- Created: Wednesday, 06 May 2009 13:41
- Written by Alvaro Michaels
FRFI 168 August / September 2002
Argentinean GNP fell 16.3% in the first three months of 2002, following Argentina’s default last December on its foreign debt and the subsequent massive devaluation of the peso. Both domestic and external trade have collapsed, as have tax collection and state spending. Six million workers, 45% of the working population, are now unemployed or underemployed, 1.6 million more than in May 2001. For the 11.3 million with jobs there are shorter hours, massive inflation and a scarcity of goods to buy. With half the population plunged into poverty, Argentineans are now facing starvation. Malnutrition is common throughout the country. In the Pilar district of Buenos Aires there is an 80% increase in infectious illness. Health Minister Garcia has said ‘I’m afraid that we’ll experience something similar to Russia when they lost seven years off the average life expectancy in their last macro-economic crisis’. Spanish, French, US, Brazilian and Venezuelan organisations have given medicine, clothing and food worth £4 million this year but this a drop in the ocean given the needs of the burgeoning numbers of the hungry poor.