In a sweeping interview with CNN Español, President Mauricio Macri hurled criticism at his political rivals, refused to promise visas for Venezuelan migrants, played down differences between him and other world leaders and vowed that Argentina “is not going to default.”
Speaking with journalist Mauricio Longobardi from the Olivos presidential residence, the Juntos por el Cambio leader rebuffed claims his country is on insecure economic ground, arguing that “Argentina has a small debt and there are countries much more indebted that aren’t going to default.”
“Argentina doesn’t have financing problems,” the president declared confidently. “Argentina needs a more sane budget, with less taxes.”
Directly rebuking labour leaders, Macri described them as people who “don’t understand the change Argentina has undergone” under his government.
Macri accused Camioneros union leader Hugo Moyano of swindling workers with dues and said pilot union leader Pablo Biró had denied the government valuable revenues for education and sewers with recent strikes.
“When Mr. Moyano charges the things that he charges for his union, from the left, from the right, what he does is leave a lot of people without work,” Macri said.
The president also reserved plenty of ire for his electoral opponents, namely former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who he accused of “denying reality” and exerting editorial control over anti-government news outlets.
“It’s not only that she denies reality every day, the economic reality, the social reality. She denies the systemic violation of democratic institutions,” the president told Longobardi.
On the subject of Venezuela, when asked if Argentina would mirror Chile’s visa policy for Venezuelan migrants, Macri said it wouldn’t happen “in the short term.” He did, however, describe Venezuela’s ongoing crisis as “untold in the history of our region."
He added: "What Venezuela is living through is beginning to affect all the world.”
The president also discussed the policies of US President Donald Trump. While Macri said he and Trump differed on freedom of the press, the president defended Trump’s protectionist economic policies, stating that the United States was “one of the most open countries in the world” for business.
“Donald Trump feels that there are some who try to cheat free commerce with the United States,” Macri said.