After four days of debates and reflection, the III Continental Assembly of ALBA Movements came to an end on Saturday, April 30. 300 delegates from 23 countries had gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina to debate, discuss, and make concrete work plans for the next period. In the closing panel of the Assembly, leaders from across the region talked about the experiences of people’s movements and organizations in achieving the right to land and work, resisting attacks from the right-wing and imperialism, and building national and international unity of people in struggle. Speakers included Juan Grabois and Ofelia Fernandez, from Argentina’s Frente Patria Grande, Esteban “Gringo” Castro, from the Union of Workers from the Popular Economy (UTEP), Thays Carvalho from Movimiento Brasil Popular, Carlos Ron, Venezuelan Vice-Minister for North America, and Zaira Arias from the Free Peru party.
In early March, Argentina’s government came to an Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $45 billion deal to shore up its shaky finances. This deal was motivated by the government’s need to pay a $2.8 billion instalment on a $57 billion IMF stand-by loan taken out under former President Mauricio Macri in 2018. This loan – the largest loan in the financial institution’s history – sharpened divides in Argentinian society. The following year, the Macri administration was ousted in elections by the center-left Frente de Todos coalition which campaigned on a sharp anti-austerity, anti-IMF program. When President Alberto Fernández took office in December 2019, he refused the final $13 billion tranche of the IMF’s loan package, a move applauded by large sections of Argentinian society.
Every April 2, we Argentines pay tribute to the compatriots who fought valiantly for the recovery of the exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, other archipelagos of the South Atlantic and their corresponding maritime spaces. On the 40th anniversary of the heroic deed carried out by our young men and women, the memory and recognition of their dedication must go hand in hand with a firm commitment to continue fighting for the cause for which many of them gave their lives. The permanent increase of the military presence and the refusal during these four decades of the United Kingdom to resume the dialogue for sovereignty in the terms proposed by the United Nations in its resolution 2065 (XX), show the illegality and illegitimacy of the usurpation that took place in 1833 and reveal the economic, geopolitical and military interests that drive the British to try to perpetuate the usurpation of an important portion of the Argentine territory.
The crush of people began at the 9 de Julio subway stop downtown, less than a block from the Buenos Aires obelisk, the city’s most recognizable monument. By 5:00 p.m. on February 8, thousands from over 100 trade unions, human rights organizations and student groups had blocked the main thoroughfare to protest a preliminary agreement between the Peronist, center-left government of Argentinian President Alberto Fernández and the International Monetary Fund. Amid a cacophony of competing drumbeats, demonstrators along Roque Saenz Peña bore signs that read “With the IMF, we return to the bottom,” “The IMF is poverty and unemployment,” and “Enough of austerity.”
Argentina is trapped in $44 billion of IMF odious debt taken on by corrupt right-wing regimes. Seeking alternatives to US hegemony, President Alberto Fernández traveled to Russia and China, forming an alliance with the Eurasian powers, joining the Belt and Road Initiative.
The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, today visited the Kremlin and told President Vladimir Putin that his country wants to end “dependency” on the US and strengthen economic ties with Russia instead. Fernández told Putin “Argentina, in particular, is experiencing a very special situation as a result of its indebtedness and the economic situation that I had to inherit. From the 1990s onwards, Argentina has always looked towards the United States. Now, the Argentinian economy depends a lot on the debt it has with the United States, with the IMF, and the role that the US has within the IMF.” The President added, “The context is very favorable to deepen the links between Russia and Argentina. We have to see a way for Argentina to become a gateway for Russia in Latin America”.
The people of the southern Argentinian province of Chubut are celebrating more than just the holidays this December. After a fierce struggle against a recently enacted zoning law that would have opened the province up to large-scale silver, copper, and lead mining by multinational corporations like Canadian Pan American Silver, the governor was ultimately forced to backtrack. The law in question, which was approved on December 15, was repealed last Tuesday, just five days later. From the night of the approval until the afternoon of December 21, the movement against the law spread rapidly throughout the province. In a context of growing austerity, unemployment, and poverty, thousands took to the streets to make their voices heard.
