BUENOS AIRES – The presidential candidate of the Argentine left, Nicolas del Caño, says the pro-capital policies of conservative incumbent Mauricio Macri have failed the nation and proposed measures to finish the terror that in his opinion the government has instilled with the collaboration of the ostensible opposition and organized labor.
“Using the country’s wealth to benefit the great majorities and not the tiny handful of landowners, bankers and big businessmen who have been looting the country” is the platform of the standard-bearer of the Left and Workers Front (FIT).
In an interview with EFE at his congressional office, Del Caño is categorical: if he is elected to the Casa Rosada – he is fourth in the polls – he will not pay back the loans Macri borrowed from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“We refuse to pay off an illegal, illegitimate and fraudulent debt to the IMF. We are not willing to pay that debt with the hunger of our children, more than 53 percent of whom are poor,” he says about the $56.3 billion package Macri negotiated with the Fund.
In a place like Argentina, where the concept of left and right has been diluted by the influence of Peronism, which goes from the more conservative sectors on the right to a large part of the center-left, the Trotskyist FIT seeks to establish itself as the true standard-bearer of anticapitalism.
In the Aug. 11 multiparty primaries, Del Caño took 2.8 percent of the vote, thereby trailing Peronist candidate Alberto Fernandez (47.7 percent), Macri (31.7 percent) and former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna (8.14 percent).
While those numbers place Fernandez – and his running mate, former two-term President Cristina Fernandez (no relation) – very close to taking power, Del Caño looks to the Oct. 27 general elections as a chance to increase the FIT’S three current lawmakers, and so have a stronger force supporting “the workers’ struggle, no matter who governs.”
Del Caño says that Argentina needs to tackle structural problems to put an end to the cycle of economic crises, notably the one that began 18 months ago with a plunge in the value of the peso, causing inflation to soar and driving many into poverty.
“The neoliberal formula has failed,” he says, referring to the market-friendly economic policies implemented by Macri – and by previous presidents such as Carlos Menem – with the approval of the IMF.
While accusing Macri of sowing disaster with his policy of favoring “big capitalists” by cutting taxes on giant corporations, relaxing laws related to employment and “pulverizing wages and pensions,” he also slams Peronists and the CGT labor federation for supporting “all the laws” of the government that have led to this situation.
“I believe they were necessary participants in Macri’s wave of terror,” he says.
About Alberto Fernandez, Del Caño questions the fact that he has been willing to reschedule Argentina’s sovereign debt, rather than repudiate it.
“It is incompatible to benefit the IMF by paying off the debt, with or without renegotiation, and at the same time increase pensions, which can’t stay the way they are now. And wages must be increased,” he said.