Take Vultures' Talons off Argentina!
CAMPAIGNERS against the ever mounting burden of debt and those profiting from it gathered early this evening outside the offices of US hedge fund Elliot Associates in posh St.James', London, to back Argentina's opposition to paying the profiteers.
Some wore vulture costumes to show what they think of the speculators. And besides the Argentine flag, there was a rhythmic cacophany of pots and pans being struck, reminiscent of Buenos Aires demonstrations, and audible several streets away.
In a leaflet handed to passers by and people leaving work the Jubilee Debt Campaign explained:
"Argentina's economy is being held to ransom bya small handful of wealthy speculators -so-called vulture funds.
"Last November a New York court ruled thatArgentina must pay over £1 billion to a subsidiary of US hedge fund Elliot Associates....
"Funds like this never 'lent' money to Argentina. Argentina defaulted on some of its debts in 2002. Vulture funds speculated on that crisis, buying debt in the hope that the economy would go bankrupt. They tried to make money as many millions in Argentina suffered terrible unemployment, homelessness and poverty.
"Moreover, much of Argentina's debt has been recycled continuously since the time of the brutal military junta. The vast majority of debt claims accumulated during this time have been declared arbitrary and fraudulent.
"40 years ago, speculators profited from death and repression, at the hands of Argentina's dictatorship. Today vultures are again attempting to profit at the expense of Argentina's people."
Supporting Argentina's right to refuse payment, the campaign condemns the New Yorkc ourt decision "which implied that the paymet of vulture supercedes a state's right to protect its people."
It supports a debt audit in Argentina to ascertain the extent of illegitimate debt.
What was striking tonight was that even in posh St.James, amid the art dealers and around the corner from the Ritz, most people were willing to take a leaflet and.a lot of them seemed able to relate to the issue of vulture funds and debt. Maybe Britain's own encounters with the banks have had that effect.