The head of Argentina’s powerful trade union confederation (CGT), teamster Hugo Moyano strongly denied Thursday that his union had plans to purchase a hotel in the Uruguayan posh sea side resort of Punta del Este.
The news became public on Wednesday through the Argentine news agency DyN and was later confirmed enthusiastically by Moyano’s secretary and confident, Hector Yuyo López in several interviews with Uruguayan media.
“The teamsters union is preparing for its international debut; an international leap is the reason for this hotel project in Punta del Este. It’s a hotel where everybody will afford to come and rest: the workers, the Argentine people and even you local reporters”.
And “don’t forget that the truck owners are also members of the union and they are big spenders, so it will be good for Punta del Este”, added Lopez.
However the local association of hotels in Punta del Este admitted it was not aware of the Moyano initiative and preferred to make no statement until they had the full information. Apparently the project is not to build but to transform one of the existing hotels into a five stars.
Luis Borsari, president of the Uruguayan Chamber of Tourism said that besides the fact that the alleged project is clear evidence of “peoples’ different idiosyncrasy”, the investment is welcome “as long as it keeps to Uruguay’s rules of the game”.
“To no Uruguayan union leader would it cross its mind to build a five star hotel for the union, much less in some other country; but that’s Argentina”, said Borsari.
“I see no objections, it won’t harm the image of Punta del Este, on the contrary it reaffirms the idea that here everybody is welcome to come and stay”.
Meantime in Buenos Aires the news was also received with surprise and triggered a barrage of criticisms from rival union leaders against the teamster boss, a close ally and support of President Cristina Kirchner.
“It’s madness to think about a five star hotel when there are so many more important things to be done for the workers”, said Carlos Acuña, a member of congress and belonging to a rival union.
“This only comes to prove that Moyano is subsidized (by government) and lives from skimming the workers putting their monies in crazy projects”, said Luis Barrionuevo, his main labour unions opponent.
Moyano allies preferred not to comment until they knew “what really was behind this barrage”.
However teamsters among other assets manage a VIP hostel “Reviens” in Pinamar, an exclusive resort along the Argentine Atlantic coast, which normally does not host union members in high season.
Argentine union leaders who manage millions of dollars from social security funds of their affiliates are known to have fallen to “big temptations” and practice a life style uncommon to the regular union members.
Furthermore in the case of Moyano, farmers’ organizations have revealed that the teamsters’ boss has more than one ranch under the name of close family members or associates. This was exposed during the 2008 Argentine farmers’ conflict with government and never was denied.
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