Argentina: Thousands protest IMF, again

Demonstrators marched through the capital, Buenos Aires, carrying signs that read 'No to the IMF'

Thousands of Argentine’s were on the streets on May 15 protesting President Mauricio Macri’s latest macroeconomic policy — a major loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Demonstrators marched through the capital, Buenos Aires, yelling “No to the adjustment, enough of looting the country” and carrying signs that read, “No to the IMF” and “Macri = IMF, Enough of the Adjustments”. Many carried large pots of food to feed fellow protesters, demonstrating that many average Argentines are running out of money for food.

Daniel Menendez, a leader of Barrios de Pie (Neighbourhoods Rising Up), a social rights organisation in Buenos Aires told Reuters: “We want to show, in particular, who are the families that are affected by these measures and also point out that what they are doing is a tragedy.

“While today they are guaranteed billions of dollars of profit to certain sectors, there are families who do not have anything to eat, that is the reality. It is not neutral. Here, some take profits and others are left with an increasingly difficult social situation.”

The Argentine economy has been on a rapid downward spiral since late April, when the Argentine peso devalued some 9% by early May and is 14.77% weaker since the start of the month.

But average Argentines have been suffering the wrath of Macri’s adjustments since he took office more than two years ago.

Since then he and a conservative congress have drastically cut energy, transportation and gas subsidies, eliminated over one thousand state jobs, tried to break unions, and cut taxes for mining and agro-industrial sectors, all with the stated intent to cut the national deficit and control inflation, which has hovered at 25% for the past year.

After suddenly hiking interest rates to 40% last week to save the peso — which did not work — Macri announced his administration was requesting an IMF loan in the amount of US$30 billion.

Many Argentines are outraged at the return of the IMF to the country — ousted by former president Nestor Kirchner in 2003 — whose loan conditions brought about the nation’s economic collapse in 2000.

This is the second time in recent weeks that Argentines have stage major protests against the administration’s decision to seek an IMF loan.

[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]

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