By José Rigane
Rate hikes of 55% in electricity and 35% in gas bills must not come as a suprise. The government itself, and companies too, had earlier announced the price hike schedule. What must sure be shocking and must make us go out and fight and organize ourselves is the looting this actually constitutes, whether announced or not.
Rate hikes are just the tip of the iceberg of something bigger: the model of privatization and foreignization of energy in Argentina. And as if it wasn’t enough, the government also announced increases in the prices of transportation, water, and so on.
We, from the CTA Autónoma and FeTERA, workers in the energy sector, believe that indignation in the face of this fraud against the Argentine people carried out by private companies and the government of Macri, must be translated into denounce, organization and fight.
Everywhere in the country where FeTERA is, we have been denouncing this and organizing ourselves, both workers and users against price hikes. This fight that may have started due to utility price hikes, as is it the most sensitive matter for all of us, but it must inevitably transcend this, because if the current energy model does not change, no matter how outraged we might be, rate hikes will not stop coming.
In this sense, the substantial fight is against the energy model that private companies have been carrying out in Argentina since the ‘90s. The underlying question is to end these price hikes while at the same time building up the idea throughout the country that energy is a human right.
Businessmen, CEOs and the government have led us to discuss how many pizzas a gas bill represents. Private enterprises and the Macri-Aranguren-Iguacel trio have made us talk about energy as if it were like going to the supermaket and selecting among different products, when access to energy is in fact a human right. They have has us believe that “energy is expensive everywhere” and that we must “bear the costs.”
This is all false. In Argentina we have gas, oil, water, wind, sun; resources that belong to all the Argentine people and we don’t have to depend on international rates or on Wall Street.
What the CEOs and the government do not say is that companies make millions and take the money to other countries where their headquarters are located, as in the sad case of the Spanish company Repsol. But today, 2018, this super neoliberal energy model is looting Vaca Muerta and big companies are also in charge of renewable energy projects, thermal power plants projects, gas pipelines projects, etc. They have created an enormous bussiness with our dignity, with our rights. It is a bussiness with our energy.
This is why, although the fight against the rate hikes is essential, it is just the beginning.
We will tear down the utility price hikes and change the current neoliberal energy model.
For energy sovereingty and national sovereingty.
December 28, 2018