Interview with Hugo Moyano

Julio Fernández Baraibar julfb at
Mon Jun 5 02:44:03 MDT 2000

I send the english version of the interview that we did to Hugo Moyano some
days before the 31st. May demo.
I think that it is very representative of his points of view.
We are preparing an online magazine in order to put it in the Web and this
interview will be the first one in Internet.
I send to the lists as a (I don't know the word, in spanish is "primicia",
something that no other source has).
BTW it is the absolut first Moyano's interview in english.

Julio FB

Interview to Hugo Moyano

Though vastly known through his political and union militancy in Argentina,
the truck drivers’ leader Hugo Moyano became massively known when was named
General Secretary of the C.G.T. (General Workers Confederation) in a
National Extraordinary Congress celebrated last March.
Hugo Moyano has fought during a whole decade against the model imposed by
Menem-Cavallo, and yet not quitting his peronist identity. On the contrary,
he has once and again reaffirmed his belonging to the popular movement
founded by General Peron half a century ago.
It was precisely during that decade in which Moyano was co-founder of the
Movement of Argentinian Workers (MTA), the true peronist trade-unionism that
headed the fight against the neo-liberal model. The fact that Moyano took
over the top post of the CGT, his alternative project (invoking every sector
of the national life to face the economic policies of financial capital),
added to massive desertion of the party’s political gangs, have raised
Moyano’s prestige through the working bases and extended it to wide popular
sectors affected by the policies of the current gov, that maintains and
deepens the same old one of the previous, but adding more adjustments and
All this justifies our interest in interviewing him in order to make,
through Internet wonders, the whole world to discover who Hugo Moyano is,
his history, his thoughts, his ideals and his projects that, indeed, exceed
largely the mere salary claiming.
This interview was made during the morning of may 26th, in the H.Q. of the
Trade-union of Truck Drivers, in the Constitución neighborhood in Buenos
Aires, in his private office crowded of symbols that express his beliefs of
worker and peronist: pictures of Peron, Evita, and his so admired former CGT
General Secretary, Jose Ignacio Rucci, murdered in 1973.
Sharing “mates”, our folk infusion, he spoke to us straight and

