Staff and students protest against budget freeze imposed on University of Buenos Aires

(18 Apr 2024)

Buenos Aires, Argentina – 18 April 2024
1. Various of doctors and students chanting; UPSOUND (Spanish) "UBA is not for sale"
2. A graduate student holds a sign that reads (Spanish) "No to budget cuts"
3. Doctor Martha Cora Eliseht chants UPSOUND (Spanish) "We have to fight so people can come to the hospital"
4. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Martha Cora Eliseht, 64, UBA doctor and professor:
"It’s time to say enough is enough. Enough with the scrapping, enough with the looting. A country without public health, without universities, without culture is not a country; it is a colony, and I want to continue living in my country, in the Argentine Republic."
5. Protesters march with a banner that reads (Spanish) "No to the budget cuts (in education)"
6. Protesters outside the university’s Clinicas Hospital
7. Clinicas Hospital
8. Doctor Ivan Massari holds a sign that reads (Spanish) "No to the closing of the Clinicas (Hospital)"
9. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Ivan Massari, 31, UBA doctor and professor:
"The Clinicas Hospital, like other hospitals that depend on the UBA (University of Buenos Aires), risks not reaching the budget to cover the need for minimum care for the patients treated there, including the teaching and research in the UBA in general. It is a really critical situation, a limit that mobilizes all of us who are present here today."
10. Various of students taking classes on the stairs of the Medical School as a protest for the budget cuts
11. Authorities of the UBA stand outside in support of the Clinicas Hospital
12. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Dr Luis Sarotto, President of the Medical Association of the Clinicas Hospital:
"Every day, about 5,000 patients a day and 2,500 students pass through the hospital, which makes this a small city. Getting this small city up and running requires human resources, technological resources, elevators, lighting, heating, and that has a very high cost, and that increase in cost has not matched to the budget that the government has sent to us"
13. Clinicas Hospital main lobby
14. People waiting at the emergency room
15. Yesica Garcia and her son Juan Paz wait for attention at the emergency room where a union sign reads in (Spanish) ‘The homeland is not for sale"
16. A union sign reads in (Spanish) ‘The homeland is not for sale"
Doctors, teachers, and students demonstrated on Thursday against the freeze ordered by the government of the Argentine president, Javier Milei, on the budget allocations of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), one of the largest and most prestigious in Latin America.

The freeze is affecting the university’s operation and its six university hospitals.

The protesters gave a symbolic hug to the Clinicas Hospital, a beacon of healthcare in Buenos Aires and the country.

This gesture was made to draw attention to the ‘critical situation’ faced by the hospital and other university medical centers that rely on the UBA for support.

The UBA’s flagship hospital is operating with the budget values ​​of 2023, a year when the country is grappling with an annual inflation rate of almost 288 percent.

The protesters also questioned that by extending the budget values ​​from 2023 to 2024 in an inflationary context, the government of the neoliberal president is compromising medical care for more than half a million patients annually in the UBA hospital centers.

AP Video by Victor R. Caivano


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