The primaries for the Unión por la Patria coalition on August 13 will see a contest between the current Minister of Economy Sergio Massa, Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers Agustín Rossi, and Juan Grabois whose running mate is social activist Paula Abal Medina.
Grabois was 18 when he was first arrested for participating in a protest. It was 2002. Over 50 percent of the population of Argentina was living below the poverty line and the value of the Argentine peso had plummeted. The most marginalized of the working class, who had been forced into the informal sector, fired from their full-time jobs, or were unable to find any work, organized the famous pickets, “corte de ruta” (cutting the street), on major highways and bridges. They were known as the “excluded” workers.
The mass movements which exist in Argentina today were forged in this period. The young social activist and student Juan Grabois, along with workers in the informal sector such as street vendors and cartoneros,founded the Movement of Excluded Workers (MTE).
For the movement leader Grabois, winning the Unión por la Patria ticket is clearly an uphill battle, especially since the Massa-Rossi ticket has already been endorsed by current Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. However, Grabois has stated that the primary elections serve as an opportunity to bring the agenda of the popular sectors to the table and gain mass support for these proposals.