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NEVER AGAIN challenge our opinion

NEVER AGAIN challenge our opinion

By Hugo Alberto de Pedro

The lawyer Bernardino "Dino" Zaffrani yesterday has managed to get rid of the lawsuit for slander and injury and the economic reparation for one million pesos initiated on July 11, 2002 by the then governor of Santa Cruz and current president of the Argentine Nation, the lawyer Néstor Carlos Kirchner.

"If freedom means anything,
is the right to tell others
what they don't want to hear "
Rebelion on the farm
- 1945 - George Orwell

The lawyer Bernardino "Dino" Zaffrani yesterday has managed to get rid of the lawsuit for slander and injury and the economic reparation for one million pesos initiated on July 11, 2002 by the then governor of Santa Cruz and current president of the Argentine Nation, the lawyer Néstor Carlos Kirchner.

Many have been the voices that have been raised against the criminal action initiated both within our borders and abroad, for example the International Freedom of Expression eXchange -IFEX- Network. For the Association for the Defense of Independent Journalism of Argentina (JOURNALISTS), perhaps the most significant and emblematic opinion has been pronounced a few days after the start of the judicial action, on August 29 of last year, and was manifested in this sense: "We allow ourselves to recall that, in the opinion of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, it is precisely those circumstances that should make public officials more open to criticism and the elimination of crimes of libel and slander advisable. JOURNALISTS considers that if the lawsuit of the governor of Santa Cruz is successful, the reappearance of the crime of contempt would matter, the repeal of which was a democratic conquest of Argentine society. " This association, through its lawyers, has professionally assisted the defendant, which shows a commitment that we all value very much.

The list of those who rose to the occasion would be long, accompanying and demanding the end of the complaint, and as we walked we found the solidarity of many popular organizations, unions, Mothers, human rights organizations, political parties and citizens from all over the world who will be always on the side of the truth without ever allowing censorship and imposed silence to silence their voices, thoughts and ideals.
As we have been arguing, and let me say it also fighting, from the beginning of the lawsuit this fact was a clear attack on free expression that did nothing more than hinder and damage the debate and exchange of opinions within the democratic rules that it cost us so much to recover.

The agreement signed at 12:55 p.m. of June 9, 2003 establishes that "The defendant comes to state that the expressions that work in the initial brief by which it is acted on, were overturned without any vocation or intention to offend, but to raise differences of opinion with the handling of public affairs and the state administration, stating that in no sense has he wanted to impute unlawful or criminal conduct on the part of the former Governor. " The content demonstrates an explanation of strict rigor but it does not dent the content and the appreciation of Zaffrani that many of us share. On the part of the complaint, it was only said: "The plaintiff and before the explanations given above, express that it desists from the action promoted, requesting that costs be set in the order caused, to which the defendant agrees."

Unfortunately, it took eleven months, something like 330 days, for a public official to realize that this is not the way to confront the opinions contrary to the actions that are hegemonically carried out. It will surely serve the current and future authorities of Santa Cruz, the mayors and councilors as well as all those who have borrowed power that to sue is to silence, to silence is to hide, to hide is to lie and to lie is to attack the heart of free coexistence of people.
Unfortunately, also, Kirchner has lost a great opportunity to express his will, thought, and full commitment to freedom of expression. He also missed the opportunity to express his decision to fight for the rights that we all have to express our opinion before the press without pressure of any kind or onerous amount that tries to break the opponents of any "regime".

However, it is not the only complaint initiated for issuing contrary opinions and making complaints against the power in the lands of Santa Cruz and we believe it is essential that, as in almost all the actions of the officials during the eleven years of permanence in power by Kirchner , take the same attitude as your political boss and withdraw them immediately.

Once the Zaffrani issue is finished with its file, we must raise our claims so that the former provincial deputy, former vice-governor, former national senator, former director of the Río Turbio Oilfields and today Secretary of Relations with the Provinces-vice minister of the Interior as he was also with Duhalde-, I am referring to Eduardo Ariel Arnold, raise the complaint against the Deputy Secretary of the Río Turbio Sectional ATE, Mr. Silverio Méndez, who surely does not have or had otherwise friendly relations, as someone who wants to intimidate him, with Carlos Saúl Menem, what would be a true crime of criminal or at least moral characteristics.
Nor do we understand how the plaintiff Arnold also tries to emulate by claiming compensation of "fifty thousand pesos" from a worker. This sounds offensive and is an offense to the entire working class on the part of those who have not had the capacity to start the mining industry in our southern latitudes.

So that there is no doubt about Silverio Méndez's thinking, I share an opinion of him: "We thank the people of the engineering faculty, the teachers, the students who are supporting us. They are going to do a very important survey within the mining complex. They have a proposal that is that different exponents can be extracted from coal. That will help us to expand exploitation, have more resources and give two communities a better quality of life. ", As they have also denounced that:" We estimate that Unemployment in the province of Santa Cruz is around 25 percent. As for Río Gallegos, if the temporary work plans disappear - with salaries of between 150 and 200 pesos -, the unemployment rate would rise to 1.9 percent. more than 40 percent. "

This new case has in its guts the perversity of workers' labor, the complainant knows, or at least should know, the circumstances that the town of Río Turbio is going through and that the vehemence of the union leaders is justified in the lack of of responses given by the national and provincial governments, to see how every day the illusion of a life disappears by leaps and bounds, to see how they have been telling different stories for nine years about the way out of the crisis caused by the privatization and concession given to an unscrupulous businessman like Sergio Taselli, in the way that those who were in charge of representing the province in the Supervisory Commission did not take notice of its emptying, of the times they have returned after long days of mobilization and fight to the sinkholes thinking that lies would not flourish again in the Patagonian desert, and other reasons to feel disappointed yes, overwhelmed and humiliated.

Arnold is a seasoned politician and he had on several occasions the opportunity to try to compete against all the political power of his now boss again, so we assume that he is not lacking in an accommodating waist. Yes, those of us who know the reality of the Río Turbio coal mines dare to denounce that we are facing a true genocide of workers' labor and the hopes of thousands of families. We cannot remain silent before this new and surely not the last outrage, because it would confirm or accept the attacks that "they" always carry out on "us".
Surely before next August 29, date of the conciliation hearing between Méndez and Arnold, many of us will be the ones who will make all our possible efforts and much more to desist from this vile lawsuit.

Please "Gentlemen of Power", stop complaining and dedicate yourselves only to the administration of public affairs, which are quite neglected. Do it with transparency, render accounts in a timely manner, denounce the corrupt and scammers that you know better than anyone, set the example and once and for all let us continue to think that democracy, freedom, justice and solidarity will enter someday through that large window that is our country.

NEVER AGAIN challenge our opinion. June 10, 2003

* by Hugo Alberto de Pedro


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