Argentina’s New President Lays Off Thousands

Over five thousand government workers who were employed before President Javier Milei’s election would not have their contracts renewed, according to Milei. The Argentine peso will be devalued by 50%, subsidies for energy and transportation will be reduced, and many government departments will be shuttered as part of a larger plan to revive the country’s faltering economy. To increase investment and exports in the face of anticipated 200 percent inflation by year’s end, Milei has promised to cut payrolls and government restrictions while privatizing state-run companies.

Protests broke out in response to Milei’s announcement of austerity and deregulation measures.

Protesters in Argentina often block roadways for hours at a time, but the mayor’s office had previously advised against this form of protest. Even though Milei’s government has said that demonstrations are welcome, it has threatened to withhold public assistance payments from anybody who barricades roads.

To keep the peace, Patricia Bullrich, minister of security in Milei, has unveiled a new “protocol” that gives the government the green light to identify demonstrators and block public roadways without a court ruling. According to certain parties, the right to protest is criminalized under the protocol.

The new public order processes have been met with opposition from Argentine labor, social, and human rights organizations, who have petitioned the UN and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to step in. According to a government announcement, people who block roadways may have their names deleted from lists of those eligible for public assistance.

According to Milei’s administration, many organizations use this as a bargaining chip to get people to show up to demonstrations.

On Wednesday, there will be a march that marks the 22nd anniversary of a demonstration that followed the resignation of then-President Fernando de la Rúa and resulted in the deaths of dozens of people due to the government’s response to an economic crisis.