BUENOS AIRES (AP) – A month after the legislative elections that will function as a sort of examination of the management of Argentine President Alberto Fernández, political forces and social organizations blocked access to Buenos Aires and other cities on Thursday demanding more jobs. aid programs and food for soup kitchens in a context of acute socioeconomic deterioration.
The thousands of protesters who have been leading the blockades from early on belong to militant social movements very critical of the Peronist ruler, demanding more opportunities for more than 40% of the population living in poverty.
Eduardo Belliboni, one of the leaders of the leftist Polo Obrero who was demonstrating, said that with a situation similar to that suffered by Argentina “in other countries everything would have blown up; that’s what needs to be made visible and I don’t understand that a person is outraged by a popular protest ”.
In the South American country there was a slight decrease in poverty in the first half of 2021, but the situation of the poor sectors does not improve in part due to inflation that is difficult to reverse and precarious working conditions. Thus, 40.6% of the population is poor compared to 42% in the second half of 2020. That year the new coronavirus pandemic generated a 10% drop in the economy and the increase in prices was 36%, while economists estimate that this year it would reach 48%.
Other protesters said that the blockades are the only tool for the unemployed to make themselves heard. The protests in which other organizations such as the Bloque Piquetero Nacional participate will be reproduced in 15 other jurisdictions of the country.
The Fernández government seeks to reverse the poor results obtained in the open and mandatory primaries that were held in September in which the candidates for deputies and senators were elected for the November 14 legislative elections. Those elections in which half of the Chamber of Deputies and a third of the Senate will be renewed will put their management under review two years after coming to power. Today the ruling party has control of the upper house.
The electoral setback was attributed mainly to social unrest due to the economic crisis and also to some scandals that dotted the management of the pandemic.
40% of the Argentine population receives some social plan, but many beneficiaries complain that the aid is insufficient given the constant rise in prices and demand access to formal jobs that allow them to leave the underground economy in which they find their jobs precarious.
In the middle of the electoral campaign, Fernández sent a project to Parliament days ago to transform social aid programs into formal jobs. The initiative aims to “transform, gradually and with federal criteria, plans, social programs and social security benefits into quality formal work, improve employability and the generation of new productive proposals.”
The project establishes that the holders of social plans who access a formal job may continue to receive the benefits granted by these programs for a maximum period of up to 12 months.