(In Portuguese and Spanish) Re: More news -and correction- on Salta riots (was Re: More de

Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky gorojovsky at SPAMinea.com.ar
Sat May 13 16:25:23 MDT 2000

En relación a Re: More news -and correction- on Salta riots (wa,
el 13 May 00, a las 17:57, Mario Jose de Lima dijo:

> Caro Nestor
> Na ediçao de hoje da Folha de Sao Paulo - jornal de circulacao
> nacional - a fotografia principal e dos acontecimentos de Salta. A
> chamda, no entanto, funciona como uma condenacao ao movimento popular:
> Diz o jornal:  "Nervosismo abala mercado argentino - A inseguranca dos
> investidores fez o principal titulo da divida externa argentina, o
> FRB, cair 3,8%".
> Isso quer dizer que se ataca os movimentos populares como se faz no
> Brasil quando se diz que o MST preferiu o caminho da baderna e
> publicam "pesquisas" de opiniao publica onde dizem que a "maioria"
> condena as invasoes de terras.
> Depois que os movimentos populares impuseram a FHC o fracasso das
> comemoracoes dos 500 anos da "descoberta" do pais pelos portugueses, a
> imprensa vem priossionando o MST, hoje, a mais consistente forca de
> oposicao no pais.

Pocas cosas más canallescas que nuestras prensas "libres"
latinoamericanas. En particular, los diarios que posan de

De todos modos, hasta ahora, los piqueteros de Salta han logrado una
gran victoria. Qué hará el gobierno mañana? Los títulos públicos de
la Argentina son la respuesta al corte de rutas.

Vieja problemática ésta, en realidad. Ya Nicolás Guillén, tras el
asesinato del líder sindical azucarero Menéndez, escribía en un poema
sobre el alza de precio de las acciones azucareras en Wall Street:
"Sangre Menéndez, sube de precio".

En fin, se vienen días interesantes. La historia ha colocado al grupo
social más irresoluto de nuestro país al comando de un aparato de
Estado que se debate entre el Escila de la violencia de masas y el
Caribdis del crack financiero. En la manga tienen preparada la
dolarización (que además de constituir un crimen de lesa patria es
una puñalada trapera -artera, traicionera- al Brasil).

Si la llevan a cabo, preveo días muy negros. Mientras tanto,
disfrutemos de nuestras victorias a la espera de la final y

