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Argentina’s ‘Happiness Revolution’ Leads to Rising Poverty Numbers

LADB Article ID: 80007
Category/Department: Argentina
Date: 2016-06-17
By: Andrés Gaudín

Six months after regaining control of the Argentine government and ending the social policies applied during the previous 13 years, the political right, led by President Mauricio Macri, has turned the South American country into a veritable volcano. The opening of the economy, a currency devaluation in excess of 45%, and the passage by decree of legislation favoring large business conglomerates triggered a rapid rise in inflation and, consequently, a drop in consumption. In addition, the new government did away with price controls on public services—electricity, natural gas, gasoline, public transportation, and water—and ordered a wave of public sector layoffs. Private sector jobs are also being lost. The result is an explosive rise in the country’s poverty numbers. The situation is so dire that union leaders, who tend to place their own interests above those of the workers they supposedly represent, have begun to mobilize and demand that the government pass an “anti-layoff law.” On April 29, they held a massive demonstration in Buenos Aires, the capital, with an estimated 350,000 participants.

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