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The 'Gaucho', the currency that Raúl Alfonsín and the Brazilians dreamed of in the 80s


How Alfonsín and Sarney, in 1987, came to announce a common currency in Viedma. The role of Roberto Lavagna.


Pick up those plates 

," a military voice raised.

Or what is happening, Don Raúl?

José Sarney told Raúl Alfonsín.

It was July 18, 1987.

The two presidents and their companions managed to see that several hands removed the salmon, scallops and sea bass served on the dining room tables of the Austral de Viedma hotel.

Everything happened in front of his eyes.

The background murmur was from 170 diners and prevented them from understanding the situation:

15 people on one side of the room were suffering from signs of intoxication, rolling on the floor and twisting their bellies


Alfonsín and Sarney had gone to that place to sign a dozen trade protocols, speed up imports and, the icing on the cake —in addition to the cassata that they would serve later and it was not in bad shape—, the creation of a common currency:

"the gaucho


The failure of the Cruzado Plan will not affect the integration process, which was never linked to the plan but to the history of the two towns

— Sarney had told Alfonsín minutes before in the middle of a press conference.

The Brazilian not only admitted that the stabilization plan that he had started in Brazil months ago was not only not working, but now he

dreamed of a common currency with an Argentina that at that time had the Austral

and was still fighting to stabilize after going from highest to lowest in inflation since 1985.

A team of technicians had worked on the ad for “el gaucho”.

Three semi-annual rounds of negotiations to reach a monetary agreement.

The creation of an Institute of Economic Studies for both countries in order to reconcile the statistics.

The economic structures of both economies were complementary

but there were differences of scale and low level of integration between the two

(even today it remains the same) that had to be remedied.

look also

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The team that worked on the “gaucho” coin

(actually the Integration Program with Brazil) was made up of representatives from the Foreign Ministry, Industry and Economy.

Jorge Romero, who had lived in Brazil during the military government and was a friend of Dilson Funaro,

Sarney's Minister of Economy,

was the Foreign Ministry's secretary for International Economic Relations.

Roberto Lavagna was Secretary of Commerce and Industry


Beatriz Nofal, Lisandro Bril, Carlos García and Jorge Campbell were also there.

In the Foreign Ministry

, in addition to Romero, there

was Juan Schiaretti.

And the first director of that program was Jorge Faurie.


representative for Economy was Ramón Da Bouza

, a former Techint who had been recruited by Juan V. Sourrouille.

On the Brazilian side, in addition to Funaro

(a friend of Romero and cordial relationship with Mario Brodersohn, Secretary of the Treasury for the Economy, and with whom they thought of creating a Creditors Club to negotiate the debt with the United States)

was Frank Thompson Flores in Itaramaty.

Sarney was a Brazilian president for whom integration with Argentina was of vital importance.

Perhaps more than for Alfonsín.

Brazil sought to shape its regional expansion.

Protocol number 20 entitled Currency, which Alfonsín and Sarney signed on July 17, 1987 in Viedma, states that the governments of Argentina and Brazil "decide to create a common monetary unit, called 'GAUCHO', expressed in terms of its value." by mutual agreement, the Central Banks of the two countries determine to

be issued and backed by reserves


In addition, the technicians had decided to "create for this purpose an Argentina-Brazil reserve fund, administered by its Central Banks."

"They created the gaucho, the bilateral monetary unit,"


headlined on July 18.

Among the recitals of the protocol to create the new currency was considered "the importance of ensuring the financial relationship between both countries,

assuring the stability of trade ties

" and the Latin American objective of "creating a unit to make intra-regional payments."

The story of "the gaucho", it is known, did not prosper.

Not only had the Cruzado Plan failed, but the departure of Lavagna and that Industry team deactivated one of the main proponents of the idea.

Lavagna left Alfonsín's government just a week before the public presentation of "el gaucho" there in Viedma.


to the misfortune of the Crusader would be added, somewhat later, that of Austral himself


The idea of ​​a common currency disappeared in the 1990s until it was revived a decade later with Lula.

Lavagna was Minister of Economy with Néstor Kirchner.

But then the president of Brazil decided to pay the IMF and once again the dream was cut short.

More here in time, in 2018, Mauricio Macri and Jair Bolsonaro tested the idea of

​​the real weight


And now the deputy of UCR Evolución, Martín Tetaz, takes up the idea just as Lula once again, in the campaign, sparks the same dream.

The Presidency officially reported that "the salmon that the presidents Alfonsín and Sarney had to consume was decomposed due to the presence of bacteria."

They marched a steak with fries and fried eggs.

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Source: clarin

All business articles on 2023-01-24

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