President Mauricio Macri again reaffirmed that even though the country is currently immersed in an economic crisis, his government has made the right decisions to correct mismanagement of the past. Referring to his preferred metaphor, which equates him to the captain of a ship going through an (economic) storm, the President indicated that the only thing that his administration can do now is to convey peace of mind and stay on course.
In an interview with Matthew Campbell, a reporter from British newspaper The Times, Macri discussed some of his central goals for the future — to reboot the economy, modernize and globalize the country and eradicate corruption — as well as a bit of backstory of his relationship with US President Donald Trump.
In reference to making Argentina a more competent contender in the global world, Macri spoke about his plans to host the G20 meeting next month. He said that he was looking forward to meeting the Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, and having a discussion about the troublesome topic of the Malvinas Islands, among other things. In his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 26, Macri reiterated Argentina’s now traditional sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands, indicating the country holds “legitimate and ever-lawful” rights over them.
Macri also gave an anecdote about the beginning of his relationship with US President Donald Trump, which stems back to a business deal in 1984, long before the two became heads of state, where the two discussed the arrangements for a 78 acre plot of land in Manhattan that Macri’s father was selling.
“It was the start of a great relationship,” said Macri. “My father had wanted to develop the land himself. But we had a problem with our bank. I spent three or four months negotiating with Donald. He’s a golf fanatic, like me. We played a lot. The first time I won. After that I had to pretend to lose because he’d get very annoyed.”
The Trump administration’s support was instrumental for the government to reach a revised agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which modified the one both parties had reached in June and increased the Argentine state’s credit line from US $50 billion to US $57.1 billion, among other characteristics.
While speaking about the economic crisis that began in April this year, Macri said that “[these past few months have been the] worst of my life — the worst since I was kidnapped.” He was making reference to an event in 1991 when he was taken off the streets by corrupt police officers until his father paid a US $6 million ransom. He claims this is a large reason why he later went into politics.
Macri further backed up his stance against corruption by slandering his predecessor Cristina Kirchner and her alleged use of bribes. “It’s quite scandalous, the things that have come to light,” Macri said. “A lot of things the former government did are hard to understand. Such things should never be allowed to happen in Argentina again.”