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Argentina’s pensioners suffer under weight of soaring inflation | Inflation News


Buenos Aires, Argentina – Villa Lugano, a collection of large social housing complexes in the capital of Argentina, was founded in the 1900s by a Swiss man who dreamed of building a neighborhood comparable to the house. his home in Lugano, Switzerland.

Today it has become a symbol of the country’s working class – and that’s where I recently met Stella Maris Acosta and Walmiran Aramburu, two pensioners living on minimum monthly installments of around 170 dollars per person.

In a country where monthly inflation rate has reached about 7 percent, their income is not enough to survive. Stella Maris and Walmiran live in a modest apartment and they are struggling to pay the bills.

“My only dream was to own a house and now look at us,” Stella Maris told me. “I’m still paying my mortgage, utilities, plus all the drugs we need – we just can’t buy enough food.”

She then got up and went to the fridge, proudly displaying some vegetables she said she picked up from the trash, dripped in vinegar and washed before eating. “People throw away food, but it can be preserved and used,” says Stella Maris. “I can turn this tomato into a sauce, bake it and other things.”

Argentina is an agricultural powerhouse produce food for 400 million people – but amid soaring inflation and the daily struggles of the likes of Stella Maris and Walmiran, many here say the country’s ruling class has failed all time and again.

People are used to living with high inflation; it has been a problem for decades. But with the rate expected to hit 100% by the end of 2022, Argentines are hoping for miracles.

Unions are strong and they are pushing wages to keep up with inflation. This year, agreements to raise wages by 65% ​​have been reached and that is one of the reasons why the government remains in control. There is anger, yes, and the government has loss of support. But they are still in power.

The problem is that pensioners – about 7 million people, of which 86% are receiving the monthly minimum – can rarely take to the streets and demand a better income.

“Inflation, what it does is you pay the new price with the old wage. It happens to all workers,” Eugenio Semino, a public defender for the elderly in Buenos Aires, told Al Jazeera.

He explained that although labor unions have agreed to raise wages, that jump has been exceeded by expected inflation, which “will be close to 100 [percent]”.

The Argentine government knows that there is a big battle ahead on inflation. The problem is that until recently, President Alberto Fernandez and Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner could not agree on an antidote to it.

Alberto Fernandez tried to reach an agreement with International Monetary Fund cut subsidies and government spending, while Fernandez de Kirchner opposed many of his policies and insisted that inflation needed to be fought differently. But when she was president of Argentina until 2014, she could not find a solution.

The current, Sergio Massa is the new Economy Minister – the third to take up the post in just August after a string of government shake-ups.

A seasoned politician with presidential ambitions, he has promised to kick-start the struggling economy. Massa has just returned from Washington, DC, where he has made a desperate attempt to find investors and support for many of his policies. But whether his plan will succeed or not remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Argentina’s pensioners continue to struggle under the weight of the crisis.

Stella Maris has been working since the age of 15. Walmiran, who came to Argentina from Uruguay in the 1970s, has worked as a doorman all his life. He also has health problems, including epilepsy.

Despite those challenges, Stella Maris and Walmiran still go out every day trying to make a living. They look for copper, copper, aluminum and food waste bins. If they’re lucky, they can make an extra $80 a month selling recyclable materials.

They say Argentina’s political class has failed them. They are forced to take to the streets to survive as inflation continues to soar. But they were not humiliated by it. They say it’s a job and right now, it’s the only thing they can do to help them finish it until the end of the month.



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