Latin America

Buenos Aires Erupts in Violent Clashes Over Milei’s Economic Reforms

Buenos Aires, Argentina — In a highly charged atmosphere marked by violent clashes between protesters and riot police, Argentina’s Senate has narrowly approved President Javier Milei’s contentious economic reform package.

The reforms, aimed at revitalizing the country’s beleaguered economy, were passed after Vice-President Victoria Villarruel cast a decisive vote, breaking a 36-36 tie in the Senate on Wednesday.

The approval of the reforms sparked immediate and fierce protests in Buenos Aires. Demonstrators, who argued that the measures would inflict severe hardship on millions of Argentines, threw petrol bombs and stones, setting vehicles alight near Congress.

The confrontations, described by local media as a “battlefield,” left numerous individuals injured, including protesters, police officers, and several opposition MPs.

The reform package, which will now be reviewed article by article before its expected final approval on Thursday, includes a state of economic emergency, cuts to pensions, and significant reductions in labor rights.

These measures form part of President Milei’s aggressive strategy to address Argentina’s deepening economic crisis, characterized by an inflation rate nearing 300% and over half the population living in poverty.

President Milei, a right-wing economist who assumed office amidst this economic turmoil, has faced significant opposition from leftist political parties, labor unions, and social organizations.

Despite the outcry, Milei remains steadfast in his commitment to what he describes as “shock” economic policies designed to radically transform Argentina’s financial landscape.

“For those Argentines who suffer, who wait, who do not want to see their children leave the country… my vote is affirmative,” stated Vice-President Villarruel as she cast the tie-breaking vote.

Her decision was met with mixed reactions, reflecting the deep divisions within Argentine society regarding Milei’s approach.

As the Senate debated the bill, violent clashes erupted outside Congress. Protesters, chanting slogans like “The country is not for sale, the country is defended,” attempted to breach security barriers.

The unrest resulted in at least 20 police officers being injured and 15 protesters arrested. Several MPs were also hospitalized due to injuries sustained during the confrontations.

President Milei’s office later issued a statement expressing gratitude to security forces for their actions against what it described as “terrorists” seeking to orchestrate a coup d’état.

In a defiant speech at a Buenos Aires conference, Milei reiterated his vision for Argentina, proclaiming, “We are going to change Argentina, we are going to make it the most liberal country in the world.”

The bill, which had already passed the lower house in April after substantial amendments, continues to stir controversy. Critics argue that the reforms will regress the nation by a century, stripping away essential social protections and exacerbating inequality.

Fabio Nunez, a protesting lawyer, expressed disbelief at the legislative developments, saying, “We cannot believe that in Argentina we are discussing a law that will put us back 100 years.”

President Milei’s radical economic agenda includes dramatic cuts to public spending, evidenced by his symbolic use of a chainsaw during the campaign to represent his resolve.

Since taking office, he has reduced the cabinet by half, eliminated 50,000 public sector jobs, halted new public works contracts, and removed fuel and transport subsidies.

As Argentina grapples with these sweeping changes, the nation remains deeply divided, with the potential for further unrest as the reforms move closer to final implementation.


This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

Gabriel Peters

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