Argentina Defends Itself Against Financial Warfare from Foreign Banks; Some Have Already Been Sent Packing

The government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is systematically taking measures against those foreign banks operating in Argentina that don’t abide by national legislation, and instead participate in London-steered financial warfare against the country.

In an Aug. 7 speech, President Fernandez delivered an undisguised threat to Citibank’s local branch: obey our laws, and pay restructured bondholders whose bonds are governed by Argentine law, or face the likelihood of shutdown. Citibank’s branch, she said, is an Argentine bank which happens to have foreign stockholders. “As this is an Argentine bank,” she said; “we expect it to obey Argentine laws,” adding a reminder that “the regulatory authority which grants it the right to operate here is the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic.”

On Aug. 13, HSBC–long known as the central bank of the London-run international drug trade–had its Buenos Aires headquarters and two other offices raided by tax agents, in search of documents pertaining to the tax-evasion and money-laundering case opened against it last February.

On Aug. 26, Argentine Chief of Staff Jorge Capitanich announced that the operating license of the Bank of New York-Mellon (BoNY) had been revoked–among other things for violating the terms of their contract as trustee with restructured bondholders, by refusing to pay them on the June 30 deadline, despite the fact that the Argentine government had transferred the funds into BoNY’s accounts.

Lyndon LaRouche considered these moves as more than fair. “Why not?” he stated today. “That’s very good. The Brazilians will have a field party over this. They’ll say: ‘Oh, we didn’t do it, but you know how the Argentines are.’”

Even prior to the revocation of BoNY’s charter, the Fernandez government had banned the following foreign banks from operating in the country: ING Bank and Rabobank (Holland); Commerzbank (Germany); Credit Agricole and Natixis (France); Discount Bank of Israel; Lloyds and Standard Chartered (UK); and UPS and Wells Fargo (U.S.).

Those foreign banks still operating in Argentina, and that are part of the bankrupt trans-Atlantic banking system, have a lot to lose if they don’t mend their ways. As of March 2014, there were five foreign banks among Argentina’s top dozen banks, accounting for about 20% of total assets in the banking system.

* Banco Santander: #3 in the country, with 7.2% of total assets;

* BBVA: #5 with 5.8% of total assets;

* HSBC: whose offices were raided, is #7 with 4.0% of assets;

* Bank of Boston: #10 with 3.2% of total assets; and

* Citibank: which was threatened with having its charter revoked, is #12 with 2.7% of total assets.
Vulture-Backed Argentine General Strike is Economic, Political Warfare

The American Task Force Argentina (ATFA), the vulture fund lobby group run by millionaire Paul Singer, has heartily endorsed the Argentine general strike called for Aug. 28 by the “dissident” faction of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) and the allied Argentine Workers Confederation (CTA). ATFA claims that the strike proves President Cristina Fernandez’s unpopularity, and failure of her economic policies.

Another miscalculation from the Empire’s toadies. ATFA’s endorsement of the opposition strike, which doesn’t have the backing of all major trade unions, should be the kiss of death for CGT leader Hugo Moyano and his CTA cohort, Hugo Yasky. Fernandez’s defiance of the vultures and defense of national sovereignty enjoys widespread popular approval, not to mention international support among the majority of the world’s population. Trade union leaders seen wrapped in ATFA’s embrace may not survive.

In his Aug. 26 press conference, cabinet Chief of Staff Jorge Capitanich charged that this is a political strike, whose only purpose is destabilization. The striking trade unions, he said, are functioning as witting tools of the vulture funds, which “work with the opposition political arc, a section of the trade union arc and monopoly media groups to systematically undermine the credibility of, and public trust in, the government.” He pointed out that the strike leaders have benefited the most from the policies of the two Kirchner administrations, which have seen wages and pensions increase, along with union membership. Never before, he said, “has there been such an institutional process that guarantees job freedom, combats job insecurity, and supports substantive increases in the real wage,” he said.

Capitanich also pointed to the “constant speculative attack” to which Argentina is subject, which has seen the black market “blue” dollar jump to 14 pesos from 13. The only goal of that offensive, he said, is to force a currency devaluation, and “forge a strategy for 2016”—the next President will take office in December of 2015—intended to ensure payment to the predatory vultures instead of “defending the country’s interests.”

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