Left-leaning groups tied to the Victory Front (FpV) party are protesting today at 5 PM in front of Congress against the impending vulture funds agreement currently being debated in the Chamber of Deputies.
Protestors from the youth movement La Cámpora, the Evita Movement, New Encounter and other groups associated with Kirchnerism began to gather in Plaza Congreso this morning after it was announced yesterday that President Mauricio Macri’s government had reached quorum — the number of representatives necessary to hold session — and would be able to begin debating the bill that will put the vulture funds dispute to bed.
“The country is not for sale! The FpV is not willing to mortgage the future of Argentina!” declared La Cámpora. “We will stay until the dispute over the debate can be resolved,” said Fernando Esteche, leader of the Quebracho, speaking to La Nación. In which case, they might be there a while; the debate, which began just after midday, is expected to last at least 20 hours.
Speaking to BAE Negocios today, a spokesperson from the Evita Movement said she believes that the agreement over the vulture funds will cause “a level of debt that will compromise the economic future and development of generations to come.”
Last week, Héctor Recalde, the leader of the FpV caucus (caucus here refers to a group of legislators from the same party who vote along the same lines) had announced that the party would seek a popular vote regarding the country’s payment of defaulted bonds. Speaking at a press conference, Recalde said that, “The government is going to have to decide whether or not it wants to listen to the Argentine people.” He also went on to say that, “finding quorum will be the government’s problem.”
However, Recalde has had to eat his own words now that a quorum has been reached and Congress can begin debating the so-called “Public Debt Normalization and Access to Public Credit Law” which seeks to finally put an end to the vulture funds dispute that has beset Argentina for the past 15 years. Congress must begin by nullifying two laws — the Lock Law and the Sovereign Payment Law — which right now prevent the country from paying up and settling the debt with the creditors.
To bring you up to speed quickly, in 2001 Argentina defaulted on US $144 billion of debt. A group of creditors purchased the defaulted bonds, but over the course of the next nine years, Argentina could only reach repayment agreements with 93 percent of the original creditors who were willing to exchange the original bonds for bonds worth 30 cents on the dollar. The remaining seven percent who rejected the agreements, and instead demanded full repayment plus interest, became known as the infamous vulture funds.