Law has served to create civilisations and also to colonise and subjugate peoples.

By Miguel Julio Rodríguez Villafañe

Likewise, we must bear in mind, as essential and fundamental, that the basic right of our people is nourished by human rights, which are part of their dignity and from which we must approach the legal discussion, mainly in matters of public debt.

However, we cannot fail to notice that the concrete legal bases in our country are colonised in their dynamics and in their structure of application.

Tricky dynamics

In their dynamics, because we are told and demanded that our states must be transparent and non-corrupt, which we agree with. However, the powerful financiers and lenders who demand this are very careful not to be transparent when negotiating and concluding public debts. All foreign debt agreements have secrecy clauses and grant impunity of all kinds (criminal, civil, etc.) to those involved. At the same time, this circumstance encourages state structures of corruption, in view of the legal guidelines of disincrimination and irresponsibility for those involved.

Likewise, the corrupt financial system itself generates and fosters the misnamed “tax havens”, a word of semantic colonisation, since these places have nothing angelic about them, nor are they paradises, because they are real caves of money that are largely the product of criminal acts. These caves help to feed the system of corruption, laundering of dirty money, coming from tax evasion, drug trafficking, mafias, etc.

To a large extent, the cases that occur in these places constitute the crime of “Concealment by Reception”. But this serves to feed the financial movement with cheap money to which they give shelter. At the same time, the same people who provide these shelters put on the guise of ethicists and demand that the debtor state adjust, that it not spends so much on social plans, that it lower pensions, that it lay off employees, that it not invests in health and education and that it collects as much as possible, even with sometimes unfair taxes, in order to pay the often odious, illegal, usurious and/or illegitimate debts.

A country like the USA, which demands compliance from us as a moral attitude, nevertheless has tax caves in Delaware, Wisconsin, Nevada, Florida, Alaska, Tennessee, Texas, New Hampshire, Washington, Wyoming, South Dakota and the US Virgin Islands.

At the same time, we are forced to resign our justice and submit to administrative pseudo-courts created by the interests of the lenders, such as the ICSID, which stands for “International Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of other States” (concluded in Washington on 18/03/1965) or to foreign tribunals. Thus, a minor judge in New York, such as Judge Thomas Griesa, brought us as a country to our knees before vulture funds and their abusive demands.

For its part, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) has more immunities than a sovereign country, its officials enjoy immunity with respect to all the instruments they sign and, furthermore, their archives cannot be accessed, not even by judicial measures, which makes it extremely difficult to reveal the internal mechanisms that determined to carry out a loan that they knew could not be repaid, indebting the country and thus further conditioning its economy.

In the meantime, there is no sovereign immunity for states that are pressured by foreign debts.

Colonised judiciary

To appeal to the judiciary in Argentina? Which judiciary? The one formatted by Northcentrism and usurious financial power? Never has the illegality of a large part of the foreign debt that is claimed against us been more transparent, however, there are legal ways constructed so that the loans cannot be discussed and the judiciary finds them and validates them, in defence of the lenders.

Suffice it to say, for example, that foreign indebtedness between 1976 and 1983 served, among other things, to pay off private businesses. This assertion can be gleaned from Judge Jorge Ballestero’s ruling, handed down in June 2000, in the case known by the name of its promoter Alejandro Olmos, in which the country’s indebtedness during the last military dictatorship was investigated. The court case, initiated in October 1982 and closed in 2000, lasted 18 years and the sentence established that 477 crimes were committed by the Minister of Economy José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz and his team, but the depressing moral of the story was that, despite having been proven guilty, he was acquitted due to the statute of limitations. A late and inefficient justice.

As if that were not enough, now the new trap has been set. If any judge had the courage to apply the law properly, in the service of the human rights of our people, the financiers are guaranteed the action of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (CSJN).

Thus, Carlos Rosenkrantz, the vice-president of the Court, informed that, from now on, he will intervene in cases of clients linked to his law firm, among which are Cablevisión, Grupo Clarín, La Nación, La Rural, McDonald’s, Quilmes, Claro, or the investment fund Pegasus. This last fund, among its components is Merrill Lynch -vulture funds-. Until today Rosenkrantz had excused himself from participating in more than 100 cases of companies linked to his law firm.

The CSJN must now rule, among other cases, on the constitutionality of the national government’s decree 690/20, issued in the midst of the pandemic and which determines that the internet is a competing public service. The issue came before the Court on appeal by the national government against an injunction issued by a Federal Court in favour of companies in the sector that have opposed the measure.

Moreover, with good will, but demonstrating the judicial impotence, for what the highest court of the country can resolve, the Public Defender’s Office of Argentina made a statement to the UN Human Rights Council for this body to express itself in favour of Decree 690. Do we have to go to the UN to protect our basic rights? Do we then have the Argentine Judiciary?

Impeachment of the CSJN

The CSJN operates as a bottleneck with respect to the approximately 5,000 magistrates of all instances and jurisdictions in the country, who, even with their best dedication and decisions in justice, such resolutions end up being validated or not, before the CSJN, with the vote of only three of its members.

Reality shows, in turn, that in the current Court two of the magistrates (Rossatti and Rosenkrantz), nominated by the fugitive Pepín Rodríguez Simón and unconstitutionally appointed by Mauricio Macri, have behaved improperly in law, ethics and many other aspects. Similar reproaches also apply to the other two members (Lorenzetti and Maqueda), which is why it is urgent to demand an impeachment trial for poor performance for the entire court, appoint new members and reformulate the functioning of the highest judicial body in the country, so that this court can provide the necessary legal security that the Nation deserves and have its own respectable judiciary.

Miguel Julio Rodríguez Villafañe is a constitutional lawyer from Córdoba and a journalist and opinion columnist.