Machetera has one, and highly recommends it, although admittedly she found it rather scary at first. But if you live at high altitude, you need to overcome your fear because you will never be able to make a decent potaje without it. All over Latin America, it is also considered indispensable and has many unusual applications.
The unexpected vote against the raising of taxes on grain exports, by the Argentine Vice President Julio Cobos, destroyed the government’s plan. The agrarian bosses immediately celebrated their victory in Buenos Aires’ richest neighborhoods. No official statement has come from the government. Cobos was the one to speak. After expressing his satisfaction with the meaning of his vote, he stated that he was not thinking of resigning.
The Argentine Vice President, Julio Cobos, delivered a hard blow to the government of Cristina Fernández, with his vote against the governmental proposal to raise taxes on grain exports. His surprising decision, which broke the tie that had existed in the Senate until that moment, is a hard setback for the executive power which has faced off against the agrarian producers since March.
After more than 17 hours of debate and despite holding a majority in the Senate, the government was not able to realize its majority in a vote and tied with 36 votes from the opposition and critical Peronist sectors. According to the Constitution, the Vice President, also the president of the Upper House, saw himself as obliged to break the tie and voted against the governmental initiative, stating the need to find a way out that would satisfy society.
Cobos asked the president to present a new proposal that would take into account the contributions expressed during the tense debate, and regretted the “division” that the conflict had provoked in the country, shown in demonstrations of one kind or another.
The official deputy Miguel Pichetto attacked Cobos’s position. “It would seem incredible to think that the Vice President would vote against the President, unless he wanted to inflict a mortal wound,” he said. He also asked “what has happened with these governors that only six months ago were fighting to be photographed with the government?”
Despite these criticisms, Cobos stated to the media that he was not thinking of resigning and that he felt “very good and at peace with my conscience and my responsibilities.”
“Throughout these days, I’ve heard the mayors in many districts who wanted to warn me over the seriousness of this conflict and even from people who feared that there might be a civil war,” he commented, and then asked to “turn the page. We have the opportunity to start a new stage, and the president has this as well.”
In the street, hundreds of government sympathizers who were waiting at the doors of Congress dispersed after hearing the news, widely celebrated by the leaders of the agrarian producers and the right-wing in Buenos Aires luxurious neighborhoods. The president of the Agrarian Federation, Eduardo Buzzi, praised Cobos’s “courageous and democratic action.” In his opinion, the result would allow “the hopeful building of a federal country.” Since last March 11, the agrarian producers have held five commercial strikes and highway blockages in addition to provoking shortages of food and industrial goods.
From the Casa Rosada, or government house, there was no official statement, although the media speculated over the possibility of the president making a public radio address.
Just for customs duties on soy exports, the government was trying to raise some $11 million dollars on the $24 billion generated by the harvest of this product. The money collected would go toward a Fund for Social Redistribution which would finance the construction of public hospitals and housing.
Machetera is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.