In Buenos Aires, 24 hours of street mobilization against inflation
Coming from the provinces, from the suburbs, several thousand Argentines marched in Buenos Aires on Wednesday before camping near the presidency, yet another demonstration of being fed up with devouring inflation.
The Plaza de Mayo, in the heart of the capital, filled up at the end of the afternoon in a festive atmosphere but against a backdrop of anger directed against the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Casa Rosada (presidential palace) and the Ministry of Economy, adjoining the square.
“We can’t take any more of the hunger!” “Down with hunger and adjustments!” (IMF) “Only the street will slow down prices,” said the banners of organizations or unions to the left of the center-left government, while dozens of tents were erected for the night, AFP noted.
Wednesday marked the start of 24 hours of mobilization which, unusually, were to join Thursday movements and unions rather close to the government but also ulcerated by the rise in the cost of living.
The double mobilization, planned for a long time, has taken on particular importance since the publication on Friday of April inflation: +8.4% over one month, the highest monthly index for 21 years, and +108, 8% over one year.
The government reacted with a plan to fight both against inflation and to defend the peso, which is continuously depreciating against the dollar. It traded on Wednesday at 487 pesos for one dollar at the informal rate (used by most Argentines), against 346 at the beginning of January.
But the only concrete announcements mid-week related to a further rise (the second in a month) in the interest rate, to 97%, for term deposits, and a tax boost for the consumption of vulnerable categories, including retirees and recipients of social assistance.
“A year ago, Alberto Fernandez said he was declaring + war + on inflation. Well at more than 8%, it looks like he raised the white flag and surrendered”, Nahuel railed for AFP Orellana, 32 years old, militant of the small Trotskyist movement MST. “Wages are pulverized (…) and families are more and more numerous in the soup kitchens of the social movements”.
According to a report in early May from the Catholic University, food insecurity increased by 44% between 2010 and 2022, and affected at the end of the year a third of Argentine children, or about 4.2 million, despite a slight improvement since the end of the pandemic.
“Let the IMF go!” is the watchword of the Argentinian left rising against the budgetary rigor that the Washington institution assigned to the government, within the framework of the refinancing of its debt, legacy of a loan of 44 billion dollars contracted in 2018. Discipline that the government is respecting to date (deficit of 2.4% of GDP in 2022, better than the 2.5% target), but without effect on inflation.