Argentina’s World Cup team is doing very well this week. The rest of the country? Not so much. The Argentinian peso is now so weak that middle-class fans visiting Brazil for the games are forced to eat in soup kitchens. Meanwhile, as negotiations over the bond crisis continue, the Wall Street Journal took a look at the holdouts. Surprise, surprise—they’re not all capitalist “vultures”:
Norma Lavorato worked and saved for decades, but has spent most of her twilight years waiting for the Argentine government to pay back the $45,000 she invested in sovereign bonds and lost in Argentina’s massive 2001 default.“I’ve had patience, a lot of patience,” said Ms. Lavorato, a spry 85-year-old who turned down the small settlement offers the government made to other bondholders. “I worked for 43 years. That money is mine.” […]The plights of individuals like Ms. Lavorato have been largely forgotten in Argentina’s public and bitter battle with the big U.S. hedge funds. Much of the hedge funds’ Argentine debt was snapped up on the cheap after the default, with the idea that it would increase in value. But many bonds were also sold beforehand to ordinary Argentines. They saw government debt as a secure investment.
There are thirteen individual holdouts like Ms. Lavorato who took part in the U.S. court case, and hundreds more stand to benefit if Argentina reaches a deal with creditors this month, many of them pensioners. Now, the Argentinian press denounce them as the “little vultures.”