Milagro Sala: repression in Argentina

14.06.2016 - Pressenza Hong Kong

This post is also available in: Spanish

Milagro Sala: repression in Argentina
Protets for Milagro Sala in Jujay (Image by La Garcia)

Concerning “La situación de Milagro Sala” – the situation of Milagro Sala – this has been highlighted in the Argentinian media, as Jorge D’Alesio  informed Pressenza via the Humanist International in a report titled “The state of democracy in Jujuy” in the Buenos Aries Herald, posted Sunday June 6, 2016 – this is Argentina’s oldest and most prestigious newspaper in English.

In Spanish:

“As verified by a Herald reporter investigating in Jujuy last week, the imprisoned social leader Milagro Sala remains deprived of her freedom of expression, according to what the judge in charge of the case has ruled. Keeping a prisoner incommunicado clashes frontally with constitutional principles as it is viewed as an extreme exception and while not wholly unknown (thus the leader of the Rosario “Los Monos” drug-traffickers is currently being held under those conditions). It is only justified in case the prisoner can hamper the legal process but Sala has now been jailed for five months. Stretching back memories less than a year (to be precise, the Sunday before the August PASO primaries, suspicious timing indeed), a journalist of Canal 13 had no problem talking to the convict Martín Lanatta who pointed to then Cabinet Chief (and Buenos Aires gubernatorial hopeful) Aníbal Fernández as being behind the 2008 General Rodríguez triple murder — yet Lanatta is a convicted contract killer while Sala has initially been detained for protesting in a central square of San Salvador de Jujuy and cannot talk to the press, among many other irregularities which affect not only Sala’s rights but also general democratic safeguards.”

The foregoing statement is making a stand for the legal process and Sala’s freedom of expresion but is not saying that the social leader should be immune from investigation as there are long-time accusations of alleged despotism and arbitrariness in the management of housing programmes and social assistance. However, her guilt is not as clear-cut as the media blitz that ensued would have it. The Milagro Sala onslaught rests mostly on video footage showing Túpac Amaru militants grabbing wads of cash from banks. This is not automatically relevant as it isn’t part of the range of housing, schools, health care centres, etc. built by the co-operative. It is said their efficiency at spending remains visibly superior to either their provincial government counterparts, the national public works under the Federal Planning Ministry or City Hall’s housing programme when President Mauricio Macri was calling the shots as mayor.

The Hereld coverage ends with: “It is perhaps too early to compare the social policies of Jujuy’s new Radical Governor Gerardo Morales with his Peronist predecessors but it is not too early to say that Morales is indulging in authoritarian extremes truly alarming in any elected democratic politician — not only in the highly irregular detention of Sala but also from the way he has completely outlawed social protest in general.”

Categories: Human Rights, South America
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