ARGENTINA

Cristina Kirchner versus the pots and pans

Bang your pan at Evita! "I banged my pan at Evita [reference to Eva Peron - allusion to Cristina Kirchner] ...and it felt good!" Argentinean farmers are objecting to president Cristina Kirchner over tax increases on agricultural exports and her apparent intention to create a rift between the poor and the farmers. After three weeks of severe strikes, which have left the country paralysed, the workers have agreed to start negotiations.

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Bang your pan at Evita!

"I banged my pan at Evita [reference to Eva Peron - allusion to Cristina Kirchner] ...and it felt good!"

Argentinean farmers are objecting to president Cristina Kirchner over tax increases on agricultural exports and her apparent intention to create a rift between the poor and the farmers. After three weeks of severe strikes, which have left the country paralysed, the workers have agreed to start negotiations.

Argentinean farmers are going back to work. The pan banging, road blocks and food shortages are over. And within a month, crop produce will be back on the shelves, giving Kirchner enough time to show her goodwill in negotiations. There's a lot of pressure on the government. The past three weeks have left a country that boasts "the best meat in the world", without any meat at all, never mind fresh produce.

Heckles started in the "campo" (countryside) shortly after Kirchner's government announced a tax increase on the export of soy products - a measure hoped to help curb inflation created by the hike in the price of raw materials on the international market.

Many Argentineans are now branding Kirchner's politics as "populist" because she's pitting the working classes against the farmers, who are presented as privileged, in the dispute. The president is accused of playing on fears created by the food shortages. "You can't be with the people and cut off their food supply" she said when the protests began.

Protests outside the presidential residence

Posted by "DocThurman" 26 March 08

Most of the protestors are from the urban middle-class. Some appear to support the farmers; others seem to be disgruntled with the government in general.

"I don't get the way the president acts towards to the people"

Cristina Civale is a journalist and writer from Buenos Aires:

This strike was way over the top. The agricultural sector, which has a history of earning the most money, shouldn't cut people off from essential products like milk. We saw litres of milk thrown in the street during the road blocks, and the needless slaughter of chickens by way of protest.

You have to understand that the major manufacturers were not involved - they trade directly with industry - it was the small producers who blocked the roads and their kids, who study in the city centre, who banged their pots and pans in protest...

There are also people who are protesting against the Cristina Kirchner's authoritarian and pretentious attitude. Personally I'm not supporting the strike, but I have to say I don't get the way the president acts towards to the people.

"The news provoked an excessive reaction from the agricultural sector"

Musgrave is an Argentinean economist:

The tax increases on the export of soy products is a way for the state to take advantage the benefits of tax in a sector where tax evasion is a problem. Thanks to high costs on the foreign market, farmers are earning extraordinary amounts, and the government intends to draw from this in order to be able to stop, in effect, the high prices of foodstuffs on the country's domestic market. Obviously, they made some political mistakes when they announced these measures.The news provoked an excessive reaction from the agricultural sector, which felt discriminated against and disadvantaged. The biggest criticism against the government was that large and small producers were not differentiated between. The most recent measures, announced last Monday, solve a part of this problem, because they propose a subsidy system for smaller producers. That should help to appease the situation a lot.

It's great to live like us!

Posted by "Yo Canibal" 28 March 08

Defending the people of the campo's way of life and freedom, doesn't really evoke any pity.