Hugo Moyano

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Hugo Moyano
Hugo Moyano en River.jpg
Secretary General of the CGT
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 14, 2004
Preceded by Rodolfo Daer
Personal details
Born (1944-01-09) January 9, 1944 (age 70)
La Plata
Nationality Argentine
Political party Justicialist Party
Spouse(s) Olga Mariani
Patricia Villares
Liliana Zulet
Occupation Trade union official
Profession Trucker
Signature

Hugo Moyano (born January 9, 1944) is an Argentine labor leader and Secretary General of the CGT, the nation's largest trade union, from 2004 to 2012. A schism developed within the CGT during 2012, and Moyano was thus elected to head the CGT's dissident faction.[1]

Life and times[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Moyano was born in La Plata, in 1944. His family settled in seaside Mar del Plata early in his childhood, and he entered the labor force in his teens as an employee of Expresos y Mudanzas, a local moving company. He was elected shop steward in 1962, and soon became a leader in the Mar del Plata local of the Teamsters' Union, a member of the CGT labor federation. Moyano was elected head of the local in 1972.[2] He married three times: to Olga Mariani (with whom he had two sons), to Patricia Villares (four children), and to Liliana Zulet (a daughter).[3]

Moyano reached an agreement with the right-wing National University Round Table (CNU) to jointly establish the Peronist Union Youth (JSP), in 1973. Moyano's entry into politics was made amid fast-growing tensions between the far left and far right fringes of Peronism, shortly after the end of its political banning. A staunch opponent of the Peronist left, he joined the JPRA, a rightist counterpart to the influential, left-wing Peronist Youth (JP); both the JSP and JPRA maintained close links with José López Rega (head of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance).[4]

The keystone of Peronist support, the CGT, became one of the targets of the Dirty War following the March 1976 coup, however: union activity was banned and thousands of their members "disappeared." Restrictions were later eased, and the CGT was reconstituted under beer workers' leader Saúl Ubaldini in 1980. Moyano was named head of the CGT's Mar del Plata delegation, and was arrested during numerous demonstrations against the regime's economic policies.[2] After these policies' collapse in 1981 and the loss of the Falklands (Malvinas) War the following year, general elections were called for 1983, ahead of which Moyano was named head of the Mar del Plata chapter of the late Juan Perón's Justicialist Party.[2]

Trade union leadership[edit]

Elections at the Buenos Aires Province Teamsters' Union in 1984 resulted in Moyano's promotion as Adjunct Secretary General and in 1987, he was elected Secretary General of the union. A Peronist sweep in the September 1987 mid-term elections sent Moyano to the Argentine Chamber of Deputies (Lower House of Congress) for the Province of Buenos Aires.[2]

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Hugo Moyano share the stage beneath an image of former First Lady Eva Perón. The alliance of Moyano and Kirchnerism was a centerpiece of Argentine political life during her first term.

He stepped down from Congress following his first term in 1991 to assume the Speakership of the National Teamsters' Union, and was elected their Adjunct Secretary General in 1992. He assumed chairmanship of the union's health plan on that occasion and, in April, established the 15 de Diciembre Teamsters' Mutual Association. Like many in the CGT, he became increasingly distanced from President Carlos Menem, who was elected in 1989 as a Peronist and on a populist pltaform; but had adopted free-market economics since, and by 1995 presided over an unemployment rate of 18% and stagnant wages.[5] The Teamsters' Union helped lead a series of general strikes in 1996, though under the banner of the "Argentine Workers' Movement" (MTA) - a dissenting, intransigent faction within the CGT.[2]

An August 1997 meeting of the Transport Workers' Confederation of the Mercosur Common Market area resulted in Moyano's election as their Secretary General; this was followed by a November 1998 election as Vice President of the Transport Workers' Section for the Latin America Committee of the ITF, in London.[2]

