Argentine unions protested Monday in Buenos Aires against the suspected state killings of two of their members, Rodolfo Orellana and Marcos Soria, both murdered since Nov. 22 in Buenos Aires and Cordoba.
Esteban Castro, secretary general of the General Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy (CTEP) said the government is not only responsible for their deaths, but state repression against social protests.
"The government is using rhetoric to promote an iron fist with brutal (economic) adjustments to create this situation. We summon all the organizations that want to stop them with peaceful mobilizations," Castro told the media. The march, which started at the iconic Obelisk of Buenos Aires, is also being organized by the Neighborhoods Standing Up, Classist Combative Current and the Front for Struggling Organizations.
"The government is justifying the killing of the poor who are struggling," Castro told the media.
Rodolfo Orellana was shot and killed last Thursday in Buenos Aires by city police forces, says CTEP, while he and a dozen other organization members were organizing to take over abandoned lands for much-needed housing among the city’s working class. According to the Buenos Aires attorney, Julio Conte Grand said "a bad police act" can’t be ruled out.
The attorney general said last week: "The preliminary autopsy determines that a firearm projectile entered (Orellana) in the area of the scapula and exited through the facial area at the height of the nose." Security forces tried to say "it wasn’t a bullet" that killed the 36-year-old man, but a "fist."
Maria del Carmen Verdu, head of Argentina’s Coordination Against Police and Institutional Repression (CORREPI) said Orellana’s death was a “police execution.”
According to Argentine media, Marcos Soria of CTEP was also shot in the back and killed by police forces, but in Cordova province.
Los movimientos populares marchamos este lunes 26 a las 11 hs. para exigir verdad y justicia por los compañeros asesinados por las fuerzas de seguridad provinciales: Rodolfo Orellana de La Matanza y Marcos Soria de Córdoba.— CTEP (@prensactep) 25 de noviembre de 2018
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"The four policemen who were in (Buenos Aires) and these two in Cordoba, have to be imprisoned," said CTEP leader, Emilio Persico. He said that ultimately the ministries were responsible for the deaths of the organization's members.
In a statement, CTEP said: "Violence and police unrest are one more element of a government policy that every day generates exclusion, poverty, and hunger. Violence was exerted by the security forces on those who do not have access to land, roof, and work."
The Mauricio Macri administration has been slashing funding for entire ministries and laying off public workers by the thousands since the president came to office in 2015. If passed by Congress, his proposed 2019 budget will cut social service spending by 6 percent, culture, and education by 23, and housing and urban development by 48 percent, while feeding the interest of Macri's US$56.3 billion International Monetary Fund loan.
"Once again the national government responds with bullets to the legitimate struggle of the fellow workers who day by day build an organization to fight this model of adjustment and hunger," read the CTEP statement.