IMF managing director received strong criticism even from new Argentine President Nestor Kirchner. Koehler had to admit the IMF has to learn from its past mistakes
There were no red carpets for the head of the IMF during his visit to
Koehler's visit was intended to ease strained relations between
However, many local and international figures (Nobel Prize winner in economics Stephen Stipglitz, among them) alerted the IMF of Argentina's impending crisis, by supporting draconian financial measures to reduce the government’s deficit. Unquestionably, the IMF's austerity measures contributed to a recession that has lasted for four years and everybody in
The first group to vent their displeasure came during a meeting with social leaders. Social, human rights and religious leaders made clear to Mr. Koehler that Argentine civil society is not ready to pay for the default at the expense of the ordinary citizen. The Catholic Church, as well as the Muslim and the Jewish communities criticized the IMF for lending money without doing the follow up of how borrowed funds were spent. Suddenly, Koehler admitted critics and said that the IMF had to learn from its past errors, something preciously unheard from the international organization.
Despite critics, those who attended to the meeting saw with satisfaction the dialogue started by the IMF and civic leaders. This is the first time in which a high ranking official from the IMF showed an interest in engaging non-market social players.
However, the main event of the visit came Monday night when Koehler attended a protocol dinner at Kirchner's residence. There, the IMF managing Director found a direct speaking Argentine President who made clear his position. "I am not going to betray my convictions", told Kirchner to Koehler, according to the local newspaper Pagina/12. "I am not going to sign deals that I cannot comply with", he also said.
After stating the official position to renegotiate debt restructuring, Kirchner expressed his opinion about the to IMF’s policies during the 1990s. "You have a big responsibility on what happened to
It is not necessary to comment on Kirchner's words. In fact, the IMF's current authorities are internally auditing Fund's actions on