After two personal interviews in the Marcos Paz prison, for my third interview with Daniel Ruiz, this time on the phone, he is back in his native Comodoro Rivadavia. Already free, Daniel tells us about the conditions of his release, his bonds with other inmates in prison, the struggles in his province – on fire because of the economic policy of Mauricio Macri and Mariano Arcioni, and his expectations on the October 27 elections, in which he participates as a National Deputy for the FIT-Unity.

By Luis Brunetto – El Furgón


EF: – How do you feel after achieving your release?

DR: – I have contradictory emotions. The fight for my freedom and the solidarity I felt made me recover trust in many things. I am really glad, just like my family and comrades, for leaving Marcos Paz thanks to a unified struggle, and the solidarity inside and outside the country, in many places of the world.

EF: – What conditions did the Court set?

DR: – I have to provide an address near Capital Federal, from where I cannot be absent for more than 24 hours without the Court’s authorization. I have to be present in all hearings and not leave the country. We told the judge I am from Comodoro Rivadavia, and here is where my family is, so he authorized for me to stay here until October 25. Of course, we will continue to object these conditions, that they told us are common to all prisoners, because I am a political prisoner, so it is a fake, manipulated cause. So we will continue to fight for conditions, asking the support of all Human Rights’ bodies, parties and unions.

EF: – In jail, you organized your fellows and together you gave some fights to improve your living conditions. Will you continue doing this?

DR: –  In jail I made a lot of friends. I learnt there is struggle in there too. The adjustment conditions reached all sectors of the society, and this worsened the situation of the prison population. So, while I was there, we organized and made some struggles, achieving things. The bonds we built will continue, and we committed to moving forward, fighting for those deprived of their liberty. Of course, the real solution is in the construction of a new society, another type of country, but meanwhile we need to struggle for those deprived of their liberty to do their sentences in dignified conditions.

EF: – What is your analysis of the current crisis in Chubut?

DR: – The situation in the province actually hurts me a lot. I went downtown today and I saw many stores closed, when here they were always open Monday to Monday, because there was too much movement – of workers and of all kind. To see that shocked me. Here, workers are paying the consequences of the economic plan of Mauricio Macri and Mariano Arcioni: they indebted the province, they gave it away, and now they want to bring mega-mining as a guarantee to get new credits from the foreign bank, although this only brings contamination and destroys the environment. This is why we need to continue supporting the struggle of State workers and teachers, who still pose the word of order “Out with Arcioni”. Because he has to leave.

EF: – How do you judge your union’s leadership support to Arcioni?

DR: – Just like at a national level Macri is one blow away from knock-out and the bureaucrats gave him a truce, the same thing is happening in Chubut. Not only the bureaucracy of the oil sector, which created a para-military group to hold Arcioni’s back, but also the leaders of the Unionist Roundtable Unity [Mesa de Unidad Sindical], also giving a truce to the governor, with measures too far away from what is needed to win the conflict. The only solution for the province is for Arcioni to leave, as he has been ruling for over four years, and we cannot wait for the elections. I insist that this is responsibility of the MUS, which does not pose as a goal to take him down, not even when he continues to indebt and destroy the province and imposing mega-mining. We need to tell the truth to the people: not only the Jorge Ávila gang but also the MUS are responsible for Arcioni to remain in power.

EF: – What is the situation of the oil industry?

DR: – There seems to not be much movement, now. The companies seem to be betting it all in Vaca Muerta, and in the oilfields of the Gulf basin they are doing the minimum necessary. The levels of profitability are huge. If we think of how much the dollar and oil barrels increased, and that wages are still in Argentine pesos…. We should demand an investment plan to all operators, and from there the creation of new jobs. We should be debating oil investment and revenues. This should be the first topic in the agenda. But it is not. So the unions should go out to struggle and unify this struggle with State workers’ conflict, taking place not only here but also in Santa Cruz and the entire region of the Patagonia.

EF: – You said in another interview that the freezing would shatter the structure of costs of the oil companies, and that is why they resisted it…

DR: – Oil companies, the bureaucracy and the governors unified to present writs of amparo, in this regard. But here the oil companies did not question the government when they received subsidies, and they made a lot of money. What the oil companies should do is hand over part of its profits to solve the State workers’ issue. Like this, you would reactivate small commerce, and you could start developing the region. But no one will do this except workers. In this situation is when they show their true face, the interests they defend. They want everything to stay the same. It is time for us to pose that the natural resources belong to the people, and they should serve the people’s interests. This is what the oil Union should do, but they will only do it once the Oil Federation is re-founded, as a democratic federation relying on rank and file assemblies, with revocable mandates. It cannot happen for a Secretary General to be voted for a 4-year term and then right away he signs an amendment that gives away all of our achievements.

EF:- You are a candidate to national deputy for the FIT-U. What are your expectations for the October 27 election?

DR: – We are now planning a major event in Comodoro Rivadavia, in my home square, where a poster with my face hangs, as no one took it down. This event will take place on Saturday 19, and I will close the act, where there will also be present our candidates to governor, Gloria Sáez, and to vice-presidency, Romina del Plá, besides other comrades. We will most surely take the poster down ourselves, together with all the organizations that were solidary. Basically, we pose that workers’ and socialist candidatures should serve the working class’ struggles. The main struggle today is the State workers’ struggle, so we place our candidature at their disposal and for their triumph, which is for Arcioni to leave. Only then we will be able to debate how to put the province’s resources to serve the working people.

EF: – And what would you say to Bullrich? Your freedom is a blow to her repressive policy and the cowboy image she pretends to pass.

DR: – First, I want to send a huge hug to Sebastián Romero and his family. Bullrich could not send him to jail, as she wanted to. No one will be able to extort him with my detention, which is the true reason why I was in jail. I know my freedom shocked many people, beginning by Patricia Bullrich, who captured me as a hostage. Today, they are leaving repudiated by the people, while I feel the solidarity of my fellow workers grow stronger and stronger. In this unequal fight of the State against me, against Sebastián Romero, César Arakaki and Dimas Ponce, the workers’ struggle and unity, nationally and internationally, showed that a triumph is possible. This is the main lesson: the struggle is the way to victory, the only way to socialism, which is the only society in which we can all eat, educate, and be fully happy.


Translation: Sofia Ballack.