Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Argentina expropriates Repsol YPF

Lets see…  what’s that expression? Oh right: I told you so!
Argentina seizes control of YPF
Argentina, Spain at odds over oil company expropriation
For years I’ve been saying that Argentina was turning into Venezuela.
They stole our savings. They stole our retirement funds. They taxed the life out of us. They investigated your finances if you bought a big screen TV for the world cup or send your kids to a private school. In a way they “nationalized” and ruined private health care by including every crappy social medical plan into private health care services that used to be of acceptable quality. They banned the purchase of foreign currency, pretty much froze importations even taking a Fahrenheit 451 twist when they banned the importation of books, like a poor taste Bradburian joke.

No one saw this coming? Really? Hey, those guys that said Argentina was great for expats and that expropriation wasn’t a risk, I suppose they crawled back under a rock in Salta or somewhere.
Yes, Cristina Kirchner just stole the oil company YPF from the Spaniards. Sovereign oil resources that were stolen by greedy capitalist corporations, now Cristina comes as a patriot hero to claim it back for the proud Argentine nation. Its our oil, its in Argentine soil after all.
But what kind of evil monster SOLD YPF to Repsol ten years ago in the first place, who could that be? Oh right, she did! Cristina Kirchner and her husband ex president Nestor Kirchner eagerly did that, voting for the sale of the Argentine company from the senate seat.

Why would that be? A brain stroke moment where she forgot her patriotism, maybe she didn’t know that oil is kind of an important resource. Oh, right! Her husband Nestor Kirchner was governor of oil filled Santa Cruz back then, and wanted to sell the company and collect a little paycheck of 700 million USD. That money that was supposed to be for the people of Santa Cruz was sent to a Swiss bank account so as to keep it protected from the 2001 economic collapse. After the collapse when it was time to bring the money back so as to help rebuild the collapsed country …. well… it never made it back to the country because you know how that is. You buy a Coke, think you have $5.43 left of change in your pocket but then you look and its only $4.43. Then you spend all day wondering what happened with that dollar you thought you had? Don’t you hate when that happens? Well this is the same thing but with 700 million dollars, they just got lost somehow. Now lets not be mean, it could happen to anyone!

We must admit though, it’s a pretty clever business strategy. Its like selling a car, then stealing it, then selling it again. The problem is that eventually you run out of fools to trick and right now that’s whats happening with foreign investors. I wouldn’t invest a half-eaten BigMac in Argentina, let alone any amount of money. They are already threatening to nationalize banks and other companies if they don’t plane ball with the government.
By stealing YPF, Cristina bought herself some more time, but as anyone that reads my blog knows the country had been falling apart for some times and it just now took yet another serious direct hit. As I write this there’s still lack of importations, many shelves in supermarkets are empty and its cheaper to buy a kilo of mate, a traditional Argentine staple similar to tea, in New York City than in Argentina. While the situation in Argentina is already bad enough, further disaster is inevitable.
Watching Argentina from the distance is very much like watching yet another Titanic documentary, so popular here in Belfast these days: It’s a horrible slow motion cataclysm and we all know how the story ends.

PS: Say you only now see what was obvious to many of us and you want to leave Argentina before it goes to hell again, you better hurry: The price of getting your Argentine passport went up 100% yesterday. If you my friend are still in Argentina and still deciding between leaving or not, hurry before Argentina turns to Cuba.
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Anonymous said...

What’s that expression?

Plastic surgery disasters!

Anonymous said...

I laugh myself silly when I get one of "join us in Cafayate" emails from the wealthy ex-pats. Moving from an imperfect U.S. to a fascist Argentina gated community, hiring happy locals to wait on them until the axe falls on ex-pat foreigners also. LOL.


Chaz said...

Yes things were roped when I was in BA & Bariloche earlier on this year.

Trouble is ennui on the part of my family who think the cycle is just repeating & things will get better. I think that's a common attitude amongst the 40 odd % who aren't peronists.

Who knows maybe Christina may still go for broke and try and re-take the Falklands (with Chavez's help of course as the military won't want to be massacred )!

Deft said...

Yes you were right. Argentina definitely has a looter government. It was like something straight out of Atlas Shrugged.

Also, I have no problem with capitalists. It makes sense for people to want to own natural resources and make a profit off them. Should oil just sit in the ground? Ambition and hard work are too often painted as "greed."