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Argentina: Poverty rises to 36% & IMF Macri deal on hold ahead of elections

Image credit: teleSUR English

By BO Staff Writer

Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) halted its aid to Argentina ahead of the country’s presidential elections. More specifically the audit that would have established whether a tranche of the IMF loan should have been given to Argentina in September was postponed.

In line with the US$56.3 billion agreement signed with the IMF in 2018, a portion of the said loan in the amount of US$5.4 billion, was supposed to be paid to the Macri administration in September. However all the government got was an invitation to talk about the matter on 14 October in Washington – just before the upcoming presidential elections which is scheduled for 27 October.

In terms of the loan agreement the Argentine government had to restrict public spending in the context of increased poverty in the country. President Mauricio Macri’s neoliberal policies has plunged Argentina into a state of deep economic, social and political crisis. The government’s statistics indicate that in this past year under Macri’s rule, 36.4 % of Argentinians (about 16 million) live below the poverty line, 7.7 % are homeless (about 3.4 million); and 52% of children below 14 years are poor. Moreover inflation has increased to above 50 %, and unemployment has skyrocketed. It must be stated that the poverty rate has actually doubled since 2015 when Argentina was under the progressive rule of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

In all the circumstances Macri’s support is waning in favour of presidential candidate, Alberto Fernandez, who has vowed to obliterate the neo liberal Macri administration and reject the so called IMF remedy. Already in the August primaries this year, Fernandez beat Macri by 15 percent.

It is instructive that Alberto’s running mate is the former president of Argentina, Fernandez de Kirchner, who during his tenure nationalized the oil reserves and put in place numerous social programs.

Alberto has further denounced Macri’s foreign policy approach that links the country to imperialist sponsored governments in the Latin American region so as to isolate and undermine the Maduro led government of Venezuela.