Línea: –When do you begin your unionist activity?
Hugo Moyano: I began to work when I was 10. I used to work during the summer
time and the rest of the year attended school. Then, when I was 17, I
entered a transport company that by those days made the Buenos Aires-Mar del
Plata circuit, and there is where I began my unionist activity. We set up a
movement with my comrades; it was 1962. Delegates were elected and I was one
of the postulants but, as I was three months far from being 18, I lost the
chance. Soon after, I reassumed activity. I was fired from that company.
Later I entered another one in which I became a delegate. By then, yet a
kid, I already was a non-paid member of the Commission of the Mar del Plata
CGT. I was so passionate to the trade-union that I set up assemblies on
Sundays, 9:00 AM sharp!
L.: –And when do you access the National level of the union?
H. M.: – In 1972 I was elected General Secretary of Mar del Plata Sectional,
and after that period, was reelected. As a militant, I participated in the
mobilizations that
brought about the historical returning of General Peron from Spain. We
supported the peronist gov, with full loyalty to Peron’s conduction and
facing all the attacks and sabotages we received from left and right. Then,
the military dictatorship came. In 1977, we were already making meetings. In
1978, we formed the Unionist Peronist Movement. It was then when I suffered
several detentions. Yet, that was light compared to what other beloved
comrades had to suffer. After that I became a General Secretary of the
Justicialist Party (peronism) of Mar del Plata in 1983, and then I was
elected provincial congressman from 1987 to 1991.
L: – Then the great fraud occurred…
H.M: –Yes, indeed. We were trying to renew the lines of the party, and we
lost. By then, the candidate was Menem. We supported him, believing that he
would bring up the national project. Unfortunately, he cheated all of us.
>From the very beginning, we noticed he was not going to make peronism.
According to our trajectory, my comrades and me faced the imposition of the
neo-liberal model, which, for us, was antinational and antiperonist.
L.: After a decade of Menem, what does “Peron” mean today?
H.M: – Peron’s project is absolutely alive. I think that now more than ever
his teachings are current. Those teachings are the only way out this country
has. And they go beyond the limits of the country, above all, reminding the
facts of these late years.
L.: –¿Evita?
H.M: – She means the spirit of fight and rebellion she transmitted to
younger generations, solidarity to those who suffer, the flag of love to the
poorest for which she gave everything, even her life, and loyalty to Peron.
L.: – Here we can see a picture of Jose Ignacio Rucci. What meaning do you
assign to it?
H.M.: –He is a kind of symbol of the loyalty to Peron and the workers cause.
His murder was a direct attack to Peron and the national project he leaded.
That unforgivable crime prepared the land for the coup d’etat and everything
after. There have been other important unionist leaders, but Rucci is our
L.: – During Menem’s times, it was mostly the transportation unions who
began these meetings in order to resist the neo-liberal project. Is this so?
H.M.: – Right. The firsts unions that started this confrontation were the
transporters. Firstly, we supported Ubaldini, when he left “menemism”. By
then, they were already enjoying the profits of the “grandma’s jewels
bargain” (this is the way that privatization of State’s companies was
called). Those were the times of euphoria of the economic model. We fought
politically this model from the very beginning. The Transportation Workers
Union was formed, which included the UTA (bus drivers) Air personnel, SOMU
(seamen) and the trainmen. That was the beginning of the resistance, as well
as the capitulation of the previous CGT conductors. Meanwhile, we kept
invoking other organizations, some of them peronist, but also radicals and
everyone who willed to join to reject the neo-liberal model and to defend
the workers interests. These ideals put us together, and so we decided to
build the Movement of Argentinian Workers (MTA), born in a congress in 1984.
L.: –The MTA made great efforts then, since the main leaders of the peronist
party, mostly accomplices of what Menem-Cavallo were doing, remained silent.
The rest of the parties were disintegrated. The main part of the fight
against menemism was led by MTA, since there was practically no opposition
H.M.: – in fact, the CTA (Argentinian Workers Central, a group of
trade-unions that left CGT in early Menem’s times) was also there, but soon
they lost their initial strength, mostly because state workers were largely
reduced. The CCC (Classist and Combative Current) also supported the fight,
during this process. Among the main acts that this coalition made we can
underline the Federal March, which was an alarm that called the gov’s
attention, as they realized there was an important force against their
measures. The menemism handled the varieties of a surrendering gov. While we
were struggling in the streets through nationwide strikes, the old CGT heads
were negotiating and gaining something in change. Those were painful times
of treachery. This model needed, to be set up, to corrupt and buy wills, as
did with the main leaders of the justicialist party. I remember men from the
Unions voting for privatization of the retirement system, or the YPF selling
(the state oil company). Summing up, it was the complete negation of
peronism. A few days ago, I gave a conference in the Law Faculty of the
Buenos Aires University. There, I found lots of peronist young students
that, when I told them that peronism is not Maria Julia Alzogaray or
Cavallo, that peronism are the poorest, the workers that suffer and still
fight, they broke in an ovation.
L.: – By those days during Menem’s period, there appeared a number of
parties that got close to you, not due to their opposition to the model, but
to Menem himself, and never doubted to stand close for the pictures. What do
you think about that political conduct?
