Argentina farmers suspend strike

Protest leaders say they will lift blockades in order to begin government talks.

    Kirchner called on farmers to lift the roadblocks
    in a speech on Tuesday [AFP]

    The farmers lifted roadblocks they had organised in the capital, Buenos Aires, and La Pampas late on Tuesday night so vital food supplies could get through.
    Hundreds of farmers had gathered in the northeastern city of Gualeguaychu, to hear the decision to suspend the strike.
    The move comes a day after Kirchner gave a speech to thousands of supporters in which she condemned their actions and urged them to remove the roadblocks.
    "Don't do more harm to the people, lift the roadblocks so Argentinians can get food," she told the crowd of union members and local rights activists on Tuesday.
    The Argentine president had offered concessions to smaller farmers over the weekend in the form of compensation and rebates but the offer was rejected by farm leaders.
    Tenuous truce
    Al Jazeera's Latin American editor, Lucia Newman, in Gualeguaychu, says that the farmers made it clear they would not hesitate to go back on strike in a month's time should they not get the concessions they want.
    The farmers have proved they can hit the economy of Argentina but are concerned that by continuing the strike - and the ensuing food shortages - the measures would backfire and they would lose support amongst Argentines, our correspondent adds.
    Farmers are angry at a presidential decree that raised export taxes on soya beans to as much as 45 per cent and placed new duties on other farm exports.
    Argentina is one of the world's largest exporters of soybeans and a leading supplier of corn, beef and wheat.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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