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The IMF and Class Struggle in Latin America: Unveiling the Role of the IMF

Demonstration opposing the practices of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on Sunday, April 26, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

Demonstration opposing the practices of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on Sunday, April 26, 2009 in Washington, D.C. By Ben Schumin from Montgomery Village, Maryland, USA - World Bank/IMF demonstration [06], CC BY-SA 2.0, Link.

David Barkin is a distinguished professor at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City, emeritus member of the National Research Council, and recipient of the National Prize for Political Economy (1979). In 2016, he was awarded a research position from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. Juan Santarcángelo is a researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research and Director of the Center for Development Studies, Innovation, and Political Economy at the National University of Quilmes, Argentina.

Mainstream economics posits that the path to prosperity for developing countries is achieved through the implementation of a set of “free market” policies, which, among its principal measures, advocates for economic openness, market deregulation and liberalization, and privatization of public enterprises. Despite empirical evidence showing that no developed country has reached its current capacity through the application of these policies, the core countries of the world continue to maintain this discourse and, more importantly, attempt to ensure that developing countries implement these measures. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) plays an integral part in this configuration. With the purported aim of safeguarding the stability of the global economy, the IMF has been key in the reconfiguration and extension of the dominance of international finance capital over the local productive resources of Latin America by favoring the consolidation of local capitalist classes subordinated to the designs and power of global capital.

The aim of this article is, on the one hand, to demonstrate that the relationship between Latin America and the IMF is a faithful reflection of a global class struggle, in which internal and external power dynamics have been articulated over the years in favor of capital. On the other hand, the goal is to reflect on the concrete possibilities that open up for the region in the future if it decides not to repeat its history.1 With these objectives in mind, We begin by briefly reviewing the role of the IMF in the global economy, the countries that control its decisions, and its main functions and sources of financing. We then examine the long-term relationship between Latin American countries and the IMF from the mid-1970s to the present. The objective is to reconsider these elements to account for the specific ways in which IMF intervention inevitably proved decisive in the class struggle for countries in the region, always favoring big capital. Finally, in the last section, we reflect on the nature of the IMF and the possibilities that lie ahead for the region if it chooses to reverse this disastrous historical legacy.

Emergence of the IMF and Its Main Functions

The origins of the IMF date back to 1944, when the world was still immersed in the Second World War. In this context, forty-four allied and associated nations, along with one neutral country (Argentina), led by the United States and the United Kingdom, gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to discuss the economic plans that would be implemented in the postwar peace.2 The governments aimed to guarantee global peace and prosperity through international economic cooperation, which would be articulated through a global market where capital and goods could move freely without barriers.

The Bretton Woods Agreement not only established the general rules for the functioning of international relations designed by the last two hegemonic world powers (Britain and the United States), but also fundamentally represented the desire of these powers to expand the capitalist market globally and subordinate peripheral countries within their schemes of global accumulation. It is also important to emphasize that while Bretton Woods resulted from planning and cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom, the United States dominated the conference, directing it according to its national interests and emergence as the undisputed hegemonic world power.

Integral to this agreement, three regulatory institutions were envisioned to assist in the new global functioning. These institutions were the IMF, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (later known as the World Bank), and the International Trade Organization (which would later become the World Trade Organization). The IMF was the most powerful institution of the three, originally focused on financial issues related to exchange rates and balance of payments loans, which were important but not very controversial or disputable.3 However, in the early 1970s, in the context of significant transformations in global capitalism, including the abandonment of the gold standard, the institution altered its political stance vis-à-vis so-called third world countries. It began offering loans in exchange for the implementation of a battery of policies that included the opening and liberalization of economies, privatizations, and insistence on the application of greater “austerity” in the fiscal management of national governments.

