Attempts at Censorship at the Very Heart of Provincial Institutions

Two situations which in principle did not seem connected have drawn our attention to the climate of growing intolerance experienced in several provinces of the country.

A legislator from the Province of Jujuy was sanctioned by her peers when she left the House floor in protest after she was not able to make proper use of the floor during a debate when the block of the party in office refused to vote for a statement of repudiation of the scenes of violence which caused the death of a person.

On the other hand, in the Province of Formosa, a hotel of the Círculo de Suboficiales de Gendarmería (the club of the non-commissioned Border Patrol officers) cancelled a lecture by the Auditor General of Argentina, although the hotel had been booked 45 days in advance, on alleged “political reasons.”

The Representative for the Province of Jujuy, Isolda Calsina, has recently reported that the majority block of the party in office in that province promoted sanctions against her in reprisal for having requested the House to issue a statement of repudiation of the scenes of violence which took place in the town of Humahuaca.

Representative Calsina´s request was aimed at repudiating the death of a young man from Jujuy on September 5 during a clash between Humahuaca residents and union militants who had mobilized in order to occupy land in that town.

This same week, in the Province of Formosa, the Auditor General of Argentina, Mr. Leandro Despouy, had to change at the last moment the venue where he would be giving a conference on “Public Control in Argentina” when the hotel Círculo de Suboficiales in that Province (which had been booked 45 days in advance) announced that it refused to host the conference due to “political reasons.”

In both cases society´s most basic rights have been subjugated by those exercising almost hegemonic power in the provinces.

We have already put out a word of warning about democracy being jeopardized in many provinces of our country where freedom of expression is being more and more frequently, whether directly or indirectly, curtailed, especially when such attitudes are not only not repudiated by the national authorities but are rather justified or underestimated by them.

The attitude of the Representative from Jujuy, trying to highlight the significance of peaceful coexistence and total repudiation of any form of violence, truly reflects the grounding principles of our Foundation. Indeed, it is unbelievable that the Legislature, supposedly the highest level of democratic representation and participation, has refused to stand up for such basic premises.

The possibility of hearing the opinion of the President of the Office of the Auditor General of Argentina, a body with constitutional hierarchy, undoubtedly forms part of the right of freedom of information that all the inhabitants of our country have. Thwarting such right by any means is directly against the precepts of the Argentine Constitution, to which this Foundation is committed.

We therefore request the incumbent national and provincial authorities to take urgent action in order to guarantee freedom of expression and repudiate the intimidating events suffered both by the Provincial Representative and the Auditor General of Argentina, while we call upon the rest of society and urge it to continue building upon full democracy day by day.