MercoPress, en Español

Montevideo, December 2nd 2022 - 13:22 UTC

 

 

Macri defended his austerity policies before Congress in the midst of applause, and heckling from the opposition

Saturday, March 2nd 2019 - 05:31 UTC
Full article 4 comments
“Today Argentina is better off that in 2015. We continue to make profound changes. We have left the swamp behind us,” Macri underlined “Today Argentina is better off that in 2015. We continue to make profound changes. We have left the swamp behind us,” Macri underlined
Speaking loudly and at times angrily, the president said he remained committed to “a zero fiscal deficit” as part of a US$57 billion IMF bailout earlier this year Speaking loudly and at times angrily, the president said he remained committed to “a zero fiscal deficit” as part of a US$57 billion IMF bailout earlier this year
Opposition lawmakers held up posters saying “Macri Out” and “There is another way”. Others interrupted with shouts of “Liar.” Opposition lawmakers held up posters saying “Macri Out” and “There is another way”. Others interrupted with shouts of “Liar.”

President Mauricio Macri delivered a robust defense of his austerity policy on Friday in a State of the Union address to Argentina's Congress ahead of a reelection bid in October. Macri went on the offensive in a turbulent session that featured shouts and heckling from opposition lawmakers, declaring there was no turning back on his policies.

“Today Argentina is better off that in 2015. We continue to make profound changes. We have left the swamp behind us,” he said in a vehement speech punctuated by ovations from his Cambiemos (Let's Change) centre-right coalition.

Speaking loudly and at times angrily, the president said he remained committed to “a zero fiscal deficit” as part of a US$57 billion International Monetary Fund bailout earlier this year.

He took pains to justify severe public spending cuts which has seen the economy shed 200,000 jobs in the past year.

“The fiscal deficit is what causes inflation and poverty,” he said.

“We are on the right track,” he underlined.

However Macri announced a 46% increase in subsidies for poor families with children, the only new initiative included in his speech.

Opposition lawmakers held up posters saying “Macri Out” and “There is another way”. Others interrupted with shouts of “Liar.”

Macri's angry riposte was that “your insults speak for you more than me.”

The centre-right leader will seek reelection in October's presidential election, but the latest opinion poll shows Macri with a 64% disapproval rating among voters.

Since his election in 2015, the market-friendly former Buenos Aires mayor has launched important economic reforms to balance years of spending by the previous populist government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - but his promises to defeat inflation and place Argentina on the path to sustained growth have proved empty.

Latin America's third-largest economy shrank 2.6% in 2018 and inflation reached almost 50%, topping 3.0 per cent for the month of February alone.

The economy suffered two currency crashes last year that saw the peso lose half of its value against the dollar.

Outside congress, thousands of demonstrators marched. Activists carrying banners and banging drums included union workers, social organizations and leftist groups opposed to Macri’s fiscal tightening program.

Police used metal barriers to block access to Congress and control the crowd, which snarled traffic and caused road closures at main intersections in the city center.

Ex president and now Senator Cristina Fernandez was not present for Macri’s State of the Union. Nobody at present knows exactly who the president will be facing off against in October. The biggest question mark is whether his biggest rival in the polls, former president and Senator Cristina Fernández will run.

At one point, the president trained his fire on the senator for Buenos Aires province in his speech, contrasting his government's approach to the Venezuelan government, now led by Nicolás Maduro, to the former head of state's policies.

Macri said Fernández de Kirchner's government had “decorated Maduro” with honors, despite the Venezuelan leader's lack of respect for human rights.

Categories: Economy, Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • imoyaro

    No surprise that La Asesina backs Nick the Mad. Too bad her supporters,Gauchito Drink and Kamerad/Komrade , who supported Castroist torture and concentration camps, can't be sent to Guantanamo under the madman Trump...

    “Torture works. Ok, folks?” You know, I have these guys – ‘Torture doesn’t work!’ – believe me, it works. And waterboarding is your minor form. Some people say it’s not actually torture. Let’s assume it is. But they asked me the question, ‘What do you think of waterboarding?’ Absolutely fine. But we should go much stronger than waterboarding.“ ~ ”Don the Con” Trump.

    Mar 03rd, 2019 - 08:29 am 0
  • Zaphod Beeblebrox

    “The reality is, Argentina president Mauricio Macri is done.”

    The reality is, the opinion polls are too close to call...

    Mar 05th, 2019 - 06:07 pm 0
  • Enrique Massot

    The reality is, Argentina president Mauricio Macri is done.

    He has been in office for three years, and the big question the Argentines now face is, how do we make it to the next October election?

    “Macri delivered a robust defense of his austerity policy.” Come on. Whoever chose the word “robust” is as much in deep denial as the president is. A robust defense needs arguments -- which were notoriously absent in the speech from beginning to end.

    Fact is, market-friendly Macri spoke about everything but the current state of the Argentine economy -- which is in tatters, as per numbers featured in several MP stories.

    The crisis is not only reaching the most vulnerable, but is hitting medium size and even large firms such as Coca-Cola and Peugeot. The president carefully avoided telling the lawmakers how he intends to manage foreign debt payments, which are still being made only thanks to IMF-loaned funds.

    “Macri went on the offensive...” On the offensive? Macri looked and sounded more like a corralled animal that bares its teeth in hopes to scare the enemy away.

    Macri not only endured shouts and heckling during his “historic” speech. Some of his most outrageous statements made the opposition lawmakers roar with laughter -- making the speaker even angrier.

    A fitting end for a “Joyful Revolution” that has only brought tears to Argentines.

    Mar 03rd, 2019 - 04:55 pm -1
Read all comments

Commenting for this story is now closed.
If you have a Facebook account, become a fan and comment on our Facebook Page!