This transformation in the conditions imposed on debtor countries was no coincidence, but rather a response to clear interests of the central countries, particularly the United States, to subdue any attempt at an alternative development model that could challenge U.S. hegemony. According to its charter, the IMF is a supranational body with the purposes of fostering international monetary cooperation, facilitating the expansion and balanced growth of international trade, promoting exchange rate stability, assisting in establishing a multilateral system of payments, and providing (with adequate safeguards) resources at the disposal of member countries experiencing imbalances in their balance of payments. These functions, in practical and organizational terms, are grouped into three basic categories: financial assistance (which involves providing loans to member countries facing balance of payments problems), surveillance (with the purported objective of maintaining stability and preventing crises in the international monetary system), and capacity-building (for which the IMF constantly provides technical assistance and training to promote and establish a set of practices that supposedly aim to improve existing institutions and strengthen the technical capabilities of its in-country teams).4

In 1969, the IMF created a new international reserve asset known as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to supplement the official reserves of member countries. SDRs are the main source of financial resources available to the organization for operations, and their value, from October 1, 2016 to present, is based on the evolution of a basket of five currencies: the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the U.K. pound sterling. The worldwide total of SDR allocations currently stands at around SDR 204 billion (approximately U.S. $296 billion).

IMF members contribute different quotas, reflecting their size and relative position in the world economy, as well as their power within the organization. The top nine economies in the world—the United States, Japan, China, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, India, and Russia—contribute 53 percent of SDRs, giving them 50.39 percent of the total votes and allowing them to control the international financial organization. It is clear that the IMF is not a democratic institution in the sense of equality among countries, since the possibilities of granting credits and the application (or not) of conditionalities for these loans depend solely on the agreement and desires of the world’s major economic powers.

IMF loans are structured around two main programs: Stand-By Arrangements and Extended Fund Facility or Extended Credit Facility Arrangements. The former is most frequently used by member countries and is typically for relatively short periods, lasting between twelve and twenty-four months but rarely exceeding thirty-six months. Generally, these agreements involve constant monitoring of the country’s economic policies by the IMF, but have few conditionalities regarding structural reforms focused on meeting certain set objectives. The second type of agreement, the Extended Credit Facility, is applied to countries that not only experience a temporary balance of payments problem but are considered to have structural imbalances. With this type of agreement, the IMF proposes to intervene in the country’s economic structure, imposing fiscal austerity, exchange rates liberalization, and interest rates guidelines; it usually also includes a range of measures related to privatizations, labor reforms, and changes in social security. These plans are not designed genuinely to help debtor countries resolve their economic and financial problems; on the contrary, the IMF clearly is intent on intervening in their internal politics, imposing neoliberal market policies under the guise of “unconditional” assistance, thereby assuring their compliance with the demands of international capital markets.

The Relationship between the IMF and Latin America

To understand the relationship between the IMF and Latin America, we must first comprehend the role that the United States has historically assigned to the region. For the most powerful country in the world, Latin America primarily serves as a supplier of raw materials and cheap natural resources. This is vastly different from the role that Europe, for example, has had (and continues to have) for the United States, as poignantly analyzed by Eric Toussaint.5 In the framework of Europe’s reconstruction after the Second World War, the United States faced the dilemma of how to lend money to its allied European countries. According to Toussaint, a Belgian historian, the central objective of the United States in the postwar period was to maintain the full employment achieved through the colossal war effort and ensure a trade surplus in U.S. relations with the rest of the world. However, the major industrialized countries capable of importing goods from the United States were literally penniless. To enable them to buy U.S.-manufactured products, large quantities of dollars had to be provided. There were three ways to do this: (a) lend money and have the recipients pay in kind; (b) lend them money and require them to pay their debts in dollars; and (c) donate the money until they get back on their feet. With the first possibility, European products would compete in the United States and full employment would be impossible. With the second possibility (repayment in dollars), for them to pay off the debt, they would have to be loaned twice the same amount plus interest. The risk of entering an uncontrollable cycle of indebtedness (which could block or once again slow down business operations) combines with the risk evoked in the first possibility. Therefore, the option chosen was to donate the dollars in what was known as the Marshall Plan, where Europeans would use them to buy goods and services, ensuring an outlet for U.S. exports and consequently full employment.6 The Marshall Plan was also part of the Cold War strategy of rebuilding Western Europe in opposition to the Soviet bloc.

