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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 March 2008, 12:44 GMT
Argentina strike: Your views
Protests at Plaza de Mayo, Buenos Aires. Picture sent in by Alexia Agaard.
Protests at Buenos Aires. Picture sent by Alexia Agaard.
A strike by Argentine farmers over rising taxes on major export goods has entered its third week, leading to shortages in the shops.

The government says the tax increases are justified and it will use force if necessary to get food to the markets.

Readers from Argentina have been sending their pictures and stories about blockades, demonstrations and empty shelves in supermarkets.

JAIME GAVINA, AMEGHINO

I am the fourth generation of farmers' sons. I am visiting my country because I am studying in the UK, and happy to see that once and for all, farmers all around the country are working together in this protest.

I am also happy that people in the city of Buenos Aires are also against what politicians want to do: turn Argentina into a Cuba or Venezuela where people starve because they have nothing to eat.

I think this will change Argentine history.

VERONICA ANDREA LOPEZ, CORONEL SUAREZ

The city I live is a very important farming centre, but the major point here is that people have had enough of this policy.

We are not people against people here; the government is the most selfish partner the producers have and they can't stand it any longer.

The rest of us support them.

CORINA DIAZ, BUENOS AIRES

Queues in a Buenos Aire local  supermarket. Picture sent in by Solange Fraley
Solange Fraley sent a picture of queues in her local supermarket.

I just came back from an important supermarket chain and there's no meat and no vegetables. If the conflict continues we'll run out of all kinds of foods. Prices are rising every day!

Yesterday it felt like December 2001, pot banging protests in the main corners of the city after the president's speech.

I don't know how this is going to end. Neither the farmers nor the government want to sit down and talk.

MARTIN ROUSSEAUX, MENDOZA

I drove on Sunday afternoon from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, which is approximately 1,100 km.

On the road there were nearly five road blockades with trucks, other farm machines and stones. The strikes were peaceful, you just had to stop your car and read a leaflet.

To have an idea, farmers plant soybeans with an export tax of 24% and in a couple of months that changed to 49%. Then you have the other 51% for internal taxes, salaries, fuel, maintenance, etc.

On the other hand, you are only entitled to buy take two litres of milk and sunflower oil from the supermarket. Vegetables are difficult to get, as well as meat. You can now feel the effects of the strike.

JAN DOHNKE, BUENOS AIRES

In general, it seems to me that this is a protest of the well-to-do in fear of losing some of their profits

The protests on Tuesday evening were in general by members of the middle and upper classes who now have to share some of the responsibility for the general well-being of the country.

Prices for basic commodities like dairy products, meat fruit and vegetables have gone up enormously in the recent months, as it is more profitable to export than to sell them in the country.

The rising export taxes are one way of trying to correct this process. In general, it seems to me that this is a protest of the well-to-do in fear of losing some of their profits.

Therefore it is not surprising that most of the "cacerolazos" or pot banging protests here in Buenos Aires were in the northern districts or "barrios", where mostly rich people live.

I have not heard of any protests in the southern, poorer part of the city so far.

JULIO RUVIRA, SAN NICOLAS

The people who banged their pots are people like me: our bank accounts are not directly affected by the taxes, but we all feel we're being deceived. We all have an increasing sensation of being taken for fools

I'm an average, middle-class, 31-year old Argentine citizen. I live in San Nicolas, a town whose economy is run by the steel industry. My business is industrial, not rural. My standard of living is, maybe, above average, but I wouldn't qualify as being from the upper-middle class.

Last Sunday I ended my holiday and drove 1,000 km back home. I came across four blockades ("piquetes") on the road. It took me some two extra hours to reach home.

Tired and bothered as I am, at every blockade spot I opened my window and wished good luck to the farmers gathered there. Because that's what the blockades are all about: little farmers fighting for what they think it's fair.

There's also another player, the great grain conglomerates. And it's obvious that their pockets don't suffer as much as the independent farmers'. This is the first time both parts -oversized and independent- unite in their requirements. But the blockades are run by the smaller, more fragile, ones.

The people who banged their pots on Tuesday are people like me: our bank accounts are not directly affected by the taxes, but we all feel we're being deceived. We all have an increasing sensation of being taken for fools.




SEE ALSO
Argentine farm tax crisis worsens
27 Mar 08 |  Americas
Argentine farm taxes row deepens
26 Mar 08 |  Americas
Argentina's divisions clear to see
26 Oct 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Argentina
12 Dec 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Argentina
01 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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