Wednesday, November 3, 2004



After World War II, a military junta that took power in 1976 followed a long period of Peronist authoritarian rule in Argentina and interference in subsequent governments. Democracy returned in 1983, and numerous elections since then have underscored Argentina's progress in democratic consolidation.

The country benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Over the past decade, however, it has suffered recurring economic problems of inflation, external debt, capital flight, and budget deficits. Growth in 2000 was a negative 0.8%, as both domestic and foreign investors remained sceptical of the government's ability to pay debts and maintain the peso's fixed exchange rate with the US dollar.

The economic situation worsened in 2001 with the widening of spreads on Argentine bonds, massive withdrawals from the banks, and a further decline in consumer and investor confidence. Government efforts to achieve a "zero deficit," to stabilise the banking system, and to restore economic growth proved inadequate in the face of the mounting economic problems. The peso's peg to the dollar was abandoned in January 2002, and the peso was floated in February; the exchange rate plunged and inflation picked up rapidly. When the economy imploded after years of free-market pillaging, foreign investors and the national elite pulled $40 billion out of the country in the middle of the night while the government froze individual savings accounts. Millions of people were financially ruined, factories closed, unemployment soared. In their last elections the architect of the economic collapse, Carlos Menem, presented himself once more as a candidate for the office of president.

Former employees of an abandoned ceramics factory in Patagonia South America and a garment factory in Buenos Aires were successful in getting governmental approval to restart the business and run it themselves. This film follows a group of thirty like-minded unemployed workers who wanted to restart the Forja Auto Parts factory that once provided their livelihood.

for General Audiences

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