Usuario :    Testimonio oral ante el Senado de los Estados Unidos de ciud . . .

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Argentina Debt Default - by Mark Bostford

Thank you for holding these hearings today Sen. Foley, and for inviting me to speak before you about the Argentine Debt Default.

I am the only American citizen that I know of, that owns the amount of defaulted debt that I own, and who has lived in country for so long, so recently.

My name is Mark Hudson Botsford and I am, as far as I know, the largest American retail  investor of Argentine bonds in default. Though we currently reside in Washington, D.C., I am a native New Yorker, having been born here on the island, and part of a great New York family, going back generations; the name Hudson, honors our mighty river. My Argentine wife, Marcela, asked only for six months in her homeland back in 1987, but we stayed for 21 years.

The Government of Argentina declared the largest sovereign debt default in history, using 9/11 as cover; and restructured her debt with the largest haircut in history, using an IMF default threat as cover. The government played a game of financial chicken with the international community in 2004, and won, getting IMF loan payments extended without entering into good faith negotiations with her creditors, required under Article 4. Negotiations which require any government in default, to discuss willingness and capacity to pay.

Today, the government has launched a second restructuring, under worse terms than the first; again without good faith negotiations with her creditors. Another unilateral, take it or leave it offer, that leaves retail investors and her own citizens with more suffering to look forward to.

After many years there, I’ve observed how all layers of society came to believe that they’d committed the perfect crime. The political, industrial, unionized and agricultural classes, who initially felt guilty, finally felt relief that they had gotten away with the great sovereign robbery.

As always, the middle classes and the poor are the ones who have been made to suffer these transgressions. The government uses them like human shields in the battle for justice and public opinion.

In fact, an international tribunal has found that it was not exclusively external factors which led up to the default and devaluation, as the government contends, but that the government’s own actions contributed substantially to precipitating the crisis.

The improvement of the lives of the people of Argentina; the reduction of poverty levels, and sustained economic growth, can only come through genuine investment in the country. This can only occur once the country re-engages with the international community.

Argentine companies have been prohibited from financing at reasonable rates, which destroys the main source of new employment opportunities. That investment cannot feel welcomed when the President and her ministers consistently attack the very people who would invest.