H. M.: – It is hard to understand, because they had a clear message to give
to society, and so it was, and people believed and supported them. But now,
they flipped themselves and affirm all the contrary from what they sustained
before. They have changed even their vocabulary. Take a look at Mr. Alvarez
(the Vice-president) words: “We will make a major surgery with anesthesia”
instead of Menem’s “without anesthesia”. What he never understood is that
that is exactly what should not be done. I mean “surgery”, because that
implies to take out of the social body even more than what has already been
L.: – This means that not only the justicialist heads have surrendered, but
also the complete political class has adopted that conduct. This is a clear
fracture between the people and the politicians...
H. M.: – That’s why we have raised the flags of Argentinity, of national
identity and sovereignty. I remember an opinion former, or should I say,
“mind deformer”, that wondered where sovereignty was. That is the mentality
of those that, through all these years, have imposed this economic model. I
am not against intellectuals. I am against the technocrats that have pushed
us to this situation. They are to be blamed. Nevertheless, in spite of the
surrender of many men of political class, this country can stand up again.
A few days ago, in a Forum we organized in the Faculty of Social Sciences, I
assured to those young students that, in the same way that the people
defeated the military dictatorship, the people will defeat the financial
dictatorship. It might not be our generation, but those to come, if they
raise these flags, will for sure. It shall be a long struggle. The defection
of most political leaders determines that, MTA first and CGT now, had to be
the ones that hanged on a national project, in order to fill up the
emptiness left by those deserters. The first task is not to mistake who the
enemy is: we are certainly not fighting any popular government; we fight the
power of financial organisms, such as IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. To
clear it up to the whole society, we have convoked to a march on May 31st on
the obelisk in Buenos Aires. Since this is a nationwide statement, not
sectorial, has received the support of the church, social organizations,
student unions, and many more.
L: – This clearing-up process that the new CGT is beginning with includes
the organization of multi-sectorial forums. Could this generate a new pole
of national and popular power?
H. M.: – God willing! The main thing is to understand that adhesions we
received were not to “Moyano” as some people say. It is the adhesion to a
cause: avoid these kinds of policies from keeping on being installed.  As I
understand it, this has to be a nationwide cause, because we are defending
our people. Unemployment, hunger and poverty of the people must stop being
the currency to pay these policies. Something must be done. I have no
studying on economic techniques, but I know this must stop straight away.
L.: – A direct policy of confrontation to this system of condensed powers
would need a wide popular back up, back up that the government does no
longer have. Do you think that it has no will, either?
H. M.: – And even if they tried to, they have already lost the chance. I don
’t know if they are going to call to a social agreement, but I personally
will not meet them to ratify this that they are doing. There was, and there
is, enough support to make a change, but not for this, that instead of a
change, is nothing but to deepen Menem and Cavallo’s model. Nobody must fool
himself: this is not a problem of unionists that worried for their
“cashboxes”. This policy affects the entire society, and must the entire
society react. To be clear: The unionists that followed Menem are with the
gov. About us, this that we are building must have a strong national and
popular content. It is necessary to return to our national symbols. Some
time ago, to have a picture of General San Martín or an Argentinian flag
looked as if you were somehow tied to the military dictatorship. They have
stolen even our national symbols. We must return to our national identity.
This is the idea we are trying to launch, to believe in ourselves. They made
us believe we were good for nothing, but in fact we had even achieved a high
degree in atomic development. We had built up a Nation! And they kept saying
we were good for nothing, that our researchers had to do the washing up,
that our businessmen were worthless, they put foreign managers in phone
companies. And we say we must retrieve our self-confidence, to trust in our
capabilities, because we are the ones that built this Nation. This is the
starting point of the reconstruction of the Nation.
L.: – Then, this is not only a workers’ task, it also needs a wide
convergency of different sectors...
H. M.: – It goes beyond the workers’ frame. Nobody can say that we are still
fighting the latest labor law. As Jose Rucci used to say, we must attack the
origin, not the effects. This is the teaching we take. The law is the
effect. We are fighting the origins.
L.: – This is a nationwide convocation that, if gets in motion, turns into a
movement. Meanwhile, the government, suffering from autism, announces a
depth of the model, getting farther and farther from the course the country
needs. During the electoral campaign, you spoke to both presidential
candidates, De la Rua and Duhalde, and by those days the current President
had paid compliments on your claiming. There has also been a change there.
As Menem used to say, “Because I’ve won, I’ve changed”…
H. M.: – Yes, I remember that meeting that they all attended: De la Rúa,
Machinea, Chacho Alvarez, Meijide. Our proposal was received, not
enthusiastically, but at least not as a mad, extreme option, either. In
fact, as a possible one, according to the moments we were through. Shortly
after, they forgot completely about this, and now are launching this new
adjustment, that does nothing but to deepen the economic model, and to
