24 May 2008

Rosario after the general strike

After Thursday's general strike, Rosario's taxi drivers met with the authorities and then decided to work normally during the weekend (the city will be full of visitors, so they can't lose that money) and suspend the night service starting on Monday. Political characters of various stripes latched onto the horrible murder that triggered this and took advantage of it to speak ill of the provincial and municipal governments.

While the initial response of the taxi union was understandable, the rest immediately seemed to me to be staged for political purposes. Yesterday evening, after the tense meeting with the authorities, the head of CGT Rosario, Néstor Ferrazza, was seen at Agustín Rossi's campaign launch meeting for the presidency of the Santa Fe Justicialist Party. It was Ferrazza who decreed the general strike with less than two hours notice, and it's Rossi who's been more active criticizing the new Socialist administration since his party lost the election here.

This kind of strike had been unheard of for years. Later Ferrazza called it "a Rosariazo against insecurity", which for people with some knowledge of history seems not only a exaggeration, but really dangerous speech. The Rosariazo was a series of protests against unpopular measures of the dictatorial government of Juan Carlos Onganía, during 1969, at a time when the whole country was in unrest. There were many wounded and dead, and the city turned into hell, because the government used as much violence as it could. Comparing it with last Thursday's strike is an insult. We the common citizens suffered great inconvenience, but the government tried to solve the situation with words. Everybody, except the ones blocking the streets, behaved democratically and as calmly as the awful situation allowed.

What's it about "insecurity"? After five years of economic growth at unprecedented rates conducted by a government that claims income redistribution as its main goal, poverty is still about 30% and income inequality is about the same as in the peak of the last crisis, while nothing has been done to improve education or to bring back the dream of upward social mobility. And then these filthy low-grade politicians disguised as speakers for the working class demand that insecurity be solved by a local government with no power to affect national policies, dictated by a president who's more concerned about how many people applaud her awful, divisive speeches than anything else.

Tomorrow's 198th anniversary of the creation of the first national government. The four agricultural organizations are going to have a mass gathering here in Rosario, at the Flag Memorial, while Cristina Kirchner will be speaking in Salta, far north, in a place where she doesn't have to fear opposition and where her paid supporters will be carried in large numbers. If all goes well, I'll be here taking pictures and contributing with my presence.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous21:51

    One does not need a crystal ball to see that this situation is certain to deteriorate. Maybe one difference between Argentina and the US is that Argentines seem aware of the issues while most of the US population is fat, stupid, and only concerned with Britney Spears, American Idol, etc., while a "what happened?" moment is just ahead, like the iceberg and the Titanic. With huge repercussions...


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