Yves here. In this Real News Network interview, Micheal Hudson explains why IMF “programs” inevitably hurt workers.
SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.
For several months now. Argentines have been taking to the streets to protest against neoliberal austerity measures of President Mauricio Macri. The most recent such protest took place on July 9 on Argentine’s Independence Day. There has also been three general strikes thus far. In the two years since he took office, President Macri has laid off as many as 76,000 public sector workers, and slashed gas and water and electricity subsidies, leading to a tenfold increase in prices, in some cases.
Now, the government argues that all of this is necessary in order to stem inflation, and the decline of the currency’s value. Last month, Macri received the backing of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF agreed to provide Argentina with a $50 billion loan, one of the largest in IMF history. In exchange, the Macri government will deepen the austerity measures already in place.
Joining me now to analyze Argentina’s economic situation and its new IMF loan is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Welcome back, Michael.
MICHAEL HUDSON: Good to be back, Sharmini.
SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, why is it that Argentina needs such a huge credit line from the IMF?
MICHAEL HUDSON: For precisely the reason that you explained. The neoliberal policy has its aim rolling back any of the wage increases in employment that Mrs. Kirschner, the former president, implied, as part of the class war. So in order to shrink the economy, you have to basically cut back business, cut back employment. And so the purpose of the IMF loan was to enable the wealthy Argentinians, the oligarchy that’s run the country for a century, to get all its money out and run. So like almost all IMF loans, the purpose is to subsidize capital flight out of Argentina so that the wealthy Argentinians can take their money and run before the currency collapses.
The aim of the loan is to indebt Argentina so much that its currency will continue to go down and down and down, essentially wrecking the economy. That’s what the IMF does. That’s its business plan. It makes a loan to subsidize capital flight, emptying out the economy of cash, leading the currency to collapse, as it is recently collapsed. As soon as the $50 billion was expended, or wasted, in letting wealthy Argentinians take their pesos, convert them into dollars, move them offshore to the United States, to England, to the Dutch West Indies, and offshore banking centers. Then they let the currency collapse so that the IMF model, which it’s announced for the last 50 years, the model is if you can depreciate a currency what you’re really lowering is the price of labor. Because raw materials and capital have an international price. But when a currency goes down it makes imports much more expensive, and that causes a price umbrella over the cost of living; that labor has to pay the equivalent international price for grain, for food, for oil and gas, for everything else.
And so what Macri has done is they agree with the IMF to wage class war with a vengeance, devaluation, leaving Argentina so hopelessly indebted that it can’t possibly repay the IMF loan. So what we’re seeing is a replay of what happened in 2001.
SHARMINI PERIES: Exactly. I was going to ask you, now, that was only 17 years ago, Michael. Argentinians do have memory here. They know what happened. They experienced it as well. Now, that was back in 2001 during the economic crisis when unemployment had increased so dramatically. That country went through a series of presidents and went through a series of crises. And we saw images of, you know, very similar to what we had seen in, in Greece not too long ago. Now, tell us more about that history. What exactly happened during that crisis, and then eventually how did Nestor Kirschner relieve the economy and come out of that crisis?
MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, the IMF staff said, don’t make the loan. There’s no possible way Argentina can pay the loan. It’s all going to be made to the oligarchy for capital flight. You’re giving the IMF money for crooks, and you’re expecting the Argentine people to have to pay. So Argentina very quickly was left totally broke, as the IMF intended it to be. And so although it was 17 years ago, for the last 17 years the IMF has had a slogan: No more Argentinas. In other words, they said, we’re never going to make the loan that is only given to oligarchs for capital flight to steal. It’s as if you make a loan to the Ukraine, or to the Russian kleptocrats, or to the Greek banks to move offshore.
And yet here, here again, we’re having a replay of what happened was, after Mrs. Kirschner came in, it was obvious to the [inaudible] to everybody, as it had been to the IMF staff, many of whom had resigned, that Argentina couldn’t pay. So about 80 percent of Argentines’ bondholders agreed to write down the debt to something that could be paid. They said, OK, you know, either it’s a total default because they can’t pay anything, or we’ll write it down very substantially to what could be paid. Because the IMF really made a completely incompetent- not incompetent, directly corrupt insider deal. Well, unfortunately, the oligarchy had a fatal clause put in the original bond issue, saying they would agree to U.S. arbitration and to U.S. law if there was any dispute.
