Argentine President Cristina Fernandez is rubbing in the Obama administration’s face the fact that her nation’s system of government and Constitution are “practically a copy of the U.S. Constitution…. We have copied the United States’ Presidential system, with the separation of the three branches,” whose duties and responsibilities are defined by the Constitution, she said in her Sept. 30 speech.
In establishing a mechanism for paying the debt to bondholders through a new debt swap, she emphasized, the Argentine Congress has acted according to the responsibilities defined by the Constitution. The United States would never tolerate a foreign power dictating to it, telling it what its Congress can or cannot do. Why does the U.S. think it’s acceptable for a U.S. court to dictate to a sovereign Argentina?
In a strongly-worded letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Sept. 29, Argentine Ambassador to the U.S. Cecilia Nahon made the same point. Referencing the principle of the sovereign equality of states enshrined in the UN Charter, she asserted that “based on these principles, the Argentine Republic has adopted a system of government which is substantially similar to that of the United States of America, establishing a representative, republican and federal democracy. Its organs of political representation enjoy democratic legitimacy, grounded in the principle of the sovereignty of the people of the Argentine Republic.” The Constitution also affirms, she said, that the Congress is empowered “to settle payment of the domestic and foreign debt of the nation.”
Thus, she concluded, “the acts of these political organs are subject only to the sovereignty of the people and the rest of the principles set forth in the Argentine Constitution. In no case can they be questioned by the organs of any foreign State.” Nahon warned that any attempt by U.S. courts to overturn Argentina’s sovereign debt restructuring, or challenge actions of Argentine political organs, “would not only fall outside of the jurisdiction of said courts, but also be an unlawful interference in the domestic affairs of the Argentine Republic, triggering the international liability of the United States of America.”