Reminiscent of a football match, protesters in Buenos Aires signalled their support after Argentina’s government announced the takeover of the country’s private pension system.
In a widely unexpected move, President Cristina Fernandez signed a bill, nationalising the country’s largest pension providers.
‘‘We are I sincerely feel, at the end of an era at the world level and I believe that what we are doing here today is a strategic decision in this international framework,’‘ Argentina’s President said.
But the move has unnerved investors, sending Argentina’s stock market into free fall. And, critics accuse the government of looting pension funds ahead of a tough budget year.
Economist Juan O’Donnell said: ‘‘Why did the government make the decision? Because, evidently, they are desperate for cash, they do not have enough funds to cover the financial needs for the next two years.’‘
While unions across the board welcomed the nationalisation, thousands of pension fund employees hit the streets of Buenos Aires fearing for their jobs.
The bill will now go to Argentina’s Congress, which is set to pass it in the next few weeks.