After entering office to lofty expectations, Argentine President Mauricio Macri has faced both trials and triumphs.
by Brendan O’Boyle
President Mauricio Macri takes office promising to stabilize the country’s economy. Breaking tradition, departing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner does not attend her successor’s inauguration.
Macri signals a stark shift in economic policy by eliminating or reducing export taxes on Argentina’s major agricultural products, including soy.
Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gray announces an end to currency controls for the peso, which he said had “halted the economy for years.” The next day, the peso’s value plummets 30 percent.
At his first Mercosur summit, Macri calls on Venezuela to release its political prisoners, the first of several attacks on the country’s human rights record.
Milagro Sala, an opposition figure and leader of the Tupac Amaru neighborhood association, is arrested in Jujuy for “inciting criminal acts” after organizing a month-long protest against the state governor. Her imprisonment becomes a rallying point for Macri’s opponents, including Fernández, who claim she is a political prisoner.
Amnesty International and the United Nations are among the human rights groups calling for her release.
Macri slashes energy subsidies, upsetting Argentines used to paying some of the world’s lowest energy bills.
Argentina agrees to pay $4.65 billion to four holdout creditors, signaling an end to a dispute dating back to a 2002 default on billions of dollars in bond payments and paving the way for the country’s return to international credit markets.
President Barack Obama arrives in Argentina, the first visit by a U.S. president to the country since 2005. The meeting is widely viewed as a turning point for U.S.-Argentine relations.
Macri tells Argentines that he has “nothing to hide” after a federal prosecutor calls for an investigation into his links to an offshore company, revealed in the Panama Papers.
Fernández is indicted over allegations she manipulated dollar futures rates while in office. The case, which she calls “political persecution,” both revives and calls into question talk of the former president’s future political ambitions.
Macri announces a tax amnesty program to allow Argentines to declare previously undeclared assets without disclosing the money’s origin, by paying a small penalty. In October, the government announces the program’s first phase has delivered $4.6 billion into Argentine bank accounts.
José López, the former public works secretary under Fernández and a long time aide to the Kirchners, is arrested while trying to hide some $9 million in cash in a convent in Buenos Aires Province. Macri cites the scandal as example of “structural” corruption during the Kirchner era.
Government statistics agency INDEC releases inflation figures for the first time during Macri’s presidency, putting national inflation in May at 4.2 percent. While the number is disappointing for Macri, the return of an overhauled statistics agency is celebrated.
Responding to massive demonstrations organized by the Ni Una Menos (Not One Less) movement, Macri announces a national plan to tackle violence against women.
Facing price hikes in electricity and other public services, angry citizens take to the streets for a cacerolazo protest, the first of the emblematic pot-banging demonstrations during Macri’s presidency.
Argentina’s Supreme Court rules that Macri’s hikes on gas prices were illegal, delivering a setback to Macri’s economic agenda.
A massive march occurs in Buenos Aires, one day after demonstrations take place in cities across the country. Organized by the Argentine Workers’ Central Union, protesters demand an end to Macri’s austerity measures.
In a sign of Argentina’s return to global markets, Macri kicks off the first Argentina Business and Investment Forum, telling some 1,600 investors and corporate leaders in attendance that the country is ready for their business.
IMF officials conclude their first meetings in Argentina in a decade, praising the government’s economic reforms and expressing confidence in the country’s prospects for investment.
Macri speaks by phone with former business acquaintance and U.S. president-elect Donald Trump after his victory. Trump promises that Argentina and the U.S. will have “the closest relationship in history.”
Macri suffers what some consider his biggest political defeat when the opposition in the lower house passes its own version of an income tax reform package.
Macri ends his first year in office with an approval rating of 55 percent, down from 78 percent the day he became president.
Photocredits (TOP TO BOTTOM): presidential press office/latincontent/getty; ciat/flickr; bleff/wikimedia; eitan abramovich/afp/getty; catherine singleton/flickr; juan mabromata/afp/getty; panama papers; gabriel rossi/latincontent/getty; juan vargas/afp/getty; juan mabromata/afp/getty; rodrigo paredes/flickr; francis bourgouin/flickr; mariano sanchez/anadolu agency/getty; eitan abramovich/afp/getty; imf; michael vadon/flickr; jorge láscar/flickr; gabriel rossi/latincontent/getty