“I am not going to extradite Bozizé, I want that to be clear”

“I am not going to extradite Bozizé, I want that to be clear”
“I am not going to extradite Bozizé, I want that to be clear”

AFP

Argentina: second general strike against an imperturbable and self-satisfied Milei

Five months of government, two general strikes – the second Thursday – demonstrations of varying scale almost daily: the streets in Argentina are raising their voices in the face of ultraliberal President Javier Milei, still upright in his austerity program, with initial ambivalent results .No trains, no buses, no metro for 24 hours: the capital Buenos Aires should ring hollow on Thursday, without a large part of the 3 million people who pass through there every day, the majority by public transport. Some 400 flights will be canceled, affecting 70,000 passengers, according to the Latin American Air Transport Association. The strike “against a brutal adjustment, in defense of labor and union rights, and a decent salary”, launched by several unions including the powerful Peronist CGT, s announcement followed. Much more than that of January 24 (12 hours only), a semi-failure mocked by the government as the “fastest strike in history” because announced in December, 18 days after the inauguration of Milei. This time again, the presidency denounces a “strictly political” strike and unions “breaking records for speed and number of strikes”, facing a government “barely taking office”. Unions which go “against what people voted for five months ago”. The political impact, however, could be less than the major marches in defense of the university on April 24 (one million demonstrators across the country), strongest mobilization hostile to Milei to date, and “a lesson for him: the first time he hit a wall in public opinion, because what was at stake was a collective good, transversal”, estimates political scientist Gabriel Vommaro. – Cores of support – But “for this reason, it should not be overinterpreted”, the analyst hastens to add to AFP. Because, elected as “a providential man who arrived to resolve problems that the elites of the past had left lying around”, Milei “retains in public opinion cores of support unscathed, or at least quite solid”. In fact, despite a slight inflection in April, several recent polls see Milei oscillating between 45 and 50% positive image – he was elected with 56%. A spectacular form of stability for a ruler who inflicted in a few months, between devaluation, freed prices, “cut-off” spending and public aid, “the greatest adjustment in the history of humanity”, as the anarcho-capitalist likes to remind people. In addition, the corrosive Milei, “without changing his personality and his aggressive speech”, is experiencing “a political apprenticeship”, considers Rosendo Fraga, political scientist at the Academy of Moral Sciences and policies. As such, the adoption at the end of April (at least in the Lower House) of its set of deregulatory reforms, an amended, narrowed, planed project, is “important”: it shows a Milei “more flexible in practice, softening the ideology”, and who “can articulate a coalition to govern, despite its weak strength” of 37 deputies out of 257. – Useless sacrifice or success? -Decelerating inflation, from 25% in December alone to 9% predicted for April, or worrying recession, with -3.2% decline in activity over one year? “Historic feat” (dixit Milei) of a budget with a surplus in the first quarter, unprecedented since 2008, or a dark record of poverty (41.7% officially), at levels not seen since 2006? According to them focus on the balance of accounts, the reduction in country risk, or on the micro-social impact, job losses, opposition and government throw clues in each other’s faces: “Useless sacrifice of the people”, denounces ex-president Cristina Kirchner. “Our plan is working”, trumpets Milei. But economists, including liberals, are worried about “the aftermath”. “Milei has (…) only one variable in mind: inflation”, estimates Carlos Rodriguez, once close to the new president. “The adjustment plan is simply to pay nothing, with these first months a reduction in costs in all sectors. But I don’t see a plan.” Beyond the strike, which seems destined to have no impact the policy followed, it is difficult to predict who, a recovery or fed up, will be felt first. “The limit to adjustment is the adjusted and their capacity for resistance which impose it”, concedes Carlos Heller, a former banker and opposition MP.bur-pbl/lab/roc

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