Buenos Aires, Argentina — Argentina’s economy is teetering on the brink of a humanitarian crisis, but its leaders are refusing to give up hope of averting a violent conflict that could wipe out the country’s financial system.
The ruling socialist government in Argentina is pushing ahead with plans to spend billions of dollars on rebuilding the country and expanding a health care system that is among the most troubled in the Americas, even as its president and military commanders have said they will not intervene militarily.
But that could be too little too late.
The economy is already in freefall.
With inflation reaching more than 90 percent and unemployment above 25 percent, the economy is in such dire straits that even the International Monetary Fund said it could soon see its finances collapsing.
President Mauricio Macri has repeatedly warned that a military confrontation between the U.S. and its ally Venezuela is “inevitable,” but his administration has been largely unable to prevent the economic collapse and is now facing an even bigger threat from a new war with the United States.
In an address to parliament Monday, Macri said he would ask Congress for an emergency appropriation of about $1 billion to help pay for the health care, social services and other infrastructure needed to avert a humanitarian disaster.
But he said he will wait for a decision from the U: Congress is expected to vote on the funding request this week.
“In the face of the war, the economic situation is very difficult, especially because we are running out of time,” Macri told lawmakers.
“If we don’t act, we will face an economic catastrophe that will be even worse than the one we experienced last time, when we had a civil war that lasted for more than five years.”
Macri said his government would “use every available means to defend our country.”
But the government has also been pushing to create an international coalition to help with the reconstruction effort, a move that would mean sending troops into the country if necessary.
Argentina has a history of violent and bloody civil wars, which have left tens of thousands dead, and the country is now in the middle of a second one after a 2014 war with neighboring Mexico.
President Macri is also looking for ways to stem a wave of illegal immigrants and drug traffickers entering the country.
But experts say the military and security forces have no interest in sending troops or fighting.
They are willing to work with the international community to help rebuild the economy, Macquarie University’s David R. Silliman told CNN.
Silliman said that in any civil war, military leaders would want to win.
“They would prefer to fight a civil conflict, and then they could start to rebuild the country, so that they don’t get in a situation like they did in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said.
“But we’re not talking about a war in the same sense that we were talking about the Vietnam War.
We’re talking about rebuilding our country,” Sillman added.
Macri, who has previously said that Argentina’s economic collapse could end up costing the country millions of dollars, also made clear that he would not stand down.
“We will do everything in our power to avoid war, and we will defend our people, but the only way to achieve this is through peaceful means, and I think we have the means to do this,” he told lawmakers in a speech in which he urged them to support his “political and economic reforms.”
Macquarie’s Sillimania said the country has “no alternative but to find a way to manage a civil crisis” and that the country will face a difficult period ahead.
Macquary said his administration is already considering a plan to allow the military to set up a humanitarian zone to help the country regain the financial health it was in a few weeks ago.
The government is also considering using its new $3 billion emergency fund to pay for humanitarian aid for the displaced, the Associated Press reported.But the U