment: the economy's dependence on foreign capital which could leave the country at economically unbearable speeds.

Now you can say that neoliberal policy is to blame. You can also say that the IMF is to blame. I would suggest that good ideas were implemented poorly and without any forethought into the immediate effects of implementation. Privatization is an excellent idea, selling off your country's infrastructure for bargain basement prices to foreign countries is not.

As you say, intelligent leadership is a key component of sound economic policy. There was no intelligence at work here.

De la RĂșa's economic strategy was to jump on Menem's policies and implement several idiotic "adjustment" packages that seem to have no basis in economic reality. His "corralito" decree was the final nail in his coffin.

Then came a corrupt drug trafficker... do I need to go on?

While you whine and moan about my comprehension of the Argentine situation you best get your own story straight. You decry neoliberal economic policy without stating the stupidity and brutality in which it was deployed. Free markets brought about with jackboots and stupidity is hardly what I was talking about. You most likely know this but would rather place the blame on the IMF rather than Argentine leadership and wrong-headed implementations of excellent ideas.

My initial statement stands: The problem with the Argentina is corruption and ignorance of property rights. The selling and retaking of businesses to suit the current economic models are what I was talking about in case you were not paying attention.

I know I am not qualified to comment on Argentina considering I have only spent about two months, divided between four visits, to that country. I would not say that the individual stories told to me by my hosts and others give me the right to claim superior knowledge of the whole of Argentina's economic woes but I believe it helps somewhat. Oh well.

But hey, I am uninformed and await Roy's totally unbiased opinion... not tainted by ideology of course and supported by ALL intelligent analysts! Besides, he has faith in his fellow human!

The IMF & World Bank & most of the Western Consesus
...have caused more damage than most people are aware.

Did you know that they:

1) Contributed greatly to the break-up of Yugoslavia (and the resulting wars there)?

2) Caused the Asian liquidity problems of the mid-1990s into being a full blown crisis? When Malaysia said, "screw you, IMF" and did their own thing in contrary to IMF advice, things actually improved for Malaysia while the rest of the nations in the region when further into hell.

3) Contributed to the looting of post-Soviet Russia and other ex-Soviet republics? You can blame about 70% Putin's rise to power and Russian distrust of the West on the IMF goons.

The list goes on.

slap or not, the logic still is valid
"What an ugly, needless thing to say. It has nothing to do with my comment. Nor does it contribute to our understanding of Argentina. What is it with you?"

You laud those employing exta-constitutional means like breaking sovereign contracts -- such as Chavez in Venezuela and Kirchner in Argentina -- and so the Hitler allegory stands.

What you write about the IMF is quite true -- except for the part that it is a good definition of capitalist behavior.

Yes, easily
If the Feds had to, they could sell of lots of assets -- power utilities and commercial buildings, but mostly land -- over a three year period for about $15 trillion EASY.

In addition, If we measure all financial assets (not including real estate, but including real estate debt) our net worth is $29.1 Trillion. If we just look at what we have in retirement plan assets (401(k) plans, IRAs, pension plans etc., we have $16.4 Trillion in tax-deferred retirement plans. Our total net worth including financial assets, retirement plan assets and real estate equity is $57.9 trillion.

We could tax with on a one-time net worth or wealth tax if we had to. And, our creditors know all of this hence why they keep loaning us the bucks.

What I would have done
1) Kept the dollar peg intact so to limit the damage of the coming default to just the government and those directly reliant on the government as opposed to destroying the savings of all of Argentina.

2) Tell the IMF to go to hell. (I think we agree on that and for the same reasons)

3) Negotiate something with the creditors (and have the guards shoot any World Bank/IMF lackeys who show up at the conference room) that involves some temporary relief while pushing through policies that will grow the economy fast enough to generate revenues that can go towards debt payment.

Those are just a few.

guess the answer is no
Why wouldn't you want them to behave like the Chilean 'socialists', if that country is obviously the best in Latin America? It's phoney to compare them to what was worse before; you're supposed to aspire to better places, and there's many examples in the world. Peronism was a disaster.

Comparing Chile and Argentina
I guess I'm not surprised this has never occurred to you, but it would make no sense to say why doesn't Kirschner run Argentina the way they run Chile-- for the plain reason that Argentina is struggling to return from bankruptcy, and Chile isn't.

You run the place for what it is. You don't pretend it's a country where everything is going just fine and there's enough money for everyone to pay its bills.

Let's suppose you've just taken over Countrywide Financial, who has hired you to try to keep them solvent. Are you going to run the company the same way you would the Bank of America? I don't think so.

All the fault of the Kirschners?
You started this thread off by blaming the Kirschners for "destroying the economy". And I don't think you can support that.

Perhaps I placed too much emphasis in my comments on the follies of the IMF in awarding huge development loans to the Argentines of long ago. The corrupt and uncaring leaders of the day were equally complicit in taking the money, giving little thought as to who would ever have to repay... and how. They were both collaborators in the folly, much as the venal lenders and ignorant borrowers have been in this current round of subprime folly.

I see little to criticise in your take on how they got into the mess they're in. But I know of nothing implicating the Kirschners in any of this. If you have specific complaints, where you can show they've been responsible for unjustified takings, please do so.

I won't just take the fact that they've offered Argentina's creditors so many cents on the dollar though. We're looking at the familiar task of getting blood out of a turnip. All that cash was squandered years ago.

So give me some fresh outrage, since 2001, where Kirschner did less than his best to restore some dignity and solidity to Argentina's financial standing. You say that "The problem with... Argentina is corruption and ignorance of property rights" and "The selling and retaking of businesses to suit the current economic models".

I can quite believe that about most of that country's leaders. Now tell me about the part the Kirschners have played in it.

Saving the peso
My impression of the crisis, as viewed from half a world away, is that there was never any good reason initially for peso-dollar parity. That was just something drummed up for political reasons, to calm the waters and try to install some stability.

And that cockamamie scheme was in the wake of the big default, of $93 billion, by the deservedly forgotten government of Rodriguez Saa. His economic advisers wanted to get the country off on a fresh track after the default.

So it was not so much that the peso was ever as good as the dollar. The point is that desperate economists working for a disgraced government pledged to make it so. For that reason, I don't think you (had you been Rodriguez Saa) would have kept parity in place until the last worthless peso had whooshed out of the treasury.

When the full shakiness of the scheme became apparent to all, Saa vanished and Duhalde appeared. He was the one (Jan. 2002) who formally dissolved parity and sent the peso on a resumption of its skid.

Things went from bad to worse, with inflation and devaluation once again wrecking the country. So Duhalde called for elections and, in 2003, Nestor Kirschner shows up.

I guess the question is this, then. At that point, what would you have done that Kirschner didn't do? You owe something to all the foreign investors, of course, but by now they know it's not going to go well for them anyway. And you owe the real victims of all the shenanigans, the Argentine people who elected you.

I think you do what he did. And the proof that he was on the right track is the wild popularity he has enjoyed, alone of any Argentine politician since Peron.

But you may have another idea, some way he could have become even more of a hero to his people. I like the idea that he could have negotiated with his creditors. I don't have any information as to whether he did or he didn't.

Interesting food for thought
Here's some good advice Rodriguez Saa and Duhalde might profitably have followed (note the date):

http://www.stanford.edu/~mckinnon/briefs/Argentina.pdf

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