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“This economic and social crisis has a first and a last name: Mauricio Macri and the IMF,” said Dina Sanchez, representative of the Dario Santillan Popular Front.
Dozens of social movements and trade unions mobilized more than 250,000 people across Argentina, striking Wednesday under the "emergency to confront hunger" slogan. The protesters marched to demand the implementation of a food emergency bill, an extension of the social emergency bill, and an increase in the complementary social wage, among other basic social demands.
The organizations, union trades, along with other sectors of society, including left-wing groups, gathered to protest the neoliberal policies of President Mauricio Macri’s government whose economic measures have created the nation's current recession that began last year.
The mobilizations were called by a number of social movements and trade unions, including members of the State Workers’ Association (ATE), the Argentine Workers’ Central Union-Autonomous (CTA-A), the Argentine Workers’ Central Union (CTA), the Workers’ Confederation of the Popular Economy (CTEP), Barrios de Pie, and unions under the General Confederation of Labor (CGT).
“We have to be very clear, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the financial capital, and all those economic groups whose faces we cannot see, work against us and this government is the perfect expression of their policies to exterminate,” workers' rights, said Esteban Castro of CTEP.
Castro explained that the minimum salary to be able to live decently in Argentina should be 32,000 pesos (US$ 550) at least, while it is currently set at 12,500 pesos (US$ 215).
Dina Sanchez, representative of the Dario Santillan of Popular Front and one of the protest organizers said in a speech that before the primaries, several social movements had already taken the streets to alert people on the food emergency that is occurring. Since then, the situation critically deepened and “the worst is yet to come,” she said, adding that “this economic and social crisis has a first and a last name: Mauricio Macri and the IMF.”
Organizations from the Wednesday protest have held demonstrations in 2018 to demonstrate the food crisis and people going hungry under Macri by making vats of soup and giving it away to people in the street.
"We will continue to fight in unity, with body, soul and heart, to demand immediate responses for a decent life," said the social leader in the closing of her speech.
"On Aug. 11 our people said goodbye to Macri and to the IMF, opening the way to hope,” said Hugo Godoy, ATE general secretary. “Our first priorities must be capital flight as it takes away the wealth of our country and multiplies hunger. And no minimum wage, no social wage below 32,000 pesos," he added addressing the crowd from the stage.
Argentina took last year a US $56.7 loan from the IMF that resulted in harsh austerity measures, cutting basic services, such as healthcare and education, to the not only the already poor, but the middle class, elevating the poverty indice to more than 32 percent for adults, and 48 percent for children.