Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / Photo credit: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / February 21, 2018
On February 21, 400,000 people filled the main avenue of Buenos Aires, the 9 de Julio, to reject the government’s policies.
“Us workers must be prepared when the time comes to express our democratic convictions. Reactionaries can no longer manage the country because they want to take away our dignity as workers and we can’t allow that”. These were the closing words of the speech given to the mass demonstration of workers by Hugo Moyano, leader of the Truck Drivers’ Union and organizer of the protest against Argentine President Mauricio Macri’s policies.
(foto de hugo moyano)
Criticism was particularly aimed at the economic and social policies (which Moyano defined as “hunger policies”) in the speeches given by the representatives of the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), the Federal Current, the Argentine Workers’ Central Union (CTA-A and CTA-T), the Confederation of Workers of the Informal Economy (CTEP) who spoke before the Truck Drivers’ representative.
Moyano fended off accusations by the government that he was organizing this march to defend himself against judicial cases against him. “I’m not involved in any form of corruption, there is no case against me, but if there was, I have enough guts to defend myself”, he said. “I won’t back down and I won’t stop defending the rights of workers”, he added.
He not only criticized the campaign against him but also reminded two of the three main leaders of the CGT (Héctor Daer and Carlos Acuña), who decided to not show up at the protest, that this demonstration had been approved by a vote in the Directive Commission of the CGT. “No man or woman who belongs to union organizations can elude the task of defending workers”, Moyano challenged them.
The march was attended by a broad range of political and ideological sectors, from Peronism and Kirchnerism to the left-wing, from unions to social organizations to political parties.
The only member of the three-fold presidency of the CGT who attended the march, Juan Carlos Schmid, affirmed that “the government managed to indefinitely put this country in debt and make the rich richer and the poor poorer”.
One idea that was highlighted by every one of the speakers was that this march was an example of the unity that the people’s forces of Argentina must strive to.
“Thanks to our unity we managed to make the government pass the Social Emergency Law and the government responded by stigmatizing the unions and social movements”, said Esteban ‘Gringo’ Castro, Secretary General of the CTEP. He also announced, regarding to the upcoming Women’s Day Strike and March, that “the men of our organization are going to support the women so that the mobilization on March 8 is historical. We are going to replace women doing the work they usually do so that they all can attend this historical march”.