Thousands of people have rallied in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, urging their government not to sign any kind of debt restructuring deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The protesters thronged Buenos Aires’s Plaza de Mayo on Saturday, carrying placards that read “No to a deal with the IMF” as colourful banners of the country’s largest social and left-wing organizations rippled under the beating sun and anti-IMF slogans roared on the loudspeakers.
Argentina’s government is in the midst of negotiations with the IMF to restructure $44bn that it owes to the global fund.
The loan dates back to 2018, when then-president Mauricio Macri signed on to a $57bn agreement with the international lender of last resort, making it the largest loan in IMF history. Some $44bn was dispersed, but President Alberto Fernandez, who took office in 2020, has refused the rest, and set out to renegotiate repayment terms of the loan.
The current agreement calls for repayments of $19bn each in 2022 and 2023 — amounts that many say the government cannot afford to pay back amid a groaning recession that has seen inflation skyrocket and poverty continue to climb.