In contrast to this state of affairs, the situation in Latin America was completely different. This can be observed both in the evolution of the overall relationship and in the situation of each country in the region. During the postwar years (1945–70), the Latin American region sought to stimulate economic development based on the strategy of import substitution industrialization, following the leadership of the somewhat heterodox policies formulated by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The region needed dollars to maintain the volume of imports necessary to sustain its industrial growth, and throughout this period, the financial sector was entirely subordinated to the productive sector, structured as an institution to stimulate industrial development.

In the late 1960s and early ’70s, the region experienced several military dictatorships that took power and imposed a new economic model designed to assure the hegemony of (international) finance capital. The main objective of these military coups was to dramatically reduce the predominant role of the working class in the accumulation process, suppressing real wages and reducing social spending. They also changed the logic of debt for the countries in the region. The borrowing that Latin American countries had used to overcome their external constraints and promote industrialization became a key element in the rise and consolidation of the hegemony of international financial interests.7

After the U.S. abandonment of the gold standard in 1971 and a relatively short period of adjustment along with a surge of inflation, a crisis of confidence in international dollar markets generated a period of instability, during which Paul Volcker was appointed chairman of the United States Federal Reserve (the U.S. central bank) in August 1979. To curb inflation, he implemented a set of dramatic contractionary monetary policies and raised interest rates, inducing a recession in the United States and most advanced countries. Access to credit became significantly more expensive, creating the conditions for a “debt crisis” in Mexico and obliging Mexico’s Minister of Finance, Jesús Silva Herzog, to announce the country’s default on its external debt obligations. Mexico’s decision was rapidly followed by Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela, and later extended to other countries in the region. As a result, private banks cut off all financing to the region.

Within a year, the financial exposure of the nine largest banks in the United States reached 180 percent of their net worth. The decline in the market value of Latin American debt not only threatened those banks, but also had the potential to lead to a global banking crisis.8 The region faced a true creditors’ club, coordinated by the U.S. government to prevent a major banking crisis at home.9 It was the first crisis of its kind in the “developing” world and caused panic in international financial markets. The IMF granted Mexico a loan of $1 billion, calming international markets and providing a brief respite to the Mexican economy.10 The IMF conditioned this “help” on the imposition of extreme austerity and other economic policies, inaugurating what would be known as the “lost decade” (in terms of economic growth) for the larger countries in Latin America. In Mexico, this involved not only a dramatic reduction in public spending, leading to significant cuts in public services and investment projects, but also obliged the country’s accession to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. This would become a prelude to negotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, a central instrument in the full range of policies to impose neoliberalism in the country, a comprehensive package of measures widely known as the Washington Consensus.11

Following the implementation of this program, an effort to generate an independent front to counterbalance the pressures from the north, the Cartagena Consortium emerged in June 1984, bringing together representatives from eleven Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.12 These countries accounted for 80 percent of the regional debt, but, despite attempts at joint action and cooperation, their final declaration only created a mechanism for regional consultation and monitoring to assist in negotiations with creditors. The swift reaction of the U.S. Treasury, coordinated with a consortium of U.S. banks and the IMF, managed to neutralize this threat from the Latin American countries.

