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World Briefing / Argentina

Farmers protest taxes

March 21, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Argentine farmers blocked roads and called an anti-government strike, reigniting a yearlong standoff over soy taxes and challenging the president three months before a midterm vote.

The protests erupted a day after ruling-party lawmakers refused to debate an opposition-led bill to cut the taxes, further dimming prospects of a quick resolution to a conflict that has weakened President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Her cash-strapped government is battling to retain about $4.9 billion in tax revenue from soy exports in the run-up to the congressional vote, expected in June.

"A great opportunity was lost yesterday," said Mario Llambias, president of the Argentine Rural Confederations.

Last year, blockades caused food shortages and sent local financial markets tumbling.

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