Argentinian parliament narrowly passes huge cuts and privatisation plans!

Argentinian unions marching against cuts and privatisation by President Milei earlier this month

The Argentinian parliament’s upper house narrowly passed a controversial bill key to President Javier Milei’s economic cuts and privatisation plans as thousands of protesters clashed with police in the streets on Wednesday.

Senators voted 37 to 36 to give provisional approval to the plan, embarking on an all-night marathon sitting, following day ahead of votes on each article of the package, which includes tax breaks for investors.

The Senate had been divided down the middle over the bill, which was eventually decided by a tie-breaking vote from the head of the chamber, Vice President Victoria Villarruel.

As the senators voted, thousands of protesters poured into the streets, burning cars and throwing Molotov cocktails as hundreds of federal security forces pushed back with rounds of tear gas and water cannon.

Seven people, including five lawmakers, were treated at hospital after being pepper-sprayed, according to the Ministry of Health. Dozens of others received medical attention at the scene.

At least 10 people were arrested and nine police officers were injured, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Security.

Despite the massive opposition opposition to Melei’s cuts and privatisation Milei said: ‘Tonight is a triumph for the Argentinian people and the first step toward the recovery of our greatness. ‘These bills mark the most ambitious legislative reform of the last 40 years’.

Meanwhile, On Wednesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro held a meeting with the National Council of Productive Economy in parliament where he highlighted the growth and diversification of the economy despite 930 imperialist sanctions against the country.

Maduro expressed his absolute faith in the people’s abilities to progress and advance towards making Venezuela an economic power.

He stated: ‘Now we move to a higher stage: the comprehensive reconstruction of the Social Welfare State without depending on anyone.

‘At this moment, we have the highest GDP growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. This year, we project an 8 per cent growth rate.

‘In the first five months of 2024, tax revenue reached US$4.3 billion, which represents a 93.8 per cent growth compared to the same period in 2020. By December, we will have an increase of over 100 per cent in tax revenue.’

Currently, Venezuela produces about one million barrels of oil daily and has maintained 15 consecutive quarters of sustained agricultural production growth, a sector that shows a 5.8 per cent growth this year. Non-traditional exports grew by 429 per cent during the first five months of this year. This process has been accompanied by a slowdown in inflation and the stabilisation of the exchange rate.

He continued: ‘We have achieved the most stable exchange rate between bolivars and dollars in the last 13 years. May’s inflation is the lowest Venezuela has had since 2004.’

The Venezuelan president added: ‘We must sustain the reduction of the wounds inflicted on society by the economic war. We must guarantee the rights related to education, health, food, housing, and adequate income for workers and retirees.’

Maduro also urged the population to continue solving the problems generated by US sanctions.

He added: ‘Our work is a victory against the US sanctions.

‘The extremism of the right, the economic war, and the sanctions have caused losses for everyone.

‘We are forward-thinking. We are the liberators of America, and we are demonstrating it in the economic field with a solid foundation to generate wealth, employment, and well-being.

After the meeting with the National Council of Productive Economy, Maduro participated in several meetings where the Venezuelan people reaffirmed their support for him.

‘We have strongly resisted imperialist sanctions. United, we have managed to move forward. I can tell the people of Apure: I have faced every circumstance and supported all struggles.

‘The worst times are behind us, and now we are heading towards recovery and growth.’

Subsequently, in the municipality of Camaguan, in the state of Guarico, Maduro inaugurated the Jose Gregorio Hernandez Comprehensive Diagnostic Centre, which was built by the Military Community Brigades for Education and Health (Bricomiles).

Meanwhile, The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, and his counterpart from Cuba, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, have conducted a joint press conference where they addressed issues of common interest for both countries.

The press conference follows a previous meeting where they touched on ‘various aspects of the bilateral strategic partnership in the political, commercial and economic, scientific and technical, cultural and humanitarian fields’, among others.

At the conference, Lavrov stressed the need to prevent the resurgence of Nazism on the planet, stressing that, ‘the threat of such a development of events unfortunately exists as a result of the policy of the United States and its European allies’.

The Russian Foreign Minister also said that Moscow will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Havana, particularly in relation to the negative impact of the illegal embargo imposed by the US.

‘We will continue to fight together for the formation of a just polycentric world order based on the generally accepted principles of international law,’ Lavrov emphasised.

Russia also demands the exclusion of Cuba from ‘the United States list of state sponsors of terrorism’.

He said: ‘It is an absolute anomaly that a state includes Cuba in the list of sponsors of terrorism, while at the same time that same state, the United States tries to maintain its sliding hegemony in world affairs through methods of shameless terror.

Rodriguez said that the meeting held ‘confirms the excellent state of bilateral ties between Russia and Cuba, which have historical foundations and have the highest priority given by both governments and foreign ministries’.

The Cuban foreign minister thanked Russia for its position regarding the lifting of the blockade imposed by the US. Cuba and its exclusion from the list of states sponsoring terrorism.

‘Cuba reiterates its condemnation of the increasingly aggressive stance of the US government, and NATO, including unilateral sanctions against the Russian Federation,’ the chancellor said.

In an official statement the Russian Foreign Ministry specified that Cuba is ‘a long-standing friend and strategic partner of Russia in the Latin American region’, and that the two countries ‘regularly maintain a political dialogue’.

According to the Foreign Ministry of the Slavic country, the agenda between Cuban and Russian representatives include, ‘strengthening of commercial and economic ties’, which includes ‘increasing and diversifying trade, support for investment projects as well as the development of cooperation in the areas of ‘energy, metallurgy, transport infrastructure, peaceful space exploration, agriculture and biopharmaceuticals’.