Argentina: three new changes in the cabinet of ministers

BUENOS AIRES (HPD) — In an attempt to find direction amid the internees in the ruling party and the growing social tension, Argentine President Alberto Fernández on Monday ordered a new reform of the cabinet of ministers that includes the portfolios of Labor, of Social Development and Women.

Fernández chose female officials to occupy those ministries. Victoria Tolosa Paz, a deputy from the government party Frente de Todos close to the president, will be the new Minister of Social Development, while two less publicly known faces such as Raquel Olmos and Ayelén Mazzina will head the Labor and Women, Gender and Diversity ministers. respectively.

Those portfolios were left vacant in the last three days in a new chapter of the ups and downs that periodically shake the government of Fernández, a Peronist who came to power at the end of 2019.

The ministerial modification -announced in a statement from the presidency- is one more of those that have occurred during the last year in the framework of the president’s discrepancies with the vice president and former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015) on the course of management in the face of enormous challenges such as accelerating inflation and growing poverty.

“The president has summoned three women of different ages, geographical origin and extensive experience in their reference issues to be part of his cabinet in order to deepen the breadth of views and efficiency in management,” the statement said.

Tolosa Paz, who chaired the National Council for the Coordination of Social Policies, will replace Juan Zabaleta, who in recent months has dealt from the Ministry of Social Development with the growing discomfort of leftist organizations that, in constant demonstrations, have demanded more help for the unemployed and informal workers.

Meanwhile, Olmos, an economist and current vice president of the Investment and Foreign Trade Bank, will hold the position of Labor Minister to replace Claudio Moroni, whose management has been questioned for a long time by sectors that respond to Fernández de Kirchner.

The new Minister of Labor – who, according to analysts, is not part of the circle of the vice president nor is she close to the main union center – will have to face the demands for salary increases raised by workers in the public and private sectors in salary negotiations that enables the government to counteract inflation, which is expected to exceed 100% by the end of the year.

Argentina reported in August a price rise of 7% for the second consecutive month and in the year-on-year comparison it was 78.5%, one of the highest in the world.

According to data from the first half of the year, some 10.6 million people are poor, which is equivalent to 36.5% of the population. Analysts maintain that the situation will worsen in the second half of the year due to the rise in the cost of living.

For her part, Mazzina, until today Secretary of Women, Diversity and Equality of the Argentine province of San Luis, will replace Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta in the Ministry of Women, Diversity and Gender.

Gómez Alcorta resigned on Friday after questioning the eviction of Mapuche Indians on public land in the south that the government says was illegally occupied. The former official criticized in particular the transfer of several arrested women – some with young children – to federal prisons in Buenos Aires located 1,600 kilometers to the north.

The operation received criticism from the sector that responds to the vice president.

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