Well, after the old Argentine bonds depreciated in price, the bonds that were not renegotiated as part of the 80 percent, you had vulture funds buy them out. Especially Paul Singer, the Republican campaign donor who tends to buy politicians, along with foreign government bonds. And sued, and said, we want 100 percent on the dollar, not, you know, the 40 cents on the dollar or whatever they’d settled. And the case went to a senile, dying judge, Griesa in New York City, who said, well, there was something that’s about a clause that said investors have to be treated separately. And Argentina said, well, that’s fine, we’ll pay the other 20 percent [inaudible] the 80 percent of all agreed to. The majority rules. And Griesa said, no, no, you have to pay the 80 percent all the money that the 20 percent demands. That’s symmetry, because only if you let the hedge funds win can you go bankrupt again, wreck the government, and bring in oligarchy.
And so that ruling caused absolute turmoil. The United States State Department set out to support the oligarchy by doing everything it could to destabilize Argentina. And the Argentine people said, well, we’d better vote in a government that’s supported by the United States. Maybe it will be nice to us. I don’t know why foreign countries think that way, but they thought maybe if they voted the neoliberal that the United States would agree to forgive some of its debt. Well, that’s not what neoliberals do. The neoliberal did just what you said at the beginning of the program; announced that he was going to cut employment, lower, stop inflation by making the working class bail, bear all of the costs, and would borrow- actually, it was the largest loan in IMF history, the $50 billion to enable the Argentine wealthy class to move its money offshore, leaving the economy a bankrupt shell. That’s what the IMF does.
SHARMINI PERIES: Right. So let’s imagine you are given the opportunity to resolve this issue. How would you be advising the Argentine government in terms of what can they do to stabilize the economy, given the circumstances they’re facing right now?
MICHAEL HUDSON: Very simple. I’d say this debt is an odious debt. There is no way that Argentina can pay. The clause that bankrupted us was put in as a result of tens of thousands of professors, labor leaders, [land] people being assassinated. The United States financed an assassination team throughout Latin America after Pinochet in Chile to have basically a proxy government, and the Argentine loan that said we will, we will follow U.S. rules, not Argentine rules, basically should disqualify that debt from having to be paid. And it should say the IMF debt is an odious debt. It was given under fraudulent purposes solely for purposes of capital flight. We will not pay.
SHARMINI PERIES: Now, Michael, just one last question. Did you want to add something to what you were saying?
MICHAEL HUDSON: Well, once it doesn’t pay the foreign debt, its balance of payments will be, will be there. The problem is that the creditors have always used violence in order to get their way. I don’t see how the Argentina situation can be solved without violence, because the creditors are using police force, covert assassination. They’re just as bad as the dirty war that had that mass assassination period in the late, into the early ’90s. There’s obviously going to be not only the demonstrations that you showed, but an outright war, because it’s broken out in Argentina more drastically than anywhere else right now in Latin America, except in Venezuela.
SHARMINI PERIES: Michael, at the moment, the Fed is gradually increasing interest rates and the dollar is gaining in value. This is sucking the financial capital not only in Argentina but in many places around the world. Also, you know, they’re going to be soon in crisis as well. What is, what can the developing economies do?
MICHAEL HUDSON: Here’s the problem. When the United States raises interest rates, that causes foreign money to flow, flow into the dollar, because the rest of the world, Europe and other areas, are keeping low interest rates. So as money goes into the dollar, to take advantage of the rising interest rates, the dollar rises. Now, that makes it necessary for Argentina or any other country, third world country, to pay more and more pesos in order to buy the dollars to pay that foreign debt. Because Argentina and third world countries have violated the prime rule of credit. And that is never to denominate a debt in another currency that you can’t pay. And all of a sudden, the dollar debts become much more expensive in peso terms, and as a result, all throughout the world right now you’re having a collapse of bond prices of third world debt. Argentine bonds, Chilean bonds, African bonds, near Eastern bonds. Third world debt bonds are plunging, because the investors realize that the countries can’t pay. The game looks like it may be over.
