Photo via Pura Ciudad

Following Friday’s massive Workers’ Day rally in the City of Buenos Aires which saw an estimated 350,000 people take to the streets to protest the current administration’s economic policies, President Mauricio Macri has vocally defended his government’s actions and pinned the blame for current hardships on the so-called “K inheritance,” i.e. what his administration sees as the difficult situation it “inherited” from the previous Kirchner government.

While inaugurating public works in La Matanza (a neighborhood in the Greater Buenos Aires Area) this morning, Macri did more than promise that a bridge would be finished by the second half of the year:

“It’s very important that we understand the moment that we are going through: we know that [we inherited] an economy with an accumulated inflation of 700 percent […] a country that did had not generated quality employment for five years and an economy on the brink of collapse,” he said.

Likewise, in an open letter to the people of Formosa Province published this morning in a provincial media outlet, Macri alluded to the “difficult period” his government has to deal with:

“We are coming from a difficult period, with an accumulated inflation 700 percent in the last 10 years, with lack of planning and corruption. With a State that, instead of facing problems and seeking solutions, opted to turn [its] back on [said issues], allowing poverty, apathy and destitution to grow,” he wrote.

Macri was in Formosa last Friday to announce the construction of a water purifying plant that, according to his letter, will “benefit over 50,000 people of the city of Clorinda.” (He didn’t mention the fact that a flag attacked fell on top of him during that same speech to social media’s delight.)

From Macri’s inaugural speech to Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay press conference before paying off the holdouts, the Macri administration has repeatedly alluded to its “horrible inheritance,” or what it sees as the “poor” and “dismantled” State it received from the former Kirchner administration, the result of what it deems to have been economic mismanagement, corruption, etc. Supporters of Kirchnerism and the previous government obviously reject this view and instead regard the 12 years of the Kirchnerite administration as having slowly amended the wrongs caused by economic policies akin to Macri’s, which they say led to the 2001 economic crisis.

María Young, from Formosa province, with President Mauricio Macri. Macri used his meeting with her as a starting point for his open letter. Photo via Noticias Formosa
María Young, from Formosa province, with President Mauricio Macri. Macri used his meeting with her as a starting point for his open letter. Photo via Noticias Formosa

To be fair, Macri does face a monumental task redressing an economy the previous administration may have done a giant disservice to by over-hiring workers to mask unemployment, concealing inflation figures, etc.

“The fact that we’ve been honest about the economy and implemented policies for our current reality mean that some people’s lives have been made harder, but we know that, that’s why we’ve taken measures to help Argentines cross that bridge that we’ve been building,” Macri said today.

In his letter, Macri conveyed the same point:

“Since day one, [it has] taken necessary measures to prevent the explosion of a crisis and cross all the bridges towards what we can be […] I know that in this transitional period a lot of those measures have been difficult and have affected many Argentines: I haven’t forgotten them. Their despair is my concern and along with my team, we are [moving] to accompany those that need the State’s presence most.”

One of Macri’s campaign promises was to put an end to the polarization in Argentine politics, yet as aforementioned, the current administration often blames its predecessors for current woes. Despite the reiterated idea of building bridges in both his speech this morning and his open letter, by frequently reaffirming how badly the previous administration had worked and stating that his administration is superior by comparison, Macri may be making it difficult to lay the groundwork to actually bridge la grieta (Argentina’s political divide).