December 20, 2014
CFK praises MERCOSUR support in vulture fund case
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner today addressed fellow heads of state at the 46th Mercosur summit, where she thanked members of the bloc for their support over the ongoing fight with holdout investors in the New York courts.
The president spoke in Caracas just one day before a deadline for payment of debt interest expires for those bondholders who did enter restructuring in 2005 and 2010. Funds directed to those creditors have been blocked by judge Thomas Griesa, on the request of the so-called 'vulture funds'.
"I profoundly thank all of the Mercosur members for their solidarity," Cristina remarked as she spoke to the summit, rescheduled from the original date of December 2013.
The head of state continued by pointing out that Argentina had paid debt obligations "religiously" since restructuring bonds defaulted on in the economic crisis of 2001, and that it had done so "without entering capital markets, with its own resources... [without] indebting ourselves further to cancel our debts from 2005 onwards".
CFK criticised the conduct of holdouts, asserting that the bonds for which they now demanded 1.6 billion dollars were purchased for just 41 million dollars in the aftermath of default. "Right now the debt swap is open, if they entered they would pick up a profit of 300 percent," she argued.
And Cristina also dismissed the idea that should tomorrow's deadline pass without progress with Griesa or the vultures, Argentina would fall once again into default.
"They try to frighten us by saying if we do not do what they say the 10 plagues of Egypt will be upon us. We have already suffered the 10 plagues, in 2001, when a different government did everything dictated by those outside," she affirmed.
"They are trying to ruffle feathers with a default but it makes no sense, that happens when one does not pay and Argentina has paid".Earlier in the day, regional leaders arrived at the Simón Bolívar square to place a wreath in honour of the Venezuelan Liberator and to pose for the official group photo.
They convened at the “Yellow House” –Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry- for a private reunion before the plenary session of the summit, during which the pro-tempore presidency of the bloc was transferred from Venezuela to Argentina.
Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman yesterday stressed Argentina’s commitment “to keep working on the consolidation of Mercosur during its pro tempore presidency.”
Speaking during the meeting of Mercosur foreign ministers in Venezuela yesterday, Timerman called for member states to work together toward “equal and just rules so that sovereign debt restructuring processes can prevent actions of vulture funds.”
Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, Industry Minister Débora Giorgi, Domestic Trade Secretary Augusto Costa and Argentine Ambassador to MERCOSUR Juan Manuel Abal Medina also joined CFK in Venezuela.