Un abrazo,

> Mario
> -----Mensagem original-----
> De: Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky <gorojovsky at inea.com.ar>
> Para: marxism at lists.panix.com <marxism at lists.panix.com>
> Data: Sábado, 13 de Maio de 2000 13:42
> Assunto: More news -and correction- on Salta riots (was Re: More dead
> in Argentina due to repression)
> >En relación a Re: More dead in Argentina due to repression,
> >el 13 May 00, a las 9:52, Mario Jose de Lima dijo:
> >
> >> Caro Nestor
> >>
> >> Tenho acompanhado as informacoes passadas via lista sobre o
> >> movimento grevista e mais esta agora. Aqui, no Brasil, essas
> >> informacoes nao tem qualquer espaco nos jornais de grande porte.
> >> Sao encontradas somente algumas notas sobre o movimento grevista.
> >> Por outro lado, salda-se os "maravilhosos resultados alcancado pela
> >> economia argentina, que alcanca 'niveis recordes de crescimento".
> >> Como podes ver, ha uma evidente solidariedade entre o patronato
> >> evitando a divulgacao de noticias que contradigam os rumos dos
> >> projetos liberais em andamento no continente, onde sabemos serem
> >> esses dois paises - Brasil e Argentina - pecas fundamentais. Tenho
> >> passado para outras listas as informcoes que passastes sobre a gre
> >> e mais essa de Salta. Saludos
> >>
> >> Mario
> >
> >Querido Mario,
> >
> >Te agradezco la difusión de las informaciones sobre Salta. Hoy tengo
> >todo mucho más claro. Voy a redactar a continuación algunas cosas
> >adicionales, en inglés (disculpas, hermano, pero de esta manera
> >pueden enterarse otros más).
> >
> >
> >There have not (REPEAT not) been dead people due to repression. The
> >only dead man, a middle aged truck driver, died from a heart attack
> >some 30 km from the place of the incidents. There is a relation,
> >however, between both events. The truck driver seems to have had
> >heart problems but the tension arising at the preparatives he
> >witnessed from repressive forces, as well as the fear that he might
> >be personally harassed either by protestors or policemen, had
> >something to to with his death.
> >
> >Protestors have been brutally repressed however, and some were
> >harshly hit by policemen after they were arrested.  These policemen
> >are reported to have laughed at them after they were released.
> >
> >Now, on to the social facts. What has happened yesterday at
> >Departamento General San Martín, on the North Eastern corner of Salta
> >Province, was more or less what follows:
> >
> >
> >The riots currently taking place in Salta have one basic origin: the
> >IMF plans.
> >
> >In fact, IMF enforced (or fueled, and certainly financed)
> >privatization of the Argentinian oil company YPF, which does not
> >exist any more, implied for the whole area stretching along route 34
> >(the Argentinian tract of the main road in the Subandean Western
> >Chaco fringe, linking Tucumán with Santa Cruz de la Sierra in
> >Bolivia) the loss of thousands of jobs. And here is where it all
> >began. From a plant of 50,000, the former oil company was jibarized
> >into a 5,000 subsidiary of a Spanish oil company, Repsol. The
> >reduction implied the destruction of the whole complex of
> >technological and engineering development labs that YPF had
> >generated, the absolute loss of control of Argentinian not too
> >extensive oil reserves, and --the death toll for large oil towns and
> >cities such as these in Salta and Cutral Có - Plaza Huincul in
> >Neuquén.
> >
> >Those who were laid off were given some indemnization, with which
> >many fled the area and concentrated in the provincial capital, Salta.
> >Others remained in their home area, but in both cases, as has
> >happened in general with layoffs and "voluntary retirements", people
> >tried to make a new living on driving taxis, on opening up miserable
> >"drugstores" (basically cigarette stands), small groceries, home
> >video rental, or similar occupations.
> >
> >Of course, nine out of ten crashed. The oilfields were practically
> >the only source of urban employment and income in the area;
> >agricultural employment is also scarce and, due to many reasons, out
> >of the horizon of these workers. So that, deprived of any other means
> >of living, people here as well as at many other points in Argentina
> >began to depend on what was known as "Plan Trabajar", concretely a
> >system of subsidies sent by the national state to the provinces, and
> >of course subject to political manipulation by local bosses.
> >
> >The subsidies were miserable (in particular as compared to the wages
> >earned as workers at the national oilfields), some u$s 150 a month,
> >which translated to an average family of four or five means around
> >one dollar a person a day. It should be taken account that in
> >Argentina, and particularly in these areas, urban residents have
> >little or no possibility to develop "survival strategies" upon "non-
> >urban" activities, that is they cannot supplement wages with income
