Argentina joins Beijing’s Asian bank
by Silvina Premat

Both government and opposition approve membership. Argentina is the third Latin American country to join the institution after Ecuador and Uruguay. Buenos Aires is under pressure to settle its debts with the International Monetary Fund. For a former lawmaker, Argentina is choosing to go along with dictatorships, like Perón did with Hitler.

Buenos Aires (Asia News) – Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies this week approved Argentina’s entry into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with only four votes against.

Growing tensions between the Kirchenist (left-leaning populist) government and opposition parties seemed to dissolve when 235 legislators from different political parties gave final approval to a law that was not examined in committee nor discussed by the full house.

The AIIB was created by China in opposition to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, dominated by the United States and Japan.

Launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping to promote his Belt and Road Initiative, the grand scheme of investments is meant to turn China into the hub of world trade. Opposed by the United States, the bank has 103 members.

After the legislation is signed into law by President Alberto Fernández, which is expected shortly, Argentina will become the third Latin American country to join the AIIB. The other two countries from Latin America are Ecuador and Uruguay. Five more countries – Brazil, Chile, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia – are waiting to become members.

AIIB membership opens up the possibility of credits for infrastructure development that usually go through the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The decision to join this multilateral financial entity created by China comes at a time when the Argentine government is trying to refinance its huge debt with the International Monetary Fund, which tends to follow the US lead.

According to Elisa Carrió, a former lawmaker and a prominent but independent member of the opposition, Argentina is at a crucial crossroad.

Speaking to local media, she expressed concerns as to where Argentina is placed in the "geopolitical war between the US and China,” which in her view is clearly underway.

For her, the country faced a similar dilemma during the Second World War, having to choose whether go “go along” with dictatorships or democracies. At present, Carrió explained, "we are about to repeat the historic mistake of going along with dictatorships, just as Juan Domingo Perón did with Hitler.”