Search

 

Cablegate: Round 4 - Argentine Farm Strike Resumes

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0829/01 1692150
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 172150Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1355
INFO RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000829

USDA FOR FAS/OA/OCRA/ONA/OGA/OFSO

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON EINV PGOV ELAB PHUM AR

SUBJECT: ROUND 4 - ARGENTINE FARM STRIKE RESUMES

REF: (A) Buenos Aires 0803 and previous

-------
Summary
-------

1. (SBU) Argentina experienced an intense 3-day weekend of protests
and counter demonstrations after the government sent federal highway
and border police (gendarmerie) to clear a roadblock in Gualeguaychu
on June 14, on the main highway to Brazil and Uruguay, and
temporarily arrested prominent farm leader Alfredo de Angeli. The
farm groups leading the rural protest responded to the increase in
tension by resuming the farm strike (the fourth strike since March)
until June 18, and called for a peaceful public protest on that day.
They will block sales and marketing of all agricultural products,
except dairy and other perishable products. On June 16 thousands of
Argentines took to the streets in the capital and other cities in
support of the farmers. President Fernandez de Kirchner showed no
flexibility on basic issues raised by the farmers in a speech to the
nation on June 17, but she said she would send the "export taxes" to
Congress for approval (septel). END SUMMARY

-----------------------
The Arrest and Protests
-----------------------

2. (SBU) The highly public arrest of Argentine farm leader Alfredo
de Angeli during the GOA's attempt to use its federal highway and
border police (gendarmerie) to clear farm protestors from the
highway in Gualeguaychu, Entre Rios province, led to an intense
3-day weekend of protests throughout the country. Additional
protestors took to the streets and highways in rural areas and
Buenos Aires after the arrest, blocking major highways throughout
the country. De Angeli was subsequently released, and the
gendarmerie, was forced to back off on its attempt to clear the
highway in Gualeguaychu as additional protesters arrived from the
surrounding countryside and cities. The gendarmerie has since
withdrawn its forces from Gualeguaychu.

3. (SBU) On the evening of June 14, the GOA responded to the
"cacerolazo" protests on the streets of Buenos Aires by organizing a
demonstration in support of the government in the Plaza de Mayo, in
front of the Casa Rosada (presidential palace), led by cabinet
officials and former president Nestor Kirchner. Around 100
government supporters also clashed with protestors close to the
presidential residence in Olivos, forcing them from the area. The
GOA subsequently announced that it will organize a pro-government
rally in the Plaza de Mayo on June 18. This announcement was met by
additional large protests by sympathetic citizens throughout the
country on the evening of June 16. Thousands poured out onto the
streets in most major cities and many smaller cities. The
Presidential compound in Olivos was the scene of noisy protests
until early morning hours.

---------------
On Strike Again
---------------

4. (SBU) The farm groups leading the agricultural protest met late
on June 14 and agreed to resume the farm strike that evening,
continuing through June 18. They will block sales and marketing of
all agricultural products, except dairy and other perishable
products. They have asked protesters to allow the movement of
private vehicles and public transportation, as they do not wish to
erode public support for the strikes. The farm groups also called
for public protests on June 18 in support of the rural sector in its
dispute with the government, but they made it clear they wanted
these events to be peaceful and avoid any clashes with government
supporters who will gather the same day in Buenos Aires.

5. (SBU) While the farm groups are seeking to limit the extent of
the road blockades, it is not clear that all protest groups in rural
areas will stick to these guidelines. Of particular importance are
truckers in rural areas, who for over a week and a half have been
blocking movement of trucks in numerous areas to pressure the farm
groups and government to reach an agreement. The extended conflict
left truckers that transport grain with little work since the start
of the conflict in March. The road blockades by the truckers have
left many rural areas and cities of the interior without fuel and
other supplies, causing the economy in many rural areas come to a
halt and leading to scenes of long lines of vehicles around service
stations and empty supermarket shelves in the Argentine media
(septel).

6. (SBU) Contacts in the private sector report that marketing of
grains and oilseeds for export continues to be paralyzed due to the
farm strike and protests by truckers. Virtually no grains or
oilseeds are moving into the processing and export terminals, and
stocks held at the ports have generally been exhausted due to the
extended dispute. While the farm groups officially lifted the
strike from June 9 to 14, almost no grains or oilseeds moved to the
ports during the truce and this is not expected to change in the
absence of an agreement between the farm groups and the government.
Press reports also carry extensive speculation about what could
happen if fuel and other trucks continue to be blocked and are
unable to provide needed supplies.

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) The escalation of the farm dispute is contributing to a
decline in consumer confidence (septel) while the intransigence of
both sides is upping the political stakes. An attempt to facilitate
an agreement between the GOA and farm groups by Hugo Moyano (a vice
president of the ruling Partido Justialista, and leader of the
General Confederation of Workers as well as the main truckers union)
on June 12 reportedly failed after the government decided to
discontinue the dialogue and continue with a more hard-line position
(including the attempt to use force to clear rural road blockades).
President Fernandez de Kirchner and ex-President Nestor Kirchner
both spoke June 17. Neither showed any flexibility on the issues
raised by farmers. But the President said she would send the export
taxes to Congress, for approval we presume, and both she and her
husband spoke at length about the need to respect democracy and
institutions rather than blocking roads (more details septel).

WAYNE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC