Argentina: The struggle continues in Jujuy


A major struggle broke out last month in the province of Jujuy, in northern Argentina, against a proposed constitutional reform and on behalf of the struggles of state workers and teachers, as well as the peasants and Indigenous people of the region. The protests have been attacked with force by the authorities.

Our comrades in the Unified Socialist Workers Party (PSTU) in Argentina report that the provincial government and its courts have undertaken a hunt for protesters, movement leaders, and even human rights lawyers. Detainees have often been taken to maximum-security prisons and held incommunicado. Some have been charged with sedition, a charge that carries a sentence of up to six years in prison. As a result of a campaign for their freedom, some protesters have been released in recent days—but they remain in danger.

We are publishing here an article that explains the background to the events in Jujuy. It appeared on the site of the International Workers League – Fourth International. Below that, we reprint a statement by Amnesty International.


At the end of June the “jujeñazo” took place, a large mobilization that combined the struggle for wage increases for teachers and state workers with a democratic struggle against the new constitution proposed by Governor Gerardo Morales and voted on by the provincial legislature. It was also joined by the anti-imperialist struggle and the fight against the plundering of natural resources (lithium) and its consequences in the destruction of nature and the livelihoods of thousands of peasants belonging to the Indigenous peoples of the region. The struggle continues and, at the same time, has brought us important lessons [1].

The first of them is that the two political coalitions into which the Argentine bourgeoisie has divided itself (the Peronist Unión por la Patria, currently in the national government, and the right-wing opposition of Juntos por el Cambio, to which the governor of Jujuy belongs) are two variants of the same thing. That is to say, both are working to keep Argentina subject to the IMF and imperialism, to hand over the natural resources for their plundering, and to repress the workers’ and popular protests against this situation and its consequences.

Their collaboration became clear last year when they voted together in Parliament for the servile agreement with the IMF, which in order to be approved, was verbally translated from its original in English by the Peronist Minister Guzmán! In addition, the provincial Peronist bench of Jujuy has helped to approve the submissive and repressive constitutional reform of Gerardo Morales.

Within this framework of submission and surrender, the extraction of oil and gas and the development of large-scale mining (especially lithium) have become incredibly important. This is not only because of the strategic value of lithium for imperialism but also because it offers this “national” bourgeoisie a space to obtain a small slice of the pie that will allow it to survive and enrich itself while maintaining the broader country in a situation of submission and surrender.

Thus, everything has been put into the service of this project. For example, the extraction of oil and gas from the gigantic hydrocarbon deposit Vaca Muerta in Neuquén, which uses the destructive process of fracking to obtain it, is now being used in the large-scale lithium-mining project along the Andes Mountains. Even now, the Néstor Kirchner gas pipeline that flows from Neuquén to the north has been built, and they want to connect it with the “reversion” of the Northern Gas Pipeline (which would also flow to the north of the country) to supply gas to the lithium extraction mines [2].

The great beneficiary of this “reversion” is the company TGN, which is owned by a conglomerate of Argentine investors, and has an important influence in the transport of gas in the country and in Mercosur [3]. In the case of the construction of the Néstor Kirchner gas pipeline, the big winner has been the Techint group, which is owned by the Rocca family. Techint is one of the large “national” conglomerates, and one of the main players in steel, railway transport, and infrastructure construction [4]. For this work, Techint was favored with contracting conditions that violate Argentine labor legislation.

At the same time, Techint has always held a decisive weight in the policies of all the bourgeois governments of the last decades (be they “right-wing” or “national and popular”). Their influence will no doubt be maintained by whoever wins the next elections because the Rocca family has full control of the powerful UIA (Argentine Industrial Union) [5].

Other lessons from the Jujuy struggle

The Jujuy struggle has confronted imperialism’s unity, the big Argentine companies, and their national political agents. It has been the most important struggle in the country since December 2017, when there were large mobilizations throughout the territory against the Mauricio Macri government’s project of pension reform, which faced harsh repression. It was a struggle in which PSTU [Unified Socialist Workers Party] militants Sebastián Romero (the “mortar worker”) and Daniel Ruiz emerged as prominent figures and, for that, were persecuted and imprisoned by the Argentine justice system [6].

In addition to the political lessons we have already referred to, there are lessons to be learned from the development of the struggle in Jujuy itself. It was a process that arose from the rebellion of the rank and file against the union bureaucracies and from worker self-organization. It has shown the unity of urban workers (and even the participation of detachments of mining workers) with Indigenous peasant peoples. Having faced harsh repression, it has advanced in the self-defense of the struggle and has even worked to demoralize and break the base of the state’s repressive forces.

The Jujuy strike forced a strike of the bureaucratic CGT** of Jujuy and a national strike of teachers and state workers. If there was no general strike throughout the whole country, it was because of the betrayal of the leaders of the national CGT.

Among its weaknesses has been its failure to form organizations to centralize the struggle and, which explains the latter, the absence of a revolutionary leadership willing to go to the bottom of the fight and dispute leadership in the provinces and in the country.

