Thousands of Argentine’s are in the streets today protesting President Mauricio Macri’s latest macroeconomic policy - a major loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Peaceful demonstrators have been marching from to the central bank in Buenos Aires yelling, "No to the adjustment, enough of emptying 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, director of ‘Barrios de Pie’ - Neighborhoods Rising Up - a social rights organization of Buenos Aires tells 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 recent rapid down spiral since late April when the peso devalued some 9 percent by early May and is 14.77 percent weaker since the start of the month.
But average Argentines have been suffering the wrath of Macri’s adjustments since he took office over 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 have cut taxes for mining and agro-industrial sectors all with the stated intent to cut the country’s national deficit and control the nation’s inflation, which has hovered at 25 percent for the past year.
After suddenly hiking interest rates to 40 percent last week in order to save the peso, which didn't 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 president Nestor Kirchner in 2003 - whose loan conditions brought about the nation’s economic collapse in the year 2000.
This is the second time in the past week that Argentines have stage major protests against the administration’s decision to bring in an IMF loan.