The very public feud between President Mauricio Macri and former union leader Hugo Moyano has been dominating the news cycle lately and yesterday was not the exception, as the two actors used their time in front of the microphone to once again cross accusations publicly.
Let’s begin with Macri.
Yesterday, the President used an official visit to an auto plant in Córdoba to send Moyano a not-so-veiled message saying that, in order for the country to grow, it needs to get rid of “bullyish behaviors and mob-like movements.”
Macri also called on unions to “face a revolution on innovation in the quality of education,” arguing that will allow “children to have access to the jobs of the future.” This statement further illustrates the perception that the government has of unions – and especially their leaders – which it sees as archaic organizations that refuse to adapt to the current times and hinder progress, clinging on to their power-making decisions that go against the country’s needs.
Moyano, on his end, made the headlines three times yesterday. First, he attended the event in which the teamsters union – led by his son, Pablo – announced that a march against the government was being rescheduled to February 21.
He also talked to the media twice, criticizing the government and assuring that if former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – with whom he has been at odds for years – “calls him for a cup of coffee,” he would accept the invitation “as long as he doesn’t have to pay for it.”
Speaking to C5N in the morning, Moyano addressed the mounting legal accusations against him, the upcoming march and the rifts within the union world.
“Let them investigate whatever they want, I have nothing to hide, I am not afraid. The nonsense that is being discussed bothers me. I am not afraid of going to prison. I’ve been in prison three times… twice during the dictatorship,” he said.
The government seems to be willing to take up on his offer.
Local media reported today that Deputy Graciela Ocaña will present further evidence in a case she started against Moyano for alleged fraud and money laundering. She will request Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio to put the companies owned by the unionist – especially his private healthcare provider called Iarai – under a trusteeship.
When describing the upcoming march, he said that the government “will do whatever is in its power to create a climate that discourages people from attending.” And he warned: I hope they don’t screw up, because we have organized marches many times in the past and nothing has ever happened. If anything happens, the government will be responsible.” (By “anything happens”, he means police repression.)
Moyano was later asked about the palpable tension among representatives of Argentina’s largest unions, illustrated by the divide between those who have decided to support Moyano’s march, and those who haven’t.
In fact, the rift even made it to the CGT umbrella union’s executive council: two of its three members – Carlos Acuña and Juan Carlos Schmid – support the march, while Héctor Daer doesn’t.
“If the government encourages it, the CGT can be fractured. That happens when the government favors a sector and the other one doesn’t feel represented, so it breaks with it. We should make an effort to keep what we currently have.”
- Read more: After Mounting Criticism, Teamsters Union Reschedules March Against the Government to February 21
Last night, Moyano went to the political TN show A Dos Voces. There, he denied that he is seeking to overthrow the government, saying that such claim is “complete nonsense.”
In the past few days, representatives of the Macri administration had accused Moyano of being a “coup-monger” after he said the government didn’t “have a lot of time left” in office.
The fight is on. And it has many rounds left.