In December 2001, the government defaulted on $81.8 billion of debt repayments and broke the peso’s link with the dollar. When Nielsen was appointed in May 2002, the country was in the midst of one of the worst financial, social and political crises to hit any country since the Great Depression. His job, together with that of his economy minister, Roberto Lavagna, was to help restore stability and turn around Argentina’s financial fortunes.
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