The case of Sonia Colman, a typical example of “easy trigger”, affected us directly for Sonia and her husband Antonio had been militants in our trend for over 20 years. What follows are quotations from an article in our paper, Avanzada Socialista.

“23 December 2007, Sonia Colman was assassinated by B.A. Province police officer Oscar Alberto Benitez who started shooting in a busy street where Sonia was working as vendor.

(…) Her family immediately appealed for solidarity from political and social movements. We demanded jail for the murderer because the “justice” let him off concluding it was “an accident”. After nearly four years of struggle, Antonio and his daughters managed to put Benitez in the dock (…) On 5 September we gathered in front of the Tribunal of San Isidro and cheered proudly when we heard the sentence: 8 years and 6 months jail (…) He was handcuffed and taken to prison immediately. (…) Now we must double our actions and go for more because now we know that with joint demonstrations we can send murderers to jail.”

Julio Lopez … the man who vanished twice

In the 70s, Julio Lopez was a Peronist bricklayer. He was kidnapped in 1976 and held in captivity until 1979. Then he was set free and never returned to political activity but he never forgot the brutality and injustice suffered. He was a key witness in the trial of his torturer Miguel Etchecolaz, who was being tried for his participation in the genocide. But Etchecolaz’s accomplices are still in the police force, and they know that if the whole truth is known, they will also  have to pay for what they did. So Julio Lopez was kidnapped once more.

Following the pretence of a brief investigation they gave up the pretence of seeking justice and joined sham mourners who say, “There is nothing else we can do. He is missing person number 30,001.” They ignore the fact that this disappearance took place during the presidency of Nestor Kirchner, husband of our graceful reigning Cristina, who still collects interests for her participation in the fake defence of human rights.

Last 18 September, on the 5th anniversary of Lopez’s second disappearance, there were no Peronist flags on the demonstration marching from the Congress to the Pink House. Several blocks along the Avenida de Mayo were red with our flags, and some green flags. Here they did not stand for the ecologist Greens but for a small dissident Peronist group.

I remember what Bill Hunter once said, “Nature and politics loath vacuum”. Cristina left the human rights position vacant. It is there for us to take before another great pretender does.

Outsourcing repression

Cristina knows that public education and health service are in ruins, that people are getting impatient about their pay, that new trade union leaders are appearing and replacing the old bureaucrats and she is running out of her old tricks.

When outsourced railway workers demonstrated demanding to be put overtly on the railway payroll one of these tricks backfired. The workers decided to organise a sit-in on the rails forcing the trains to stop, a group of left militants accompanied them, so the red flag was waving in the wind. Then shots were heard and three of the militants fell, one of them, Mariano Ferreyra was mortally wounded. All the police had done was to clear the space. It was football hooligans in the service of Pedraza, a railway trade union bureaucrat and entrepreneur in the privatisation, who did the dirty work. He is in jail now thanks to our mobilisation.

Even if the Peronists have given up defending their victims of criminal repression we know it would be suicidal to follow suit. Impunity breeds more crime and any one of us could be the next Julio Lopez or Mariano Ferreyra, or we could be used as “perejil”.

Without struggle there are no victories – so never give up

Ruben Pollo Sobrero and other five members of the union opposition list of Railway Workers’ (Lista Bordó) were released from jail on October 4 because mobilisations demanded their immediate release. The police had tried to frame them by accusating them of having set fire to a train.

The Sarmiento railway links many suburban working class neighbourhoods. Travelling on that line has turned into a nightmare for many workers. In spite of generous grants from the state private lease holders do not invest in infrastructure maintenance which has resulted in trains often breaking down and leaving passengers waiting for hours for the next train to pick them up on their way to or from work.

There have been several outbursts of anger of the long-suffering passengers. Some time ago somebody set fire to a train that could not take them to their destination. Some people said that it was outraged passengers who did it. Others claim that this was a frame-up planned in order to discredit anybody who would dare to complain about the appalling service.

Several months passed (enough to “prepare evidence”) and behold it was the union oppositionist representatives of the “Lista Bordó” who were to blame! However some of them were a long way away when the incident happened.