Hugo Moyano used his speech at today’s march to repeat his criticism of the government, proclaim his innocence and appeal to Mauricio Macri’s administration to modify its policies.
Moyano spoke before a jam-packed Avenida 9 de Julio lined with Teamsters (Camioneros), union members, supporters, leftist groups, social organizations, and members of the Frente para la Victoria. He wrapped up a round of speeches given by Hugo Yasky (CTA), Esteban Castro (CTEP social movement) Pablo Micheli (CTA), Sergio Palazzo (banking workers), and Juan Carlos Schmid (one-third of the triumvirate at the top of the CGT umbrella union).
Today’s mobilization took place against the backdrop of heightened tensions between Moyano and the government.
Upper estimates put the number of people in attendance into the hundreds of thousands.
“As the boys who went before me already said, the objective is to say to the government ‘Mr. President, do not continue with these policies that are bringing hunger to the most vulnerable part of society, to our pensioners, who have been tricked tricked by the Historic Reparation. What kind of an historic reparation? There are pensioners who have received 100 pesos.” Moyano was referring to the Macri government’s 2016 overhaul of pensions.
Turning to his personal situation, Moyano said that he’s not “implicated in any corruption case for now. If I ever have a problem, I’ve got the b%!!$ to defend myself. I’ve been jailed three times. Twice during the dictatorships when many of these gentlemen were underneath their beds. And then they set me up with the drugs. I was never scared.”
Moyano has been accused by the government of seeking to flex his political muscles to stall investigations into allegations that has been linked to criminality, such as money-laundering.
“I say to these gentlemen, and I repeat to workers – I’m not afraid of being put in prison. I’m willing to go to prison if the courts think that I should. I’m not afraid of being killed, I’m willing to give my life for the workers. From the heart, comrades, here I am, I’m not leaving the country, I don’t have money abroad,” Moyano said, taking a swipe at Cabinet officials who have some of their funds held in bank accounts abroad.
Moyano did ask for silence when the crowd broke out into chants criticizing Macri by name, saying “it wasn’t necessary.”
The union leader also charged that “we haven’t come to threaten you, we’re not here to destabilize, we’re working men and women who have come to say to the government that it not implement policies that bring hunger to our workers and our children, because they’re mortgaging the country.”
Today’s march was the follow up to the strongly-worded statement issued in January after a sector of union bosses met in Mar del Plata. A divided CGT then endorsed that statement, although key unions abstained from today’s much and transport workers did not participate.
Echoing earlier comments, Moyano seemed to sign off with an appeal for unity among the opposition. “When the time comes to express the democratic will, let us choose wisely. And those who may have made a mistake, may they reconsider. The gorilas (a term used to describe anti-Peronists) can’t be in charge of the country anymore.”