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Montevideo, April 19th 2019 - 04:54 UTC

Ombudsman to mediate in Argentine farmers' conflict

Wednesday, June 4th 2008 - 21:00 UTC
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Argentina' ombudsman promised on Tuesday following a meeting with farmers that he would do his best “to channel camp's claims” before the government and help find a solution to the conflict because of the current “social situation” in the country.

"I'm going to do everything possible to channel camp's claims. We accepted the claims presentation because we believe it is convenient to act given the current social situation", said ombudsman Eduardo Mondino. Argentine farmers are on their 85th day of protest and several dialogue attempts with President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner administration have failed given basically the government's political intransigence which argues there's "a conspiracy" on the making to remove elected officials. The conflict was triggered when the government decided to increase already high grains and oil seeds export duties on March 11 alleging "income redistribution" of windfall earnings from soaring commodity prices. Argentina is among the world's three main exporters of oil seeds and grains. Mr. Mondino promised to look for "an instance of dialogue" because above all "it's a matter of ensuring social peace and avoiding clashes in our society". He added that he relieves that in a prudential period of time he can help reestablish the dialogue. Mario Llambias one of the farmers' representatives said he was satisfied with the meeting: "we told him all the damage that in our opinion government decisions are inflicting on the camp, and we asked him to intercede to help find solutions as soon as possible for the good of Argentina". Luciano Miguens another farmers' leader and president of the Argentine Rural Society insisted that the camp was fighting for its rights and "we want to resume dialogue; we hope he will help us return to the round of negotiations". The more charismatic of the leaders from the four organizations behind the protests, Eduardo Buzzi said "it was one of the most fruitful meetings in the last weeks". He added that Mondino requested protesting farmers not to block the highways. However farmers following what they consider provocations from the Kirchner administration decided to continue the ban on grains and oilseed exports until next Monday although the ban on livestock was lifted. But Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo on Tuesday ratified that no dialogue is possible as long as farmers continue with the "lock out" and suggested that if farmers wish to change the current economic policies of the elected government of Mrs. Kirchner "they should organize a political party and test it in elections". The Kirchner administration also ratified recent decrees raising the taxes which are at the heart of the controversy and dispute triggered on March 11 with the levies' hike. "The conflict will be long, but we need just one signal, gesture from government that if we end the strike, dialogue will resume", said Hugo Biolcati. In Rosario Argentina's main cereals market and export port, traders warned that the country's position internationally has began to suffer because of the lack of grain and oilseeds trade, plus the fact that the main processing plants (corn and soy) have had to close or reduce activities because of lack of supply. Commerce chambers from towns in provinces highly dependent on agriculture have also warned that business activities are suffering a significant slowdown, and in some locations where farm equipment is manufactured, sales are down 41%.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

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