Argentina: less and less covert war between the provinces and the federal state

Maximum tension in Argentina between President Javier Milei and the governors of the country's provinces.

While the national executive has drastically reduced transfers of state resources to the provinces, several governors have filed legal challenges and one of them even threatened to interrupt oil production.

Oil wells in the province of Santa Cruz, Argentina.

(CC) Flickr/Nestor Galina

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Since the election of Javier Milei, the provinces have not been spared by the Argentine president's “chainsaw” plan (omnibus law), reports our correspondent in Buenos Aires,

Théo Conscience


In January, the government reduced discretionary fund transfers to the provinces by 60% by cutting, among other things, aid intended for public transport, education, and public infrastructure work.

But it requires that the provinces pay their debts to the federal state.

The governors of the provinces of Buenos Aires and Rioja have submitted appeals to the courts, and that of the province of Chubut, Ignacio Torres, even went further by threatening, with the support of his counterparts in the south of the country, to paralyze the gas and oil production starting this Wednesday if the national government continues to withhold federal funds.

Ejemplar Miércoles 28 de Febrero 2024 #ElChubutDigital

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— Diario EL CHUBUT (@ElChubut) February 28, 2024

The governors of Tierra del Fuego, Santa Cruz, Río Negro, La Pampa and Neuquén declared their support for their colleague from Chubut last weekend.

In the second quarter of 2023, the two provinces of Chubut (21.5%) and Neuquén (51.5%) provided three quarters of national oil production.

Argentina is an exporter of crude oil and gas and an importer of refined products.

Tierra del Fuego, in alert: will paralyze the production of petroleum in apoyo in Chubut

— iProfesional (@iProfesional) February 27, 2024

While Javier Milei had challenged him to carry out his threat, a federal judge yesterday, Tuesday, February 27, ordered the government to pay the funds requested by the province of Chubut (13,500 million pesos or 15.3 million of dollars blocked by Buenos Aires), offering a way out to the governor.

If this court decision has made it possible for the moment to avoid an open conflict, the government has announced that it will appeal, and the escalation of recent days has highlighted the hard-line climate that dominates politics Argentina since the election of Javier Milei. 


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