20 years after a failed promise by Eduardo Duhalde: “He who deposited dollars, will receive dollars.”

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A few days after enduring one of the most difficult political and social crises in Argentina, 20 years ago, the institutional solution was to designate a transitional government headed by Eduardo Duhalde. With the resignation of President Fernando de la Rúa after the outbreak of December 19 and 20, 2001, in other no less frantic days, the missionary took over as heads of state. Ramon Puerta, el puntano Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, the Buenos Aires Eduardo Camano and, finally, the former Buenos Aires governor Duhalde.

On Monday, December 31, 2001, Camano summoned a Legislative Assembly to elect an interim president until a new president was elected by popular will. A) Yes, Eduardo Duhalde was elected on Tuesday, January 1, 2002 by Congress, with 262 votes in favor, 21 against and 18 abstentions, and assumed the following day to govern a year and five months.

Read also: 20 years from the corralito: the reason why the 2001 crisis is different from the current one

In his inauguration speech, Duhalde knew that in that turbulent Argentine situation, people were still in the streets and at the doors of banks, claiming for their deposits confiscated by the corralito created by Domingo Cavallo. Therefore, in his message to the Legislative Assembly, That problem did not go unnoticed and he promised:

Eduardo Duhalde

To those affected by the corralito, I say that the State will not allow them to be victims of the financial system. I want to tell you that the currencies in which you made your deposits will be respected. That is, the one who deposited dollars will receive dollars, the one who deposited pesos will receive pesos.

Another concept remembered from that message before Congress, on the day of his inauguration, was the following: “Faced with this spiral of collapse of the financial system and the fixed exchange rate, there were only two options: full dollarization of the economy, as claimed and do claim by those who supported the previous economic model; or a new model, aimed at sustainable development, which means not anchoring the entire economy to a single variable. This implies the adoption of a monetary and exchange regime with pesification and a flexible exchange rate, which is what this government did and what the productive and labor sectors of Argentina and the international community were demanding. “

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Over time, Eduardo Duhalde regretted that unfulfilled promise

The one who deposited dollars will receive dollars ”. It was undoubtedly a reasonable lie, a phrase that over the years will be remembered whenever it refers to the recurring economic crises of our history.

Of course, at 20 years old, Duhalde himself referred to it on more than one occasion and expressed regret for having spoken it. “Saying that whoever deposited dollars would receive dollars was a mistake,” the veteran Justicialista leader acknowledged in statements to journalists.

“In 2002 people were very angry, it was a scandal that they lived, but we were clear that despite the defaultOf the closed banks, we had to take the most unpleasant measure of all, which was to get out of convertibility. That decision had to be made. For many people, after that, they were good years ”, Duhalde explained.

The crisis ended the era of “one to one”

With that phrase that today is used ironically to portray an unfulfilled promise, the Duhalde government disarmed the convertibility after a decade with the seal of “One peso, one dollar”.

In addition, the authorities decided pesify bank deposits of the Argentines. Thus concluded a grueling race between dollarization and pesification, which ended up being asymmetric, a scam to many Argentines.

Both convertibility and dollarization and pesification are tools that require a fiscal surplus and international variation inflation, which could never be sustained in time. During Duhalde’s administration, the twin surpluses (fiscal and commercial) were achieved, which were later lost to the Kirchners.

To top it off Duhalde questioned the corralito, but implemented the corral, which was even worse. And he promised not just a dollar at $ 1.4, but to return dollars to depositors in dollars, showing that he was unaware of the depth of the crisis.

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Roque Maccarone was in charge of the convulsed Central Bank during the presidency of Fernando de la Rúa and the ephemeral administrations of Ramón Puerta, Adolfo Rodríguez Saá, Eduardo Caamaño and Eduardo Duhalde.

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The mistrust of the savers was palpable in the continuous protests in the streets. The doors of the banks were abuzz, where shouts, insults and the pounding of saucepans raged. Even more serious was the tug of war with the markets. In March the dollar reached $ 4.00. Later, with Roberto Lavagna at the head of the national economy, the exchange rate stabilized around $2.88.

That was what was behind it: the transfer of wealth to liquefy dollar liabilities and use the collapse of the peso as a tool to depreciate wages. Savers did not sit idly by and They presented several appeals for protection in the tribunals.

Amparos rained down in the Courts, but the Court ruled in favor of pesification

Depositors had obtained favorable rulings in the first and second instance, but the State had appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice. Esteban Righi, who held the position of Procurator General of the Nation, had recommended that the Court revoke the sentence that had passed the Federal Court of Appeals of Paraná (after a favorable ruling of first instance) in favor of the savers.

The majority of the Court ruled in October 2004 that pesification was a measure “Reasonable” and “legitimate”, applicable in the economic emergency situation experienced in the country, and that would have been considered “a privilege” the return of dollars to savers. The solitary vote of Judge Carlos Fayt was against the pesification and ordered that the banks return the dollars in installments.

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The ruling of the highest court of the country thus endorsed the return of 1.40 pesos for every dollar deposited, plus the application of the CER (Reference Stabilization Coefficient) and interest for the elapsed time.

For every dollar deposited, the day the judgment was signed, 2.14 pesos had to be recognized. This then implied a loss of 28% t. Sure, the reality made a fool of that promise of President Duhalde.

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