Argentina: Poverty, Inflation and High Gas Prices | Economy | DW

It’s cold on Avenida Jose Antonio Cabrera in Buenos Aires. Especially in the mornings and evenings, when the sun’s rays do not yet provide any protection against the winter temperatures, the thermometer may occasionally show temperatures close to or below freezing point. Nevertheless, the small fruit and vegetable stores are still or already open.

There is no heating here, the door is always open. Store owner Martin Gonzales is wearing a thick sweater, winter jacket and woolen cap: “That has to be enough. It makes no sense to heat the store. If we close the gate, customers will not see our goods anymore. living out of those clients, ”says Gonzales. “Gas heating would be too expensive anyway.”

A grocery store in Buenos Aires

At the gates of the Argentinean metropolis, slum dwellers are struggling with their own struggle against high energy prices. In the last few days alone, more than half a million applicants have signed up to continue to receive support from government subsidies for electricity and gas. It aims to protect the lowest income people from being suddenly left without electricity and gas as they can no longer pay their bills. By the middle of the week, over 1.47 million households had already been entered on the state list.

The dramatic depreciation of the peso

The crisis in Argentina continues and is dramatic. The Argentine Peso has depreciated significantly against the dollar in the past few weeks. A good ten days ago, there were 25,000 Argentinian pesos for $ 100 in exchange offices, now it’s almost 34,000 pesos. Loss of value of almost 33 percent. for the so-called Blue dollarthe course of which definitely determines economic life and which has a direct impact on everyday prices.

Food, fuel, transport – everything is getting more and more expensive. Price tags are updated weekly – sometimes daily. The Argentine government around President Alberto Fernandez is trying to take countermeasures. A few days ago, there was a change at the summit of the Ministry of Economy. Silvina Aída Batakis appeared behind Martin Guzman. From day one, she’s been busy trying to reassure the markets. So far without success.

Silvina Batakis, Argentina's new economy minister

Silvina Batakis, Argentina’s new economy minister

It’s about the dollar and somehow getting that currency. Saving the Argentine pesos makes almost no sense as inflation destroys the value of savings. That is why people are trying to get dollars to create such a pillow. This sometimes leads to bizarre scenes. Dozens of people are currently looking for suspicious dollars at the Las Parejas garbage dump in Santa Fe. After landfill workers first found about $ 50,000 in a discarded piece of furniture, neighbors gathered there to look for more bills as well. Even at night, searches continue with a flashlight.

Juan Grabois, a social activist

Juan Grabois, a social activist

“Argentina has been robbed”

The country has long been debating who is to blame for the misfortunes. “Argentina has been robbed,” said DW increasingly popular social activist Juan Grabois. It owes billions in loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the previous government of Mauricio Macri had taken out. This loan is the cause of the country’s high debt.

Rebeca Fleitas, a member of the liberal market party, does not agree La Libertad Avanza in Buenos Aires around the increasingly prominent economist Javier Milei. In an interview with DW, he sees a flaw in the current Argentine business model that rejects the country: “Our economic system is sick. The private sector is definitely too weak, we are producing far too little. We have a state apparatus that is too bloated for that. “

MP Rebeca Fleitas

MP Rebeca Fleitas

However, the debate about who is responsible for the current disaster in Argentina is not helping the local population yet. According to the latest figures, 37.2% of Argentina’s population lives below the poverty line, which is equivalent to a whopping 17.4 million people. For them, the current inflationary trend is a humanitarian catastrophe, as the already few pesos are becoming less and less valuable.

No matter how hard they work, it is no longer enough to survive. In Argentina, you can see what happens when a society collapses economically: Increasing crime and insecurity in the streets are also a consequence. The struggle to survive grows tougher and the gulf in society is widening.

Leave a Comment