Coffee House

Argentina’s G-20 membership should be revoked

12 August 2013

12 August 2013

When Argentina appears in British public discourse, it is normally in relation to one of the two ‘f’s – football or the Falklands. The behaviour of President Cristina Kirchner’s regime towards the islanders is nothing short of disgraceful, and it is very encouraging to see the British government supporting the islanders in the strongest terms. The Falklands, for obvious reasons, are top of our agenda when it comes to discussion of Argentina, but this issue should not blind us from other major problems affecting this country as a result of Cristina Kirchner’s belligerence.

Kirchner makes no secret of her refusal to play by the same rules as everyone else. Argentina has expropriated the property of European companies; provides a safe haven for drug dealers bringing methamphetamine (crystal meth) to Europe; is developing a strategic relationship with Iran; deliberately falsifies its economic statistics; refuses to abide by international court judgments; and refuses to honour even the most basic laws of contracts and pay its debts to other nations and institutions.

Drug trafficking is an increasing concern. A recent research paper from the International Assessment and Strategy Centre found that Argentina currently imports 30 times more ephedrine than that needed for its legitimate pharmaceutical industry. Ephedrine is a key ingredient for the production of crystal meth – a brutal and destructively addictive drug that ruins many lives on the streets of Europe and the USA. This is not all – Argentina is now estimated to supply 70 tons of cocaine into Europe, which represents a third of the entire usage volume.

Equally worrying is Argentina’s growing friendship with Iran – a country that is a major strategic threat to the interests of Britain, and the West more widely. The Argentine Government’s blossoming relationship with Iran has been highlighted in the US Congress, and was evidenced recently when President Kirchner refused to allow a senior Argentine investigator to travel to Washington to testify before Congress on Iran’s role in the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing of AIMA, (the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association), presumably for fear of what the expert might reveal.

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Argentina’s refusal to repay its debt obligations, even though it has billions of dollars in reserves, sets a terrible precedent for other nations, such as Greece, which may be tempted to follow this path of irresponsibility. Courts have previously ruled that the Argentine Government needs to pay all its creditors, which is exactly the kind of sound legal principle that we in the developed world should uphold and support – even if the Kirchner administration has chosen not to.

On every conceivable level, Cristina Kirchner’s actions are endangering the interests of Britain. So what can we do?

Following a public campaign in which I was involved, International Development Secretary Justine Greening took the important step of stating that Britain will vote against future loans to Argentina from international institutions such as the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The Obama Administration is also voting against new loans. No more should Cristina Kirchner’s government be allowed to threaten and denounce the international community on one day and then cash our cheques on the next.

There is more we need to do: other European nations must be encouraged to join the UK and the US. It is simply unacceptable that a country that is a member of the G-20 – one of the most important and prestigious international bodies – should behave in this manner. I believe that Argentina’s membership of the G-20 should be revoked. The country has been named and shamed by Transparency International as one of the worst in Latin America for corruption (even outstripping Venezuela), and the IMF has baldly stated that Argentina’s government is lying about its economy and cannot be trusted. In her own country, President Kirchner has been rocked by a series of corruption allegations made by one of the country’s most famous investigative journalists. One of his hard-hitting TV shows even gained more viewers than Argentina’s biggest football match, which was conveniently rescheduled in order to clash with the airing of the show in a move which backfired completely. We cannot, and should not, allow Cristina Kirchner to be rewarded with a welcome to the world’s top table.

Argentina is an international outlier. No other country – including in Europe – is behaving so irresponsibly in relation to its debt. No other country is in receipt of an IMF censure for falsifying inflation figures. In Europe, we should stand up for the rule of law, sanctity of contract, and respect for international legal and financial obligations.  We should not stand with those who refuse to abide by court judgments or who steal private property. We certainly should not stand with those who ally themselves with drug traffickers and Iranian extremist groups. We stood firm on the Falkland Islands, and we now have a strong stance on international loans. It is time, too, to take a tough position on Argentina’s membership of the G-20.

Henry Smith is Conservative MP for Crawley. He is the Vice-Chair of the Trans Atlantic & International Security All Party Parliamentary Group.

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Show comments
  • Pinguin20

    Does UK should be fired from the G20, since one of the recurrent issues of the
    forum is where is going the black money. Money made from the drugs taht this
    article refer, corruption, etc, at the end of the day, bloody money. This
    money is going to UK territories where they are protected. You want to
    rule the ethic rules of the world, where is obvious you should be the
    first to put in place. Moreover UK does not respect any UN resolution!!

