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THE WORLD

Argentine Hopes Rest on Economic Rescue Program

Latin America: New banking regulations go into effect today. The dollar will no longer be valid currency for any transaction.

February 06, 2002|HECTOR TOBAR | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Every day appears to bring a new form of demonstration. On Tuesday, poultry producers set loose dozens of chickens in front of government offices in the city of Mendoza and called for government subsidies.

In recent weeks, unemployed workers have blocked roads throughout the country. On Tuesday, 2,000 jobless protesters marched through downtown Buenos Aires to the Pink House, the seat of government.

"We want our unemployment insurance--or real jobs," said Paula Quasi, 29, who has been out of work for more than a year. "The [last] government promised us 1 million new jobs, and nothing happened."

Duhalde, in contrast to De la Rua, has portrayed himself as a man deeply concerned about the problems of ordinary Argentines. Portraits of the president almost invariably show him with his hands clasped in front of his face in a pose of deep worry, as if in prayer.

Several times each week, he takes questions on a radio program called "Speaking With the President." Last week, he met with representatives of 15,000 unemployed workers who had blocked roads and marched on the Pink House.

"If I were in your position," he told the marchers, "I'd be blocking the highways too."

Times special correspondent Vanessa Petit contributed to this report.

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