Agustina Garibotti | August 25, 2022
On July 2nd, Argentina’s Economy Minister Martin Guzman resigned, leaving unanswered questions regarding the future of the country’s economic affairs. From Silvina Batakis to Sergio Massa, Guzman’s successors in respective order, the governing coalition Frente de Todos struggles to maintain a stable reputation after years of hardship. As FdT works on eliminating its internal political divisions, the well-being of Argentinian citizens continues to be at stake.
Agustina Garibotti| August 25, 2022
The presidency of Alberto Fernandez has been challenged since the beginning of his term in 2019. From COVID-19 to internal governmental divisions, Argentina’s current ruling coalition Frente de Todos has caught both national and international attention. However, the resignation of Economy Minister Martin Guzman formalized what many Argentinians have feared for a long time: an intensified economic crisis.
Guzman, a moderate left-wing economist, had been a part of Fernandez’s cabinet since the beginning of his presidency. Although he played a key role in negotiations with the IMF regarding the country’s $44 billion debt, Guzman’s resignation strengthened the belief that the ruling coalition was facing an internal crisis. In less than a month, the country transitioned into two new economy ministers: Silvina Batakis and Sergio Massa, both radical left-wing politicians. Batakis’s appointment arose controversies regarding power and authority, as it was heavily influenced by Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, supporting the ongoing popular claim that President Fernandez acts as her shadow. Although Batakis engaged with the IMF and pledged economic stability, her term was short lived. Massa, former congressional leader, replaced her with a combined position of Economy, Production, and Agriculture Minister. His economic plan will attempt to restore stability by focusing on fiscal policy and trade surplus.
As internal political reorganization continued, citizens took advantage of the country’s Independence Day celebration on July 9th to protest government measures taken under the authority of Fernandez. Militant left-wing groups present criticized the IFM debt as well as government mismanagement. Such groups, once crucial to Fernandez’s presidency, have lost trust in the government and are desperately calling for reform along with right-wing groups: it is a national effort. Ironically, President Fernandez’s Independence Day speech called for unity, as well as fiscal balance. The clock is ticking: if his goal is to get reelected, he must restore his reputation by 2023.
Economy, dollar, poverty, inflation: these are things that come to mind when you ask Argentinians about the current situation of the country as the peso continues to devaluate. Purchasing USD has been a form of investment in the country for many years. As appealing as it may seem, the low foreign currency reserves limit the citizens’ ability to invest under the official dollar rates, bringing them to a more extreme alternative: the dollar blue, a parallel and unofficial dollar rate of USD in Argentina. Of course, not everyone is able to make such investment, especially when, as of August 8th, 2022, the dollar blue rate is $292,00 ARS.
With unstable socio-economic statuses, people struggle to thrive economically. Political activists urge the government to take action as the national poverty rate stands at nearly 40% and child poverty rate at 51.4%. Public opinion often compares the current situation with the 2001 crisis, one of the nation’s major economic, political, and social crises with executive power transitioning to five different presidents in just eleven days. Although the comparison can be perceived as extreme, there are valid points behind such logic that alert both citizens and government about the future of the South American country. Still, citizens’ daily necessities are not met and trust towards the government continues to decrease.
Whether Argentinians still believe in their political self-efficacy or not is unclear, but their devotion towards democratic principles continues to manifest. They want a stable economy and a balanced government. They want a place for their kids to grow up in. One thing is promised: they will follow their ideals and decide on the future of their country during the next presidential elections in 2023.