Plaini, Pitrola clash over roadblocksFriday, April 11, 2014
A day marked by divisions between union leaders
The national strike that paralyzed much of the country yesterday revealed differences among the opposition union leaders, who made it clear that yesterday’s unity did not mean an outright political alliance.
“It’s not by chance that we’re sitting like this,” anti-government CGT leader Hugo Moyano told reporters during a news conference in downtown Buenos Aires.
He was flanked on his left by CGT Azul y Blanca head Luis Barrionuevo and on his right by anti-government CTA head Pablo Micheli.
“According to (Cabinet Chief Jorge) Capitanich, Barrionuevo is the new leader of the left,” Moyano said jokingly. “I’m sorry for Pablo (Micheli).”
But Micheli also had something to say. He took the microphone and noted that “workers were the main protagonists” of the general strike. “Even though I’m sitting to the right (of Moyano) and Barrionuevo is sitting to the left, I’m a little more left-wing than Barrionuevo,” Micheli commented.
It was not the only ideological distinction strikers referred to when talking about themselves and their reasons for joining the measure.
Leaders repeated earlier comments and took aim at picket lines organized by leftist parties and social movements and argued the strike had been so successful that roadblocks were “not necessary.”
CGT member Omar Plaini said that neither Moyano nor Barrionuevo had called “for these methods,” referring to the roadblocks.
Workers’ Leftist Front (FIT) national lawmaker Néstor Pitrola was not shy about expressing his disagreement.
“Union leaders who criticize picket lines and roadblocks are in favour of a relaxed kind of union activity,” Pitrola said. “A national strike should necessarily include mobilization by workers.”
During the same press conference, a journalist recalled that railway union’s delegate Rubén “Pollo” Sobrero had said earlier that sharing a strike with leaders like Barrionuevo “made him sick in the stomach.”
“Comrade, this is not worth responding to,” Moyano said, avoiding the question. In an attempt to prevent the former Catamarca candidate from answering Sobrero’s remarks, the teamsters’ leader added: “We’ve heard the question, and he (Barrionuevo) said he wouldn’t be answering it.”
Micheli limited himself to say that Sobrero “had joined the strike” organized by Barrionuevo and Moyano.
Meanwhile, UATRE farm workers’ union head Gerónimo “Momo” Venegas — who joined the protest — refused to discuss whether the strike was “successful” or not because he said he felt sorry “so many people are being affected” by industrial action.
Venegas himself had earlier distanced himself from Barrionuevo, who did not show up to the striker’s first news conference held yesterday morning in Buenos Aires.
“We’re here with Moyano. Barrionuevo has not arrived yet — he must be sleeping,” the farm workers’ representative told Radio Palermo.
Herald staff with Télam, DyN