The good side of this is that Argentina now can join with other third world countries and say we are going to redenominate the debts in our own currency, or we just won’t pay, or we will do what the world did in 1931 and announce a moratorium on intergovernmental debts. Now, that was done on German reparations and the World War I inter-ally debts. Something like that. Some international conference to declare a moratorium and say, what is the amount that actually can be paid? And to write down third world debts to the amount that should be paid.
Because the principle that countries have to say is that no country should be obliged to sacrifice its own economy, its own employment, and its own independence to pay foreign creditors. Every country has a right to put its own citizens first and its own economy first before foreign creditors, especially when the loans are made under false pretenses, as the IMF has made pretending to stabilize the currency instead of subsidizing capital flight to destabilize the currency.
SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Michael. I thank you so much. And we’ll continue this conversation. There’s so much more to discuss, and so many countries here in this situation for that discussion as well. I thank you so much for joining us today.
MICHAEL HUDSON: Thanks. I think it’s going to get worse, so we’ll have a lot to discuss.
SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on The Real News Network.
Why does the IMF have a US dollar credit line at the US FED, and Argentina does not; countries like Canada do, as do companies like Harley Davidson. Why the discrimination?
I’d really like your source on HD having a line with Fed….
Here’s one: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/2010/12/article/harley-davidson-loaned-2-3-billion-from-fed/
I recall Bloomberg doing quite an expose, when the FED databases were forced to be released.
“The IMF was originally laid out as a part of the Bretton Woods system exchange agreement in 1944. During the Great Depression, countries sharply raised barriers to trade in an attempt to improve their failing economies. This led to the devaluation of national currencies and a decline in world trade.”
IMF is an anachronism, a perpetual organization seeking new reasons for its continued existence.
And like all Western post WW II institutions, is part of the Cold War. Of course any actions by US connected entities in Latin America/Caribbean are part of the Monroe Doctrine ;-(
Gas prices in Egypt have just been raised by 75% as part of the austerity measures attached to the $12bn loan granted by the IMF. Regular folk barely have two pennies to rub together and have been battered by this and other measures ostensibly designed to “lift the economy and lure back investors (as per the IMF rationale behind these crushing loan conditions). I wonder if the same sleight of hand outlined by Prof Hudson applies here (I.e. whether this is an IMF subsidised capital flight scheme designed to aid the Egyptian oligarchy in repatriating its loot) and whether we should cast a suspicious eye towards the oligarchs in any country the IMF extends a loan to.
That’s my point, of course.
I would say one and the same Thuto. The people are expected to be patient while waiting for explosive 7% economic growth.
This story is one of the few I could find on the subject. And the price increases aren’t limited to fuel prices. Egyptians are taking budget hits across the board.
I would presume that the IMF will demand that state owned enterprises be privatized and domestic markets be opened to competition. Egypt has a robust manufacturing center and it provides a good number of jobs. But can it’s domestic firms compete if the markets are opened. Just take the Olympic Group for instance.
This piece from the Brookings Institute nicely outlines the game plan for Egypt.
Larry, what’s clear is that regular Egyptians have very dark days ahead of them. Even if the pipe dream of 7% growth were to somehow be achieved, the benefits would gush upwards to the elites instead of trickling down, were they’ll be promptly funnelled out through dollarization…
Oh schucks, I grew up on a diet of Italian soccer ever since watching the world cup in Italy on tv back in 1990 as a wide eyed 12 year old. My love for one of the most popular teams there, AC Milan, was cemented from then on. Imagine my utter shock when flipping from nc and reading this post to my favourite football news website and there’s a big story about “How AC Milan’s new owner held Argentina to ransom in $2.4bn vulture deal”. Turns out the new owner is Paul Singer, he of hedge fund Elliot Management and beneficiary of the senile judge’s ruling referenced by Prof Hudson.
Alas, “the capital vampire squid coming to a sports team near you” is now a reality.
This link shows a gasoline price of $1.10 per gallon in Egypt:
That’s $46 per barrel, or about two-thirds the price of a barrel of Brent crude before refining.
Subsidizing gasoline makes no sense for a poor country such as Egypt. Vehicle owners skew more middle class, whereas the truly destitute don’t own vehicles at all.
Things cost what they cost. Lying about the cost doesn’t help anyone.
