BUENOS AIRES – Thousands of people paralyzed Buenos Aires on Wednesday with protests and soup kitchen events to demand that the Argentine government put an end to economic austerity and declare a state of emergency in response to malnutrition in a country that is among the world’s leading agricultural exporters.
“We are close to being a country that produces food for 400 million people yet suffers hunger in its poorest neighborhoods, putting social peace at risk,” Daniel Menendez, head of Barrios de Pie (Neighborhoods Stand Up), told EFE.
During the march, Menendez urged rightist President Mauricio Macri to reconsider his policies so that people may “have something to eat and so we can live in peace.”
“This all depends on the economic policies, it depends on not worsening the current conditions, and that requires responsibility,” the activist said, calling for price controls on basic goods and the scrapping of the government’s accord with the International Monetary Fund.
In June, the Macri administration negotiated a $50 billion stand-by credit line with the IMF to address a near-halving in the value of the peso against the dollar and a weakening of the economy.
Dario Diaz, of the CTEP labor union, who also attended the march, said that the IMF’s credit line should be used for public works and ensuring food security to “put an end to this brutal austerity.”
Organizers of Wednesday’s mobilizations said in a statement that if the government does not respond to their demands, they would take part in a general strike planned for Sept. 25.