December 13, 2013
CFK upbeat at ‘dialogue’ after defeat
It’s on. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner officially kicked off the talks with business and union leaders meant to find answers to the country’s economic problems following a ceremony to award the tender to build a massive hydroelectric project in Santa Cruz province.
The meeting, which lasted more than three hours, was called by the head of state to address economic problems following the Kirchnerite defeat in the primaries earlier this month.
The president was optimistic.
“We had a very good dialogue, not only between the government and business leaders. We achieved what we wanted — a much-needed space for different sectors to interact with one another,” Fernández de Kirchner said.
Héctor Méndez, head of Argentine Industrial Union (UIA) described the get together as “a cool, positive meeting.”
According to Méndez, “everyone had the opportunity to speak up” — and he revealed he listed the problems currently facing the manufacturing sector.
“Each of us talked about the issue we wanted,” added Jorge Brito, president of the Argentine-owned private banks association (ADEBA) after the meeting at Río Gallegos’ Patagonia Hotel.
Brito was among those mentioned in CFK’s first speech after the August 11 primaries, when the President said she would discuss the Kirchnerite economic model “with big-league players, not with benchwarmers.
Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 president Eduardo Eurnekian also revealed some details about the gathering.
“It was a positive meeting with an open agenda,” Eurnekian told radio programme La vuelta de Zloto. “And there’s a will to solve the income tax issue,” referring to the low income tax floor for wages, which individuals begin to pay on a gross income 8,360 pesos.
Gerardo Martínez, leader of the UOCRA construction workers union, confirmed the conclave got “everyone talking openly” about economic problems.
“This created an encouraging climate,” Martínez said.
A glaring absence
Representing the government side were Economy Minister Hernán Lorenzino, his second-in-command Axel Kiciloff, Industry Minister Débora Giorgi and AFIP tax bureau chief Ricardo Echegaray.
Surprisingly, Domestic Trade Secretary Guillermo Moreno was nowhere to be seen.
Also present were the head of the pro-government faction of the CGT umbrella union Antonio Caló, CTA umbrella union head Hugo Yasky and the head of the Construction Chamber, Gustavo Weiss.
Fernández de Kirchner used the head of the Construction Chamber to claim that the economy was not as bad as the media depicted it to be.
“The fundamentals of our economy are excellent, like Weiss said,” CFK insisted.
According to those present at the meeting, the president talked first and then listened to the different sectors.
“Everyone acknowledged that economic growth figures were good, better than those of 2003,” when her late husband and predecessor Néstor Kirchner rose to power, Fernández de Kirchner added.
The president vowed to continue with more meetings in the future.
“We will repeat this more often, putting together industry-specific roundtables.”
‘Lots of success stories’
Earlier yesterday, CFK made official the tender to build the most important public work of her presidency, the dams Néstor Kirchner and Jorge Cepernic. These works were questioned by opposition leaders because one of the firms of the joint venture that won the deal allegedly had ties with her administration.
“If Kirchnerite businessmen are the ones who made money over the past ten years, then there are lots of Kirchnerite businessmen,” Fernández de Kirchner said ironically, referring to the penchant of some media outlets to label some business leaders as “K businessmen.”
“If I gave you the list of those who made money (during the last decade) you would be shocked because most of them resisted the Kirchnerite arrival in 2003,” the President insisted.
Farmers and unionists from the Liaison Board questioned the president’s decision to exclude them from the meeting at the Patagonia Hotel yesterday.
The meeting was “incomplete,” figureheads from the Liaison Board said, as farming leaders were “excluded” from the meetings.
The position was backed by Rubén Ferrero, member of the Argentine Rural Confederation (CRA); Eduardo Buzzi, head of the Small Farmers Federation (FAA); and Argentine Rural Society president Luis Etchevehere, during a meeting at a hotel in downtown Buenos Aires City.
“Cristina (Fernández de Kirchner) wants to step into a monologue with the country’s most powerful sectors,” said Federico Pinedo, head of the PRO party lawmakers bloc. “The president told businessmen she wanted to talk with them and not with ‘substitutes,’ meaning those politicians who people voted for (in the primaries), it’s an undemocratic dialogue.”
Herald with DyN, online media