> >from, for example, agricultural activity (not even in the form of
> >maize grown in the backyard!). One dollar a person a day means
> >exactly that: one dollar a day to satisfy every need.
> >
> >Even so, the subsidized economy managed to drag along. In a miserable
> >condition. Residents of Departamento General San Martín (the area
> >that has revolted) voted for the politicians who made the best
> >promises, had a justified distrust of Radical politicians, supported
> >a Peronista provincial governor of name Romero who showed himself to
> >be the best pupil of the IMF (his outrageous and unbelievable
> >privatizations of electric power utilities and water services have
> >been denounced by a comrade of mine, José María Cavallieri, who has
> >been receiving menaces against his life). But Romero received an
> >immense weight of votes from this mostly proletarian area of the
> >province of Salta.
> >
> >How did he answer? By letting some Plan Trabajar subsidies leak into
> >the Departamento. During the Menem administration, he had "cured" the
> >illnesses by resorting to some National Treasury Allowances (ATNs)
> >which, from Buenos Aires, were sent directly by the President to the
> >provinces. These mechanisms were some kind of "undercover" and were
> >accepted by the IMF as a consequence of dealing with Menem.
> >
> >
> >Immediately after the De la Rúa administration took hold of the reins
> >of the State, the IMF and their local representatives were
> >strengthened (and not made weaker).  This was to be a "clean",
> >"transparent", administration. A reasonable general truism, as
> >compared to Menem's dark management of funds, bribes and the like.
> >
> >But what truly lay behind these strong trumpet calls for honesty
> >which gave the Radicals a good deal of their support during the last
> >Presidentials was ambiguous. While most of the voters, and probably
> >De la Rúa himself in part, were thinking in the end of bribery and
> >generalized corruption, the IMF technocrats and the neoliberal gang
> >of economists (that De la Rúa favors to the degree that he has
> >included five of them as ministers) expected that the new
> >administration would put an end to the outrageous mismanagements of
> >ATNs and Planes Trabajar by which Menem, in his characteristically
> >roguish way, had been plastering the situation in the areas most
> >affected by the destruction of Argentina led by the IMF.
> >
> >So that, immediately upon arrival of the Alianza government to power,
> >the Ministry of Economy launched an ambitious plan for further
> >downsizing of the State, further layoffs, and further enforcement of
> >IMF recipes. One of the most important sides of this plan is to put
> >an end to the (from their point of view) outrageous and corrupt
> >practices implicit in the ATNs and to the undesired State
> >intervention that the Plan Trabajar implied.
> >
> >So that, since the very moment when De la Rúa took power, these
> >sources of some breathing air for people in the North were
> >extinguished. In fact, this is one of the very few measures taken by
> >this administration in five months. Almost one eighth of their term
> >has passed by, the most dynamic one, and little more was done but
> >slashing these sources of income.
> >
> >The politicians of the Alianza were thus forced to justify the Labor
> >Code, and the slashing of ATNs and Planes Trabajar in the name of
> >whatever principle they could find handy. The problem was that people
> >do not live on principles, they live on more pedestrian stuff, such
> >as food or clothing. This situation was compounded, in Salta, by the
> >enormously corrupt and despotic administration of the Justicialista
> >governor Romero. All of this put the General Mosconi - Tartagal -
> >Aguaray line on the warpath.
> >
> >[On this, an important aside must be done. In the same manner the
> >Salta oligarchs are probably the most reactionary ones in Argentina,
> >the Salta Justicialism is one of the most anti-working-class
> >fractions of that party; one of the reasons behind this may be that
> >Salta was the only province where a Peronist governor of working
> >class origin ruled, Governor Xamena who was overthrown by the 1955
> >coup (a coup that put José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz to bring Salta
> >back to the past, in what was to be the first incursion into politics
> >of the man who generated today's Argentina after 1976). Xamena and
> >his administration were repudiated by the mostly bourgeois and petty
> >bourgeois leadership of the Salteño Justicialism after the 1955
> >coup.]
> >
> >The protesters resorted to cutting Route 34, and they were greeted
> >with the greatest police brutality by the formations of the
> >Provincial Police and the national troops of Gendarmería. It should
> >be pointed that both protesters and repressors were aware that this
> >time there would be a clash. As one of the representatives of the
> >protesters ("piqueteros") declared yesterday in a radio news show,
> >they knew that the Government could not step back in Mosconi without
> >receiving a nationwide wave of protests. So that when the troops came
> >to the place, they did not adopt a disuasive disposition. On the
> >contrary, they encircled the protesters with a U-shaped formation, so
> >that those who would attempt to escape to the sides would meet
> >policemen blocking their way.
> >
> >What happened, however, was unexpected by the police. First of all,
> >people stood firmly and answered the gassing and shooting troops with
> >stones and sticks. Then, while they receded, they began to receive
> >shelter in the houses along the road. Thus, the policemen ENTERED the
> >houses, and caught the piqueteros who were in hiding. This enraged
> >the whole population of the locality. Shortly after the first clash,
> >a procession by mostly lower middle class inhabitants, who had taken
> >an image of Virgin Mary with them to traverse the police troops
> >without being harassed, succesfuly crossed the lines of the police --
> >and were immediately attacked from behind their backs! This helped
> >put the Church (which in the North is led by a very progressive
> >priest, Bishop Toledo) on our side. Moyano flew immediately to the
> >place of events, and offered solidarity. The CTA leadership menaced
> >with a general strike, which Moyano on his own behalf had already
> >suggested, if repression continued.
> >
> >At the same time, people from Tartagal, Aguaray and Orán began to
> >flock into General Mosconi. Some reports -probably exaggerated, but
> >at any rate indicative of the mood- indicate that in Tartagal, a town
> >around 50,000 or 60,000, one out of five people moved to Mosconi
> >(which lies some 8 km -5 mi- nearby). In the neighboring province of
> >Jujuy, where the Corriente Clasista y Combativa (Struggling Classist
> >Current) led by the Maoist "Perro" ("Dog", a surname earned by his
> >uncompromising negotiation tactics) Santillán is one of the main
> >forces in the union movement, preparatives were made to mobilize
> >towards Mosconi. In the provincial capital of Salta, at the same
> >time, mobilizations were taking place, with increasing momentum,
> >against the repressors.
> >
> >So that the whole thing, in less than 24 hours, was mounting to a
> >mini-regional upheaval combined with a menace of national strike. Too
> >much.
> >
> >
> > While the Justicialist governor of Salta, Romero, felt forced to
> >abruptly cut a trip he was doing in Israel (in fact, he seems to have
> >had decided to leave on vacations because he smelled the riots
> >beforehand, and did not want to be in Salta by the moment they took
> >place), De la Rúa called for an emergency meeting of the Government.
> >As a result of this meeting a commission from the National Government
> >was sent to negotiate with the piqueteros.
> >
> >Please pay attention to this: this is the first _independent_
> >political move by De la Rúa to stop a fire. Up to now, all he has
> >been doing is to acquiesce by the orders emanating from the IMF,
> >under pressure of a "currency shock". And this move is to send a
> >national delegation to carry on conversations with a tiny group of
> >rebels in a forlorn area of a province devastated by the very
> >measures that De la Rúa himself has been backing, at least in his
> >immobility, since he took power.
> >
> >This first independent move has some interest. The negotiators (all
> >of them of the first level at the National Administration, Drs.
> >Becerra, Cevallos and Viqueyra) have just reached some basic
> >agreements, all of them accepting the claims by the piqueteros.
> >Troops are being demobilized, intervention of the corrupt local
> >municipalities will be fostered by the National Government (these
> >interventions must be made by Provincial powers, Argentina is a
> >federal country), and redress will be sent for people who have not
> >been receiving a single coin since De la Rúa took power.
> >
> >The political consequence of this was resumed by Becerra: "Now, we
> >know, we shall have to receive the same complaints from every corner
> >in the country".
> >
> >What next? This has been a kind of partial victory of the piqueteros,
> >at least up to this moment. But the crude fact is that the model does
> >not allow for any concession. Whether De la Rúa is decided to slowly
> >take the reins and begin to establish some kind of independence from
> >the IMF -tnanks to the opposition from the popular masses- or he will
> >finally decide to lead a four year administration of increasingly
> >bloody confrontation, remains to be seen.
> >
> >In the meantime, people starve and the foreign debt payments are duly
> >met, Argentinian firms bust and foreign concerns get fat on their
> >exactions. And the old mole is still working.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
> >gorojovsky at inea.com.ar
> >

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at inea.com.ar

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