The debt crisis in the region lasted for eight years, until the early 1990s, in spite of several unsuccessful attempts at resolution.13 The last effort to resolve the debt problem came with the Brady Plan, devised by U.S. Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady. The plan proposed exchanging old external debt bonds for new ones backed by the U.S. Treasury. Mexico was the first to adopt the plan in 1989, and in the following years, ten countries in the region signed on: Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Debt reduction fluctuated between 35 percent and 45 percent, reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio from 54 percent in 1987 to 32 percent in 1997.14 The consequences of the crisis were dramatic in economic and social terms for most countries of the region, as debt levels increased and degrees of autonomy in sovereign decisions were forever lost.15

In the mid-1990s, the region suffered a new debt crisis, originating once again in Mexico. The “Tequila Crisis”—a crisis concerning the Mexican peso—led to a “bank run,” threatening the private banks’ stability. This time it was a perfectly predictable result of an unsustainable program to maintain an artificially fixed exchange rate during the administration of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, in an attempt to burnish his international reputation. With the change in administrations in 1995, the financial community forced a major devaluation, leading to a dramatic increase in inflation and rising interest rates that pushed millions into bankruptcy, leading to the destruction of small businesses and forcing significant segments of the population to lose their homes as banks foreclosed them due to mortgage defaults. The IMF intervened with a $50 billion loan, supporting Mexico’s decision to “socialize” the unpayable debts of the private banking system through the poorly named “Banking Fund for Savings Protection” (FOBAPROA, popularly called “Rob-aproa”), for a total of over 500 billion pesos. It was clear that its purpose was to save private banks (mostly foreign), providing them with liquidity and absorbing their unpayable debts at the expense of a public burden that the Mexican population would be paying for generations, limiting the public sector’s ability to finance the essential public works and services that the country needed.16

This stage marks the peak influence of neoliberalism in the region, and the policies implemented caused structural transformations of enormous import. Perhaps the paradigmatic case in this regard has been Argentina, which, during the 1990s, promptly implemented all the recommendations of the Washington Consensus, leading to a process of over-indebtedness and capital flight that culminated in 2001 with the worst economic and social crisis of the country’s history. At the end of 2001, Argentina declared a partial default on its external debt of over $100 billion, one of the largest sovereign debt defaults in world history. The default was partial because it did not include a default on loans from the main international organizations, including the IMF.17

This process, which to varying degrees was replicated in most countries of the region, involved a strong redistribution of income in favor of large national and international capital groups that would not have been possible without the deliberate intervention of the IMF. Operating with local complicity, the IMF managed to force Latin American countries to implement these policies.

The beginning of the new century marked the end of active implementation of neoliberal policies amid a profound economic, political, and social crisis that led to the collapse of the previous economic model. In many countries of the region, new progressive governments were elected, strongly critical of the neoliberal doctrine, the role played by the IMF, and the withdrawal of the state from providing public health, education, social services, and housing. Thus came Néstor Kirchner, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, and Hugo Chávez, among others, who with varying degrees of success managed to reverse some of the most infamous legacies left by neoliberalism. Among their main achievements, we can highlight a significant process of debt reduction in the countries of the region, a rise in real wages, and a decline in the rates of unemployment and poverty. Additionally, in 2005, during the Summit of the Americas in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the countries managed to reject the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

Another key element in the relationship between Latin American countries and the IMF occurred in 2006 when Brazil and Argentina, in an organized manner, decided to prepay the debts they had with the international organization.18 This was especially significant, both in terms of the amount involved (for instance, for Argentina it represented 34 percent of the country’s reserves), but also for ending the IMF’s long interference in domestic policy through the imposition of all kinds of conditions. The words of then-President Kirchner announcing the debt cancellation reflected this reality: “This debt has been a constant vehicle for interference because it is subject to periodic reviews and has been a source of demands and more demands, which are contradictory and opposed to the objective of sustainable growth. Moreover, denatured as it is in its purposes, the International Monetary Fund has acted, regarding our country, as a promoter and vehicle of policies that caused poverty and pain for the Argentine people, hand in hand with governments that were proclaimed exemplary students of permanent adjustment.”19

The discredit of the IMF due to the impact of the economic policies it promoted was so extensive and profound in the region that the central (North Atlantic) countries initiated a process of “rebranding” the IMF. Thus, certain “organic” intellectuals began to posit the existence of a new IMF, one that had learned from its mistakes and had modified and rectified some technical errors. As a result, discussions arose regarding the existence of this reimagined IMF, which proposed the emergence of a “new” and “revised” Washington Consensus. However, in practice, no substantive changes occurred in the organization, and its recommendations continued to align with a mainstream view of the economy, supporting financial capital.

