Yesterday, the Victory Front (FpV) and Kirchnerite youth organization La Cámpora held a protest in front of Congress against President Mauricio Macri to decry pretty much everything his government has done this past week.
The initial objective was to defend the Media Law, but participants ended up also protesting Macri’s appointment of two Supreme Court justices via emergency decree (DNU) and the peso’s devaluation that has accompanied Macri’s lifting of the cepo. According to protest organizers, 20,000 people attended.
Among those present were ex Governor of Buenos Aires Province and former presidential candidate Daniel Scioli, leader of the FpV Deputies in Congress Héctor Recalde and former Economy Minister Axel Kicillof.
“The decisions the government is making are pretty concerning to me,” said Scioli, reflecting the general sentiment of the march.
Let’s tackle the issues they were protesting against, one by one.
First, the Media Law, which regulates the distribution of television and radio licenses in Argentina and was an emblematic legislative victory of ex President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Macri’s government allegedly wants to change the law and throughout the march, “the Media Law must not be touched” was the main slogan. Macri also signed a decree that changed the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Audiovisual Communication Services (AFSCA) in order to pressure its current leader, Kirchnerite supporter Martín Sabbatella, into resigning from his post, a move that is also severely questioned by the FpV.
Check out this article by The Bubble if you’re just nodding your head vacantly at the name “Media Law.”
Second, since Congress is not in session right now, Macri appointed two Supreme Court justices with a decree. He did so invoking a fairly obscure article of the Constitution that enables the President to sidestep Congress in order to fill vacancies. Macri’s general use of decrees lately has been seen by some as an abuse of executive authority and this rather forceful appointment of two Supreme Court justices did not go down well at all.
Third, devaluation. This is due to the lifting of restrictions on foreign exchange rates in Argentina (collectively known as cepo) that was announced on Wednesday by Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay. Although he didn’t say that it was a devaluation, it kind of was because the value of the dollar jumped to around AR$14.50 from AR$10.
For more of an explanation on what the cepo’s lifting means for everyone, read our own Bianca Fernet’s analysis on the matter.
If you just freaked out a little upon learning that there are no more currency controls (where have you been?), check out this article by The Bubble.
This is the second protest against Macri in his first week in office: on Tuesday, citizens also gathered on the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires and in other cities to protest against changing the Media Law.