During the last weeks, the outrage of the Argentine civil society has moved from the political class to the financial corporations. The hardening restrictions on the deposit withdrawals and the total freezing over the saving accounts in US Dollars, made protests to target bank branches all over the country.
Spontaneous demonstrations take place everyday among whom make long lines willing to get a little part of their money kept in the banks. For instance, last Wednesday, 60 years old man claimed for his deposits threatening cashers with a hand grenade. “If you don’t give my money, I will blow everybody up”, he shouted. He got his savings, but was arrested by the police some minutes later.
Situations like that are not unusual in the current Argentina, even though when the new administration is making big efforts to make bank restrictions more flexible and prevent a financial crack, at the same time.
Notwithstanding, the Government also participate in this kind of “National Crusade” against foreign banks. Apparently, international financial corporations are playing a game in the middle of this widespread storm. Their intention is to absorb local private and public banks to get, at least a 85% share of the local market. The question is how to achieve that. Obviously, foreign banks are prepared to return savings to their clients, but National Authorities do not allowed them to do it, as public corporations would go into a certain bankruptcy if they nullify restrictions. If President Duhalde administration does so, then, foreign banks would purchase local ones at a cheapest price, taking over their big customer portfolios.
This week, foreign banks did not implement new orders from the Central Bank to rule the withdrawal of funds. They alleged lack of time to update computer systems to achieve it. This was considered by National Authorities as a bank pressure against them and ordered investigations and punitive measures.
This is what’s hiding behind the so called bank restrictions. There is only one thing both parties are not taking into account: the suffering of millions of Argentineans for whom access to their monies is becoming a nightmare. Hernбn Etchaleco Buenos Aires Argentina
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