By Sovereign Hager
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina- Recent increases in food prices, coupled with shortages of electricity and other outages, have led to a dramatic increase in public discontent with the government. Increases in beef prices, Argentina’s dietary staple, has led to numerous protests by farmers.
Other governmental failures allegedly include the lack of progress on poverty reduction programs for Argentina’s outlying areas. Additionally, the public is angry about charges that the President’s spouse and former president, Nestor Kirchner was involved in insider trading while buying $2 million in U.S. currency soon after the 2008 financial crisis.
“Most of the Argentine population is paying for the Kirchners’ mistakes.” said Eduardo Buzzi, head of the Argentine Agricultural Federation and an outspoken critic of the government. Farmers are worried because many producers have allegedly lost their livestock and have had to give away their cows due to drought and because “someone from the government decided what the highest prices would be and forced them to sell their cattle.”
Farmers deny the government allegation that they have been holding back on livestock sales to fatten their cattle and create a shortage of beef. Farmers say that the problem dates back to when the president’s husband ruled the country from May 2003 to December 2007. “Nestor Kirchner is responsible of endless mistakes in economic and productive matters.”
The president of one farming cooperative alleged that the government is “trying to blame someone, and attack the weakest link, in this case the farming producers.” Criticisms of the government have also reportedly come from within the government, though that has been weak due to “Kirchners’ sensitivity to any criticism.”
Close to six hundred farmers rode their tractors in a protest march in central Argentina to demand changes to government farming policies. The leader of the Agrarian Federation said that policies of the government are planned to concentrate production in a few hands. Groups are pushing to toughen the stance of the agricultural sector by “putting a stop to sales if that becomes necessary.”
There have been eight trade strikes in Argentina’s rural sector this year in protest of the government since it tried, in March 2008, to establish adjustable taxes on exports of soybeans, corn, wheat, and sunflower seeds.
For more information, please see:
Latin American Herald Tribune-Argentine Farmers Protest With Tractors-21 February 2010
Meat Trade Daily News- Argentina- Farmers Promise Drastic Measures Against Government-18 February 2010
UPI-Argentina’s Fernandez, Farmers Locked in Row Over Beer Prices-11 February 2010