As a counterweight to the progressive governments that dominated the regional scene in the early twenty-first century, new right-wing and ultra-right-wing parties emerged throughout the region and began to vie for political spaces. Strongly supported and financed by the United States, some of these new groups rose to power during the second decade of the twenty-first century. These include cases such as Mauricio Macri in Argentina, Michel Temer and Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Lenín Moreno in Ecuador, Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico, and Luis Lacalle Pou in Uruguay, among others. Thus, a dual process of economic and social regression began. On the one hand, there was a return to implementing neoliberal economic policies, market deregulation, reducing the role of the state, and prioritizing the financial sector over the productive sector; on the other hand, many of these governments resorted once again to external indebtedness with the IMF to ensure that, in the event of new electoral victories by progressive governments, they would be confronted with externally imposed conditions and subordinated to the dictates of the IMF.

Once again, the emblematic case is Argentina, where Macri resumed borrowing from the IMF in 2018. Through a Stand-By Agreement, the IMF provided an assistance package, unprecedented in its history ($44 billion) and included its classic economic policy recommendations, such as “fiscal consolidation,” reform of the Central Bank’s charter, and the implementation of an inflation-targeting scheme.20 The IMF’s massive injection of dollars, which far exceeded Argentina’s maximum quotas in the organization, cannot be understood without considering the explicit support provided by the government of Donald Trump to its regional ally in the context of its dispute against progressive governments in the region.21 In this regard, Mauricio Claver-Carone, former U.S. Executive Director at the IMF, acknowledged that it was Washington that promoted the largest assistance program in the history of the organization to “help Argentina,” even when European representatives were opposed to it. Former President Macri, however, cynically stated, “We used the IMF money to pay off commercial banks that wanted to leave because they were afraid that Kirchnerism would return.”22

The dispute remains open, and, in several countries of the region, progressive governments alternate with neoliberal governments. What is clear is that the IMF’s relationship with Latin America shows profound and extensive repercussions and continues to shape Latin America’s development after more than four decades. During these years, the IMF became the political and technical representative of the international banking community creditors in Latin America, responsible for designing adjustment programs and monitoring their implementation. In this sense, creditors do not want these countries to reduce their debt burden; rather, the objective is to stimulate permanent indebtedness, to maximize benefits in the form of debt repayment, and to impose policies in line with their creditor interests, ensuring the subordination of these countries in the international arena. The IMF effectively works to reinforce financial and social groups that wreak havoc on the country’s economy and society. This restructuring intensifies poverty in the region and dismantles efforts to create a productive structure that addresses the population’s needs.

The Challenges of the Latin American Working Class

International organizations are not neutral institutions. They play a key role in the development of capitalism and are fundamentally aligned with the interests of powerful groups in the countries that lead these institutions. The IMF was crucial in imposing the structural adjustment plans, which, under the pretext of being “aid” plans, hindered the genuine economic development of debtor countries. Furthermore, as is evident, the IMF operates as a tool used by right-wing local elites in their national struggle over the type of policies adopted while ensuring an alignment with the prevailing neoliberal globalization model at the global level.

The implications of this analysis are clear. The IMF continues to assume a preponderant role in the domestic politics of “developing” countries that are in serious trouble due to their exposure in international debt markets. This worsening debt trap leads to the inability of the public sector in most Latin American countries to respond to the demands of its social base (the working class, peasants, and others “from below”) since political power is controlled by the financial sector and business groups who effectively prevent the enactment of a progressive tax structure. Further constraining these governments’ room to maneuver, profits from the exploitation of natural resources are generally allocated to infrastructure projects to promote the neoliberal productive model. To phrase this clearly, a class struggle is being waged, which the public sector attempts to mitigate by issuing clearly unsustainable (unpayable) public debt on global financial markets. The IMF intervenes and pressures governments to adopt restrictive policies that deliberately punish the “popular” masses, rebalancing the power scale in favor of wealthy groups.

