“Where is the caste?”. The handmade sign was held up by an unemployed man. Next to him, his wife. “I haven’t known what it’s like to eat a pork rib for months,” he says. They had voted for Javier Milei. They were quick to become disappointed. The far-right turned out to be the opposite of what they believed when he cursed the “political caste” and that is why they joined a movement from the Buenos Aires periphery. massive demonstration called by the labor movement, social organizations, left-wing parties and Peronism to reject the policy of a Government that It’s only 45 days old. The protest, which had replicas in the main cities of the country, surrounded Congress and began a 12 hour strike in rejection of Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU) which gives Milei powers above the legislature, and a mega Omnibus Law that seeks to reduce the Argentine State to its minimum expression, to the point of abandoning the protection of glaciers and forests, deregulating the economy, abolishing the Civil and Penal Codes, privatizing state assets and cutting numerous social benefits.

Never before in 40 years of democracy has a president faced a measure of force so early. Fernando de la Rua He had his first strike three months after taking office, at the end of 1999. Milei experienced the roar of the mobilizations and caceroleos a few days after beginning his administration, after announcing his draconian measures and devaluing the currency by 118%. A month and a half later, thousands and thousands of people, intellectuals, athletes, pensioners, ordinary people, families with disabled children or those with congenital heart disease who lost their public protections, They decided to spontaneously join a protest demonized by the authorities. The security forces prevented access to the capital, confiscated buses, filmed passengers.

The general strike against Milei in Argentina, in images


“Laws must be prevented”

“We must change this economic model that attacks almost the entire society. Pensioners can no longer buy medicines. Peronists cannot accompany these projects,” said truck drivers unionist Pablo Moyano. “To the deputies I say: They are going to leave millions of people on the streets. They have carried out a labor reform to get us rights. We cannot allow the legislators to endorse that,” he said a few hours after the ruling party managed to issue a favorable opinion so that the Omnibus Law could be discussed in the Chamber of Deputies this Thursday. Some Peronist legislators gave the green light to the far-right initiatives. “We must defend those who already have the least sovereignty. Nobody is going to stop us because The country is not sold, the country defends itself. These laws must be torn down. Social justice is not delivered. “We are not going to take a step back.”

His colleague, Héctor Daer, one of the leaders of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT)also asked legislators not to accept that the division of powers be annulled and violate the Constitution because “rights are progressive and cannot go back“. The extreme right wants to restrict the right to strike and eradicate compensation. “They use freedom to give away our companies. They don’t care about education. Let them not take us for idiots. It is part of the purpose of their plan: to destroy the State that allows social balance and wealth.”

Government reaction

Milei decided to follow the massive events from the presidential residence of Olivos, on the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires. An expert in communication on social networks, the anarcho-capitalist verified that the street, the analog world, tries to put a stop to his attempt to impose his far-right revolution.

The Minister of National Security, Patricia Bullricha former leftist guerrilla in the 70s and currently a devotional Bolsonarist, described the unionists as “gangsters” and “poverty managers” who try to defend their privileges, “resisting the change that society decided democratically.” Bulrich disqualified participation. “How many are going to go to the march, 30,000 people? It doesn’t exist.” The organizers multiplied that figure by almost 10.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Diana Mondino, for her part, considered that the protest lacks justification. “Summoned by the oligarchy of millionaires with armored cars and chauffeurs, false worker representatives, (the measure of strength) confirms that we are on the right path. Things are achieved with effort, not by crying and kicking. We are not afraid of them“. The Minister of Economy, Luis ‘Toto’ Caputo, reminded the doubtful regional governors that the money sent to them by the State will be cut “immediately if any of the economic articles (of the Omnibus Law) are rejected” in the imminent debates parliamentarians by the representatives of those provinces. “It is not a threat, it is the confirmation that We are going to comply with the mandate that the majority of Argentines have given us to balance the fiscal accounts to end decades of inflation and economic scourge.” Moyano warned Caputo that he will be thrown into the river if he continues on this path of adjustment.

Reasons for discomfort

Julián Guarino, columnist for the newspaper ‘Ámbito Financiero’, pointed out that in the loss of purchasing power of Argentines lies “the genesis” and “legitimacy” of the strike and the demonstration. During the government of Raúl Alfonsín, the first president of democracy, salaries fell 28%. The CGT carried out a total of 14 general strikes between 1984 and 1989. After the fall of De la Rúa and the economic collapse, salaries grew by 60% in the era of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner. Mauricio Macri (2016-19) inherited an average salary of $1,500, approximately the years of Carlos Menem (1989-99). The Milei period has begun in the area of ​​510 dollars, very close to the worst moment in Argentina, in 2002. December’s inflation of 25% and a similar figure expected in January promise to reduce purchasing power. A new devaluation is expected for March, drawing an inevitable crisis on the horizon.

Regarding these numbers, the CGT and the other participants in the protest explained the reasons for the unrest in a joint document. “We see how the Government seeks to break the social contract through policies and reforms that only seek to overwhelm the achievements of the Argentine people.” The far-right project, they pointed out, puts small and medium-sized industries, territorial, economic, food and environmental sovereignty at risk, ignores individual constitutional guarantees, and punishes the market. internal, defunds public health, public education, research, scientific structures and cultural institutions. At the same time, they stressed, it violates the Civil Code, despises pensioners, alienates public assets, liquidates natural resources and all legal architecture that supports national development and generates legal insecurity, discouraging investments. Milei, they warned, builds “a repressive apparatus that is not at the service of the security of citizens, nor to combat crime and drug trafficking, but only at the service of repress social protests and union and political demonstrations.”