Thousands of people have thronged the streets of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, to protest a possible debt restructuring deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Buenos Aires is negotiating a new agreement with the IMF to help push back some $45 billion in repayments the government cannot afford to make after years of debt and currency crises.

Thousands of people marched in the streets of the capital in mid-December against any deal to restructure the debt, which the organizers described as “a complete scam.”

“People might not be aware of a lot of things, but they are aware of the fact that the words ‘International Monetary Fund’ in this country … have always brought us more misery and more dependency,” said Carlos Aznarez of Organizaciones Libres del Pueblo, one of the groups that organized the rally.


“People understand that we are headed for disaster if we sign this agreement,” he said.

The national leader of the Socialist Workers Movement (MST) Cele Fierro also denounced any agreement with the IMF.

“We go back to the streets to say no to the agreement with the IMF, no to the payment of the foreign debt and no to the adjustment they want to carry out, which goes against the workers and the people,” she said.

Under a deal made three years ago, Argentina must pay the IMF $19,020 million next year, $19,270 million in 2023 and 4,856 million in 2024.

The protesters on Dec. 11 said that paying off the debt will inevitably lead to austerity measures that will hurt ordinary people.

“There will be social resistance,” said labor activist Alejandro Bodart. “We do not see the possibility of a viable country within the framework of an agreement with the IMF, so we believe that it should be rejected.”

The IMF-backed deal of  2018 resulted in an increase in the cost of utilities, an increase in interest rates, a reduction in public works, cutbacks to state employees, pensions and social spending.

Experts say a new deal to repay the debt will further sharpen the economic crisis in the South American country, where more than one in four live in poverty.

Argentina is currently grappling with an inflation rate of more than 50 percent. (