Several hundred people gathered on Tuesday in downtown Buenos Aires, called by left-wing social organizations, to demand more social assistance from the Government in the midst of the crisis, job creation and non-payment of external debt, to use that money in the fight against poverty.
In the middle of the avenue July 9, the most important in the Argentine capital, protesters marched several blocks to the headquarters of the Ministry of Social Development, from where social policies are managed and whose facade is the large-scale face of the emblematic former lady Evita Perón, known for her work for the needy in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
“If they want to end the misery, they do not have to pay the external debt, they can make an organized type of default, but the money is here,” said Mónica Sulle, a reference in the Socialist Movement of the Workers (MST) Teresa Vive, one of the organizations calling for the protest.
A KEY WEEK FOR DEBT
The initiative comes when two months of government of the Peronist Alberto Fernández, who won in the elections last October to the previous president, the conservative Mauricio Macri (2015-2019) and in a key week for the country: this Wednesday will arrive mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to advance the debt renegotiation of more than 44,000 million dollars that Argentina has with the agency.
In the protest, which caused the cutting of the avenue and difficulties in the already dense traffic in the area, posters of “Outside IMF” and “No to the payment of external debt” could be seen, but also other critics with the development of various measures taken by the current Executive.
Marcela, one of the protesters, remarked that both she and her colleagues reached the rally to “claim a decent job that is consistent with the minimum family basket.”
HIGH LEVELS OF INFLATION AND POVERTY
The cost of the shopping cart, which marks the poverty line, increased 3.6% in December compared to November and reached 12,608.52 pesos per person per month ($ 200), according to the National Statistics Institute and Census, and inflation closed 2019 at 53.8% year-on-year.
Likewise, according to the same agency, 35.4% of the population lived below the poverty line in the first half of 2019, the latest data available and still with Macri ruling, so Fernández proposed, when he came to power, to end with hunger with measures such as the establishment of the Argentina Plan against Hunger, which includes the distribution of cards to buy food.
These have a monthly charge of 4,000 pesos (65 dollars at the current official price) for mothers who have a child under 6 years, and with 6,000 pesos (98 dollars) for those who have two or more children under 6 years .
Precisely this condition is one of the criticisms that were heard in today’s protest.
“There are many families that have 4 or 5 children, and if they are not at the age that the government asks you, if you do not have a Chinese child under 6 years of age you cannot receive that food card,” said Marcela, who emphasized the “critical situation” that in his opinion Macri left.
“We are not vague people as they tell us, we are precarious people who work in black, we have family and come to claim for workers’ rights,” he said, convinced that the new president “for now” has not responded to “all claims “of organizations.
THE PROTESTS WILL NOT cease
The IMF delegation that will arrive tomorrow will coincide with the visit of the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, to the Chamber of Deputies to explain the general lines of the negotiation with the Fund and the rest of international creditors to pay the high external debt, which the Peronist executive says he wants to pay, without taking away, but when the country starts to grow.
That is why on Wednesday more demonstrations are expected against the IMF, an agency that the Government of Macri went to ask for a loan when in April 2018 a serious recession began that still continues.
“Hunger and genuine work cannot be negotiated to pay the debt,” said Sulle, who defines himself as a member of a social movement opposed to the national government.
“Do you know how many things could be done if (the debt) was not paid? (…) Thousands of things. But they define the relationship with the IMF and the World Bank and all the foreign debt and the United States and their relations for the outside instead of discussing and making a plan that can respond to the needs of the people and workers, “he criticized.