Washington DC - All eyes are on Argentina's soccer team as it prepares to battle Germany in the World Cup finale. On the sidelines, Argentina is embroiled in a debt dispute with so-called "vulture funds" that impacts the Argentine economy and has vast consequences for the global financial system. Argentina faces a July 30th deadline to reach a settlement with a group of hedge funds suing the country for more than $1.5 billion or face default. Argentine officials met yesterday in New York with a court-appointed mediator in an effort to resolve the dispute.
"The World Cup in Brazil is winding down, but the World Cup of debt is just getting started," stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious debt relief group, Jubilee USA Network. "Off the field, Argentina is fighting a battle that has vast implications for its economy."
Argentina's success in Brazil has coincided with defeats in US courtrooms. The day after Argentina defeated Bosnia in its first World Cup match, the Supreme Court declined to hear its appeal in the landmark debt case leaving a lower court ruling intact that empowers hedge funds to profit off of poor countries and economies in financial distress. Just two days after Argentina defeated Nigeria and advanced to the World Cup's second round, Argentina was blocked by a US judge from making payments to the majority of its creditors, leaving the country at risk of default. As Lionel Messi and company knocked out Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands, Argentina could win merely symbolic victories in the United States, including a declaration of support from the Organization of American States.
"Unfortunately, this global debt battle won't be settled at the World Cup final," noted LeCompte. "Because of what happened in US Courts, every country that participated in this year's World Cup is at risk from predatory behavior and will have a tough time if they need to restructure their debts."
Read Jubilee's USA's filing urging the Supreme Court to take case.
Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations, 400 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee's mission is to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA has won critical global financial reforms and more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people. www.jubileeusa.org