Businessmen Fear Argentina Is on the Brink

Assail Party Politics and Corruption

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BUENOS AIRES, SEPT. 13, 2002 ( The Christian Association of Business Leaders warns that the “democratic system” as well as confidence and physical security are being destroyed in Argentina.

In a press statement, the Catholic businessmen deplored “the systematic and progressive dissolution of the political-institutional-juridical system, bringing the country to the verge of anarchy.”

“The government and sectors involved in party politics are destroying the democratic system,” the statement said. “It is urgent to implement political reform” that “will allow the construction of a new way of engaging in politics at the service of the citizen.”

The business leaders group underlined the danger caused by “the grotesque manipulation of the electoral system to impede an extensive and legitimate renewal of the leadership.”

Since December, Argentina has had five presidents. Its peso lost 70% of its value against the U.S. dollar, following a devaluation. Widespread looting erupted, and street fighting claimed dozens of lives.

The Catholic business group said that it is imperative to “reconstruct the monetary, banking and financial system, and to define an economic policy that is provident and allows our country to be reinserted in the world.”

However, at a time “when the country needs greater credibility,” the “perception of greater corruption and alarming lack of confidence in the political authority” increases, it contended.

“We must establish clear and credible rules of the game, which allow for the stimulation of investments, the development of entrepreneurial activity, general employment, and the empowering and use of national resources and capabilities,” the businessmen added.

Moreover, the lack of physical security, forces people to seek “security and justice” by “their own hand.”

The cause must be sought in “the lack of ability and courage to establish clear and consistent policies to address delinquency,” the “incompetence of the security forces,” and “the reiterated proofs of police corruption that suggest strong networks of complicity,” the businessmen concluded.

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