Argentina’s National Strike
On September 24, 2018, trade unions in Argentina called for a 36 hour strike, which was the fourth strike during the Macri administration. It is already the 2nd this year responding to Argentina’s catastrophic economic downturn and the President’s economic policies. Argentinians have been facing inflation and currency devaluation to a dramatic extent: in 2018, the peso has lost more than 40 percent of its value. This means that many working-class Argentinians can no longer afford their daily living expenses.
Women’s March Buenos Aires and our partners Las Piqueteras were on the streets participating in the strikes, demanding an end to austerity cuts that greatly affect those most vulnerable in the country, especially women.
In August, President Macri said that Argentina would accept a USD 50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A condition of accepting the loan is implementing drastic budget cuts, and more cuts are being considered to attract more financing from the IMF. A recent nationwide survey conducted in Argentina found that 56 percent of Argentines had an unfavorable opinion of the IMF.
While strikers hit the streets, President Macri is in New York City, meeting with the IMF to negotiate further IMF funding. The strikers oppose IMF funding and are on the streets to protest the expected austerity cuts that will come with this additional loan.
After the first round of IMF funding, the Macri administration issued severe cuts to the Health Ministry, downgrading it to a secretariat, in order to reduce the fiscal deficit and to stabilize the plummeting currency. After the August 8th vote against legal and safe abortions, the Argentinian government is once again proclaiming their disregard for women’s health. The Health Ministry is responsible for the provision of women’s health services, especially for poor and working-class women.
For these and other reasons, Argentinians once again took to the streets to protect women’s health and economic security.