Default veteran Argentina expresses solidarity with Greece

Argentina, which defaulted on a mountain of debt more than a decade ago, expressed solidarity with Greece Monday as it inches toward missing a critical debt payment.

Greece’s woes are sending ripples through stock markets around the world and prompting worries the country may be headed toward abandoning the euro.

A senior Argentine official defended the Greek prime minister’s idea of holding a referendum next Sunday on austerity measures that its creditors are now demanding in exchange for more bailout money.

Anibal Fernandez, chief of the Argentine cabinet of ministers, said the long-running Greek crisis was caused by previous austerity measures that the IMF demanded from Athens.

Argentina has been in the same boat, he said. The country defaulted on 100 billion dollars in debt in 2001, and in recent years has fought bitterly in the courts with investors who bought up some of that debt at fire-sale prices.

Fernandez said Greece should keep an eye out for such investors, which the Argentine government likens to predators and calls “vulture funds.”

Investors “are waiting for things to turn out the exact same way for Greece, so they can start preying on them just as they have with everyone,” Fernandez told a news conference.