Argentinian president, protesters criticize IMF debt and austerity

Buenos Aires ( – Argentine President Alberto Fernandez and protesters in Buenos Aires rejected the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday (18/5/2023) amid rising tensions with lenders as the country faces nearly 109 percent inflation and dollar reserves. reduce.

The South American grain producer, which has a tense history with the IMF, agreed to a $57 billion program with the Washington-based agency in 2018 under former conservative leader Mauricio Macri to stave off an economic crisis. That failed and was replaced by a new deal worth $44 billion last year.

But tensions have risen as a severe drought has damaged grain exports, a key source of Argentina’s dollar, forcing the two sides back to the negotiating table to amend the deal. Buenos Aires wants faster payments and a more lenient economic target.

“More than debt, it is a crime,” President Fernandez wrote in a tweet on Thursday (18/5/2023), citing a new government auditor report which concluded that the initial deal lacked the necessary impact studies and did not pass through proper legislative channels.

Fernandez, who has been critical of the initial agreement before, called for an investigation “with all the weight of the law.”

The powerful but divisive Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of her previous two terms, called the initial agreement “shameful” and a “deception” of the Argentinian people.

Macri and the IMF have defended the initial agreement needed to restore stability to Argentina’s economy. Critics of the current government blame printing money to fund state spending, which they say fuels inflation and weakens the peso.

The IMF declined to comment on new criticisms of the deal.

In the streets of Buenos Aires on Thursday (18/5/2023), thousands of Argentinians protested difficult economic conditions and the IMF, which many blame for austerity measures that exacerbated Argentina’s worst economic crisis in two decades.

“Our concern is that the IMF will meddle in Argentina’s own internal affairs,” said protester Norma Morales, defending government subsidies as important especially with the poverty rate rising to around 40 percent.

“Many retirees on minimum pensions are in jeopardy, as are many women with universal child support – the right for children to continue to learn and eat. We don’t have two plates of food a day guaranteed for children in our country.”

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Translator: Apep Suhendar
Editor: Faisal Yunianto


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