In Argentina, social organizations and thousands of workers marched Tuesday to reject the government of Mauricio Macri, its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to demand the approval of five laws: food emergency, urbanization of working-class neighborhood, social infrastructure, family-based agriculture and an addiction law.
“The central demand is the rejection of the IMF because none of those projects have any chance as long as the agreement with the Fund remains,” Esteban Castro, leader of the Confederation of Popular Economy Workers (CTEP), said.
“The workers will not kneel before the IMF,” read the banner that headed the third March for Peace, Bread, Roof, Land and Work, since Macri became president in 2015.
The march was organized by the CTEP and the movement Barrios de Pie (or Standing Neighborhoods in English) on the day of the workers’ saint, Saint Cajetan. Other unions and members of the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion also marched.
"We are walking from Saint Cajetan to Plaza de Mayo for #BreadAndWork and to scream #NoToTheIMF. The real Argentina, that of the forgotten ones, is willing to fight to ensure the dignity of all!"
“The Saint Cajetan marches seek to place the workers’ demands in the agenda. We don’t have mass media that favors the agenda, the political class is not proposing anything to those who are left outside formal employment. That is why we need our voices to be heard, and our voice is mobilization,” Castro explained.
The march began in the neighborhood of Liniers and converged in Casa Rosada, Argentina’s presidential palace.
“We believe society as a whole will show the rejection against the government's austerity measures,” Daniel Menendez of Barrios de Pie said.
The government is trying to reduce the fiscal deficit to 1.3 percent of the GDP by 2019 as part of the agreement with the IMF in exchange for a US$50 Billion loan. They agreed to reduce the deficit from 3.2 to 2.7 percent of the GDP in 2008.
The bill was followed by massive layoff by the government and cuts to social programs that were put in place under the previous left-leaning administrations. The last austerity move by the Argentine government took place early last month when Macri signed a presidential decree freezing the hiring of public servants until Dec. 31, 2019, when Macri leaves the office.