For many residents in Argentina, it can often seem as if the country is the world capital of street blockades, demonstrations and protests – now, it seems, even the government is getting in on the act.
Public Works Minister Gabriel Katopodis on Wednesday headed assemblies of construction workers with the aim of "creating awareness" as to the potential post-election changes which the ruling coalition’s rivals would implement in the sector. And so, the government on Wednesday staged a nationwide public works lockout against the opposition proposals for the sector – a demonstration in case in comes to pass, if you will.
Katopodis headed the half-hour protest commencing at 10am personally.
"We are kicking off this lockout at the works to repair Avenida Gaona in Morón [in Buenos Aires Province] and the same thing is now happening in provinces across the country in order to enter into conversation with the workers as to the risks facing public works," remarked the official.
Along the same lines he continued: "We are carrying out an Infrastructural Development Plan with schools, universities, roads, aqueducts and sewage plants for all Argentina and the opposition says that it must be halted, eliminating public works. Argentina can only be great with public works."
Katopodis further maintained that the protest measure pursues the intention of talking to the workers in assemblies so that those conversations may be echoed in the intimacy of the family with the aim of underlining the problems facing public works should libertarian frontrunner Javier Milei win in October (since he has assured that his government would shut down the ministry).
"The workers will down tools and hold assemblies to discuss what it would mean for Argentina were public works to be halted by a government not our own. That is a militant way of running this ministry, convincing, persuading and explaining what is at stake," reflected the state official before the lockout started.
Interviewed by journalist Antonio Fernández Llorente for Radio Splendid - 990, he added: "For the first time in a long while the works will be halted so that the workers can convince their children as to what is at stake in this election."
Katopodis further revealed that it was a move conversed with the Chamber of Construction and the UOCRA building workers union with the aim of explaining to and discussing with the workers the run-up to the general elections of October 22, given the proposal of the libertarian candidate Javier Milei (La Libertad Avanza) to close down the ministry and of Patricia Bullrich (Juntos por el Cambio) to revert to the system of public-private partnership (PPP).
"We want to talk to the foremen and the workers with those conversations reaching each family. We don’t want the children of the workers to vote without understanding what they are placing at risk and that there is an opposition which says that it has decided to halt the plan for infrastructure. It must be explained what that means, that no more schools, hospitals or universities will be built and that there will be no more sewage works," argued Katopodis.
"We are at a turning-point and we believe that the workers must take sides," he completed his argument.
President Alberto Fernández also got in on the act. "History will say that we are the government that in four years has done the most public works in the country," he said.
"For us Argentina is not Puerto Madero, Argentina is all of Argentina, and everyone needs to live better," he added.