LATIN AMERICA

Argentina holds one-day strike against President Cristina Fernández

Millions of workers stay away from jobs during nationwide stoppage

Corrientes Avenue during the union strike in Buenos Aires.
Corrientes Avenue during the union strike in Buenos Aires.JUAN MABROMATA (AFP)

Argentina came to a near standstill on Tuesday as millions of workers stayed away from their jobs during a nationwide strike called by the country's biggest union against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's policies and inaction by her government on key issues.

Major roads throughout the country were empty, stores were closed, national and international flights were canceled and garbage piled up as trash collection was suspended during the 24-hour general strike, which was called by CGT union leader Hugo Moyano, who until last year was one of Fernández's biggest allies. Only hospital emergency rooms remained open.

"I voted for her but she has duped me," said Julio Núñez, a subway worker for a train line that was nationalized by the government following a deadly accident in February.

The strike came 12 days after hundreds of thousands of Argentineans took to the streets in cities and towns across the country to protest high crime, inflation, interference in the legal system, and the attempts by some ruling party officials to pave the way for Fernández de Kirchner to run for a third term by amending the Constitution.

In the capital alone, there were about 160 major road blocks

In Buenos Aires on Tuesday, the city's infamously congested July 9 avenue, with its centerpiece obelisk, was deserted. Protestors blocked the city's major Pueyrredón bridge to ensure that no vehicles could cross over. In the capital alone, there were about 160 major road blocks.

"We are not going to change [our policies] just because that traitor Moyano calls a strike," said ruling party Senator Aníbal Fernández.

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