Argentina Truckers’ Unions Block E-Commerce

Mercado Libre, the country's best-listed company, is blocked by the Moyano truckers' union

Hugo Moyano, representative of the truckers’ union and father of the formal head of the union (Twitter).

Spanish – In Argentina, there is no right to buy anything from international sites like Amazon or eBay. You have to be satisfied with what the local market offers and make online purchases on sites such as Mercado Libre, which have bidders ranging from La Quiaca to Ushuaia. In recent years, unusual things have been discussed to limit even the national “free market” of Mercado Libre. Once, it was proposed that operations be limited to the borders of certain provinces. Instead of understanding the deliriums to solve its problems, Argentina seems to limit itself to the absurdity of worsening them.

The company with the highest stock market value in the country, which is already worth more than the state oil company YPF, was a small contact with civilization during the days of the COVID-19 quarantine. The Argentines who still had some devalued pesos to buy something on the internet could check out the Mercado Libre website until today, order something (within the national territory, of course), and receive it at home. Not anymore. The truckers’ union paralyzed the distribution centers’ output, and everything is being held back by the whim of a guild that is a friend of Alberto Fernández.

This news, at the end of the day, comes to put the finishing touches to another dark day for the country, which already looks too much like the Planet of the Apes. The next morning, we learned that due to another guild blockade, this time by the Maritime Workers, 500,000 kilos of export shrimp had rotted and been thrown back into the sea. Because of a harsh union proposal, the merchandise was spoiled, and the seafood was no longer fit for human consumption.

“Mercado Libre condemns these acts of extortion, especially at a critical time in the country where the priority has to be caring about employment,” the company said in a statement.

In any country in the world, police forces would be present to clear the entrance, allow the flow of vehicles, and the judiciary would initiate the relevant cases. But for the Argentine president, the Moyanos are “exemplary unionists” who are hated by employers because they defend “workers’ rights.” This relationship is synonymous with total impunity.

This is not the first time that the truckers’ union is in the news in Argentina. One of their most famous blockades was when they cut off the newspapers, which never made it to the stands. According to Pablo Moyano, head of the union, the company has 600 truckers who would not be paid what the union demands. “This is Macri’s labor flexibilization,” he argued.

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