Argentinians tie up capital in anti-inflation protests

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Protesters are responding to calls from several unions and left-wing groups that are critical of soaring inflation and the social policies of centre-left President Alberto Fernandez.

The Argentinian left and extreme left have little influence at the polls but a great capacity to organize street demonstrations. (AFP)

Thousands of Argentines paralyzed downtown Buenos Aires in another massive protest against soaring inflation in the South American country.

Thursday’s “Federal March for Work and Wages, and Against Hunger and Poverty” was supported by thousands of people from outside the capital, responding to the call of several unions and left-wing groups criticism of the social policies of centre-left President Alberto Fernandez. .

Calls for demonstrations have multiplied since the start of the year, with the Argentine economy showing no signs of stemming its inflationary trend.

In the first four months of 2022, prices rose 23%, including a 6% jump in April, figures showed on Thursday.

Having already recorded inflation of more than 50% in 2021, the current rate would exceed even the worst estimates of 60% by the end of the year.

“The debt belongs to the people”

Protesters are also angry at the government’s fiscal restraint, a necessity during debt renegotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which will see the country reduce its annual deficit from 3% of GDP in 2021 to zero by 2025.

The Argentinian left and extreme left have little influence at the polls but a great capacity to organize street demonstrations.

They vehemently oppose repayment of Argentina’s $44 billion debt to the IMF and demand more generous welfare programs.

One of their main slogans is: “the debt belongs to the people”.

As the administration tried to limit expectations for additional aid, divisions began to appear within the governing coalition, with Vice President Cristina Kirchner, the former president, openly criticizing Fernandez.

“I don’t think we will honor all the expectations, all the trust, all the hope that has been placed in us,” she said a few days ago, in a veiled beard to the president.

In recent weeks, Fernandez has increased food stamps for the poor by 50%, increased pensions for people working in the informal sector and also raised the minimum wage from $319 to $373.

Source: AFP


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