The public feud between Hugo Moyano and President Mauricio Macri is working as an effective catalyst to tear Argentina’s union world apart.
The support – or lack thereof – to the march called by the former leader of the teamsters union for February 21 is a good way of determining who stands where in this new landscape that is being shaped in Argentine politics, and what is the real power that Moyano wields in the sector.
As we get closer to the date, more union leaders are announcing they will not be joining the protest. Some have directly called it “a march of the teamsters union,” a subtle way of implying that Moyano is trying to use union members to defend himself from the mounting legal accusations against him. Others say they support his demands, but provide different reasons to explain why they will not be taking the streets – a decision that, when it comes to political analysis, is the same thing as withdrawing support.
So far, the most high-profile leaders who announced they will not have their unions march on the 21 are Antonio Caló (metal workers union) and one of the members of the CGT umbrella union executive council, Carlos Acuña (gas station workers). Moreover, Luis Barrionuevo (gastronomic workers) said he will announce his decision on Wednesday. But several news sites have already reported that the answer will be no, as Acuña – whom he has a close relationship with – said it is likely this will be his answer.
These last two leaders had initially confirmed their presence, but after seeing that certain Kirchnerite organizations might join the protest made them rethink their decision because they didn’t want to be associated with them.
Acuña said that by letting them join, they are “giving the government arguments to say they were sent there by [former President] Cristina [Fernández de Kirchner] and it’s not like that.”
A week ago, Acuña had harshly criticized Héctor Daer, the first member of the CGT executive council to withdraw his support, saying that if he didn’t leave his post, “the workers would remove him” and even calling him a “traitor.” Even though they will not march, they still differ in the reasons to not do so. At the end of the day, the only member of the council who will support Moyano on the streets is Juan Carlos Schmid.
Other unions that have rejected taking part in the march since it was announced are the main unions grouping workers from the service industry, construction workers, retail workers and transportation union workers, key at the time of guaranteeing the march will have a substantial political effect, as the absence of public transport virtually paralyzes the country and focuses attention on the cause for it.
In contrast, the unions that will march are: the two factions of the CTA umbrella union, the teachers union Ctera and the bank workers. The three largest social organizations of the country – CTEP, CCC and Barrios de Pie – will also march.