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ARGENTINA | 02-06-2023 10:02

Airing IMF criticism, Máximo Kirchner deepens ties with China

National deputy and La Cámpora leader slams International Monetary Fund’s recipes for “indebted countries” during visit to China.

National deputy and president of the Patrido Justicialista in Buenos Aires, Máximo Kirchner, has used a visit to China to air criticism of the International Monetary Fund, just as talks to renegotiate Argentina’s multi-billion-dollar debt with the multilateral lender enter a key stage.

The 46-year-old’s reproaches were heard in Shanghai and Beijing, the Asian giant’s two main cities, and permeated into the Argentine delegation’s meetings with the president of the BRICS’ New Development Bank, Dilma Rousseff and with representatives from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

The participation of Kirchner, a key leader in the La Cámpora Kirchnerite political youth organisation and the son of powerful Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, was strongly highlighted by Chinese business, institutional and political authorities. They recognise his presence as a sign of a continuity for the model of cooperation between Chinese and Argentine interests that has developed in recent decades. 

Kirchner’s praise for the commercial and financial ties between the two countries came in stark contrast to the tensions that Argentina maintains with the IMF, given the crisis of dwindling Central Bank reserves, runs on the exchange rate and their effects on inflation.

On Thursday, Máximo spoke personally, but fleetingly, with Rousseff. An invitation for a private meeting was declined with time running short but had a moment to exchange criticisms of the IMF, a subject the Brazil ex-president has highlighted several times during telephone conversations with Fernández de Kirchner.

There is a key point here: there are clear disagreements within the ruling Frente de Todos coalition when it comes to international relations, with President Alberto Fernández and his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, pushing a financing strategy for foreign trade and with Massa and Kirchner opening the door to a larger BRICS loan. 

Although both initiatives run on parallel tracks and seek the same goal, the lack of a joint strategy lays bare the short-circuits within the government. "Lula is Alberto's friend," a diplomatic source consulted by Perfil responded. "Cristina is a friend of Dilma's," replied another within the Argentine vice-president's entourage. 

 

Peronism and China

Máximo’s participation in a meeting with authorities from the CASS institute, during which he took the lead in highlighting the strong ties between Peronism and China, was another new message laden with geopolitical tensions.

Kirchner ties the growth of the Asian giant to the model of debt relief, contrary to the public debts taken on by dictatorial and democratic governments, with the exception of the mandates of his parents, Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. 

After a historical overview, which included a section on the relationship between former leaders Juan Domingo Perón and Mao Zedong, he lamented the "relations of external dependence" that were generated after the overthrow of Peronism in 1955, a turn of events that led Argentina to join the IMF.

"The economic process was left in the hands of special interests. In the long run, this led to a major setback in the progress that had been made," complained the lawmaker.

"On the other hand, China was able to find, over time, a model of growth with stability, method and planning, which allowed it to adapt to changes in the world, always favouring the national interests and those of its people. This is the reason that explains the levels of development it enjoys today. Néstor and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner deepened bilateral relations with China in economic, but also cultural, social and human terms, always based on the principles of cooperation, respect, mutual benefit, autonomy without conditions," he declared.

Kirchner went on to harshly criticise the "brutal indebtedness” introduced by 2015-2019 president Mauricio Macri’s government. "It once again generated a great deal of external conditioning," said the lawmaker. 

"We fully share the [Chinese] concept of ‘community with a shared destiny’ when it comes to intervening in international politics and international organisations, since no-one is saved alone in a world in crisis, but there must be autonomy to find the way forward. That is why China's role in financial organisations such as the IMF is very important at this time, so that there is flexibility and so that the same recipes are not imposed in different situations," he highlighted.

Slamming attempts to influence Latin America through “oppression,” Kirchner said that “each country must build its own path of development, which must necessarily be with equal opportunities, with inclusion.”

He called for a deepening of “scientific and cultural links” with China, in order to “transform our reality.”

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Ariel Maciel

Ariel Maciel

Editor de Economía Política en Perfil.com - Mail: [email protected]

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