Martin Guzman: Argentina’s economy minister resigns

Argentina’s Economy Minister Martin Guzman, the architect of a recent debt deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has resigned.

Guzman’s announcement on Saturday came amid deep splits in the ruling coalition about how to handle Argentina’s mounting economic crisis.

A minister since late 2019 and close ally of President Alberto Fernandez, the 39-year-old Guzman did not say why he resigned.

But in a seven-page letter posted on Twitter, he suggested the internal battles were at least part of his reason for leaving, calling on Fernandez to mend the divisions so that the “next minister does not suffer” the same difficulties he did.

Guzman, who had clashed with Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a powerful two-term former president, said he maintained “confidence in my vision of the path Argentina should follow”.

The former minister was the driving force in sealing a new $44bn deal with the IMF earlier this year to replace a failed programme from 2018.

But legislators allied with the vice president, who has called for greater spending to alleviate poverty levels, voted against the agreement with the IMF and the deal only passed Congress thanks to support from the centre-right opposition.

Guzman tellingly posted his resignation letter while Fernandez de Kirchner was giving a speech commemorating iconic former Argentinian President Juan Domingo Peron.

His departure, coming at the end of a week of economic turmoil, sparks more uncertainty in Argentina, Latin America’s third largest economy. The Argentinian peso has hit an all-time low against the US dollar, while inflation is running above 60 percent and truck drivers are staging protests over shortages of diesel.

The move also deals a blow to Fernandez’s weakening power base.

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