The current situation in the “developing” world is changing. With the domestic conflicts experienced in the United States and the consequent search for alternatives to U.S. hegemony and the “universal” character of the dollar, there are various initiatives aimed at finding other ways of financing international trade. First, there are the advances made by China, not only economically but also financially, to facilitate its trade with accounts in its currency, the yuan. This necessarily implies greater efforts to promote trade between the Asian giant and its newfound partners, as well as initiatives to provide some form of relief to many countries in the Global South that have accumulated debts with China due to investments in infrastructure. A new international force has come into being in the form of the BRICS+ union (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), recently expanded to additional countries. This has been given further impetus with the election of Lula for the third time in Brazil. The BRICS+ nations are eager to reduce international dependency on the system led (and controlled) by the United States and the IMF. Finally, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, created in 2010, is discussing proposals that are still in the stage of exploratory talks, but could become an alternative. These attempts are still incipient in terms of offering a real counterbalance to U.S. dominance. However, they indicate a disillusionment with the exercise of power that has tilted the balance of power in favor of national and international financial groups at the expense of the well-being of the majority.

Global financial power, based in the United States/Canada, Western Europe, and Japan, has also strongly punished many attempts to implement environmental “sustainability” programs that would involve limiting extractive investments causing significant damage to the plans of capitalist expansion worldwide. This is another aspect of foreign investment that is causing major conflicts within the “recipient” countries of these investments, mostly impacting social groups such as small-scale farmers and Indigenous peoples, who are left defenseless in national scenarios. The balance of power in some of these Global South countries is starting to shift to some extent due to a greater awareness of the rights and contributions of local groups in the face of current social, economic, and environmental crises. They are currently involved in diverse efforts to form national and international alliances to press their demands.23

The IMF continues to play a crucial role in restructuring and extending international financial capital’s dominion over local productive resources, intervening to arbitrate disputes between social classes within countries by furthering the consolidation of a local capitalist class subordinate to the dictates and power of international capital. Likewise, we understand that throughout Latin America, there is increasing pressure from the IMF that is clearly aimed at preventing or stopping any attempt at national rebellion. Thus, it becomes irrelevant how “progressive” or even centrist a national government is, or what constellations of forces are at play on the national level, or even the “degrees of freedom” that domestic politics possess, as they are invariably deeply constrained by the nature of international finance. Today, the challenge posed for progressive forces in the region—and in the Global South generally—is how to organize a countervailing opposition that will limit the IMF’s effectiveness.


