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DOCUMENTO Íntegro

Cable en el que la embajada de EE UU analiza el poder del sindicalista Hugo Moyano ante los ministros de Sanidad

ID: 216968
Date: 2009-07-16 21:49:00
Origin: 09BUENOSAIRES839
Source: Embassy Buenos Aires
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 09BUENOSAIRES750 09BUENOSAIRES752 09BUENOSAIRES802
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0839/01 1972149
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 162149Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4083
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 000839

SIPDIS

DRL FOR MITTELHAUSER
USDOL FOR CHANTENIA GAY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/15/2024
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, ELAB, AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: KIRCHNERS AND LABOR LEADER MOYANO RENEW
THEIR MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE

REF: A. BUENOS AIRES 0750
B. BUENOS AIRES 0752
C. BUENOS AIRES 0802

Classified By: CDA Tom P. Kelly for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner (CFK) and her husband, former President Nestor
Kirchner, are solicitously rewarding General Workers
Confederation (CGT) leader Hugo Moyano in order to ensure his
support at a time when many others seem to be defecting from
government ranks. First, the Kirchners named CGT lawyer
Mariano Recalde to head Aerolineas Argentinas. Next, they
withdrew a subcabinet nomination in the Health Ministry that
threatened CGT control over healthcare subsidies worth
millions. Later, they freed up money owed to transportation
companies to offset indirectly the costs of a 17% wage
increase for Moyano's main supporters, the truck drivers.
These decisions have strengthened Moyano's standing within
the CGT at a time when he himself is facing challenges to his
leadership within the CGT and seem to have bought the
Kirchners, for at least a little while longer, Moyano's
continued support. This has made the ruling first couple
more dependent than ever on organized labor, which is
willing, ready, and able to exploit its enhanced leverage
over the government. End Summary.

The Battle for Control over the CGT...
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) In the wake of CFK and NK's June 28 midterm
electoral defeat (ref A), the political star of long-time
Kirchner ally and labor leader, Hugo Moyano, also appeared to
be fading. Immediately after the elections, rumors began
circulating that Moyano's rivals were conspiring to remove
him as head of Argentina's powerful General Workers'
Confederation (CGT). In particular, some union leaders were
chafing at Moyano's discretionary dispensation of government
subsidies as a means to exert control over other union
leaders.

3. (SBU) The unions seeking to remove Moyano are the very
ones who helped him climb to the top in the first place.
They include "Los Gordos" (The Fat Guys), "The Independents",
as well as the "Dissident CGT-Blue and White " led by Luis
Barrionuevo, the outspoken and powerful head of the Food
Service Union, who left the CGT umbrella last year, taking 15
unions with him. In an attempt to isolate Moyano, "Los
Gordos" have publicly withdrawn from the CGT's Board of
Directors and refuse to participate in meetings convoked by
Moyano. They have agreed to meet with "The Independents" and
Barrionuevo in late July to discuss ways to wrest control
from Moyano. According to left-of-center newspaper
"Critica," some are calling for an emergency CGT Congress to
vote on whether Moyano should stay or go. Others suggest
pressuring Moyano to return to a tripartite leadership
structure that was in place when former President Nestor
Kirchner (NK) first took office in 2003.

...and GOA Healthcare Subsidies to Unions
-----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) After Health Minister Graciela Ocana resigned on
June 29, Moyano lobbied the Casa Rosada to name a replacement
who would be more favorably disposed to union control over
the MOH's Special Medical Programs Agency (APE) which
distributes over USD 342 million (AR$ 1,300 million) a year
to reimburse labor unions for healthcare costs. (Note:
Previously, Ocana had waged a long and ultimately
unsuccessful battle with Moyano for control of the APE,
arguing for enhanced MOH oversight of the program when she
discovered that unions were not providing adequate
documentation to back up their claims for healthcare
reimbursements. Many believe that this is one of several
reasons why she resigned.) On July 1, however, CFK named
vice-Governor of Tucuman Province and medical doctor Juan
Manzur as her new Health Minister (ref B).

5. (SBU) On July 6, Manzur promptly named his trusted
advisor, Mario Koltan, to replace Moyano's right-hand man,
Hugo Sola, who was serving as APE's Acting Director. In
taking over the helm, Koltan indicated that he sought to
implement a more transparent and equitable distribution of
APE funds among the unions. (Note: Many labor leaders had
complained that Sola used APE funds as a means to reward
Moyano's supporters and punish his detractors.) Moyano's
detractors in the CGT celebrated Koltan's appointment,

believing it to be a clear sign from the Government that it
was scaling back its support for Moyano.

