Community Blog

  • 28 Nov 2017 13:17 | Mentxu Ramilo Araujo

    Desde hace unos años, en torno a la comunidad de personas editoras de Wikipedia están surgiendo iniciativas para incrementar la presencia de mujeres editoras y de contenidos sobre mujeres en Wikipedia, ya que la brecha de género es muy importante: menos del 20% de editoras y de biografías en Wikipedia son mujeres.

    Women In Red (english), Wikimujeres (español), Viquidones (catalán)... y en Euskal Herria, WikiEmakumeok (español y euskara), son algunas de las iniciativas en marcha. En Euskal Herria mensualmente en distintas localidades hacemos wikikedadas para aprender a editar Wikipedia y lograr que más mujeres sean editoras y haya más contenidos y biografías sobre mujeres en Wikipedia y proyectos relacionados (Commons: imágenes; Wikidata: base de datos libre a nivel mundial...). 

    ¿Te animas a participar virtual y/o presencialmente? 

    Próximas wikikedadas: bit.ly/wikiemakumeok 

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wikiemakume/

  • 26 Nov 2017 15:57 | Izabela Zonato Villas Boas
    1. Introduction

    The present essay deals with collective memory in Brazil, thus, will explain the theme of the Araguaia Guerrilla, which occurred during the period of the military dictatorship in the 1970s. The traumatic result was dozens of dead and missing militants, which until today remain missing. Faced with this, the families decided to seek answers and filed a lawsuit against the Brazilian State, first in the Brazilian justice system, and later at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, resulting in the condemnation of Brazil, just in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and not in the Brazilian justice system.

    2. Historical Report - What did the Guerrilha in Araguaia

    The military dictatorship in Brazil was from 1964 to 1985. It happened when the government of President João Goulart (constitutional president elect) was overthrown by the intervention of the military counting on the civilians support, and including with the National Congress, that approved of the coup. For 21 years, Brazil underwent several repressive measures, such as suspension of political rights, dismissal of civil servants and expulsion of military personnel from the Armed Forces. During this period, several operations were made, for example, Operação Limpeza (Operation Cleaning) sought to eliminate all elements identified with the previous period or considered threatening to the objectives of the new regime. In the midst of such repression, several groups emerged against the dictatorial regime, but the one that was most known (later) was the Guerrilha do Araguaia.

    In 1966, about 70 members of the Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B), based on the Chinese and Cuban Revolutions, went to the southern region of the State of Pará known as the Rio Araguaia (Araguaia River) region. Their objectives were to organize an initial base of work, without the assistance of the public power, without schools, hospitals, etc., in order to educate the local population to transmit political doctrines such as the implantation of socialism in Brazil through the armed struggle.

    These militants were already persecuted politicians, and the Guerrilla of the Araguaia was a movement against the military dictatorship in Brazil. After arriving in the Araguaia region, there were a total of about 90 people, including militants and local people, who joined the movement.

    Before the fighting began, during the military dictatorship, there were about six military operations made by the Brazilian Army, Navy and Aeronautics, to repress this movement in the place. These operations happened underground, without the society or the press knowing or knowing the existence of the Guerrilla at that time. And, because of this, most of the members were killed by the repressive organs of the military government in Brazil at that time, because in that time the express order of the then President of the Republic, General Medici, was that "no one should leave alive". (1)

    After 1979, with the Amnesty Law (Lei de Anistia) in force in Brazil, the relatives of these dead and disappeared bodies, waited for their returns, and since this did not happen since they were all dead, after 1980, these relatives began to look for their loved ones and they discovered that the vast majority of them had disappeared, in fact been killed, in that region of Araguaia.

    Their bodies were never found, with the exception of two found until today. One of the bodies was Maria Lúcia Petit, who died in June of 1972 (22 years old) in an ambush and her remains were identified only in 1996. The other body located was the one of Bergson Gurjão. These are the only two dead and later identified, who had a dignified burial given by their relatives.