The present situation

Within this framework, although the struggle has not been able to maintain its highest level of participation and militancy, it has not stopped. The teachers’ conflict over salaries continues, and a group of them has started a hunger strike in the center of the provincial capital, which serves as a reference for the organization of the activists. Something similar is taking place in the neighboring province of Salta [7].

In Jujuy, the peak of the struggle has moved to the interior of the province; pressure from the population forced nine municipal councils to vote for the repeal of the new provincial constitution. In Humahuaca, in the middle of the cordillera, the people took over the municipal building [8]. In addition, community pickets continue to block several highways and international crossings.

What is certain is that the “jujeñazo” has not only changed the reality of Jujuy, but also had a strong impact on the country as a whole. In a year of presidential elections, in which the two bourgeois coalitions (Unión por la Patria and Juntos por el Cambio) will decide which of them will administer the surrender of the country and the attacks on the Argentine people, the jujeñazo has put forward not only the real needs of the workers and the masses but also the struggle as a way to confront this surrender and its consequences. For that reason, it has generated an important wave of sympathy among the working class and poor people all over the country.

The PSTU, the Argentine section of the IWL, calls for the need to deepen this struggle. At the same time, it will take part in the elections with candidacies on the lists of the FIT-U, a coalition of various left organizations which it criticizes precisely for placing the center of its militancy in electoral and parliamentary activity and not in the impulse of the struggles.

The “political profile” of the PSTU is represented by figures like Sebastián Romero and Daniel Ruiz (although they are not candidates). It will use its electoral participation to explain that the way out for the country requires a revolution of the workers and the people to liquidate imperialist plunder and the payment of the debt to the IMF. And further, they will argue that this can only be achieved by expropriating the big multinational and “national” companies (those that rule over Morales and Peronism and dictate their Constitutional Reform). In order to achieve that, it is necessary for the country’s project to be in opposition to dependency on capitalism and subordination to imperialism. This is a project that can only be undertaken by a  Socialist Argentina, without IMF or capitalists, and one that is built by a workers and popular government.

These proposals and this program must be agitated for in those places where the strength of the party allows it, and there must be a systematic effort to spread our propaganda among the working and fighting vanguard.


[2] TGN created a new company to carry gas from Vaca Muerta to the lithium projects in the Puna – EconoJournal


[4] Rocca and Mindlin, the big winners with the gas pipeline (

[5] Techint rules and the economic power is Rocca’s. He ran off the negotiators and took all the important positions in the Industrial Union (UIA) (Página 12) (

[6] See, among other articles



The above article appeared at

Argentina: Amnesty International demands immediate end to state repression in Jujuy

The government of Jujuy Province in Argentina must immediately cease the excessive use of force against those exercising their right to peaceful protest, which has resulted in hundreds of people being injured in recent days, Amnesty International said today.

“The government of Jujuy Province is turning its back on those who are exercising their right to protest against the constitutional reform, sending in the forces of law and order to use repression to fix a problem that should be resolved through dialogue. The security of the population cannot be guaranteed by violating human rights,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

Since the start of the protests against constitutional reform and for teachers’ salary demands in Jujuy, a province in northern Argentina, the provincial police have responded with excessive use of force, indiscriminately using rubber bullets, tear gas and physical violence against the population, especially against Indigenous people and campesinos (rural farmworkers).

On 15 June, the Constitutional Convention approved a fast-track constitutional reform that left no room for public participation or consultation. A process that was intended to include at least 90 days of debate was completed in just three weeks, and without releasing the final text until the day of its adoption.

After its approval, demonstrations against the reform took place in various locations around the province. The repression of these demonstrations has already left hundreds of people injured, including a 17-year-old boy who lost an eye after being shot with rubber bullets by the police. Furthermore, according to official information, more than 60 people have been detained, many of them charged with the crime of “resisting authority”, which is generally used to restrict social mobilizations and the constitutional right to petition and demonstrate against the authorities.

The authorities of Jujuy Province must guarantee the rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression and refrain from excessive use of force in response to demonstrations across the provincial territory. In addition, it is imperative that allegations of human rights violations committed by the police in all the protests around the province be investigated promptly, thoroughly, independently and impartially.

Amnesty International also calls for the publication of full, detailed and disaggregated information on the number of people injured and detained, as well as the charges against them. It further urges the authorities to address the structural causes that have led various sectors of the population to demonstrate in defence of their human rights. The organization calls on the provincial government to promote a space for genuine dialogue with all actors involved, ensuring the effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, trade unions and teachers’ organizations, in particular, so that the key issues for the people of Jujuy can be discussed in sufficient depth.

Some of the issues that have raised concern among the population and human rights organizations relate to proposals for reform linked to:

  • the regulation of social protest and a prohibition of different forms of public demonstration by the people, such as “street and road blockades” and “any other disturbance of the right to free movement of persons”, invoking the “right to social peace”
  • environmental matters, including the water regime, ownership, authorizations and licences for environmental exploration or exploitation
  • Indigenous Peoples’ exercise of consultation, participation and territorial ownership.

Although the clauses associated with the direct participation of Indigenous Peoples were finally removed, this does not exclude the fact that the entire text should be submitted for consultation with the communities and other social actors, as required by international law. — Amnesty International

Photo: Luis Robayo / AFP / Getty Images


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