Argentina: Congressman Nicolás del Caño’s Intervention, April 3rd


Congressman Nicolás del Caño’s Intervention. April 3rd

Mister Chief of Staff:
Above all I want to condemn the repression of the teachers from Salta province yesterday, just like those suffered by the teachers in Misiones province, both by the hands of two governors that communicates with your Government.
In the CD received minutes before this session began we could confirm that there are a series of questions from the legislators that the Chief of Staff will NOT answer.
The space provided for the answer is simply left blank.
Among the questions is the following that I will now read:
“Inform us why the national Government did not revoke, nor even attempt to revoke, the Decree – Law 9.021/63- passed during the dictatorship of José María Guido – and the 2.322/67 Decree- passed by the dictatorship of Juan Carlos Onganía. Through these regulations they consented to and put into practice a state intelligence service equipped with agents from the Argentine Federal Police that is not subject to any kind of administrative, judicial, or parliamentary control. Moreover, those forces can infiltrate any type of public or private organization. The case of Argentine Federal Police Agent, Américo Alejandro Balbuena’s, decade long infiltration in the news agency ‘Agencia Walsh,’ has proved the existence of this intelligence service. The PEN (Executive Branch) has not addressed the issue despite the scandal that erupted when the infiltration became public.”

Question: Why did you decline to answer this question?
At same time, we find that the government evades answering when we ask about the number of security and armed forces agents that participated in the dictatorship and who are still in active duty today. To avoid this question, the government utilizes a decree created during the Guido dictatorship that protects military secrets. We want to know how many Milani’s[Currently Head of the Armed Forces and known to have played a role and been in active duty during the military dictatorship] there are in the armed forces and the security forces, and the government responds by telling us that the information is SECRET. We also ask you, why does the government use the argument of preserving national security to withhold the names of the security and armed forces agents that participated in the dictatorship and remain in active duty today?
I also want you to respond to our inquiry pertaining to why the Government implements a policy of persecution of those who are out demanding their rights, especially the workers.

A month ago in this chamber we heard president Cristina ask for an anti-picket law in order to limit this form of protest, which has been utilized historically by the working class to protest in our country and throughout the world. The PRO block applauded the president’s announcement as well as the Frente Renovador’s proposal for a project that seeks to limit this right, portraying an important convergence between the Government and sectors of the opposition.
This convergence of the national Government, the governors, the PRO, and the Frente Renovador is based on the need to make the workers pay for the crisis, through inflation and austerity measures, while the businessmen are still receiving subsidies. In the factories and workplaces they threaten workers with layoffs in order to speed up production, put restrictions on compensations, and implement other type of austerity measures.
Beyond the “narrative” and the discourse, are you able to deny that the devaluation and the tax hikes on basic goods won’t mean an enormous transfer of income from the working class to the wealthiest capitalists?

This April 10 there will be a national strike. We’ll be there, once again, supporting the workers in their struggle for their demands. Despite the fact that those who called for the strike refuse to prepare a fighting plan that would defeat the austerity measures, the national strike will include the presence of thousands of workers throughout the country. Among them will be the combative and anti-bureaucratic sectors who took to the streets last February 27th to demand the acquittal of Las Heras oil workers and who were attacked by the repressive forces, lead by Serigo Berni, who directly attacked the FIT (Left Front) and our own.
Mister Chief of Staff, we hold you and your government responsible for any type of provocation and repression of those who will be exercising their constitutional right to strike and protest on April 10th. We ask that you inform this congress about the kind of attitude the security forces, which depends on your government, will take when facing the workers across the country.

On another note, the refusal to respond to our question of whether or not the Chief of Staff can live on the salary of a teacher that has 20 years of seniority is no accident. It is easily accepted that a teacher today earns 5,000 pesos a month ($624 US), half of what is estimated to be a living wage today. To win the increase to five thousand pesos, in the Province of Buenos Aires, required a historic strike, and teachers have only started earning that since August. The teachers today continue to struggle in Salta, Neuquen, and other provinces. Meanwhile, the congressmen and women and politicians are paid ten times more than the average salary in Argentina. Why do we have this privilege, Mr. Capitanich?

If there weren’t so many privileges for the political caste, who would increase the rates on electricity and gas, who would vote in favor of paying the illegitimate foreign debt created by the military dictatorship, who would vote in favor of making a secret deal with Chevron, a new law of colonization, as Jauretche would say? Who would vote to in favor of paying five billion dollars and interest to the looters of Repsol?

I’ll reiterate the question that we asked you in writing, Mr. Capitanch, can you live on an Argentine teacher’s salary?
Lastly, I want to point out that, here in this precinct, on March 1st during the Legislative Assembly we heard the President of the nation defend the scandalous ruling of Caleta Olivia (Santa Cruz) against Las Heras oil refinery workers who had protested in 2006 against a tax on their salaries and the outsourcing of labor. The protests resulted in skirmishes and the death of a police officer. The president maintained that those who demand the acquittal of the workers are defending those who killed Sayago. This is a lie. The convicted workers (three who are sentenced to life and seven who are sentenced to several years in prison) are innocent!
There isn’t any evidence to convict them. Several of the testimonies were taken while they were being tortured. Even the person that presides over the court voted for the acquittal of the majority of them.

The protest against this scandalous trial with methods used during the dictatorship has touched different Human Rights organizations and public figures, like the Nobel prize winner Pérez Esquivel and Nora Cortiñas, from the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, and hundreds of organizations in our country and throughout the world. From this congressional seat we have presented a resolution demanding the acquittal of the condemned oil workers in Las Heras that was supported by many blocks. I ask you, Mr. Cheif of Staff, why did your Government defend the scandalous ruling that, as Osvaldo Bayer said, reminds us of the sentences of the Haymarket Martyrs and Sacco and Vanzetti? I’ll be waiting for your response. Thank you.

Watch the video here (Spanish)

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