Argentina: Free Milagro Sala Now!

Down With the Criminalization of Social Movements by President Macri and His Allies!

Statement of the Corriente Comunista Revolucionária (CCR, Section of the RCIT in Brazil), 22.1.2016,





The Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires was filled on Monday afternoon, January 18, 2016, by demonstrators protesting the arbitrary arrest of Milagro Amalia Angela Sala, one of the main allies of former president Cristina de Kirchner (Frente Para La Victoria). Sala is leader of the Tupac Amaru group and Member of Parlasul, also known as MERCOSUR, a sub-regional bloc whose member states are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Sala was first elected to public office in December 2013, when she won a seat as a deputy in the provincial legislature of Jujuy in northern Argentina, as a candidate of Frente Unidos y Organizados de Jujuy (United and Organized Front of Jujuy). She resigned from her seat in the provincial legislature in November 2015 upon her election to the parliament of MERCOSUR as a candidate by the Frente Para La Victoria (Front for Victory).


Sala was arrested on Saturday, January 16, in the province of Jujuy, on charges of inciting violence. At the time she had been participating in activities at a “struggle camp” first set up by various social organizations in front of Jujuy’s Governmental Palace on December 14. On the day of her arrest, the social organizations gathered together by Sala had been protesting outside the offices of Jujuy’s governor, Gerardo Morales of the União Civica Radical, an ally of the newly-elected right-wing president, Mauricio Macri, demanding the continuation of threatened funding for a project through which a cooperative of women has been building their own homes and modernizing their neighborhoods for almost a decade. Sala was arrested at her home in the capital of the province of Jujuy, for alleged “incitement to commit crimes and riot.”


The newspaper El Tiempo has reported that the imprisoned Sala has begun a hunger strike against her unjust jailing and political persecution. Following her arrest, political leaders active in several social organizations held a rally where they complained of the clearly political character of Sala’s detention. ”For the last 35 day, since his assuming office, he (Gerardo Morales) has been causing problems. They want us to retreat, but will not do so. We will not move from the square because in Argentina, social protest is not a crime,” said Marcos, a member of Tupac Amaru.


The Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), very highly respected for its defense of human rights, issued a strong statement denouncing Sala’s arrest and the alleged reasons for her imprisonment. [1]


In the same context, Estela de Carlloto, from the Association of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, made the following statement: "When such things happen in Jujuy they clearly want to demonstrate power that they do not have. The people have voted. We will respect the will of the people, as long as the president respects us… but he’s not respecting us, he’s insulting us. For a month we have been going through hell. Every day we must take to the streets in defense of one thing or another: of justice, in defense of people sacked from their jobs; against imports that will leave our factories empty of workers; and now the height of absurdity: the arrest of a woman, the first political prisoner of our country.”


As we previously predicted in our recent article on the results of the presidential election in Argentina [2], the arrest of Milagro Sala is proof of the new political reality that the country is living with since the inauguration of President Mauricio Macri last December, 10. Following the neoliberal recipe, Macri’s right-wing government is undertaking a number of mass layoffs of public sector employees, a policy also being followed in the private sector, both attacks being aimed at dismantling any remaining democratic rights, criminalizing social movements, and breaking away from the popular policies pursued by the previous governments of Néstor and Cristina Kirchner. This new anti-worker, anti-rights campaign has been undertaken by the direct request of both US and EU imperialism which maintain that there should be no more concessions to the poorest and oppressed strata of society. Instead, the imperialists contend that the public budget should be directed by the ruling class and the national and international financial system.


According to CELS, Sala’s arrest constitutes a "very serious precedent of criminalizing social protest."


We at the CCR, Brazilian section of RCIT, vehemently condemn the arrest of Milagro Sala. We demand her immediate release and the withdrawal of all charges against her or any other militant struggling against layoffs. We understand that what is underway in the Argentina of Macri, with the complicity of the bourgeois media and the ruling class, is the criminalization of the struggles of social movements with the clear intention of increasing the exploitation of the working class and the oppressed. The rulers want to place the price of the economic crisis and the global recession on the backs of workers, using state repression.

* Down with the criminalization of social movements declared by President Macri and his allies!

* For the immediate freeing of Milagro Salas and the withdrawal of all charges against her!

* Down with the threats of dismissal for women workers of Cooperatives!