Visiting O’Neill gets angry reception:
Treasury chief arrives after lauding
THE WASHINGTON POST AUG. 7, 2002
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Edodoro Toronzo, who stood here yesterday with a
group of angry Argentine retirees protesting the arrival of Treasury Secretary
Paul O'Neill, said the message he would like to send to the BLUNT TALKING Bush
administration official is simple.
"Mr. O'Neill, keep your mouth closed and go home!" said Toronzo, 65. "Your presence is not requested or desired in
The retired government clerk was among the protesters who vented their wrath in various parts of
Thousands of unionists, leftists, retirees and others turned out on the streets of
The protests under-scored a growing resentment against the United States in Argentina, where many feel angry, even betrayed, by the way the Bush administration has handled this nation's worst financial crisis in history.
O'Neill in particular has offered harsh commentary on
After voicing concern on July 28 that international loans for Latin American countries might be wasted because the money would end up in Swiss bank accounts, O'Neill changed his tune late last week when Brazil's currency, the real, plunged to record lows and a panic by depositors forced Uruguayan authorities to close their nation's banks.
During his four day tour of South America, O'Neill brought olive branches to
Speaking to reporters in
His comments echoed those of U.S. Treasury and IMF officials who have suggested in the past that
For all the Bush administration's emphasis about the need for a "tough love" approach that allows wayward countries to default on their debts and forces big international investors to suffer the consequences for their risky bets, the sole example has been the IMF's decision to refuse further loans to Argentina in December, and that came only after the Bush team endorsed a $5 billion increase last August in that country's already sizable aid package.
Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna suggested in Clarin, the country's largest newspaper, that Argentina was no longer seeking "fresh funds" from the IMF and was concentrating on winning a temporary reprieve on billions of dollars in loan payments it owes multilateral lenders this year.
After meeting last night with Duhalde for an hour at the presidential residence in suburban Buenos Aires, O'Neill said his message had been "that we want Argentina to succeed" and he would continue to encourage the Argentines to work with their lenders.
The measure has been repealed as demanded, but there is still no sign of an immediate deal with the IMF. Now, many companies are fighting off foreclosures from creditors, including foreign lenders.
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