On 24 June a group of Argentine agricultural producers released a statement repudiating the proposal by the government led by President Alberto Fernández to expropriate bankrupt agricultural export firm, Vicentin, as unconstitutional.
This is just another sign of the strong rejection of the government’s nationalisation plan by the agricultural sector. It suggests that the issue could turn into a full-blown political conflict that could make it all the way to the courts. It increases the pressure on the Fernández administration to reconsider and scrap its plans, or risk seriously damaging relations with what remains a key economic sector.
- The statement was released by the Red Nacional de Productores Autoconvocados. Unlike the country’s main agricultural associations, which have previously rejected the nationalisation plan but are seen as representing the interests of major agricultural producers, the Red says that it is a loose grouping of small and medium-sized producers.
- The Red says that it is opposed to the nationalisation for considering it an unconstitutional affront against private property. “We repudiate the executive power’s intromission in matters that violate the division of powers [and] the letter and spirit of the national constitution”, the statement says. It accuses the government of hastily seeking to expropriate Vicentin even though the firm’s future is still the subject of a judicial bankruptcy process.
- The statement also accuses the government of being intent on using Vicentin to exert greater control over the agricultural sector by directly intervening in the grains export market. “We don’t need to be rescued… to be taken care of… we don’t need a nanny state”, the statement reads, denouncing the government’s “constant harassment” of the private sector through the imposition of onerous taxes and export restrictions.
The Red statement was released after the judge hearing the Vicentin bankruptcy case yesterday upheld his previous decision denying a government proposal to replace the firm’s current directors with government-appointed caretakers. The government proposed this as a potential alternative to expropriation. There is concern that the judge’s decision could prompt the government to advance the expropriation process in congress, increasing political tensions.
In brief: Uruguay announces ‘preauthorisation’ of commercial flights
* In a press conference, Uruguay’s foreign minister, Ernesto Talvi, announced the government’s “preauthorisation” of commercial flights by Spanish airline Iberia, starting from 5 July, more than three months after borders were closed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Talvi called it a “little ray of light” regarding the country’s reopening. Since mid-March, only a few exceptions to this border closure, such as the provision of humanitarian assistance, and repatriation efforts, have been permitted. Strict protocols regarding departure and arrival will be established, while passengers will require a negative Covid-19 test, as well as travel insurance. Flights will initially only be available for Uruguayan residents. The number of flights will depend on demand and the success of the initial flights, so that Iberia can operate profitably.