Search

 

Cablegate: Argentina: Cfk Resumes Talks with Farmers

VZCZCXYZ0005
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0866 1762159
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY ADX0AA39CF WSC2534 611)
O 242159Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1410
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 000866

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y - ADDED SENSITIVE

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

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL EAGR ECON AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: CFK RESUMES TALKS WITH FARMERS


1. (SBU) Summary. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK)
and representatives of the four main agricultural associations who
have led protests against variable export taxes on agricultural
products met on June 23, following 71 days of hostile public
exchanges since their last meeting on April 11. Both the Government
and the farmers' leaders described the meeting as "positive," but
reported no substantive progress on the issues generating the
conflict. The Argentine Congress's Deputies Committees on
Agriculture and Budget also held their first joint session to debate
the issue. Meanwhile, "pro-government" and "pro-farmers" activists
have set up competing tents in front of the Congress to keep the
pressure on. END SUMMARY.

---------------------------------------------
A "positive" meeting with no tangible outcome
---------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and
representatives of the main four agricultural associations met on
June 23, following 71 days of hostile public exchanges since their
last meeting on April 11. In an hour-and-a-half meeting, the
President repeated her criticism for the "lockout" that caused
severe food shortages and claimed that the agriculture sector still
made a larger profit in the first six months of 2008 than it did for
the same period last year. The President also scolded the
agricultural leaders for their protest methods, asking the leaders
"not to bang their pots in front of Olivos" (i.e., the presidential
residence) but to "knock on her door to discuss the problems."

3. (SBU) During the meeting, the farm leaders asked the President to
suspend controversial variable export taxes pending Congress's
review, but they reportedly received a frosty response. CFK
indicated that the Congress would debate the matter with the current
export tax regime in force and have the final word on the issue.
When asked about the necessary debate in Congress, CFK quipped that
only the Argentine Civil Code had been voted without debate. (The
Argentine Civil Code was passed in 1871. Since then, there have in
fact been many laws passed "a libro cerrado" with little debate.)

--------------------------------------
Committees start looking into the bill
--------------------------------------

4. (SBU) On June 23, the Argentine Congress's Deputies Committees on
Agriculture and Budget held their first joint session to debate the
bill introduced by the Executive branch that would ratify Resolution
125 which set up the variable export tax scheme. In a room packed
with legislators, farm representatives, advisors, and journalists,
the first two-hour session turned into a heated debate over the
bill, but did not include alternate bills introduced by opposition
legislators.

------------------
The "war of tents"
------------------

5. (SBU) Meanwhile, "pro-government" activists erected tents in
front of the Congress to influence the debate inside. Buenos Aires
City Chief of Cabinet Horacio Rodriguez Larreta stated in a press
conference that the activists had not requested the proper
permissions to set up the tents, and had not followed the proper
safety requirements for their installation. Calls by the Buenos
Aires City Government (which is led by conservative Mayor Mauricio
Macri) to the Federal Police to remove the tents went unanswered --
not surprising considering that the Federal Police falls under the
national government's Ministry of Justice and Security.)
"Pro-farmers" activists responded the next day (June 24) by pitching
their own tent in front of the Congress, adjacent to their rivals.


-------
COMMENT
-------

6. (SBU) Both sides appeared eager to describe CFK's meeting with
the agricultural leaders as "positive" even though no substantive
progress towards a negotiated settlement seemed to occur. The fact
that the two sides are meeting face-to-face, moreover, is a clear
sign of progress. The tone and tenor of CFK's comments, however,
indicate that the GOA has no intention of giving any early ground on
the variable export tax scheme. It is clear that a resolution
acceptable to all sides will require real debate in the Congress and
probably some substantive modification to the government's current
tax and incentive regimes. Otherwise, the rural protests could
resume. END COMMENT.

KELLY

© 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