    • agent0060

      Is that a “comment”? Have you tried English? Please list the UK territories where money is protected. But they aren’t really “UK” territories. They are “protected” by Britain because they are small and can’t protect themselves against nearby belligerents. Argentina and Spain are good examples of “nearby” belligerents. Anyone who has the intelligence to do their own research, rather than blindly accepting the propaganda issued by said belligerents, would know this. For example, Argentina “claims” the Falkland Islands BUT, to start with, Britain discovered the Islands in the first place. France, that didn’t come around until 54 years later, never made a formal claim. Britain did. Along came Spain. It BOUGHT the French settlement. Then tried to evict the British in 1770/1. Failed. Spain had to pay compensation. The rebel colony now called Argentina came along 50 years later and started trespassing. With pirates! Britain returned and the “dream” was over. Except it wasn’t really a “dream”, more a fantasy. And then Spain. Ceded Gibraltar to Britain IN PERPETUITY. Fairly easy to understand. It means FOREVER! The Treaty of Utrecht doesn’t mention Gibraltar’s “territorial waters”. It doesn’t mention Spain’s either. The institution didn’t exist in 1713. But, in 1958, all coastal states got territorial waters. UNCLOS I. And the UK DOES respect UN resolutions. The BINDING Security Council resolutions. Like the one Argentina ignored in 1982. It also recognises UN General Assembly NON-BINDING resolutions with which it agrees. So little Argentina and little Spain can gabble away in the General Assembly and the C24 all they like. They are talking shops, nothing more!

  • Pato Correa

    Too late!… Kirchner is finishing his presidency and surely she will not be reelected. Anyone who takes the government will rule in a very different way.

  • Mago Amatista #74%

    Smitherjones2013 When you say “they” please, take into consideration that almost 74% of the population in Argentina (according to the elections last Sunday) do not endorse, neither support Cristina Krichner´s mandate. We suffer her dictatorial whims every day. Marisa, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  • Sipech

    Whenever focus is shifted to such territorial disputes which have been going on for years, it is a sure sign that they are trying to distract from the troubles at home. This is partly why Argentina occasionally ramp up the rhetoric over the Malvinas and why the Spanish have been talking more about Gibraltar. Yet they are not the only ones. Why would Henry Smith, the backbench MP for Crawley take up the issue, not to mention his reporting of the Falkirk nominations (which was rejected by the police as being without foundation)?

    In short, it’s because his local party are in such disarray. The Conservative leader of the council is being investigated for sexually harassing a younger colleague and has also just defected to UKIP. The Conservatives in Crawley are out of control and Henry is desperate to appear tough. It’s a bellwether seat and if the swings in the last local elections are any indication to go by, then Henry looks set to lose his seat at the next election, with Labour snapping at his heels and UKIP taking a chunk of the vote. He’s trying to appeal to the xenophobes and the jingoistic, but he’s fooling no one.

  • Francis Guidera

    Henry Smith is exactly right, and the world MUST recognise this potentially dangerous nation for what it is. War mongers, drug traders and a country that perpetuates it’s poor’s situation.

    Henry Smith should be in the cabinet.

  • Sean Lamb

    “the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing of AIMA”
    This bombing had nothing to do with Iran, it was a warning to back off over the Erich Priebke deportation.

  • Juan Malambo

    Addictive drug that ruins many lives on the streets of Europe and the USA, this is the problem from Europe and USA than demand for drugs and pay for that (free market).
    2nd. When the IMF and the developed countries turn yours back to Argentina in 2001 no one say nothing to avoid the economic and human disaster why Argentina now need to take care about Greece. Now I can believe the ignorance of Mr, Henry Smith the G-20 is about 20 major economies no the best performance

  • george

    Why is one not allowed to spell out h ll on The Spectator? What is this — The Most Christian Magazine? Did the Queen have a word? What gives?

    • Fergus Pickering

      No h*ll. No sh*t. No f*ck. And above all no s*x.

      • george

        I’m surprised you’re allowed the asterisks! I’ve been modded in the past for using those, as well. Best thing, I find, is to put gaps between letters. I get around the last one by typing ‘secks’.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I love it. Home oh secks you all in turk ‘orse.Take that!

          • george


  • Nick

    She needs a 3 badge stoker up one end and a cooks mate up the other.

  • Noa

    We can also stop our direct and indirect DFiD contributions.

  • David Lindsay

    Oh, he’s an MP? You live and learn. Not exactly made a mark, has he?

    We all know what “the Trans Atlantic & International Security All Party Parliamentary Group” means. Poor deluded sap, he thinks that America would back Britain up (or ever would have done) if for some reason we proposed this, and that that would then settle the matter. Wrong on both counts, of course.

    If being a major centre of drug trafficking were grounds for expulsion, then the first country to be booted out would be Britain.

  • David Lindsay

    Iran – a country that is a major strategic threat to the interests of Britain, and the West more widely.

    Rubbish. This site is becoming a neocon tribute act, what with Murray, Cohen, and statements such as that. You’ll be putting up YouTube clips of Gareth Gates or the Cheeky Girls next.

    • Nick

      I like the cheeky girls and I saw them in a pub in Camborne once.

      • David Lindsay

        Lembit Öpik went to enormous lengths to secure the right to remain of the one with whom he was then paramorous, apparently oblivious to the fact that her country was about to join the EU.

        • Nick

          And I see that one of the sisters was cautioned for theft a couple of years ago in Wilmslow……Now there’s a thing.

        • Wessex Man

          You are only jealous, go on admit it!

      • Wessex Man

        yea I like the cheeky Girls as well.

        • Nick

          Great minds think alike Wessex Man and I love their inspiring life changing music.In particular,I like listening to Cheeky Girl classics such as The cheeky song (touch my bum)…A cheeky christmas and Take your shoes off.
          Three revolutionary songs by great artists who are in the same league as The Beetles,David Bowie and Taichovsky.

  • george

    She favours the Duchess of Princess hairstyle, I see. Only with hair dye added (I guess).

  • Smithersjones2013

    What comes around goes around. Slowly they will isolate themselves on the world stage. By the sound of it the Kirschner leadership is turning Argentina into a rogue nation.

    There is, however , a far simpler reason why they should not attend the G20. They no longer feature in the top 20 economies in the world (according to the IMF, World Bank and CIA).

    • Makroon

      Neither does South Africa – the “G20” is not a serious forum, it’s just to make dodgy countries with largish populations feel better.

  • HookesLaw

    She is a populist nationalistic rabble rousing ranter. Welcome to the world we will inhabit if we in our turn elect a load of nujobs.

    The Argentinian economy is tanking, as is her approval rating. The only thing going up is inflation. 25%. She is a lame duck president in her final term.
    Spain and Spaniards might look in askance at any alliance.

    • Wessex Man

      oh Hooky you are turning into such a sad person, you are really worried sick about UKip, yes admit it, you know call me Dave has blown it and going on the membership figures we’ll have as many mambers as your sinking ship round about election time, still never mind mustn’t grumble!

      • HookesLaw

        Its the country, which would be lumbered with Labour if UKIPs lies go unanswered, that should be worried.
        Clearly UKIP don’t like it up em.

        Look at the nasty bigoted self serving jingoistic rabble rousing ranting demagoguery of Kirchner and you see merely a reflection of UKIP.

        • Wessex Man

          oh really Hooky, you do have to do better than that, the nasty party sends out big vans telling the illegal immigrants to surrender and go home and are roundly condemned by every other political party including UKip!

          I would say that she rather mirrors MPs who said that people of Sheffield should be denied hoildays abroad, or landed gentry who say lets Frack in the desolate North East, rather than say our deputy leader Paul Nuttall a straight talking Liverpool lad!

          If labour get in with Miliband leading them that will be because of minority parties like yours taking marginal voters away from UKip!

          • HookesLaw

            UKIP should rename itself the United Kingdom Intolerance Party.

            As for vans – what is wrong with encouraging illegal immigrants, thats people who are breaking the law mostly by overstaying visas, to go back home?
            Protesting about that shows that UKIP want the problem to remain so they can exploit it.

            Net immigration is down by a third and the govt are taking measures to repatriate illegals.We are getting a referendum on the EU.
            The economy is growing

            exports at a record
            welfare reformed
            health reformed
            education reformed
            withdrawing from Afghanistan ahead of time

            Gadaffi dead

            Why do we need UKIP with is rag tag and bobtail of nutjob candidates, whose sole purpose is to feed their own ignorance and give labour an easy ride buy splitting the right wing vote?
            what have UKIP got to offer except drunken old misogynists down the pub

            • the viceroy’s gin

              “…As for vans – what is wrong with encouraging illegal immigrants…?”


              You mean, besides the fact that you socialist Camerloons would be the first to hysterically shriek “waaaaaaycism”, if anybody but your socialist hero Call Me Dave was doing it?

              Hypocrites and socialist nutters, these Camerloons.

            • Seadog

              Pray tell us which pub you last went to that was full of drunken old misogynists. Or are you just making it up?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      She He is a populist nationalistic rabble rousing jelly faced, inexperienced, socialist ranter. Welcome to the world we will inhabit if we in our turn elect a load of nujobs as long as this bien pensant bubble denizen socialist nutter is around.