June 3 marked the sixth anniversary of the formation of the Ni Una Menos or ‘Not One (Woman) Less’ movement in Argentina. Since 2015, every year, the movement organizes massive marches across the country to raise voice against violence against women and non-binary people and demand justice for numerous of its victims. This year, like last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the collective called on the people to mobilize virtually with hashtags and photos.
Argentina has withdrawn from the Lima Group of countries established in 2017 to push for regime change in Venezuela. Buenos Aires withdrew symbolically on March 24 — the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice, which commemorates victims of Argentina’s “dirty war” on the anniversary of the 1976 coup d’etat. It condemned the group’s support for sanctions on Venezuela in the midst of a global pandemic and its treatment of the self-proclaimed Juan Guaido administration, a US-backed body with no territory, as Venezuela’s representative within it.
Argentina’s vegetable oil workers ended 2020 on a high note, with a triumphant 21-day national strike for higher wages. They were pushing to make the minimum wage a living wage, as the constitution mandates. It was the country’s longest national strike of the year, and it ended in total victory: the unions won a 35 percent increase in wages for all of the workers, not just those earning the minimum. More than 20,000 working-class families won a decent wage for 2021. (In Argentina wages are negotiated in annual rounds of collective bargaining.) Vegetable oil workers mainly work in factories and on docks, processing, classifying, and storing seeds and making oil.
On April 2, a ruling issued in Costa Rica by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights resounded strongly in the arid north of Argentina. For more than two decades, the original communities of the province of Salta had been awaiting the outcome of the case Lhaka Honhat Association (Our Land) vs. Argentina, a case sponsored by CELS since 1998. After more than twenty years of litigation, the Court ordered the government of Argentina to cede an undivided deed to 4,000 km2 of ancestral territory to the Lhaka Honhat Association of Aboriginal Communities, located in the north of the country. Furthermore, the South American country was convicted for the first time of violating the rights to a healthy environment, food, water, and cultural identity.
The easiest way to understand a complex system like white supremacy is to see that system in action. When it comes to the multifaceted system that is white supremacy, we should look at a nation that has used the weapons of white supremacy to remove Blacks from their population: Argentina In 80 years, Argentina reduced the Black population from almost half of the overall population to less than 4 percent using very specific weapons of white supremacy. According to records, African slaves first arrived in Argentina in the 1500s. They joined millions of other slaves across the Americas who were forcibly removed from their homelands to toil in Argentina under white masters. Even though there are an estimated 1 million Black Argentines alive today, few claim Black as their race because Africans are perceived to be “undeveloped and uncivilized”.
Argentina is immersed in a deep economic crisis inherited from the previous government of Macri that handed the country over to transnationals and strengthened the idea of emptying it by massive capital flight abroad. But to be honest, the foreign debt that today the government of Alberto Fernandez is renegotiating downward to end up paying less, is not only a product of the Macri but also from much earlier. It comes from the time when the military dictatorship was in power and since then no government in those 37 years chose not to pay it, and by doing so it always went against the interests of the poor people. What is happening now, however much they want to sweeten our ears, points in the same direction. Within this framework, what to do or not to do with the foreign debt appears as an evil guest of Covid-19, because everything got worse in many ways.
The coronavirus pandemic is the catalyst that just pushed the economy into a global recession. The capitalist crisis that has shaken the foundations of the world since 2008 is on its way to becoming the most acute, in historical terms. Before the onset of the pandemic, the world economy was so fragile that any accident could have pushed it toward the precipice. The coronavirus gave it that final push. The virus of overproduction, with financial speculation as its inevitable consequence, has infected the cells of the capitalist mode of production. Once again, private property and its legal consequences obstruct the means of production for all of humanity. Already the International Labour Organisation has warned of the loss of 25 million jobs over the next few days.