Argentina Considers Road Protest and Export Ban

ARGENTINA - The farmers who staged an epic four month ban on exports, from March to July of this year, may resume beef and grain sales boycotts, in an attempt to force President Kirchner to address their new demands.
calendar icon 30 September 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

According to the Argentine Beef Association, Eduardo Buzzi, one of the four main farm leaders said on Sunday “We are not only considering resuming the road protests, we are also mulling whether to once again refrain from selling export grains and beef cattle”.

Buzzi, reaffirmed that the farmers are not planning actual roadblocks that would hinder the local communities, such as the ones earlier in the year, rather peaceful roadside protests.

"The farmers having had victory against the government, when the Senate ruled against the new laws on July 17, have tasted blood"
Eduardo Buzzi, one of the four main farm leaders

The road blocks cause food shortages in the shops and supermarkets of Argentina and allowed thousands of tons of vegetables, fruit and dairy produce, go rotten by the side of the road.

Despite government reassurances to the contrary, the farmers claim the dispute over farm duties on exports is far from over.

The move earlier in the year by the farmers, was in relation to proposed taxes of the soybean production, it saw the biggest farmers rebellion in the history of Argentina.

Buzzi, says that farmers now want among several other issues “A segmentation of export duties to favor small farmers and medium sized producers along with a reform of laws in relation to land leases and assistance for farmers who were effected by the drought earlier this year”. These proposals were not in the demands of the first farmers dispute in March of this year, however the farmers having had victory against the government, when the Senate ruled against the new laws on July 17, have tasted blood.

The president has accused the farmers, of trying to overthrow her and recently said that despite her defeat in Congress, that if she had to start from scratch, she would hike the grain taxes over again.

Farmers claim, that the president is using them as a scapegoat, by blaming the farm sector for high inflation..

The political implications, of the farmers campaign cannot be missed, as Buzzi has confirmed reports, that he was approached by former president Eduardo Duhalde to run for public office.

Duhalde helped Nestor Kirchner to become president, then was sidelined, after a bitter battle to control the Peronist party in which Kirchner took control.

Buzzi who declined the offer to run for office, said “other farm leaders can and must run for public office” referring to the election of 2011.

Buzzi went on to say “Alfredo de Angeli would be a good candidate to run for office and throw the farm sector into the political arena”, Alfredo de Angeli, is leader on one of the four main farming groups.

There is to be a farm stoppage on 6-8 October, decisions will be made at that time, what the next step of the farming groups will be.

Further Reading

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