That fossil fuel subsidies are problematic for other reasons just means there’s even less reason to lie about the cost.
Unsustainable situations won’t continue. What kind of economy can Egypt create that is sustainable?
This puts me in mind of a blog that I came across sometime ago at http://ferfal.blogspot.com/ which has relevance here. Yeah, he tries to flog a lot of survival gear and the like but this site came out of his experiences in the first crash in Argentina in 2001. If you are prepared to dig deep into his files you will find all sorts of stories about what life was like in Argentina and it was awful and desperate. Probably the best place to start is at http://ferfal.blogspot.com/search/label/Argentine%20Collapse
From your link, this jumped out, as agnotological apologetics:
“…Right now with President Mauricio Macri there’s hope, but the change the country needs will take decades…”
He didn’t make much of an effort to clarify, who holds this “hope” nor what “change the country needs”. OTOH Michael Hudson, in his last two interviews on NC, did. He (Feral) also seems oblivious to the neoliberal projects role in Latin America, and in Argentina’s 2001 crises.
“Anyway, that’s what happened in Argentina and this is why in spite of the good president we now have we need another 10 or 20 years for an entire generation of people to know something other than populism and corruption as a way of life.”
Again, oblivious to the neoliberal projects role in Latin America, and in Argentina’s 2001 crises. Who benefits from austerity, and how?
“As soon as the $50 billion was expended, or wasted, in letting wealthy Argentinians take their pesos, convert them into dollars, move them offshore to the United States, to England, to the Dutch West Indies, and offshore banking centers”
Not sure I understand this. Who is converting the Oligarch pesos to dollars? Crooks in the Argentine government?
The Argentinian Banks, and their US correspondent Banks. The US is one of the largest safe havens for foreign “hot money” in the world.
“Free flow” of Capital is a key feature of “Free Trade.”
As I understand it, it’s the Oligarchs’ butlers and footmen in the Argentine government that do it. If the Argentine government has a policy of pegging the peso at some set number of pesos per dollar, then the government is obliged to hand over this many dollars in exchange for that many pesos. That’s what a peg is. One way to get the dollars would be through a loan which the IMF would “reluctantly” give them, conditional on a few crushing social policies.
Like I said before, this so much resembles a leveraged buy-out.
“The game looks like it may be over”,
“Thanks. I think it’s going to get worse, so we’ll have a lot to discuss.”
not much room for optimism there…
I always appreciate hudsons thoughts as he has such great historic knowledge and I’ll just wait here for the other shoe to drop…
Could someone please explain the mechanisms by which the $50B loan leaves the country. Exactly how do the elites get their hands on this money and then get it out of the country?
If you haven’t already read it, check Prof. Hudson’s previous article. It describes more about the methods.
Of course, if you have, then I’m not helping.
Ah yes! As they taught us back in accounting classes, it is easy to cook the books, the hard part is getting the cash out.
I heard this excellent podcast from Democracy at Work earlier this week wherein Michael Hudson explains it very clearly.
They convert their liquid cash into Dollars.
Then wire it to Banks outside the Argentine, and invest, (typically buy property).
In addition, they take out loans against their Argentinian assets or property,
and convert those pesos into dollars,
and export those dollars as well.
All legal and above board.
When the peso collapses, they repatriate some of their dollars, and pay of the now deflated loans.
‘The Argentine loan that said we will, we will follow U.S. rules, not Argentine rules, basically should disqualify that debt from having to be paid.’
Most foreign currency bonds floated by developing economies specify New York or London legal jurisdiction because of (1) well-developed case law; (2) creditors don’t trust the objectivity of courts in borrower countries.
If all developing country debt were considered “odious” merely because of New York or English legal jurisdiction, lending to developing countries would stop cold.
‘I don’t see how the Argentina situation can be solved without violence, because the creditors are using police force, covert assassination.’
Cite one — just one — link showing “covert assassination” occurring in Argentina. The Dirty War of the 1970s and early 1980s doesn’t count. You can’t keep waving the bloody shirt of military dictatorship in South America more than thirty years after it ended.
