Ten Years After the Olmos Judicial Ruling on the Illegitimacy of the Debt: Audit or Keep Paying?

Ten years ago today, July 13, 2000, Argentine Federal Judge Jorge Ballestero ruled on the illegality, illicitness, and fraud of the public debt contracted by the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983, in the case to which journalist Alejandro Olmos devoted the last 18 years of his life. This ruling condemned the illicit maneouvers and crimes commited in the process of indebting Argentina and it was remitted to the National Congress for its respective treatment according to Constitutional mandate.

Despite the time that has passed and sustained efforts both inside and outside Congress, today it is again necessary to denounce that Argentine legislators continue to ignore their mandate and the government continues to pay a debt whose illicitness and illegitimacy have been judicially established.
It is not too late to reverse this state of affairs and to secure justice. It is urgent furthermore, that the wealth that is produced by the labor of the Argentine people, together with the natural goods which form our common patrimony, be invested in the fulfillment of human rights and the rights of nature and not to fatten the pockets of those who have always enriched themselves at our cost. In this spirit, and in tribute to the courageous and persistent struggle that Alejandro Olmos carried out in search of Memory, Truth, and Justice in the face of a debt illegitimately claimed of Argentina, we demand that the National Congress assume its responsabilities as established by our Constitution and investigate the debt that we continue to pay with such sacrifice. At the same time we demand of the National government that it suspend payments as well as any new renegotiation or restructuring of the debt until such time as an Audit that certifies the legality and legitimacy of the debt being claimed is completed.
A few days ago, the National government announced in a grandiose manner a new ¨success¨ of the policy it is pursuing that it calls ¨deindebtedness¨. We call on the popular organizations of our country, and citizens in general, to analyze carefully the reality and consecuences of this policy. The most recent debt swap, rather than a reduction or ¨deindebtedness¨, means resuming payment on debt claims that in 2005, the National government, backed by the National Congress, declared null and void. It means resuming payment on a debt tainted by the blood of the 30,000 disappeared and the whole process of despoliation that has been consolidated on the basis of the debt of the dictatorship, by the various governments that have succeeded it. It also means recognizing (as both the President and the Minister of the Economy have repeatedly stated) that the policy is to repay debt so as to ¨reinsert Argentina in the international financial markets¨- that is to say, in order to initiate a new cycle of indebtedness.
We cannot accept that the government continues to pay a debt whose illicitness was established judicially ten years ago, in the Olmos Case, and which still today is under investigation in Federal Court. We cannot accept that the government continues to pay to the loan-sharks and speculators, the resources that are needed in order to change the unjust situation of the 25 children who die every day for avoidable causes and the 6 million children - 12 million persons all told - who continue to live in poverty in our country.
We demand of the Congress and the Government that, rather than continue to pay and renegotiate an illegitimate debt, including in particular the debt that the Paris Club wants to collect, whether in cash or through more concessions, they conduct a comprehensive and participatory Audit of the debts that are claimed of our country and those that have already been repaid. This is what the government of Ecuador has done, enabling the government to achieve a significant reduction in debt claims and to change the nature of its relations with the lenders. A participatory, public Audit of the debt would contribute to establishing with cause, who really owes whom. It would also enable to be made manifest that it is the Argentine people who are the true creditors of the historical, social, ecological, financial, and climate debts that have been accumulating for years, as a result of the domination exercised via the illegitimate debt and the institutions, governments, and corporations that are responsible.
¡Alejandro Olmos, Present!
¡No to the payment of an Illegitimate Debt! ¡Debt Audit NOW!
¡We are the real Creditors!
Buenos Aires, July 13, 2010

Signatories:
Dialogue 2000-Jubilee South Argentina
ATTAC-CADTM Argentina
Argentine Judicial Federation 
Comisión Justicia y Paz- Claretianos
Asociación Guadalupe

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