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 Friday, 15 November, 2002, 14:56 GMT
Argentine press attacks IMF over loans
Unemployed demonstrate in Argentina
Argentines protest against the high cost of living
Leading newspapers in Argentina have attacked the IMF and the Bush administration over the country's failure to pay back World Bank loan.

The press coverage indicates that the country's political and financial leaders are largely backing the government, which has been under severe strain due to the prolonged economic crisis.

The deputy head of the IMF, Anne Krueger, comes in for special criticism.

Krueger belongs to the most extreme hardline group in the administration of George Bush

Clarin

"Anne Krueger, the obstacle to overcome", says La Nacion.

Argentina's decision to default came after Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna failed to secure an agreement during a visit to Washington earlier this week.

According to the top-circulation Clarin, Ms Krueger received the news with the comment: "This is blackmail!"

Ideological crusade

"Krueger belongs to the most extreme hardline group in the administration of George Bush, and her intransigent attitude follows a specific plan formulated by this group of Republicans.

"This ultra-orthodox group doesn't want an accord with Eduardo Duhalde and is seeking to use Argentina as a guinea pig."

Clarin says these hardliners are hoping Argentina declares itself bankrupt so that Ms Krueger's "new theoretical prescription" can be applied to it.

La Nacion also condemns "the IMF's intransigence towards Argentina", warning that "it risks involving itself in a major storm".

Krueger and Lavagna have again confronted each other in their dangerous game

La Nacion

Argentina is seeking to portray Ms Krueger as "the villain", it says, although it warns the dispute could prove to be "terribly dangerous" for Argentina too, "and could end up causing enormous damage".

"Krueger and Lavagna have again confronted each other in their dangerous game," La Nacion comments, comparing it to the "times of the Cold War, in which taking the confrontation to its ultimate conclusion could have unknown consequences".

In another report, La Opinion quotes political and financial leaders on the latest crisis to hit the country.

Unity call

The governor of the important province of Cordoba, Jose Manuel de la Sota, says the move was justified and calls on the people to "unite in defence of our future".

The IMF demands that the provinces take even more measures, which means more deaths

MP Luis Zamora, La Nacion

Leading politician Rodolfo Terragno is less sanguine, saying the affair was "part of the never-ending story" with the government seeking to "bribe the IMF" with a series of laws, a ploy which had patently failed.

A left-wing MP, Luis Zamora, says even the payment of the interest is "obscene" when "the country is wracked by children dying of hunger, and the IMF demands that the provinces take even more measures, which means more deaths".

Another major daily, La Prensa, sports the banner headline: "Accord Collapses". A sub heading says "Duhalde seeks support for his stand on the IMF".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

15 Nov 02 | Business
04 Oct 02 | Business
24 Sep 02 | Business
14 Nov 02 | Business
19 Jul 02 | Country profiles
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