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ATFA:  Argentina Deserves Better

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Q&A with Robert Raben, Executive Director of the American Task Force Argentina (ATFA).

BY CHRONICLE STAFF

The American Task Force Argentina (ATFA) last week announced the expansion of its membership to also include 29 national and state organizations, including the American Corn Growers Association, US Cattlemen's Association, Soybean Producers of America, National Taxpayers Union and Nebraska Community College Association. The move comes shortly after the ATFA launched an entertaining editorial cartoon on its web site, looking at the growing relationship between Argentina and Venezuela and the infamous suitcase scandal linking the two countries. Latin Business Chronicle asked ATFA Executive Director Robert Raben about the outlook for an Argentina debt negotiation and what the feedback has been on the cartoon.

Latin Business Chronicle: How do you view the likelihood that President Cristina Fernandez will reach an agreement with outstanding debtors, including members of the ATFA?
Raben: That is our primary aim.  We think that it is the wisest course of action on her part to reach an agreement with Argentina’s creditors.  To continue to refuse to do so further isolates Argentina from the rest of the financial world, and is harming its economy and its people. 

When do you expect she will reach such an accord?
It’s really the only logical course of action for her, and the sooner she does so, the better for her country.  By continuing to refuse to pay its bills, Argentina is driving up the cost of its borrowing and imposing enormous and unnecessary inflationary and financial pressures on its economy.  In addition to all of this, Argentina has become increasingly dependent on an isolated, outlaw regime – Venezuela – for its financing.  The Argentine people deserve better than to be vassals of Hugo Chavez.

Why did you launch the editorial cartoon on Hugo and Cristina?
We think the growing dependency of Argentina on Hugo Chavez is an alarming prospect for its people.  By refusing to pay its bills, Argentina has isolated itself from international financing norms, and is pressed into dependency on Venezuela.  The news reports surrounding the seizure of Hugo’s intended campaign contributions last month provided us with a delicious irony to drive home this very important point.

Do you plan further cartoons?
We may release additional films if we think it will help us drive home our agenda.

Who came up with the idea of the cartoon?
The ATFA team came up with the idea.

Are you happy with the feedback you’ve got over the cartoon?
Yes.  We’re also very happy with the overwhelming response we’ve received in the United States for the ATFA cause.  Recently 29 additional members joined ATFA – teachers, farmers, taxpayers and labor organizations are proudly represented in our membership.  We’re looking forward to a new year and to resolution of this issue.

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