Education International has joined Argentinian education trade unionists to call on their national public authorities to find Santiago Maldonado, who disappeared while participating in a march.
Education International’s Latin America (EILA) region is carefully following the case of Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old craftsman who disappeared on 1st August after a vigorous police intervention in Patagonia, while he was exercising of his right to peaceful protest. The march was organised by one of the Mapuche communities over the devolution of their ancestral lands. These lands are now occupied by the Benneton family, owners of the Italian Garment mark of the same name.
Evidence gathered points to a kidnapping and forced disappearance in the hands of state police forces, which deeply worries EI, as this would mean the return of the worst of an era believed to have been overcome. This concern is fueled by repressive actions from the Argentine State’s forces during the demonstration to protest Maldonado’s disappearance held on 1st September in the Plaza de Mayo, in the capital city Buenos Aires, EILA regional leaders note in their statement dated 5 September (in Spanish).
Defending quality public education, and the right to freedom of association and the guarantee of decent working conditions for the labour sector of education as an essential condition for guaranteeing democracy, equality, social justice and human rights, the EILA top unionists hold Argentinian authorities accountable, and blame the national government for “the excessive and unnecessary violence that police forces applied against demonstrators while they were leaving the scene peacefully”.
The EILA also supports the national campaign carried out by the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina (CTERA) in all the schools of the country to find out “Where Santiago Maldonado is?” This campaign began on 30 August, International Day of the Disappeared.,
The EILA fully backs up its national affiliated organisations, CTERA, the Confederación de Educadores Argentinos (CEA) and the Federación Nacional de Docentes Universitarios (CONADU), in their just demand that the Argentine National Government ensures that Santiago Maldonado reappears alive.
The hashtag #SantiagoMaldonado, as a digital rallying cry, has already been cited more than 460,000 times, according to the Argentine media.