The National Interest
December 18, 2012
By Sean Goforth
Last week, a UN tribunal ordered the release of an Argentine frigate docked in Ghana since October. A group of hedge funds had succeeded in getting a local court to hold the ship as collateral until the Argentine government made good on a $20 million bond. The bond is just a sliver of the debt still contested in New York as part of Argentina’s nearly $100 billion default in 2001.
Holdout creditors notwithstanding, few countries have had their debts so readily forgiven, or seen their status on the stage of nations so well polished, as Argentina after 2001. Since its implosion, Argentina has enjoyed an almost unbroken economic boom, notching growth at roughly twice the rate of its northern neighbor, Brazil. Exports of grain and other commodities soared. Malbec, an Argentine grape variety scarcely known outside oenophile circles at the turn of the twenty-first century, now vies with Shiraz as the third-most popular red-wine variety in the United States, behind Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
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