Argentina: Teachers Face Torture and Threats

published 13 September 2018 updated 24 September 2018

Education International firmly condemns the attack on a teacher in Argentina.

Yesterday, on the afternoon of 12 September 2018, Roberto Baradel, Deputy General Secretary of CTERA, an EI member organisation, denounced the kidnapping and torture of Corina De Bonis, a teacher from Moreno, a city in the province of Buenos Aires. The teacher was abducted by a group of unidentified assailants who immediately tortured her, using a sharp weapon to carve a threatening message on her abdomen. Corina works at CEC 801, where she has been unable to teach for over a month due to inadequate infrastructure unsuitable for accommodating students under minimum safety requirements.

Corina, along with a group of mothers and fellow women teachers, organised a soup kitchen so that poor children from Greater Buenos Aires can continue to eat once a day. Moreno is the same city in which Sandra Calamano and Rubén Rodríguez lost their lives earlier this year, on 2 August, due to a gas leak in School No. 49 caused by a lack of maintenance by authorities. Since that fateful day, over 800 schools in Buenos Aires have remained closed for similar reasons. CEC 801 is one of those schools. Corina is one of thousands of teachers who refuses to put her students’ lives in danger by teaching in unsafe, abandoned facilities.

Authorities Must Take Action

Baradel has declared that this is “a serious tragedy that took place in a democratic state”. He has communicated with authorities from the province who he considers "responsible for the safety of all teachers” from Moreno.

The CTERA teachers’ union demanded an immediate investigation into the facts. Sonia Alesso, CTERA’s General Secretary, said: “We are going to mobilise to state clearly never again. We refuse to allow this to happen again; we as teachers will not allow the violence they want to inflict upon those who do not bow down, those who continue to organise and those who refuse to resign themselves to witnessing our students dying of hunger in our schools”.

David Edwards, General Secretary of Education International, stated that “Unfortunately, due to the lack of response, communication and action on the part of Argentinian authorities, tragedies like the one suffered by Corina De Bonis are becoming increasingly common. This climate of conflict and attacks must end now. The lives of teachers and students are at stake. The government must not only protect the lives of all education workers but also do everything within its power to ensure the provision of quality education in safe schools, with teachers who are respected both professionally as well as with regard to their wages and working conditions”. Finally, he again stressed that open dialogue and communication are the key to improving the lives of all.