  1. David Barkin and Gustavo Esteva, Inflación y Democracia: El caso de México (Mexico: Siglo XXI Editores, 1979). For an English-language summary, see David Barkin and Gustavo Esteva, “Social Conflict and Inflation in Mexico,” Latin American Perspectives 9, no. 1 (1982): 48–64.
  2. Richard Peet, Unholy Trinity: The IMF, the World Bank and WTO (London: Zed Books, 2003).
  3. Peet, Unholy Trinity.
  4. International Monetary Fund, “IMF and Argentine Authorities Reach Staff-Level Agreement on an Extended Fund Facility,” press release no. 22/56, March 3, 2022.
  5. Eric Toussaint, “Why the Marshall Plan?,” Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt, February 7, 2024.
  6. Toussaint, “Why the Marshall Plan?”
  7. This new constellation of economic forces was dramatically abetted by the wholesale intervention of a new group of economic advisors led by the “Chicago Boys,” whose intellectual leadership was provided by Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger.
  8. Diana Tussie, “La Concertación de Deudores: Las negociaciones financieras en América Latina,” Ola Financiera 8, no. 20 (2015): 201.
  9. Robert Devlin, Debt and Crisis in Latin America: The Supply Side of the Story (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989).
  10. Carlos Alfredo Justo Parodi Trece, “La Crisis de la Deuda en América Latina de la década de los ochenta,” Working Paper, Universidad del Pacífico Centro de Investigación, Lima, 2015.
  11. John Williamson, Latin American Adjustment: How Much Has Happened (Washington, DC: Institute of International Economics, 1990).
  12. José Eduardo Navarrete, “Política exterior y negociación financiera internacional: la deuda externa y el Consenso de Cartagena,” Revista de la CEPAL, no. 27 (1985): 7–26; Manuel Pastor, “Latin America, the Debt Crisis and the International Monetary Fund,” Latin American Perspectives 16, no. 1 (1989): 79–110.
  13. José Antonio Ocampo, “The Latin American Debt Crisis in Historical Perspective” in Life After Debt: The Origins and Resolutions of Debt Crisis, Joseph Stiglitz, ed. (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), 87–115.
  14. Barbara Stallings, “La economía política de las negociaciones de la deuda: América Latina en la década de los ochenta,” in José A. Ocampo, Barbara Stallings, Inés Bustillo, Helvia Belloso, and Roberto Frenkel, La crisis latinoamericana de la deuda desde la perspectiva histórica, CEPAL (Santiago: Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe, 2014), 71.
  15. Juan Santarcángelo, “The Argentinean Financial and Debt Crisis of 2019,” in The Encyclopedia of Financial Crisis, Sara Hsu, ed. (Northampton: Edward Elgar, 2023), 351–53.
  16. Even the magazine Expansión, published by and for the business and banking class, characterized it “as an act of corruption and opportunism on the part of the bankers, who classified the debts of the institutions as overdue and were rescued by the government” (Selene Ramírez, “Claves para entender qué es el Fobaproa y por qué se sigue pagando,” Expansión, June 7, 2023). For a comprehensive review and evaluation of the process, see Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Fobaproa: expediente abierto. Reseña y Archivo (México: Grijalbo, 1999), and especially the accompanying CD, which contains valuable data.
  17. Juan Santarcángelo and Juan Manuel Padín, “Endeudamiento en Argentina: crisis, factores estructurales y condicionantes de largo plazo (2001–2021),” Realidad Económica 52, no. 351 (2022): 94–101.
  18. Eduardo Basualdo, Estudios de Historia Económica Argentina. Desde Mediados del Siglo XX a la actualidad (Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI Editores, 2006).
  19. Néstor Kirchner, “Palabras del presidente de la nación, Néstor Kirchner, en el acto de anuncio del plan de desendeudamiento con el fondo monetario internacional,” Casa Rosado, Argentina, December 15, 2005,
  20. International Monetary Fund, “IMF and Argentine Authorities Reach Staff-Level Agreement on an Extended Fund Facility.”
  21. The credit amounted to 1.277 percent of Argentina’s quota—far greater than normally allowed under its operating guidelines. It is said that this operation was the result of the direct intervention of the Donald Trump regime. It was strongly criticized by important groups within the staff of the Fund and widely questioned in the international financial press (Santarcángelo and Padín, “Endeudamiento en Argentina”).
  22. “Mauricio Macri: ‘La plata del FMI la usamos para pagarle a bancos comerciales que tenían miedo de que volviera el kirchnerismo,’” Perfil, August 11, 2021.
  23. See, for example, the history of La Via Campesina (, the world’s largest social organization, with more than two hundred million members in eighty-one countries, which is promoting community organizations to spread local food self-sufficiency with agroecological systems. There is also the international consortium of “Territories of Life” in more than two hundred countries, through which community members are promoting local autonomy and committing to conservation measures covering more than one-quarter of the planet’s territory ( The Global Tapestry of Alternatives is another network that joins communities in dozens of countries to support their initiatives for political independence and to strengthen their ability to promote local well-being (
2024, Volume 76, Number 01 (May 2024)
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