05 June 2008

Crazy Argentina, take 4: Crumbling country

The campo-vs.-government conflict keeps getting nastier and nastier. The farmers went back to the roads, only to block grain trucks on their way to the ports; but the truck drivers, who haven't had any work for almost three months, decided to go after them and block the roads, in some cases letting only private cars and buses pass, or not even those. As in the first days of the farmers' protest, there are regions and cities almost isolated from each other — as of today it was very difficult to go from Rosario to the towns on the northern Greater Rosario, and impossible to get to Santa Fe.

Also, once again proving that the Kirchners and their minions have no moral boundaries, several opposition politicians and agricultural organizations' leaders have been summoned to court under accusations of illegally blocking roads (not that it's not illegal — it's just that Kirchnerist piqueteros don't usually receive such treatment, and never so swiftly); Néstor Kirchner says that he's ready to resist even as the whole country demands a peaceful solution ("This is a long fight and it's only begun…The government is going to show them it has the power") because the farmers' "would already have staged a coup if they had bayonets"; Kirchner's son Máximo says the Kirchnerist Youth are ready to kick farmers' ass if necessary; Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (co-owner of a US$11-million dollar luxury hotel in Patagonia) asked the farmers to "think of the poor", for whom apparently fake inflation rates are no longer enough; and the state-financed shock troop leader Luis D'Elía has warned that he and his gang are planning to "refresh the memory of the oligarchy" and they're coming to Rosario on Flag Day (June 20) to clean, so to speak, the stain left by the massive meeting of May 25.

In the meantime, there's a different protest every day, fuel and natural gas are running out, as are milk and dairy products, beef, vegetables. And of course, our patience.


  1. Anonymous00:34

    Those daily protests are certainly real! I cannot believe the amount of people that are asking for more money these days.
    In Mendoza I have seen the bus drivers, doctors, judges, wal-mart staff, Jumbo Staff, Carrefour staff all ask for more money.

    It is scary to think where all this extra money is supposed to come from? The problem with the system is that if everyone gets more money, companies will just raise prices to make up the difference, making the raise pointless!

  2. Anonymous00:36

    I forgot to mention, I have been writing a fair bit about Argentina, climate change and some Canadian interests too.

    Check out my Rhetorical Planet Blog!

  3. Anonymous11:29

    Sad, sad, sad. They are destroying our country:


  4. Thanks for the commentary, Jeff. Obviously we disagree on some respects but I think we agree that what the government is doing is not conducive to the welfare of the country as a whole. I supported the retenciones and I do think some exports should pay a tax. If the government used the money for what the country needs, I'm sure the public's support for the farmers wouldn't be so marked.

    Pay attention to who's asking for a raise these days. Some are truly in need of it, some are simply taking advantage of the inflationary spiral and the general instability. A río revuelto ganancia de pescadores, I don't know if you know that saying or whether there's an equivalent in English.

    Studies have shown that for many private companies (especially industrial) the cost of workers' salaries are a very minor component of their total expenses, but they still claim they have to raise prices when salaries are raised, and complain that if everyone wants more money, inflation will result. But the cost of labour is still much lower than the cost of supplies and capital for many businesses, so that's bogus.

    Anonymous points to an article on La Nación that details Cristina's shopping spree in Rome. Although this is a minor issue, really, it shows that our Presidenta sure knows how to redistribute income - she's sharing hers by the loads with European jewelry and clothing makers.


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