Argentina: jailed activists on hunger strike

On Sept. 7, hundreds of Argentines rallied in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires in solidarity with jailed activists Fernando Esteche and Raul Lescano, who have been on hunger strike since Aug. 21 at the Ezeiza prison. Esteche and Lescano, members of the radical leftist group Quebracho Patriotic Revolutionary Movement, are demanding they be released pending trial. The two were jailed on Apr. 5 for a vandalism attack on the party offices in Buenos Aires of Jorge Sobisch, rightwing governor of the southwestern province of Neuquen, during a march organized by Quebracho to protest the police killing of high school chemistry teacher Carlos Fuentealba. Police shot Fuentealba in the head at close range with a tear gas canister at a demonstration on Apr. 4 in the provincial capital of Neuquen; he died on Apr. 5. (Quebracho news release, Sept. 8)

According to the Buenos Aires daily Clarin, about 50 members of Quebracho marched again on Sept. 14 in Buenos Aires to demand freedom for Esteche and Lescano. Quebracho’s website says 5,000 people participated in the march. (Clarin, Sept. 15; Quebracho news release, Sept. 14)

Earlier on Sept. 7, three Argentine activists who had been jailed since Aug. 22 were released by the courts in Comodoro Py. Facundo Escobar, Martin Ravazzano and Jose Paz had been detained with 11 other activists, including former Montonero member Roberto Perdia, for incidents that took place during an Aug. 22 demonstration at the Plaza de Mayo. The other 11 activists had been released on Aug. 24. (Quebracho news release, Sept. 8; Clarin, Aug. 28)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 16

See our last post on the struggle in Argentina.