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Argentine Officials Feeling the Pressure from Taxi “Allies” Authorize Raid of Uber Offices

By: Marcelo Duclos - Feb 24, 2017, 10:15 am
Raid of Uber Offices
Taxi drivers in Argentina continue to put pressure on the justice system to get Uber off the market. (Twitter)

EspañolUber’s offices across Buenos Aires faced heavy raids last week, a measure taken in response to pressure from taxi unions, many officials claim.

“They were allies when we won the city elections, we can not fight with them,” a congresswoman from the ruling party in Buenos Aires, who asked not to be identified, said.

The Prosecutor’s Office of the City of Buenos Aires carried out 18 simultaneous raids against Uber offices in hopes of finding evidence of improper use of public space, among other crimes. Previously, the offices had been shut down for lacking municipal authorization to operate as an office.

When asked, several officials, including national ministers of the Executive Branch, spoke on the condition of anonymity that the measures were taken in response to pressure applied by taxi drivers.

“I know it is a shame,” a national minister, who also asked to remain anonymous, said. “But there is nothing we can do.”

Attorney Edgardo Sawula, a board member of the Freedom Club Foundation in the Argentine province of Corrientes, spoke out against the ongoing persecution of Uber and its drivers in Buenos Aires.

“When I see this news, the first thing that comes to mind is Frédéric Bastiat’s understanding of the law as an instrument of oppression,” Sawula said. “It is clear that our national constitution has been the victim of reforms that reduce the right to property and the freedom to trade to their minimum expression.”

Beyond raids of Uber offices, many homes of Uber drivers were also inspected.

“The rules that Uber allegedly breached are unconstitutional,” Sawula said. “They are regulations of a state that meddles in freedom and trade. These rules are unfair, bad and should be removed in order to guarantee freedom in its broadest concept.”

“It is difficult to understand why leaders who do not dare to speak publicly are afraid of them. Of the trade union corporation? Of political corporations? Without a doubt, this is one of the aspects of the cultural battle that we have to start in Argentina,” Sawula said.

Marcelo Duclos Marcelo Duclos

Marcelo Duclos is a reporter for the PanAm Post from Buenos Aires. He studied journalism at Taller Escuela Agencia (TEA) and went on to pursue a master's degree in Political Science and Economics at Eseade. Follow him on Twitter: @MarceloDuclos