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ARGENTINA | 21-02-2020 16:58

Ex-INDEC director Jorge Todesca dies at 73

Economist tasked with restoring the integrity of the INDEC under the Macri administration has died just weeks after leaving his post, family confirms.

After a long battle with illness, the former president of the INDEC national statistics bureau Jorge Todesca, died on Friday. He was 73 years old.

Between 2015 and 2019, Todesca was tasked by the Mauricio Macri administration with restructuring the INDEC and restoring the agency’s credibility after years of Kirchnerite intervention. The situation was no dire that in 2013 Argentina became the first nation to be censured by the International Monetary Fund for inaccurate statistics. President Mauricio Macri declared a “statistics emergency," prior to Todesca's appointment.

The economist’s work was successful enough to compel his successor, Marco Lavagna, to keep Todesca’s team when taking on the role.

Marco Lavagna tweeted: “I profoundly lament the death of Jorge Todesca, who was a dedicated, honest and capable professional. I will always remember him with warmth, affection, and for his hard work at the front of @INDECArgentina. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Last August, Todesca questioned whether the agency he was leading would be able to remain independent and free of political interference after the change in government. Peronist leader Alberto Fernández beat Macri in an election in October, becoming president December 10.

“Macri guaranteed the independence of the institute,” Todesca wrote in a press release at the time.

In 2011, Argentina’s commerce secretariat fined Todesca 500,000 pesos (about US$120,000 at the time) for publishing his own inflation index due to the lack of credibility of official data. The fine was overturned in court.

Todesca, an economist, graduated from University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and had Peronist roots, but was always known for being open to dialogue with other parties. He was a a consultant for the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and founded his own consulting firm, Finsoport.

He had an active public life. In 1989, he was interior commerce secretary during the presidency of Raúl Alfonsín. Between 1999 and 2001, he was the vice-president of the publicly owned Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, and in 2002 he was the deputy economy minister under Eduardo Duhalde.

Todesca was also one of the private-sector economists that the ex-commerce secretary, Guillermo Moreno, pressed to publish alternative figures to those released by the INDEC under the Kirchner administration.

Former president Mauricio Macri wrote on Twitter: “My remembrance and respect to Jorge Todesca. His trajectory was renowned by his colleagues. His management of the INDEC was fundamental to restoring the integrity of that key institution. I send an affectionate greeting to his family and friends.”

The famed economist was also the father of Cecilia Todesca, who is now the vice-Cabinet chief to President Alberto Fernández. 

– TIMES/NA/PERFIL/BLOOMBERG

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