Judges Vindicate Economists in Argentina

The administration of Cristina Fernández has been increasingly under fire by opposition forces, as her Peronist policies have predictably driven the economy into the ground, after irresponsible debt defaults, runaway inflation, and private sector takeovers.

Her government has drawn accusations of fascism, as her government has even taken steps to control the independence of the press, and stifle unfavorable economic reports.

And so Monday’s ruling by an appeals court that threw out fines levied by Argentina’s Domestic Trade Secretary on independent firms which had issued inflation numbers which did not match the official government statistics came as a relief to those opposed to the policies of Argentina’s leftist president.

Two of the firms involved in the legal dispute over inflation statistics, were headed by Argentina’s former National Statistics bureau (Indec) Chief Technician, Graciela Bevacqua, and the country’s former Economy minister, Roberto Lavagna.

In January of 2007, her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, pushed for changes to the country’s Fair Trade Practices Law, making it illegal, under Article 9, to publish  inaccurate information relating to economic and financial statistics, and she replaced directors at the state national statistics agency. He subsequently used Article 9 to fine researchers at the agency for reporting inflation rates which were contradictory to the official inflation line. 

The result has been that many firms have simply stopped reporting, and those who do, risk fines, and lengthy court battles. And so, today’s ruling by the court, is a small victory for those looking to challenge the authoritarian government of Fernández.

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