I’m sure there is a nice polite clear unassailable explanation for what happened in this instance:
“ Alberto Nisman and Argentina’s History of Assassinations and Suspicious Suicides
Whether the crusading prosecutor’s death is found to be a suicide or homicide, many Argentines probably won’t believe it. The past has taught them to always look for the sinister explanation.“
And maybe creditors like to have their loan docs choose US/NY courts and law as the basis for dispute resolution because both are stacked in favor of creditors? Home court “white shoe lawyer” advantage? No history of support for the great creditor scams of the past? the word “jackal” has no meaning? There was no reason for that guy to write a sequel to “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”?
Really, there’s no need for the “bloody shirt,” now is there, given current right-wing dictators supported by “us,” what the Empire and Banksters and the rest are doing in and to central and South America, now is there? But it’s a great distraction, I’ll grant, and might even work as impeachment for some folks…
I’m shocked that Haygood would confidently talk about something he doesn’t understand. Shocked!
Further, from a previous MH article here…
“No country should be obliged to pay its bondholders if the price of paying means austerity, unemployment, shrinking population, emigration, rising suicide rates, abolition of public health standards, and selloffs of the public domain to monopolists.”
These sorts of rules would put a dead stop to foreign loans.
Something always bothers me about the “bondholder” sanctity meme. Bonds are “investments,” right? And there are RISKS associated with investments, right? And there’s supposed to be a “risk premium” built into the “price” of the bond, right?
At least Investopedia and other sources say so, basically that these are NOT God-sanctioned absolute-right deals where the bondholder takes priority over everyone else in the world, right? https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/05/bondrisks.asp
And bonds are sort of contracts, subject to the rules and defenses that apply in contract disputes, albeit specialized rules, right? Impossibility and stuff? Fraud?
So why are the rest of us, like where “the government” is dumb or corrupt (CalPERS?)enough to “obligate” the wealth and future of a country by “selling bonds” to “investors,” as security for “loans” that get siphoned off by corruption and stupidity, dumb enough to usually just roll over and accept that we have to live like serfs to “pay off the bonds?” Especially when the same scam has been pulled by the same set of Banksters over and over?
And yes, in the financialized westernized world, we mopes are tied to the “paying for progress [some definition of same] by borrowing,” aren’t we?
Interesting that the hated Sharia Law, the banking and investment part of it, kind of makes those allegedly risk-free kinds of fee- and profit- and reacketeer-generating “deals” not only unlawful, but against the will of G_D? https://shariabanking.com/
We could do better, couldn’t we?
Who are you to say when?
How telling. Was only 7 years ago that the torture-murderer of mothers and nuns, the Blonde Angel of Death himself, Alfredo Ignacio Astiz, was sentenced to life in prison. Per Wikipedia:
To this day, torturers and murderers hold public offices. But I’m sure that’s all in the past. Anyone who still talks about the US-sponsored 16 years of Dirty War, from 1967-1983, is a bloody shirt-waving fool, amirite Jim?
Torturers and murderers hold public office, thanks to an amnesty. But I’m sure no one today, in the whole of Argentina, would ever consider what well, actually has long been standard operating procedure in Argentina.
Nation State Debtor’s Prison … the beatings will continue …
While not precisely on point, reminds me of a monologue to music titled “FMI”, the Portuguese abbreviation for IMF, by Portuguese poet Mario Branco. Salient lyrics (English translation) of IMF:
“It’s ‘Monetary Internationalism’… The IMF doesn’t exist… The IMF is a mask.”
…”There can’t exist a reason for so much suffering.”
Thievery Corporation were far more brutal in their Fela-Kuti-inspired “Vampires”
They’ll gain the world but lose their souls
They’ll gain the world but lose their souls
Don’t believe politicians and thieves
They want our people on their bended knees
Pirates and robbers, liars and thieves
You come like the wolf but dressed like the sheep
If you go to Lagos what you find, vampires
If you go to Kinshasa what you find, vampires
If you go to Darfur what you find, vampires
If you go to Malabo what you find, vampires
Lies and theft
Guns and debt
Life and death
When the bank man comes to your door
Better know you’ll always be poor
Bank loans and policies
They can’t make our people free
You live on the blood of my people
Everyone knows you’ve come to steal
You come like the thieves in the night
The whole world is ready to fight
Are why I so love Michael Hudson. There’s the blood so studiously avoided in the desanguinated language of “economics.” Its absence is the tell-tale of the kind of disembodiment described by Nancy Krieger (h/t Lambert).
