December 5, 2013
Opposition leaders angrySunday, August 18, 2013
UIA: CFK must ‘see reality’
Argentina’s UIA industrial lobby — which has accepted President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s call for dialogue after her defeat in a primary vote on Sunday — yesterday warned that she must accept that reality is “different” from what she thinks, while opposition leaders complained about not having been invited to participate.
Political analysts talking to the Herald expressed mixed views about the president’s decision to call the talks scheduled to start next Wednesday in Santa Cruz, the home province of her husband and predecessor, strongman Néstor Kirchner (2003-2007), who died of a heart arrest in October 2010.
Mario Serrafero, a political analyst with the University of Buenos Aires, said: “Dialogue has not been a feature of the president’s style. Had her alliance obtained ten more points on Sunday she would have not called the talks. And whatever are the results of the October’s mid-term vote are she will continue with her confrontational style.”
Gerardo Adrogué, of the kNACk pollsters, said: “I feel that the call is genuine although it is obvious that the failure to invite the opposition is a campaign decision with a view to October.”
Also attending the talks will be the ADEBA private bank lobby and Hugo Yasky, the leader of the pro-government CTA umbrella union.
UIA head Héctor Méndez told radios Mitre and El Mundo that “the president should be made to understand that reality many times is different from the reality she seems to be informed about.”
Asked whether he had confidence in the talks, he replied: “As an ordinary citizen I may have huge doubts as to whether there will be progress. I started a social dialogue with the CGT 10 years ago and no progress has been made. But as a leader I have the obligation to believe in dialogue.”
The CGT is Argentina’s largest umbrella union and it is now split into two factions — a pro-government one led by metal workers chief Antonio Caló, and an anti-government one led by the powerful teamsters boss Hugo Moyano, a former ally of Fernández de Kirchner.
Méndez said that he hoped that Wednesday’s meeting would be “not just pour la gallerie.”
He expressed deep concern about the government’s policy to limit imports to ensure a trade surplus. “The permits, that were hard to obtain, are now simply impossible to obtain.”
He also said that UIA would table questions about the capital markets reform, saying that it works against investment.
Méndez also said that “the lack of dialogue, inflation and banking restrictions” contributed to the government’s electoral defeat.
The president said on Wednesday that she wants to talks “first choice players, not to the substitutes.”
Referring to he statements, Méndez said: “She was tough. Actually, this does not surprise me because she has had a combatant style over the years.”
Méndez has in the past accused Fernández de Kirchner of taking Argentina “down the Cuban way.”
Moyano ironically decried the government’s “political opportunism” saying that he would show his “best will” should he be invited to the dialogue. “However, I must be a substitute player, because the president has not invited me.”
The boss of the so-called CGT Azopardo also said that Peronist leaders in Buenos Aires province who support the president were seeking to “steal” the Peronist party brand name in a bid to clinch an electoral victory in October, when half of the Senate and a third of the Lower House will be up for grabs.
Moyano added: “It seems that the president does not understand the result of last Sunday’s election. There is no will to listen to what people said in the ballot boxes. If she raises the wage tax exemption threshold she will have understood the vote of workers.” He also criticized Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli’s plans for a Peronist party primary in 2015.
Socialist Hermes Binner, a presidential candidate in the 2011 vote in which the president won reelection, complained about not having been invited, saying: “It seems that we Argentines are 40 million substitute players.”
Julio Cobos, a Radical who served as Vice-President in Fernández de Kirchner’s first mandate (2007-2011) said that her limited call shows that the government “only talks to corporations.”
Eduardo Buzzi, the head of the small farmers FAA lobby said that the president failed to invite farmers “out of revenge” due to an ongoing dispute on export taxes that started in 2008.
— With DyN