On the 1,000th day of Milagro Sala's detention, unions, political parties and social organizations marched to demand her freedom, on Thursday. To understand her situation on an iconic day, teleSUR had an exclusive interview with the Argentine indigenous social leader Milagro Sala.
"I have fought my entire life so there could be dignity and for the Good Living of all of us," Milagro Sala told teleSUR in an exclusive interview.
Sala is a renowned activist, who is seen as President Mauricio Macri's first political prisoner. She created the Tupac Amaru Organization, which provides housing and other services to informal workers and working-class sectors.
Furthermore, she served as an Argentine legislator between 2013 and 2015, and was later elected to Mercosur’s parliament.
Sala was detained in early 2016 for allegedly instigating violence during a protest against Jujuy Governor Gerardo Morales, which she didn't attend.
Later, different cases were opened against her for alleged illicit association, fraud, and extortion. "What they wanted to do is set an example. They used Jujuy (Argentine province) and Milagro Sala to discipline the leaders and the opposition."
"After, what happened is that a lot of our social movement leaders were afraid - afraid of the Police and the Intelligence services," Sala explained.
Sala reminisced how Argentina was after the last economic crisis that hit the country, "After 2001 our country was destroyed, with huge debts, there was child malnutrition, and an increase in school dropout rates ... the state was a disaster."
However, after different demonstrations and protests, the Argentine population ousted neoliberal and IMF-backed presidents like Carlos Menem and Fernando de la Rua, and elected Nestor Kirchner, form the Justicialist Party, to rebuild Argentina after the severe economic crisis known as "El Corralito" (little Corral).
"We accepted the challenge that Nestor (Kirchner) gave us, to many leaders, of rebuilding a country. It was difficult? It was very difficult. We still had a lot to do? Yes, there was a lot to do. However we did it, and we did it because, not to be in good graces with Nestor, we did it for the wellbeing of Argentines," Sala remembered, pointing to the work done by the National and Popular Project, lead by the social movements and headed by the Kirchners presidents, Nestor and later Cristina.
"When those who are now governing, Macri and his gang - a gang of criminals (...) within two years and ten months they have destroyed our homeland, everything is going backward."
She also told teleSUR that the hardest moment she experienced is the arrival of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the arrival of the U.S. troops in Argentina. "When they arrived, that day I cried from the anger, because that day I felt such a deep fear. Because the big powers came to govern the country (...) they want to take away our Argentine flag and they want to impose on us a colonization flag."
Sala expressed her concern for the liberty and security of Argentines and social movements. "Now they send 'Gendarmería' and Federal Police against the protesters. What will happen when they send the U.S. troops to the streets?"