deepen the evils that our people suffer. Obviously, the cut off in wages
weakens even more the inner market, something that we should try to
strengthen. This, obviously, widens the gap between society and government.
L.: – Yesterday, Archbishop of Buenos Aires made a very serious warning. It
is the first time that, from such an important place, somebody says that
“the country looks like a funeral procession” or that “everybody condoles
the family, but nobody will lift the corpse.” At the sight of such a
warning, will Argentinian political conduction, particularly the gov, be
able to pretend they don’t notice?
H. M.: – It seems so. Some men in the gov said that this message was not for
them, but for somebody else. Mr. Alvarez said something terrible, he said he
should be claimed for solutions within a year. People is starving today, a
year is too much to ask. I believe that the gov suffers from autism, and try
to convince themselves they are doing well, avoiding noticing what’s
actually happening in the country. An old lady wrote me saying “We suffer
hunger for work, hunger for justice, hunger for equality, hunger for food…”
This is a fact: in Argentina there is hunger for food. And this is today.
L.: – There is a pretty clearing statement of yours, where you affirm that
the struggle is against the power, not against a gov, even being one with no
will to change, that bows to the directions of international organisms. You
also sustain that the will exists to give the life on this struggle.
H. M.: – Right. What the powerful ones don’t know is that we are ready to
give our lives. This might not sound good, but it’s true. What would have
happened if Mr.Piumato (General Secretary of Judicial Workers) had received
that bullet in an eye instead of a testicle? He would be dead, for sure. As
a matter of fact, we have had more repression these last six month than in
many years. This is a very frightened and scared government, due to its
resistance to accomplish the commandment of the voters, and convoke
everybody to unite to achieve the change. That fear is very dangerous. They
are prisoners of international organisms, prisoners not only because of the
foreign demands, but also because of their own will. There is an old saying
that claims “You are born negro by the will of God, but slave for a personal
attitude”. If we transpose this to the country, we could say that we are
Argentinian by the will of God, but dependent due to a personal attitude.
L.: – Due to fear, weakness or choice, towards every popular mobilization,
the gov strikes back violently. Such an attitude has already taken several
compatriots’ lives. How will you avoid the government’s violence?
H. M: – The struggle must be massive, pacific, ordered, as the only way to
avoid provocations. I think that the meaning of this next mobilization (May
31st) is, above all, to try to retrieve the national identity, our values,
our symbols, everything that makes us feel proud of being Argentinian. This
is the beginning of a pacific resistance against these economic policies
that compels us to extreme situations. We are saying to all the people that
Argentinians are able to change things.
L.: – ¿Does current CGT feel accompanied by the Church?
H. M.: – The Church accompanies us because they understand us. This adhesion
shows, and clears up, that our invoking is to everyone that feels
compromised to our people and our national identity. Church are all of us,
but the solidarity of Cardinal Primatesta and the whole Social Pastoral is
very important, as it demonstrates the amplitude of the call.
L: Some kind of deception can be felt towards this government. Is there any
room left for hope?
HM: The message is: not to put down our arms, and to remember what Monsignor
Bergoglio said yesterday: "Hope never defrauds". People are the only ones
who are able to change history. There is not such a lightened one to be able
to do it on his own, it has to be done with the people.
L.: –Are you building lines to the students?
H. M.: – They, as a part of the Argentinian youth, are victims of this model
that drains out their future, denying them a project of life. That’s why
they must be rescued from individualism, to get the chance to participate in
the popular fight with the people they belong to. The energy of youth is
needed to be added to the experience and wisdom of the older, to construct a
force that could change the situation.
L.: –The forums you are setting up in every Faculty, allow a bigger adhesion
of the university unions?
H. M.: –These late years I have noticed a waking up of the younger
generations with national and popular identity. The peronist youth, for
instance, are organizing an act in Necochea next June, and they have
convoked me for the closing speech. I don’t think they feel identified with
“Moyano”, but with somebody that says those things that lots believed
forbidden, or rising flags that used to be utopia. Before, it seemed that
you couldn’t speak about foreign debt, privatizations, public fees, etc.
Today, we raise the flags we were told couldn’t be raised.
L.: – Do you think that local entrepreneurs have the same worry?
H. M.: –The national entrepreneurs are worried indeed; because they notice
they are getting fewer all the time. They are convinced that a change is
needed in order not to extinguish. Lots of their associations, such as the
UIA (Argentinian Industrial Union) have told us that they will take part,
may be not as an entity yet, but individually they will. Same thing with the
CGE (General Economic Confederation.) Farmers were also convened, and will
attend. The claiming for a change is generalized, and this is why we define
it as a nationwide cause.
L.: – Could you make a quick balance about your labor at the head of the new
HM: –The new conduction of the CGT has developed a hope among workers and
other sectors. We strongly believe that goals and conquests are reached
struggling. Sooner or later they are achieved, if the fight goes on. The
only lost fight is the one we abandon. I beg to Argentinians: Let’s not
abandon the fight!

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