Protests Over University Budget Cuts in Buenos Aires

Protests Over University Budget Cuts in Buenos Aires
Protests Over University Budget Cuts in Buenos Aires

Students and medical professors at the University of Buenos Aires protest government cuts that have led many public universities to work without lights with students taking classes outdoors.

Authorities say that if the budget is not updated in line with Argentine inflation, the University of Buenos Aires may have to close its doors before the start of the second semester.

Argentina's President Javier Milei has expressed on several occasions and social media posts that public universities indoctrinate students with leftist ideology.

Milei, facing a deep fiscal deficit after years of economic mismanagement by governments on the right and left, has made slashing state spending a focus. He won election last year after regular rallies with a chainsaw, a symbol of his planned cuts.

"No one has to worry about their studies at the universities," government spokesman Manuel Adorni said in a regular press conference. "It will be in the best conditions that the universities' budgets allow."

In UBA's faculty of exact sciences students and teachers have erected a clock with a countdown that indicates the budget will be enough for 43 more days.

UBA, one of Latin America's top universities, provides undergraduate courses that are free of charge to everyone. It also runs six secondary schools and five public hospitals.

It said its budget had been cut 26% in nominal terms and 80% in real terms, given inflation running at 300%. It has asked the faculties to reduce energy consumption to eke out the funds.

The cuts have hit all public universities in Argentina, and there is a planned anti-government march next week.

The government has defended the cuts as necessary to fix the state's finances.