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Argentine President Warns of Coup Threat Behind Agricultural Producers' Strike

April 1, 2008 (EIRNS)—In a rousing political rally held this evening at the Plaza de Mayo, in front of the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace), Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner delivered a sharp warning to the forces currently orchestrating the 20-day-long agricultural producers' strike, which has wreaked havoc in the country. The chief organizer of this action is the Rural Society, representing the landed oligarchy, which has made a fortune from soy monoculture, and which launched the strike after the government raised taxes on soybean and sunflower exports.

President Fernandez, who has made an effort to address the demands of the smaller farmers who've been roped into the strike, reminded the mass rally that filled the Plaza de Mayo, that in 1976, there was also a lockout by agricultural "bosses," which occurred on February 24, 1976, just one month before the March 24 military coup that overthrew President Isabel Peron. "The same organizations today who boast and deprive the people of food, are the same ones who carried out" the 1976 agro strike, she charged. And just a short time later, "came the most terrible coup d'etat Argentina has ever suffered."

The Finance Minister installed immediately after that coup was a former president of the Rural Society, and beloved asset of the City of London, Jose Martinez de Hoz, who dismantled Argentine agriculture and industry.

"I've seen the face of the past" in today's producers' strike, President Fernandez said, and this is a past "which apparently wants to return." But, she warned, that past "will not return," because Argentina has changed.

The Plaza de Mayo was completely filled with trade unionists, political leaders and social organizations, which overflowed into the side streets. The President appealed directly to them—her political base—to join with her, not in defending a political party or faction, but the nation. She reiterated that she was elected by the popular vote, in a democratic election, and that she has the "mandate of the Argentine people" to build a nation based on social inclusion, fairness, and economic development.

Once again calling on the producers to stop their road blockades, which have prevented food from being marketed, and caused now very acute food shortages, the Argentine President told her audience: "I know there is a price to be paid. I know that when one chooses [to defend] the people, human rights and a more just society, things become difficult." But, she concluded, "I have the mandate of the Argentine people, I have the courage, and I shall not betray you."