“We can’t let him divide us further.”
Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona is calling for unified resistance against President Mauricio Macri’s neo-liberal administration.
“All of us united together, we will return to what we once had — that is the slogan we have to have,” Maradona said in a video released Saturday, HispanTV reports.
“We can’t let him (Macri) divide us further.”
The soccer legend also praised Argentine bank worker and labor leader Sergio Palazzo for his union’s recent wage hike win. The union, La Bancaria, reached a deal with the four major banking corporations, granting workers a retroactive 24-percent salary increase and a one-time bonus payment in November of 2017.
The salary boost is significantly higher than the inflationary ceiling for salary increases in 2017 established by Macri’s right-wing government. La Bancaria represents over 65,000 bank workers across Argentina.
“Palazzo, I want to give you a huge hug because you won and because you make us feel closer and closer to what we can achieve,” Maradona also said in the video.
Since taking office in 2015, Macri has rolled back progressive government programs instituted by former presidents Cristina Fernandez and Nestor Kirchner.
Jobs are being cut. Gas and electricity prices are rising. Government institutions are downsizing. Private companies linked to the ruling administration are getting tax cuts.
But Macri’s rollback of social programs implemented by Kirchner’s populist government is also breeding resistance.
Since early February, thousands of Argentines have led daily protests across the country against the “Tarifazo,” the national increase in gas and electricity prices. Armed with pots, pans and whistles, demonstrators have been calling for the resignation of Argentine Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren and a corruption probe against Macri. Protesters have been hosed down by water cannons, beaten with police nightsticks, and arrested en mass.
Simultaneously, thousands of Argentines have protested alongside 380 printing plant workers who were laid off earlier this year amidst spending cuts. The workers, who are demanding for their jobs to be reinstated, have also been met with violence, facing rubber bullets from police.
Maradona is one of many Argentines who have protested against Macri’s rule.