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During her Feb. 22 meeting with Argentine President Javier Milei and Finance Minister Luis Caputo, IMF First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath expressed concern that the government’s brutal “stabilization” plan is not doing enough to ensure that vulnerable sectors are protected. In a statement issued following her meeting she cautioned that sustained efforts to “support vulnerable segments of the population and preserve the real value of social assistance and pensions are essential, as well as to ensure that the burden of the adjustment does not fall disproportionately on working families.” It is incumbent on the President, Gopinath said, to “work pragmatically to build social and political support … to ensure the durability and effectiveness of reforms.”

Milei’s savage austerity program has no political or social support, as Gopinath undoubtedly knows. The country is exploding in social and labor protests which will only intensify in the coming period. Today, the Association of State Workers went out on a nationwide 24-hour strike to protest the slashing of wages and pensions and to reject the government’s offer of a 12% wage increase when January’s inflation rate was 20.6%. The national teachers’ union, CTERA, also went out on a 24-hour strike today, demanding higher wages and reinstatement of the national Teacher Incentive Fund (FONID), which goes toward teachers’ salaries and funds for school lunches. Milei has eliminated FONID.

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