      The Argentinian UK economy is tanking, as is her his approval rating. The only thing going up is inflation, thanks to the Camerloons’ money-printing madness. 25%. She He is a lame duck president in her his only and final term. Spain and Spaniards and anybody sane might look in askance at any alliance, given this dolt’s head will be on a spike in 21 months time.

      • HookesLaw

        As ever not as clever as you would like to think. Britains car industry is expanding just as France’s is contracting. Nothing lame about that.
        Exports up to record levels trade gap down. Nothing lame about that.

        If you cannot quite summon up the wit to see who really is lame – take a look in the mirror.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          As ever not as clever as you would like to think. Britains car industry is expanding just as France’s is contracting. Nothing lame about that. Exports up to record levels trade gap down. Nothing lame about that. The UK economy sucks and its public finances are being driven to insolvency.

          If you cannot quite summon up the wit to see who really is lame – take a look in the funhouse mirror that is Call Me Dave’s premiership.

          • HookesLaw

            Classic example of head in the sand – thanks for showing us all you have nothing to say but yah boo.
            How is the grand wizard today BTW?
            I am happy to be living on Britain you can stick it where ever you are.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …you’re not happy about anything, laddie. Most socialists aren’t.

    • Smithersjones2013

      Your obsessions are becoming extreme. Please tell me you are not wearing that tin foil hat again? The nutjobs can’t hear you when you wear it. You can breathe a sigh of relief though as I understand (from the nutjob underground on the dark internet) that they are not coming to take you away you (well not yet anyway).

      Get some counselling Hooky!

      • HookesLaw

        I think its your bigotry that is in need of counselling. Nutjobs exist all over the world and typically you have so little self awareness that you cannot recognise yourself when this Argentinian one holds up a mirror to your face.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Like all socialist nutters, the Camerloons I think its your accusations of bigotry are the only arguments they need that is in need of counselling. Nutjobs exist all over the world and particularly in the Cameroonian mothership, and typically you the Camerloons have so little self awareness that you they cannot recognise yourself themselves when this Argentinian one holds up a mirror to your their face.

          • stephen rothbart

            Too much gin. Try again when sober.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Well, one has to be a little juiced to deal with the Camerloons, what?

    • george

      I’m against nutjobs. What is a nujob? And who qualifies to be one?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        That’s unclear, but the word seems to have made its appearance right around the time Call Me Dave was clamoring for homosexual marriage, so maybe it’s in the manifesto.

        • HookesLaw

          The conservative manifesto promised a free vote on gay marriage and thats what happened. Why do nutjobs obsess about gays so? Something deeply Freudian going on?

          • george

            Freud’s mistake — or one of them — as Joseph Epstein has pointed out, was to imagine that everything important about a person is actually secret. That was one of his more honest mistakes. The rest was outright fraudulence and charlatanry.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, you’re right, the Camerloon nutjobs do seem to obsess about homosexual marriage, for some strange reason.

      • stephen rothbart

        It’s anyone that someone who is themself a nutjob calls someone who disagrees with said nutjob.

        • george

          Especially if the disagreer is a nudist, to judge from another article that’s been popular lately….

      • HookesLaw

        Nutjobs are unthinking extremist ranters, as typified by the homophobic misogynistic racists around here who mostly profess support for UKIP and spend their time busily polishing the chips on each others shoulders..

        if you look on CiF you will see any number of the socialist equivalents.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Lad, you are without a doubt the best example of nutjob infesting this site.

  • stanedeid

    British nationalism rears its ugly head once more.

    • Wessex Man

      go and bury yours pal!

    • Andy

      Not so. We just hate bullies. The Spanish are bullies, hypocrites and small minded. They use Gibraltar for their own ugly reasons and with vulgar regularity. Remember last years when the King & Queen were unable to attend the Queen’s ‘Sovereign’s Lunch’ at Windsor because of this issue. The Spanish should grow up and accept that the people of Gibraltar don’t want to be Spanish. And looking at how the Spanish behave who can blame them.

      We note you dont say ‘Spanish nationalism rears its ugly head once more’.

    • Smithersjones2013

      So pointing out how venal the regime in another country is somehow British Nationalism? Perhaps we should keep ourselves to ourselves and not involve ourselves outside these islands then?

      In such circumstances will you be opening your home to the Falklands Island refugees as they flee from Argentine despots?

