A new wave of agitation has swept Argentina. It comes after the conversion of all bank accounts from dollars to the national currency, the peso, two weeks ago. Friday of last week saw demonstrations right across the country, with unemployed people looting supermarkets in the Cordoba province for food.
On Saturday 5,000 people attended a national conference of the 'piqueteros' movement of unemployed workers in Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo square. It called for roadblocks throughout the country this Wednesday to bring everything to a halt. On Sunday the powerful oil workers' union announced it was calling an all-out strike. The government is paying out $10 billion to halve the debts of giant industrial and financial firms.
They also reduced by about a third the amount small savers had in their accounts. It amounted to robbing the lower middle classes and many workers in order to subsidise big business. Government controls still stop many people getting access to savings or wages paid to them through the banks.
Prices have already started soaring by between 10 and 30 percent in a fortnight. This isn't good enough for the International Monetary Fund. It is demanding that the government imposes still bigger cuts in public expenditure.