Argentina Latest - My Dad Is Bigger Than Your Dad

The dispute between Argentine farmers and the government is coming to a head nicely, with both sides posturing & gesturing like two kids squaring up in the playground.

Farmers could resume roadside protests as early as tomorrow if the Lower House fails to debate a reduction in soybean export duties today, the farming leaders’ Liaison Committee said.

The farm leaders are calling for grain export duties to be fixed solely by Congress and for a reduction from 35 percent to 25 percent in soybean exports above 1,000 tonnes, below which no export duties would be applicable.

But Deputy Agustín Rossi, the head of the ruling party’s caucus in the Lower House, said that his party will not grant the 129-vote quorum needed for the 257-seat Lower House session to open. Still, opposition leaders said they had secured the presence of 100 legislators and were confident they would attain the minimum votes required.

In a radio interview, Rossi said his fellow ruling party deputies would not attend the Lower House session because "farm leaders are flying election campaign flags". But Rural Society president Hugo Biolcati said the harsh criticism flung at farmers by Peronist Party leader and former President Néstor Kirchner on Tuesday night was meant "to steer attention away from the hottest issues in everyday life."

On entering a meeting at the Coninagro headquarters yesterday, Biolcati said he felt frustrated because "the government officials and us are living in two different worlds."

In a radio interview, Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo stood by the government’s view that a reduction in soybean export duties would eat into funding for other national needs, wiping almost 15 billion pesos off the national budget. "In that case, who should we stop funding teachers or pensioners?" he asked emotively.