On Monday morning, President Mauricio Macri delivered a pre-written announcement on a number of issues, including the current economic crisis, the reduction of Argentina’s ministries, and the increase in social welfare funds.
While Macri has been referring to the ongoing economic tumult as a “storm” for the past couple of months, infamously avoiding the word “crisis” at all costs, the head of state finally cut all pretenses during his speech on Monday. Macri admitted this morning that the country was currently going through a severe economic crisis.
However, Macri also emphasized that this was not just “another crisis” in Argentina, but that this one “must be the last.”
Without adding further details on how this would be accomplished, he went on to add that the country was “in an emergency,” and announced the reestablishment of agricultural retentions, a tax that he had previously described as being “very bad” for Argentina.
“This is not one more crisis, it has to be the last. But know that you will not find me on the side of those who, for power of for money, mortgage the future of our country. You will not find me on the side of those who speculate thinking solely about the next election. You will find me on the side of those who sacrifice their lives for you,” the president emphasized.
“I know perfectly well all the things that you must be thinking and feeling. I feel these things as well… I’m speaking to you from the heart, with the truth. And with the conviction that if we move forward, we will become the Argentina that we have all dreamed of for a long time.”
During his speech, Macri also confirmed that he would be eliminating ten Argentine ministries, a rumor that had spread like wildfire through the local news media over the weekend.
Until now, Macri had twenty ministries under his charge, half of which will be cut and absorbed by other ministries. Government sources confirmed to Clarín that these include the ministries of Science and Technology, Culture, Energy, Agro-industry, Health, Tourism, Environment, Labor and Modernization.
When confirming this rumor, Macri stated: “Governments undergo different time periods, which require different teams. I have decided to compact my team to be able to give a more focused response in terms of my future agenda.”
Another measure announced by the president was the expansion of a number of social assistance funds in Argentina to limit the social impact of both the crisis and the ongoing IMF structural adjustment policies. Also announced was the expansion of food deliveries to soup kitchens and schools, and the reintroduction of a number of subsidies on basic necessities in Argentina as part of the “Caring Prices” Program.
Macri’s speech, which was originally scheduled for 8:30 AM but began a little after 9:30 AM, lasted just over 25 minutes. In addition to announcements and analyses centered around his own policies and agenda, Macri referenced on a number of different occasions the ongoing notebook scandal, in which the Kirchner camp is currently embroiled. The President listed the scandal as another cause for Argentina’s economic uncertainty.
Macri stated that, “undoubtedly, the scandal constitutes a before and after” when it comes to corruption in Argentina, referencing his own efforts to cut down on such misconduct. However, he added that in the short term, scandals such as these “affect the reputation of the country.”