Labor unions and social groups blocked streets in downtown Buenos Aires on Wednesday to protest austerity measures proposed by the government and backed by the International Monetary Fund to reduce Argentina’s debt.
Argentine leader Mauricio Macri claims he needs to carry out such measures to regain investors’ confidence by reducing the country’s spending.
“The day-to-day uncertainty is getting worse,” said protester Gabriela Gil, a 49-year-old mother of five.
The year will close with inflation at more than 40 percent, according to economists’ forecasts. Hardest hit are low-income families that spend a high proportion of their income on food.
“The poorest people in the country are on the verge of hunger,” said Daniel Menendez, a spokesman for Barrios de Pie, one of the groups that helped organize the march.
Having signed a US$50 billion standby financing deal with the IMF in June, the slide in the peso prompted Macri’s administration to pledge deeper spending cuts to secure an early release of funds.
The cuts have incited thousands to protest over the past several weeks. University teachers were on strike for three weeks demanding higher wages until over half of the universities reached an agreement with the government.
Secondary school unions have walked out a total of two weeks since they started school last March demanding wages that compete with the country’s 30 percent inflation rate.
Demonstrators are out today in Buenos Aires against the funds' reductions and organizers are giving away food to show the lack of money for food at home.