These are difficult days for activists of the Tupac Amaru organization. One year after the arrest of their leader, Milagro Sala, the activities of their San Salvador de Jujuy Head office are more or less at a standstill.
In this Centre there are various structures and social services. Besides the Museum for Indigenous Peoples situated in the entrance, there are recreation areas, pavilions where cultural and artistic activities can be carried out and also some sport facilities (basketball, pelota, volleyball, football and swimming). In the same way, health services are available with a pharmacy and various outpatient consultants (radiology, tomography, laboratory analysis, dentistry, gynaecology, etc.).
Also there is a radio and a graphic printing area as well as offices that are in charge of human rights, the care of immigrants, social care for the elderly and legal, tax and social assistance. Furthermore, there is a library and various other reception areas.
Today, if you should go there you would find an impotent building. Everything is quiet, empty. You would find hardly anybody, although you could have seen crowds of beneficiaries who used to go there just a few months ago. In the corridors and rooms you will find chairs piled up in the corners, mattresses laid out one on top of the other and lots of other practical utensils stored in the biggest rooms.
To resume, there is an air of demobilization, and if it weren’t for some contraband activity or for the noise made by some youths who still go to the Centre to play volleyball or to dive in the swimming pool, you would think that here, life was gradually dying out.
A few very faithful followers of Milagro continue to go about taking care of the upkeep and basic functions of the centre on a voluntary basis. Some say that they even believe in a new beginning, in a bigger solidarity and a return of some militants who had gone away for fear of losing that which they had acquired thanks to the work of Sala.
The times of enthusiasm and euphoria appear to be over. According to some witnesses, this is not only true for the Head Office, but is also the case concerning the different activities in the Alto Comedero vicinity, where in the time of the Tupac Amaru, led provisionally by Sala, she had managed to carry out the miracle of giving life back to the lives of those suffering prejudice and social outcasts.
Milagro and her companions built homes, provided work and income to the people, looked after feeding the children, creating health, education and cultural facilities, and brought about many recreational and sport activities.
To give dignity to the outcast and less fortunate, to those in need and to those who were excluded. These are the instructions given by Milagro, who, thanks to an indisputable leadership and her inexhaustible human and spiritual strength, continued to carry this out, transforming these into concrete and real achievements.
What trace is there today of victory and redemption after the innumerable works carried out? There remains the memory and hope of a few activists and also – something which is not to be taken lightly – the belief in Milagro Sala herself. This is true to such an extent that she is beyond the prison bars, continuing to nourish herself with new ideas and projects while she remains close to all those who visit her continuously in prison.
In any case, there is an undeniably strong feeling of solitude. There is the confident solitude of Raul Noro and of so many other companions. There is the suffering of being abandoned and above all the pain of destruction.
Destruction seems to be the only ‘modus operandi’ of the new regime. To spread fear, to break up unity, to disperse the strength and hope of the militants, to terrorize them, to threaten them, to carry out dozens of nocturnal persecutions in the homes of the activists, to persecute them in one way or another.
No. No, we’re not talking about the time when there was a dictatorship in Argentina. No. No we’re not making a mistake. The testimonies collected last week from different sources certify and confirm that this is happening in such a shameful way, from a logic that everyone hoped would have been buried. These are the dirty tactics put into action by the Governor of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales.
“Never again” is an echo in this historic moment, especially for the people who witnessed those difficult times for themselves, and who had thought that they could have put them away forever.
For sure, we are not living in the dark times of sequestrations, disappearances and homicide, but these are times of violence, aggression, intimidation, managed in such a subtle and different way so that it is difficult to control, intimidate and destroy.
There is shock and disbelief. As soon as Milagro Sala was arrested in the most illegal and arbitrary way (proving the scandalous link between politico-economic and judicial power), the plans for violence in Jujuy continued. Subsequently, we see operations of discrimination and abuse, with the criminalization of the rebellion and aggression to whatever way of thinking which is different to the one put in place by the system.
All of this is being denounced by the representatives of some human rights associations, as they are told to us by the tearful people of the Mothers and Families Guilds of the detained or missing people.
All this creates fear, discouragement and lack of hope.
The people have entered into a logic of silence. The kind of silence which hurts because it alienates those who have been fighting for human rights and for social justice, who have previously found strength in solidarity and the rallying of forces.
With time, perhaps, after the cyclone of injustice and the policy of criminalization, violence can be digested and become sterile to the masses who sooner or later will have to put courage before fear.
Who knows whether social emancipation, the awareness of the common good and human dignity, could not become, with time, the only way out for the whole world, in order to build definite and alternative social models to replace the existing ones; new paradigms with which an equitable management of our lives would be coupled with the humanization of society.
This is why, what is happening to Milagro Sala and Tupac Amaru, already represents an important antecedent of a model of social and spiritual solidarity to be supported, to be exported and to be made worldwide.