Moyano Flexes His Muscles
-------------------------

6. (SBU) Moyano, however, reportedly complained to former
President Nestor Kirchner and Planning Minister Julio DeVido
about the Koltan appointment. He also took to the airwaves
on July 7 to praise Kirchner archenemy and former President
Eduardo Duhalde. In what many viewed as a not-so-veiled
threat to switch allegiance from Kirchner to Duhalde he said,
"I am not against Duhalde. He took charge in 2002 when
Argentina was in a grave situation. I have spoken to him
many times and may seek to do so again. At times, we
Peronists are divided, but we are always in continual
dialogue." When asked about the possibility of Duhalde
heading the Peronist Party, Moyano (who is a vice president
of the Peronist Party) stated that he would agree if other
Peronists supported the decision.

7. (SBU) It appears the Casa Rosada got the message loud and
clear. On July 8, a mere 48 hours after Koltan's
appointment, CFK accepted his "resignation." Moyano's man,
Sola, has resumed his job as APE's Acting Director. In the
following days, the GOA announced that it would disburse an
additional 256 million pesos (USD 67.4 million) to APE to
reimburse labor unions for providing healthcare to its
affiliates-- a significant boost to Moyano's coffers.

CGT Lawyer Named to Oversee Airline Nationalization
--------------------------------------------- ------

8. (SBU) On July 7, CFK shuffled her Cabinet (ref C) and
named CGT lawyer Mariano Recalde the new head of Aerolineas
Argentinas. Recalde, 37, is the son of National Deputy
Hector Recalde, a Moyano ally, coordinator of the CGT's Legal
Committee, and chair of the Committee on Labor and Social
Security in the Chamber of Deputies. The Recalde appointment
virtually assures Moyano control over the recently
re-nationalized and heavily subsidized airline, where unions
are strong and have precipitated many labor conflicts.

An Emboldened Moyano Asserts Control Over CGT...
--------------------------------------------- ---

9. (SBU) Emboldened by this show of Casa Rosada support,
Moyano met with his supporters on July 8 to assert his
control over the CGT. Staunch Moyano ally Omar Viviani, head
of the taxi drivers association, told the crowd that the CGT
leader would not allow dissident leaders to "put conditions
on his leadership." Only about 24 hours after lauding
Duhalde, Moyano also told supporters that he would continue
to "defend the Kirchner model and support the changes
Kirchner proposes."

...And Holds Out for Wage Increases
-----------------------------------

10. (SBU) Moyano's newfound leverage also helped his efforts
to negotiate higher wages from the transportation sector for
his union, the truck drivers. Transportation Secretary Juan
Pablo Schiavi agreed to reimburse transportation companies
470 million pesos (USD 123.7 million) in social security
payments to offset the costs of funding a 17% wage increase
for truck workers. In another win for the union leader, the
Ministry of Labor agreed on July 14 to Moyano's proposal to
hold minimum wage negotiations between the CGT and
Argentina's Chamber of Industry. Moyano has publicly called
for a 20% increase in the minimum wage.

Onward Kirchner Soldier
-----------------------

11. (SBU) Now that the Kirchners have publicly cast their lot
with him, Moyano has stepped up his efforts to defend the
Kirchner model, singing the praises of Domestic Commerce
Secretary Guillermo Moreno for his interventions in the
economy. Moyano also backed Kirchner's statements that
"traitors within the Peronist party" and the "politics of
old" had contributed to NK's mid-term electoral loss. In a
July 14 interview with Radio 10, Moyano said that "although
there is no barometer to measure one's loyalty to Peronism,
there is a barometer to measure treason." In the same
breath, he dismissed speculation that Peronist dissident
Francisco De Narvaez and Buenos Aires City mayor Mauricio
Macri could take control of the Peronist party. He also

endorsed CFK's call for a government dialogue with all
sectors, saying "it is time to play down tensions." Later
that evening, Moyano participated in a dinner hosted by the
Casa Rosada for union and business leaders aimed at
persuading them to participate in CFK'S dialogue.

Comment
-------

12. (C) In the aftermath of their mid-term electoral defeat,
many of the bulwarks of the Kirchners' political coalition --
Peronist governors, suburban Buenos Aires mayors, and
industrialists -- have abandoned ship. Organized labor, a
traditional bastion of support for the Peronists, is the last
significant political force to remain within the Kirchner's
tent. When Nestor Kirchner first took office in 2003, he
needed organized labor's support to maintain social order
while he addressed the economic crisis. Today, CFK needs
union support to shore up the rapid erosion of her political
base as well as to keep the peace amid deteriorating economic
conditions. Moyano knows that the Kirchners' political
fortunes have changed, and he has made it clear through his
public flirtation with Duhalde that for now they need him
more than he needs them. Moyano is pragmatic enough to join
the exodus when the time is right, but he has decided for now
to stay loyal in exchange for the concessions that the
Kirchners have forked over with little resistance.
KELLY