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Saturday, 2 February, 2002, 20:02 GMT
Press attacks supreme court decision
Argentines demonstrating
Argentines at the end of their tether
Argentina's leading newspapers have warned that the supreme court ruling against government limits on cash withdrawals from banks could tip the country over the edge.

They say that rather than upholding the constitutional right of people to access their own money, there is a suspicion the court is acting politically as part of a dispute with the government and parliament.


The conduct of the supreme court raises a great deal of suspicion

Clarin
They say it is too much of a coincidence that the court ruling came shortly after moves in Congress to impeach a number of supreme court judges following earlier street protests against them.

"The conduct of the Supreme Court raises a great deal of suspicion," says the largest circulation daily, Clarin.

"One can even speculate about a conspiracy among the judges."

"To accept the argument of the judges would be to ignore the true gravity and dimensions of the Argentine crisis." The ruling is "part of their sordid battle with the political powers".

Obstacle

Clarin said the ruling was "an obstacle to a government which, for the first time, was trying to throw a ray of light on the deep shadows of the crisis".


The supreme court pronouncement could lead to a sharpening of the existing social conflicts

La Nacion
"We have always advocated the need for an independent court and justice system, but not divorced from reality. Even less when this reality reveals a nation politically unstable with abundant signs of anarchy and disintegration."

La Nacion also accuses the supreme court of failing to see the bigger picture in issuing its decision.

"The supreme court pronouncement could lead to a sharpening of the existing social conflicts and generate new ones."


Some say [the government] even encouraged demonstrations against supreme court justices to divert attention from other controversial issues

Ambito Financiero
Although the protection of property rights is in principle justifiable, La Nacion argues, "the highest judicial power has the duty to defend the nation's supreme interests, to balance out legal norms with the preservation of social harmony, and to seek to avoid political and economic unrest which can lead to catastrophic consequences"

Argentines would not be unjustified in seeing behind the court ruling "reasons of a personal nature, far removed from the strictly juridical".

"Argentina is experiencing one of the most corrosive crises in its history, part of which is a complete lack of faith in its institutions." The latest moves will do nothing to rectify this, La Nacion adds.

Hyperinflation

The top business daily Ambito Financiero warns that the court ruling "could lead Argentina into its third wave of hyperinflation, following the ones experienced in 1989 and 1990".

The paper says the government of President Eduardo Duhalde played its part in creating "a highly confrontational situation".

"Some say it even encouraged demonstrations against supreme court justices to divert attention from other controversial issues."

"Yesterday's ruling was considered to be of a political nature. The supreme court could have demanded that the Court of Appeal first hear the case and thus give time to President Duhalde to resolve the issue. Instead, the supreme court ruled on the case," Ambito Financiero added.

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:

02 Feb 02 | Americas
Argentina court faces challenge
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