The Qom, the indigenous people who came to Buenos Aires

By Diego González

, by CIP Americas Program

For more than five months, indigenous Argentinians from the community of Primavera set up camp in the small plazas on The Ninth of July and Avenida de Mayo in Buenos Aires. They came from the distant town of Formosa to condemn the burning of their homes and the assassination of a Qom elder by the provincial police. They came trying to gain some clout by setting up camp at the center of things to make their situation more visible. But the presidency responded with silence and indifference. So they decided that they would begin a hunger strike and march along the 9th of July Avenue to block it.

And then this past April 30, they received an official answer. The day was selected with surgical precision. It was during the afternoon with rain threatening in the distance. The guardians of the news were not on the alert since there would be no daily papers on Sunday, the first of May. In this sleepy ambience, the Buenos Aires legal system issued an order to clear the street. Generally the federal police, an arm of the ministry of the interior, ignore such orders. But in this case, the reaction was swift. A hundred troops surrounded the demonstration and forced the blockade to be lifted. That day, the Qom began the sixth day of their hunger strike.

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