The Catholic University of Argentina, UCA, released a new study this week revealing that Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s administration has pushed 1.5 million people into poverty since taking office in December 2015.
Poverty in Argentina went up from 29 percent at the end of 2015 to 32.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016, according to the UCA. Furthermore, the average gap in households living in poverty increased from 32.4 percent in 2015 to 34.9 percent in 2016.
Argentina’s government considers anyone who earns less than US$1.90 a day to be living in poverty, according to the World Bank.
“This process has led to a further deterioration in the labor market and in the income of the informal low-income middle-class sectors,” the UCA report reads.
“It has also led to a deepening of the destitution in the most vulnerable sectors.”
Argentina’s poverty has become so evident under Macri that he was forced to admit last September that one in three Argentines live in poverty. Ironically, his presidential campaign slogan was “zero poverty.”
Macri’s neoliberal economic reforms have also seen the price of goods and services skyrocket in the South American country. In October 2015, two months prior to Macri taking office, Argentina’s inflation rate was 14.3 percent, the National Institute of Statistics and Census of Argentina reports. By April 2016, it reached 40.5 percent.
Despite rising poverty and economic instability in Argentina, Macri is only making things worse for the country’s working class majority.
Last month, his administration announced plans to increase gas prices by 50 percent, hurting taxi drivers across the country. The announcement came just three months after he raised gas prices from 300 to 500 percent. Increases are expected to occur until 2019.
In 2016, the price of electricity, water, gas and transport increased by up to 400 percent as the Macri government moved to remove subsidies and regulations.
Macri has also made life tougher for Argentina’s teachers.
Argentine teachers’ unions and social organizations have been protesting Macri for almost a week following a 48-hour national strike. Postponing the scheduled beginning of classes in Argentina, the teachers are demanding better working conditions and salary increases.
Over 50,000 people attended the protest on its first day.