Thanks to Macri and the IMF Argentina has Returned to 2001

By Carlos Aznarez, May 8, 2018

Now the worst of the neoliberal onslaught of macrismo in Argentina, which has become the cemetery of the flattened balloons of Cambiemos, (political coalition created in 2015) has arrived. President Macri announced with a stony face that he has already agreed with IMF Director Mrs. Lagarde, with the generosity that characterizes it, a loan to the country of around 30 billion dollars. Or even more.

This is the final thrust for the return of the country, without the need for a time machine, to the much feared 2001. It is ironic that one of Macri’s current advisors concerning the loan is Domingo Cavallo, the same one who back then was in charge of the economy, placing the country in a corral of dispossession and looting.

In just two years, the man who had promised in his lying electoral campaign that inflation would fall and employment figures would be respected, has managed to increase the external debt by 35% and this is without counting the current loan, plus other covert ones obtained during the last four months.  In just the last few hours the country risk rose to 485 basis points exceeding all previous maximum marks.

There was already a history of this in the macrista “revolution of joy”, when a year ago, in another of the typical plays of compulsory debt the government had announced the issuance of a bond for 2.75 billion dollars for 100 years. That nonsense was defended with the usual sarcasm by the Chief of Staff, Marcos Peña, who on that occasion said: “The world trusts us.”

We must remember now more than ever that Argentina came from a unilateral default in 2001 and that with this new giving up of sovereignty, while gestating on its knees to the IMF, it opens the door to a situation that in the short term threatens its own governance. In fact, these days several financial rating agencies, like Moody’s have warned about large dark clouds in the Argentine economic future and point as responsible for this situation the policies of President Macri. And so did the press such as The Sunday Times, the Financial Times, Fitch and Forbes. They are the same ones who during 2017 applauded the “daring” feats of the president.

Beyond the voices that come from the outside announcing more bad moments, it is devastating what happens inside through this step taken in order to restore carnal relations with the IMF. With a worker dismissed or suspended every 6 minutes, in just two years the figure is around 300,000 people who have been left without their job, while another 150,000 who will have the  same luck from now to the end of the year.

In the scenario for small and medium enterprises, the current economic policy has forced doors to close for some 10,000 establishments. As in 2001, today any person who circulates through the streets of the Capital will be able to observe numerous “for sale” or “rent” signs. These are businesses that until 2015 were not swimming in prosperity but they could hold the jobs for their staff. If we take into account that this labor market covers around 75% of registered work, it is not surprising that today thousands of these employees have been left on the street. Among the reasons for the plummeting of small and medium enterprises are the increases from 500 to 1000% of the cost of electricity, gas and water tariffs, but also the indiscriminate opening of imports, which has left many entrepreneurs unable to compete. In addition, dozens of neighborhood clubs are almost forced to close since they cannot cope with the exorbitant rates of electricity consumption.

Not to mention the humblest or retirees whom with minimum wages have had to make huge efforts just to survive, and not always achieving it. If we add the economic trend of the last twelve months together, the rate of real inflation exceeds 30% (the government that even its own voters do not believe, sets this figure at 25%) and since the middle of 2017 the increase of prices has not stopped, there are many financial experts that before the new announcement made by Macri indicated that the price stampede will be super inflated in the coming months.

Faced with this turbulent scenario what is left for the large swaths of the population affected by policies of savage capitalism, is to abandon resignation and fear, since hope – for those who still had it – was buried last December when brutal power and repression was imposed with the pension law. The latest economic measures seem to have managed to de-nuance a significant part of the union leadership that remained autistic or whom directly assumed complicit positions since December 2016. In fact, beyond the demonstrated combativeness in the street by the workers of the popular economy, the only way left for the different labor centrals is to join forces to give strong answers to not only “Stop Macri” but to corral and push him. In other words, make it impossible for him to govern.

It is not about an electoral offensive that needs to be imposed at this time (without ignoring that path either) since in the face of the recent alliance with the IMF, 2019 is very far away. It is more logical to think in terms of the unity of those affected by the crisis, to think about organizing to respond in the streets to these policies and lead not only to an imminent general strike – as many are crying out – but in a plan of long-range struggle. If this government continues, the future of the new generations will be embargoed for decades, and in that every citizen will have their share of responsibility.

Sixty years after the Cuban Revolution, it is good to learn from its example and become infected with its spirit of struggle to achieve full self-determination and stop being a colony of the United States or Europe.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – translation North American Bureau