When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Desperately Seeking An Argentine At The World Economic Forum

At the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Mexico, AméricaEconomía tries to get a handle on Cristina Kirchner’s nationalization of gas and oil company YPF - and Spain’s fierce reaction. But getting an Argentine to speak frankly on the matter is no si

War of words
War of words
Carlos Tromben

PUERTO VALLARTA – On the second day of the World Economic Forum on Latin America, things were calming down after Tuesday when Spain's Mariano Rajoy had launched a heavy artillery attack against Argentina.

The verbal fireworks between Spain and Argentina has now subsided. And there are fewer people milling about the hallways, making it all that much trickier for me to find an Argentine participant prepared to comment on President Cristina Kirchner's controversial decision to nationalize the partly Spanish-owned oil company YPF. I can forget about tracking down anyone from Kirchner's staff – the funcionarios K, as they're called in Argentina. There are hardly any Argentine business leaders around either.

My question is whether the Spanish government's fierce reaction to the takeover is primarily based on the magnitude of the assets in question, the complicated place that Argentina occupies in the Spanish imagination or on the current economic crisis in Spain. After all, Repsol is not the first Spanish company that's been nationalized recently in Latin America. Hugo Chávez nationalized Banco Santander in Venezuela. Bolivia's Evo Morales seized control of Repsol's YPFB Andina, although he did so without completely taking it away from the company. But you Cristina?

But as much as I wander through the corridors, I don't hear any Argentine accents. Until suddenly, bingo! A member of the country's Jewish community who says he's Argentine – sort of. It turns out he's lived in Peru for the past 25 years. The man is cautious, but he does have an opinion. He says there are various factors that can explain YPF's nationalization, but the main reason is the influence of a member of the Economic Ministry who seems to have substantial policy sway -- and happens to hold the unorthodox view that businesses should not be allowed to generate more that 6% in profits. "And, well, to make that argument here...." he says, looking around without finishing his thought, as if someone might be listening.

The idea that he mentioned isn't completely unheard of. Hugo Chávez's economic minister has gone on record saying basically the same thing.

That's not, of course, the conventional way of thinking. Experience has shown that putting an "ethical" cap on profits is a great way to scare off investors and condemn countries to international ostracism. But maybe Cristina Kirchner was thinking of a "tailored" nationalization: one that's not based on anti-business or anti-foreigner ideology, but rather on anti-Spanish feelings. That would be a reason for the wound to sting that much worse in Madrid.

Read the original article in Spanish

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


The West Has An Answer To China's New Silk Road — With A Lift From The Gulf

The U.S. and Europe are seeking to rival China by launching a huge joint project. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States will also play a key role – because the battle for world domination is not being fought on China’s doorstep, but in the Middle East.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra and U.S. President Joe Biden shaking hands during PGII & India-Middle East-Europe Economics Corridor event at the G20 Summit on Sept. 9 in New Delhi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Indian Prime Minister Narendra and U.S. President Joe Biden during PGII & India-Middle East-Europe Economics Corridor event at the G20 Summit on Sept. 9 in New Delhi

Daniel-Dylan Böhmer


BERLIN — When world leaders are so keen to emphasize the importance of a project, we may well be skeptical. “This is a big deal, a really big deal,” declared U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month.

The "big deal" he's talking about is a new trade and infrastructure corridor planned to be built between India, the Middle East and Europe.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the project as a “beacon of cooperation, innovation and shared progress,” while President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen called it a “green and digital bridge across continents and civilizations."

The corridor will consist of improved railway networks, shipping ports and submarine cables. It is not only India, the U.S. and Europe that are investing in it – they are also working together on the project with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia is planning to provide $20 billion in funding for the corridor, but aside from that, the sums involved are as yet unclear. The details will be hashed out over the next two months. But if the West and its allies truly want to compete with China's so-called New Silk Road, they will need a lot of money.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest