July 8, 2016
End Arbitrary Detention of Indigenous Leader Milagro Sala
Ambassador Martin Lousteau
Embassy of the Republic of Argentina
1600 New Hampshire Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Dear Ambassador Lousteau,
We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, are writing to protest the arbitrary detention of Milagro Sala, the founder and leader of the Túpac Amaru Neighborhood Association (known popularly as the Túpac) in San Salvador in the province of Jujuy. Ms. Sala was detained on January 16, 2016 after refusing to vacate a public plaza in San Salvador which historically has been an accepted form of protest.
Currently jailed in a women’s prison 60 miles from her home, Sala is facing harsh and inhuman conditions, including the denial of heat and hot water. Twice she has resorted to a hunger strike to call attention to her plight and that of her sister inmates.
We protest the complicity of Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales and President Mauricio Macri in the unsubstantiated charges that Ms. Sala enriched herself by misappropriating government funds. The only person to assert this is a state legislator, Mabel Balconte. She recanted, declaring her false charges were made under threat of harm to her family by Governor Morales.
The political persecution of the Túpac is not limited to the detention of Milagro Sala. Scores of other members of this community organization have had their homes broken into, have been harshly interrogated, and have been insulted with racial and homophobic slurs.
Organized 16 years ago in response to conditions of poverty, hunger and unemployment intensified by neoliberal policies, the Túpac provided jobs, built schools, opened medical clinics and distributed land to workers. Today, these accomplishments have been reversed. Social services have ended. Schools remain open but salaries have been cut and there is widespread concern that teachers will be fired. School support staff is working without pay. And 20,000 workers have lost their jobs at the hands of the Jujuy provincial governor and the white elite that supports him.
We forcefully protest the jailing of Sala’s two lawyers last April, Luiz Paz and Alberto Badillo. Without a legal team to challenge her detention, Sala will never achieve justice.
We call on you as the representative of the Republic of Argentina here in the United States to convey our protest to President Mauricio Macri and Governor Gerardo Morales. Please let them know that we will do everything in our power to organize here and internationally to demand the immediate release of Milagro Sala and all those facing state repression in Argentina. Until these political prisoners are freed, we will hold you and the government you represent responsible for their safety and welfare.
Stephen Durham, International Secretary, Freedom Socialist Party-U.S.
Radical Women, United States Section
James Lafferty, Fellow, University of Southern California Institute for Humanities and Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild; Los Angeles, California
Val Carlson, Civil Liberties Attorney, Executive Board Member, Seattle Chapter, National Lawyers Guild; Seattle, Washington
Jeff Mackler, National Secretary, Socialist Action and Socialist Action 2016 Candidate for President of the United States; Oakland, California
International Workers Unity-Fourth International/Unidad Internacional de los Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional
Fred Hyde, Administrative Law Judge (retired); Seattle, Washington
Su Docekal, Chair, Freedom for Political Prisoners Committee; Seattle, Washington
Blanca Luthi, Morena en el Exterior; Seattle, Washington
Wendy Pantoja, Northwest Resistance; Tacoma, Washington
Maru Mora Villalpando, Latino Advocacy; Seattle, Washington
Steve Hoffman, Recording Secretary, Washington Federation of State Employees, Local 304; Seattle Washington*
Doreen McGrath, Shop Steward, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 77; Seattle, Washington*
Daniel Rivera, Chairperson, Manhattan Green Party, member, Colectivo Latino at WBAI-FM 99.5 La Voz Latina Radio Program; New York City
Marty Goodman, former Executive Board Member, Transit Workers Union, Local 100; New York City
Susan Williams, MD, Service Employees International Union, Local 10MD; New York City*
Socialist Core: New York City
Ayotzinapa NY; New York City
#YoSoy132 Nueva York; New York City
Tony Savino, Organizer, Dominican Black Lives Matter; New York City
People’s Organization for Progress, New Jersey
Betty Maloney, American Federation of Teachers, Local 481, Newark, New Jersey*
Carole Seligman and Bonnie Weinstein, Editors, Socialist Viewpoint magazine; San Francisco, California
Norma Gallegos, United Educators of San Francisco, California*
Nancy Reiko Kato, American Federation of State, County and Municipal, Local 3299, University of California Hastings College of the Law; San Francisco, California*
Robert Price, American Federation of Teachers Local 2121, City College of San Francisco; San Francisco, California*
Steve Seltzer, Communication Workers of America Media Workers; San Francisco, California*
Mohamed Abozaid, Service Employees International, Local 87; San Francisco, California*
Moisés Montoya, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 21; Oakland California*
Juan Rodríguez, Frente de Resistencia; Los Angeles, California
Puerto Rican Alliance; Los Angeles, California
Sikivu Hutchinson, Black Skeptics and Women’s Leadership Project; Los Angeles, California
Riku Matsuda, Board Member Gender Justice; Los Angeles, California
Nancy Trigueros and Rocco Trigueros Chavez, Mexicanos Viviendo en Vancouver, BC, Canada
Lourdes García Larqué, Australia in Action for Ayotzinapa
Doin’ Time, prisoners’ rights show, 3CR; Melbourne, Australia
Alison Thorne, Amelia Taylor, Denis Mann, Workplace Delegates, Community and Public Sector Union; Melbourne, Australia*
Piergiorgio Moro, Executive Member, Australian Services Union, Authorities and Services Branch; Victoria and Tasmania, Australia*
Debbie Brennan, Radical Women Organizer, Australian Section
Freedom Socialist Party, Australian Section
Anarchist Black Cross; Australia
Dr. Michael Clark, N.B.B.S., F.R.A.C.G.P., Medical Practitioner; Australia
Freedom Socialist Party, New Zealand/Aotearoa Section
*Organizations listed for identification purposes only.