(New York, N.Y.) – January 29, 2013 – Seeking what they are owed, fifteen Argentine pensioners gathered in New York City today in a visit organized by the American Task Force Argentina to decry the Kirchner regime's refusal to honor its ongoing debt obligations and restore their life savings. Demanding fairness and standing on patriotic principle, this group of committed holdouts shared their personal stories of hardship as the "pari passu" case is being reviewed before U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Robert Raben, Executive Director of American Task Force Argentina, said: "AFTA is committed to helping make clear the suffering these pensioners have gone through due to the default. Despite efforts to broadly characterize an entire class of creditors as 'caranchos' and 'vultures,' these ordinary Argentine citizens are speaking out to receive a fair settlement from their government. They are Argentines who invested in their country, and were never repaid. To them, and therefore to me, it's a matter of dignity."
In 2001, the Republic of Argentina announced the largest sovereign debt default in history. In the years since, Argentina has flourished, however President Cristina Kirchner's administration has done all in its power to avoid paying aggrieved bondholders around the world the billions of dollars they are owed, despite over 100 court judgments in the United States and other foreign courts awarded against the Argentine government. Argentina's intransigence affects tens of thousands of individual Argentines, Europeans and Americans who lost money on Argentine bonds when the regime defaulted in 2001. Many of those bondholders are themselves Argentine citizens, some of whom invested their life savings or retirement funds in the securities, assuming that their government would follow the law and keep its contractual promises - which it did not.
"Despite the strength of the Argentine economy today, the government has turned a deaf ear to those of us whose who lost our life savings in the sovereign bond market," said Maria Teresa Muñoz who worked for 42 years as a bilingual secretary for a Swiss company. "We have waited for years — for me it has been more than a decade — to receive fair compensation. But none has come."
Many bondholders have settled, but this group of retirees has held out for more than a decade seeking fair treatment from their government. Now their financial future rests in the hands of the New York Second Circuit Court, which will decide in the coming months whether or not Argentina will have to meet its obligations.
"The failure of our government to follow the rule of law is not befitting of our great nation," explains Horacio Alberto Vazquez, who remains without a fulltime job struggling to make ends meet through part time consulting while raising two small children with his wife. "The government's broken promises have hurt me and my family. Our case before the US courts is our only hope for justice."
About the American Task Force Argentina
The American Task Force Argentina (ATFA) is an alliance of organizations united for a just and fair reconciliation of the Argentine government's 2001 debt default and subsequent restructuring. Our members work with lawmakers, the media, and other interested parties to encourage the United States government to vigorously pursue a negotiated settlement with the Argentine government in the interests of American stakeholders.