  • fathomwest

    I believe we should invite President Kirchner for a State Visit. Ensuring we have, at the same time, an exhibition at the British Museum showing the disgraceful way the indigenous population of Argentina were kicked out of their own country by the Spanish and those that run the country these days. Indeed she should be invited to open the exhibition. Obviously we should show the good things that have come out of Argentina. Corned Beef, Villa and Ardilles to name just three.

  • toco10

    Spain and Argentina are welcome to each other and it probably makes sense that two economic basket cases and cowardly bullies are brought under the microscope together.Failures tend to stick gravitate to those of similar persuasion.

    • David Lindsay

      Our dispute with Spain is just a row between two old Dowagers whom the world had forgotten. We are each like Norma Desmond.

      • GnosticBrian

        You do a perfect impression of an old Dowager; could you explain why we should abandon Gibraltar when Spain clings on to Ceuta, Melilla, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, Perejil Island and the Chafarinas Islands?

        • David Lindsay

          I never said that we should. We should offer them two options in a referendum: incorporation into the United Kingdom, or independence.

          What I said was that a dispute between Britain and Spain was a throwback of centuries, and nothing to do with anywhere that really mattered these days.

          It matters to Britain. It matters to Spain. But it doesn’t matter to the world. Any more, if anything rather less, than some border dispute in central Africa or somewhere.

          We are like two feuding neighbours who are still at it over the garden fence in their eighties. We care. But no one else does anymore, or has any reason to. If anything, most people had assumed that we were dead.

          • GnosticBrian

            When asked in a referendum, the people of Gibraltar overwhelmingly voted to remain British. I don’t think we should abandon them to the occupiers of the Basque country. Oh, and there is no throwback – the matter was settled by the treaty of
            Utrecht, end of. The Spanish raise the issue whenever they wish to distract attention from their woeful internal situation.

            • David Lindsay

              You didn’t bother to read the comment, did you? No, of course not.

              Your kind is going to be so bitterly disappointed when there is no war, no anything, over Gibraltar. If there were really any chance of anything at all kicking off between two NATO and EU countries, then there would be uproar in both bodies.

              But there isn’t, because there isn’t. Everyone knows that Britain and Spain are like two of the older lady characters who have feuds on Coronation Street or EastEnders, to be taken exactly as seriously as one would take, say, Dot Branning, previously Cotton.

              Now, I wouldn’t have wanted to have got on the wrong side of her in her middle age. But she is not in her pomp now. Nor is Spain. Nor is Britain. And everyone knows it.

              • GnosticBrian

                Yes I did read your comment but don’t feel the need to offer a running commentary on what you said.

                You appear not to have read mine. The only belligerent here is Spain. Franco was canny enough not to do Hitler’s bidding and invade the Rock. There will be no war this time round and NO that will not disappoint me – and nothing that I wrote should have led you to make such a scandalous suggestion.

                I have never watched either of the programmes to which you refer and know nothing of the persons to whom you refer.

                • Wessex Man

                  I personally think that dear David should go and write a book about it, he could even call it the ‘nobody knows war’ because it would be fought in his head, NURSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • OldSlaughter

                “Everyone knows that…”

                You always know that what follows such words are never something that everybody knows.

                • David Lindsay

                  They do in this case. If you don’t, then you are obviously not anybody.

                • DrCoxon

                  1.Clearly I am not anybody. I seem to have a lot of company.
                  2. The personification of countries is not conducive to a rational analysis of political problems. The conclusions are built into the initial selection of the personification. There is therefore no argument, merely an assertion.

              • DrCoxon

                Should the Schleswig-Holstein problem have been discussed by Bismarck and Palmerston in terms of nursery rhymes? Does Emmerdale Farm hold the key to the Gaza strip?

  • huktra

    I love your sabre rattlig rhetoric Henry but it comes at the wrong time.
    The Spans (currently on the Security Council) are taking us to the UN with Argentinian help and any actions or criticism of the Argies will be seen as a Colonial rearguard action.

    • Andy

      Yer well Fascists always stick together.

    • stephen rothbart

      When your economy and the corruption in your government gets too much attention, create a diversion. Oldest trick in the book.

      What do Argentina and Spain have in common? Massive unemployment and debt, and both leaders ensnared in corruption.

      Gibraltar and the Falklands are a godsend to them.

      But its good to see the EU working so well to diffuse the situa…wait. Sorry, I don’t know where that came from. (Note to self, stop taking hallucinating drugs)

      • vieuxceps2

        Note to Stephen-defuse not diffuse.

        • Wessex Man

          Trust you to go and ruin a good debate, I’m still waiting for my invite to come and campaign by the way.

          • vieuxceps2

            Wah invite?What campaign? Wacky baccy maybe?

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