Ah yes, but talking about our ideas about the problem, or talking about the talking about the problem, is so much better for catapulting the propaganda.
Also, if it looks, walks, and bankrupts Argentina over and over exactly like an Economic Hit Job aka mass murder and looting under the color of law by the Suits in broad g.d. daylight, then yes. Yes it is.
In the ’70s at the best universities Ecology Classes were instituted and the young well off students were told first, that the climate was being altered as a result of human activities.
Nixon was told by the CIA that overpopulation was the main treat to future US Security.
The Vatican quashed that way of looking at it. Gopsay policies are all the same as Vatican policies.
Loyalty to the nation of their birth for a rich person & their wealthy families was thrown out the window.
The jetsetter class now buys the best deal far as taxes and protections.
Their goal is to eliminate any harm to them or their families from “Forces beyond their control.” If the leaders of the world are going to co-operate with them, those leaders will be paid. For the majority who are born to labor and become labor those things done by bankers and their leaders become for them “Forces beyond their control.”
The rich know that overpopulation is already the fact at 7.5 billion. They will bond together on the tarmacs hanging around their jets for little talks as took place between Bill Clinton and Lauretta Lynch.
“All those people that don’t like how we get rich, who are taking up space we want, well, let them starve. The science says there are too many of them anyway.”
(Wasn’t a discussion of how to engineer revolts wonderful to crush, but is used as illustrative of how jet setters get around to meetings that lead to this or that policy of the day.)
This is the essence of “Scientific Socialism”. Current Trump Administration policies will cause the withdrawal of US lands devoted to agriculture. What was for Stalin destruction of the Kulaks and collectivization starvation of Armenians, or Peasants, or the Intellogemtsia, or all those ambivalent about who is in power and are therefore Counter-Revolutionaries, starving them all leaves only the ignorant, cowed, or lucky alive.
Creating the conditions for civil wars is a great thing for the banks and their loyal patrons, the war materiel`s industries. The people rebel and oligarchs at the top have them killed.
Trotsky made the point that the weapons in the arsenals are the peoples. Somehow soldiers and police in nation after nation don’t see it that way. In the US the police are made soldiers in the drug war. Keeping the peace is not their primary job. No pot smoking peaceniks are to be hired so the ranks are securely filled by thugs and incompetents made special by law. They shoot Black people at the drop of a hat. They shoot the poor driven crazy pretty often as well.
Somebody wondered why in the US Blues & Reds or Democrats, the Leftists silo and don’t talk civilly to each other. Trump supporters show and shoot guns or as in Charlottesville Virginia run as many people as possible over and are obviously willing to kill other Americans. In Weimar Germany the “Scientific Socialists” had their uniformed enforcers.
Dictators have their own organizations exultant at the opportunity to be rewarded for beating and killing the people who object to the destruction of civilization. Spectaculars in stadiums, like Trump’s to come Military Parade become more common as if such is civilization when it is more indicative of a break down of civilization itself.
I have no means to remove myself and my wife from the roiling clouds of more murder in the streets. I’ll be “collapsing in place” as described by Lambert Strether. These things and the ideologies behind them happening are not accidental of “Forces Beyond My Control”.
The true purposes of the IMF loan are questionable to me.
1.) Over the past few years, we have seen market rigging by large transnational banks in both the LIBOR and foreign exchange markets. This raises the question of whether there was covert market manipulation to rapidly drop the Argentine peso and coerce the Argentine government to borrow funds from the IMF to defend the peso in order to assure that nation was able to pay for necessary imports?
2.) Was this debt undertaken to facilitate capital flight for a small, wealthy segment of the Argentine population without the consent of or benefit to the people of Argentina, or for some other unstated reason?
If either of these is true, this debt can legitimately be considered as “odious debt” by the people of Argentina and potentially repudiated.
It also appears to me that there is a high probability that the austerity measures likely to be imposed under this $50 billion loan to Argentina by the IMF could violate the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Not an attorney, nor knowledgeable about international law. Just my opinion as an ordinary citizen based on my reading of the post and Wikipedia.
“No More Argentinas!”
(but since Argentina is already Argentina…)