Argentine Agriculture Minister Carlos Casamiquela and Federal Planning chief Julio De Vido rebuffed the criticism of the head of the Argentine Rural Society (SRA), Luis Etchevehere, who at the opening of the Palermo livestock show accused the government of President Cristina Fernandez of being “ignorant and arrogant”.
Casamiquela described Etchevehere’s remarks as “incomplete to say the least. “I do not know if that biased and incomplete perspective is caused by ignorance or convenience, but I do know that any responsible debate is born out of an objective analysis, without distortions,” he added.
Making reference to Etchevehere’s remarks about the years that the president Cristina Fernandez and her late husband Néstor Kirchner were in office being the “preyed-upon decade,” Casamiquela said “the accomplishments achieved in the agricultural sector were useful to overcome the country’s deepest economic and social crisis”.
Federal Planning chief Julio De Vido in turn bashed the SRA leader, accusing him of being an “accomplice” of the “sellout” of the State assets in the 90s.
“The truly preyed-upon decade was the neoliberal one, when the State’s assets were sold with the complicity and applause of the Argentina National Rural Society,” De Vido stated.
On Saturday and surrounded by opposition politicians, the head of SRA, Etchevehere, led the official inauguration of the livestock fair, harshly criticizing President Cristina Fernández government, which he said was in its “twilight”, and urged the audience to be aware and change the course.
Etchevehere forecasted that if a new government is appointed and decides to change the agricultural policies, “investment will flood the nation.”
He also emphasized that “it was the preyed-upon decade. They preyed on the farming resources, hydrocarbon reserves and the Central Bank foreign reserves. They also ruined credibility in public statistics and now the default appears as a shadow for all of us. Meanwhile they say that the debt will have to be paid by the next government”
All Argentina agrees: it is necessary a change of course. With the farming sector working well, the next country will have nothing to do with this one”.
Then the SRA leader sent the ball over to the opposition’s court. “The main political forces have already agreed to have a good dialogue with us. We celebrate these proposals and we hope they become a reality,” he added.
“If things continue this way, this will never be a federal country nor a sustainable one. There won’t be dignified labor,” Etchevehere said. The head of the SRA is facing accusations from the Farm Workers and National Employers Office (Renatea) for slave-like working conditions in a ranch that belongs to his mother, Leonor Barbero Marcial.
On the ranch named La Oyita —owned by the company Las Margaritas — Renatea found two unregistered workers who lived in a space that had no electricity, running water or bathrooms. In an interview with the conservative daily La Nación on Thursday, Etchevehere dismissed the allegations, saying that he was not the owner of the property.
In a message aimed at closing ranks, Etchevehere ended up by saying: “We are united. They were not able to divide us.”