Aside from shows of force like the 1996 general strikes, however, the CGT's leaderchip remained generally conciliatory with the anti-labor Menem for the sake of the Justicialist Party, whose defeats in the October 1997 mid-term elections bode poorly for their chances in 1999 (elections they went on to lose).[6] Moyano's rapproachment with the CGT's pragmatic Secretary General during the late 1990s, Rodolfo Daer, was again strained in the year 2000, when President Fernando de la Rúa's plans to make Argentina's labor laws more flexible led to a new schism within the CGT, and in March, Moyano led the MTA as one of two major breakaway unions.[2]

The collapse of de la Rúa's government in late 2001 made way for the parliamentary selection of former Buenos Aires Province Governor Eduardo Duhalde, whose alliance to Moyano helped lead to the gathering of most of the CGT under a trio of Moyano, Susana Rueda of the Nurses' Union and José Luis Lingieri of the Water Works Union; a reunited CGT elected Moyano Secretary General in July 2004. Benefiting from a close alliance with the administrations of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, Moyano leveraged his role as head of the Council on Salaries (an officially-sanctioned advisory board) to secure a stronger collective bargaining position and frequent increases in the minimum wage, while opposing restrictive economic policy proposals.[2][7]

The labor leader was shaken by the November 2007 murder of Abel Beroiz, the longtime treasurer for the Teamsters' Union and a close adviser of Moyano's. The arrest of his presumptive assassin the following March yielded information on a possible plot against Moyano, and the case remains pending in court.[8] Amid the 2008 Argentine government conflict with the agricultural sector over a planned hike in export taxes, Moyano proposed the creation of a "CGT-TV" and a related radio station.[9] Long-standing differences with Restaurant Workers' leader Luis Barrionuevo led to a new, July 2008 schism within the CGT, whereby Barrionuevo led 40 unions into a "Blue-and-White CGT." Moyano secured his reelection as CGT head, however, and retained the support of 134 unions, including most of the larger ones.[10]

The Teamsters' Union, by then headed by the CGT leader's son Pablo Moyano, staged a blockade of Buenos Aires distribution plants operated by Clarín and La Nación, the nation's two leading newspapers, on November 6, 2009. Relations between the government (allied to Moyano) and the news media had become strained in the preceding months.[11]

The labor leader's numerous business interests, as well as those of his wife, Liliana Zulet de Moyano, and other family members, later came under growing media and judicial scrutiny. The Prosecutor General of Switzerland, Erwin Beyeler, reportedly requested copies of court files in March 10, 2011, related to money laundering investigations of the Moyanos, and in response, the labor leader threatened to call a general strike.[12] The Ambassador of Switzerland to Argentina, Johannes Matyassy, clarified that the Swiss investigation was limited to Ricardo Depresbiteris, proprietor of the Covelia waste transport company, and that no files pertaining to the Moyanos had been requested.[13]

Moyano, his wife, his son Pablo Moyano, and other relatives and associates were later implicated by the Office of Economic Crimes and Money Laundering (PROCELAC) in four cases of racketeering totaling over 570 million pesos (US$100 million) involving Teamster Union accounts and three Moyano family shell corporations located in the same Florida Street address; the cases were formally submitted to prosecutors in September 2013.[14]

Moyano lost his second wife and a son due to health problems during 2011.[3] His support for President Cristina Kirchner dimmed during her reelection campaign, when the president refused Moyano's demands to have more CGT officials included in the Front for Victory party list for Congress.[15] He resigned his executive posts within the Justicialist Party, including that of President of the Buenos Aires Province chapter, in February 2012 following a two-year tenure.[16] Moyano's alliance with the Kirchner administration effectively ended with a series of strikes called by the Trucking Workers' Union (led by his son, Pablo) during June 2012.[17] The administration's decision to file legal charges and levy fines against the Truckers' Union for failing to abide by labor dispute mediation requirements,[18] was followed by Moyano's own call for a 10-hour general strike on June 27.[19] This break with the administration caused a schism within the CGT, whereby most of the larger unions rallied behind Steelworkers' Union (UOM) leader Antonio Caló, who was elected Secretary General of the Official CGT in October 2012 while Moyano continued to lead the now Dissident CGT in a loose alliance with Barrionuevo and Pablo Micheli of the Dissident CTA.[1]

References[edit]

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