Argentines strike against spending cuts by government

Train and metro services were halted on Thursday, with only a limited bus service operating, due to a 24-hour strike led by union leader Hector Daher. The strike aimed to send a message to President Javier Milei to reconsider cuts to subsidies and social programs. Milei, known for his right-wing economic stance advocating for significant public spending cuts, has implemented austerity measures since taking office in December. These measures are aimed at reducing Argentina’s public deficit and tackling the country’s soaring inflation rate, currently the highest globally at nearly 300% per year. While Milei’s government touts successes such as declining inflation, critics argue that these achievements come with economic downturns.

Union leaders like Daher argue that Milei’s cuts are unsustainable and push citizens to extremes. They threaten continued collective action if the government does not ease these measures. Some prominent figures, like actor Viggo Mortensen, criticize Milei’s administration, labeling it a “disaster” for Argentines. However, dissent towards the strikes exists, particularly from those reliant on public services for their livelihoods.

Despite criticism, Milei maintains popularity among Argentinians, with approval ratings around 45-50%, close to his election vote share. In response to criticisms, Milei defends his measures, asserting that inflation is the most damaging tax affecting citizens. He expresses pride in lowering government spending below tax revenue for the first time since 2008, arguing that his policies prevent inflation’s adverse effects, unlike previous administrations that resorted to printing money. Milei’s predecessor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, condemns the cuts as a “useless sacrifice of the people” following the strikes.

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