Last Sunday’s landslide victory of Argentine president Cristina Fernandez not only showed her domain of the political stage but also weakened some of her ‘inevitable’ allies that challenge her authority: such is the case of the powerful CGT organized labour leader Hugo Moyano.
His repeated confrontations with CFK on labour issues and tactics that scare middle of the road voters and investors turned Moyano into an increasingly difficult ally which forced the Argentine president at some point to publicly threaten with not bidding for re-election in October.
The situation went virtually out of control when teamster Moyano demanded that Mrs. Kirchner running partner for October should be named by organized labour and strongly insinuated he would run for president in 2015 at the end of the next four year mandate.
“If union leader Lula da Silva did it in Brazil, why not me”, said Moyano.
However Mrs Kirchner did not yield and in several provincial elections leading to Sunday’s primaries she supported and sponsored those candidates that were not linked to organized labour.
Similarly when making the list of congressional and council candidates CFK privileged younger faces, close to her son Maximo Kirchner and his grouping La Campora, to the detriment of Moyano’s ‘boys’ (thugs for many Argentines) some of them with long legislative experience.
This eroded Moyano’s standing in organized labour ahead of Sunday’s primaries and on Monday when results confirmed the success of the president’s electoral strategy rumours about his demise turned openly into public suggestions.
“If Hugo Moyano continues like he is now, that he has no contact with the government at all and with a CGT practically chopped…it is a problem” said Oscar Lescano, head of the Power and Force union.
“We need a united CGT”, said Lescano admitting that after October’s election organized labour is going to debate the situation. However Lescano ruled out well-known characters, linked to Moyano that could replace the teamster by saying that it must be “a new face” and someone who “hasn’t been in the centre”.
Lescano also revealed publicly what some sectors want, including the businessmen and the Government, by stating that “they told me that Moyano wants to leave”. His great role in support of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner governments “has eroded his standing”.
“I’m told his tired, exhausted…some companions reproach the fact he was unable to have more unionists in the ballot lists”, said Lescano adding that some of them have even mentioned the possibility he steps down after October.
Meanwhile, sources from Argentina’s Government House stated that it will be a good sign if the controversial union leader “steps aside.”
However Moyano still has another year to head the CGT, so in order to replace him, the truck union leader has to step aside. But this does not seem the case for some of his close allies who came out strong in his support.
Omar Palini from the newspaper stalls union said that “there’s Hugo Moyano for a long time. He’s very strong and we are also part of last Sunday’s joy and celebrations”.
Lawmaker Hector Recalde, a close aide and legal consultant of Moyano said that the union leader “is not thinking of stepping aside at all. I speak with him every day, on the contrary his very much involved since we have ahead the big battle of the minimum, vital wage”
Recalde also pointed out that Moyano’s mandate as Argentina’s elected top union leader ceases June 2012, “so there is no chance of him stepping down, and let’s not forget that most probably Hugo’s son Facundo will be elected to Congress in October”.
Recalde did admit that “there were some disagreements” between the CGT and the government over the names on the ballot lists but “they are now over”.
Finally Palini said that relations between Moyano and Cristina Fernandez are going “through a good moment”.