By José Rigane*
On June 24th we learnt that the United States Supreme Court of Justice rejected the request made by the Argentine government to mediate a suit against Argentina and YPF for the nationalization of 51% of the shares of the oil company in 2012. Argentina asked for the trial to take place on national soil, but the case will continue to be heard in the US.
For his part, minutes after knowing the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Buford vulture fund (who owns the rights to carry on litigation, since it bought it from Marsans), sold 10% of those rights in US$ 100 million. Buford had bought 100% of the rights in US 15 million. Up until now they have sold 40% of the rights to carry on litigation in US $ 235 million. This means that, in the process of buying and selling part of this demand, this fund has obtained a profit of 1,500%. In a neoliberal system everything is bought and sold.
Argentina has more demands from foreign investors in international courts than any other country in Latin America and the Caribbean. In total, it has 61 lawsuits filed by investment funds.
This news about YPF and other Argentine companies (such as Aerolíneas Argentina, which after a CIADI ruling had to pay US $ 235 million) being tried in the US and international courts is a product of the neoliberal policies that the country signed in the 90’s and continues to endorse even today.
When we talk about the need to recover national sovereignty, we are talking, among other things, about trials like this one.
YPF, the largest company in the country, is in the US justice system, where our country will almost certainly be setenced to pay more than 3 billion dollars. In total, it is believed Argentina will have to pay more than 20 billion dollars for all the trials it has in international courts and to hedge funds.
How many social assistance and anti-hunger programs could be implemented in Argentina with this money?
We need sovereignty over our natural resources, our companies, our policies. Otherwise, we will be “sentenced” again and again (by the responsibility of foreign investors and local accomplices) to pay millions and millions of dollars, condemning our people to more hunger and poverty.
We fight for national sovereignty and another energy model that is not based on foreignization and privatization.
*José Rigane: Secretary General of FeTERA and the Union of Luz y Fuerza de Mar del Plata; Deputy Secretary of the Autonomous CTA