    And in 1982 the relatives of those who disappeared in the region of Araguaia filed a Civil Action against the Brazilian State to find out where their relatives were, but were not successful in this request, because the internal requirements in justice never had the attention they deserved on the part of the Brazilian State, the process lasted until 2008.

    3. The case in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

    In times of postmodern (globalized and universalized) the decisions of the Supreme Court of Brazil (Supremo Tribunal Federal – STF) when talking about human rights no longer means the last word, because above the Brazilian Judiciary is the inter-American Human Rights System. This system is composed of two organs: the Inter-American Commission (Washington) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Costa Rica). In Europe the situation is similar to that of the European Court of Human Rights.

    This is because, in 1992, Brazil ratified the American Convention on Human Rights of 1969, known as the Pact of San José of Costa Rica, without any reservation. Therefore, when the rights provided for in the Convention are not covered by the Brazilian courts, it is possible to appeal to the Inter-American Commission, which becomes a kind of legal "5th instance" for Brazilians. (2)

    The violations of human rights not covered by the Brazilian Judiciary must be brought to the attention of the aforementioned Commission, which resolves the matter or forwards it to the Inter-American Court (like in the Araguaia Case).

    The Case Gomes Lund and others ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brazil, Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Brazil, a sentence on November 24, 2010, for the arbitrary detention, torture and forced disappearance of 62 people, including members of the PC do B and local farmers.

    The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, following its jurisprudence in relation to Argentina, Chile, and respecting the rights of victims and their families, decided that crimes against humanity (deaths, torture, disappearances, etc.) condemned by State agents during the Brazilian military dictatorship (1964-1985) must be properly investigated, prosecuted and punished.

    The Court  understood that the judicial remedies of the relatives of the victims to obtain information about the facts were not effective to guarantee them access to information about what really happened in Araguaia, and more than that, the legislative and administrative measures adopted by the Brazilian government, such as the enactment of the amnesty law, only restricted the right of access to information to these relatives. (3)

    The first achievement with this decision is that the Brazilian Amnesty Law no longer has the legal value to prevent the investigation of the crimes committed by state agents (dictators or those who have acted on behalf of the dictatorship). (4) This means that it should no longer continue to present an obstacle to the investigation of the facts of this case, nor to the identification and punishment of those responsible, nor can this law have the same or similar impact on other cases of serious human rights violations enshrined in the American Convention. (5) 

    The Court condemned Brazil for people that were dead and disappeared due to occurrences in the Araguaia Guerrilla during the military dictatorship, and in 2010 already blamed the country, stipulating that it should prepare a report with the reparations provided for victims of the disclosure by March 2015.

    The Brazilian Amnesty Law that impedes the investigation and sanctioning of human rights violations has no legal effects, as it is incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights.

    After the decision, the country should eliminate all legal obstacles, including this Law, so that it does not prevent the victims access to information, truth and justice, since the right to access memory and justice.

    Thus, the main condemnations of the court are to initiate relevant investigations into the facts of the Araguaia Guerrilla, determine the material and intellectual perpetrators of the forced disappearance of the victims, and ensure the investigations and guarantee the Human Rights Education in the Armed Forces. (6)

    The court also ordered that Brazil designate the "day of the political disappeared", when activities were carried out to remind people who disappeared during the military dictatorship, to help raise awareness of the seriousness of the events and to ensure that they do not recur, and the designation of the commemorative date mentioned at the national level would be added to the commemoration of the International Day of the Political Disappearing, which takes place on August 30 of each year. (7)

    4. Collective Memory

    In Brazil, official policy of preserving the memory of the military dictatorship faces great difficulty. This should be done through the commemorative practices, for example, monuments with names, commemorations, collections, archives, museums, laws, decrees, national holidays, day of remembrance, books, special TV programs, parades, activities by the educational system, etc. The archiving of the documents of this period faces difficulties in individual actions and serious governmental policy of preservation and archiving. (8)

    After the dictatorial regime, in February 15, 1991, Brazil promulgated a national decree (Decreto nº40/1991), after the ratification, making valid the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

    Even today, the soldiers of the time who are still alive insist on omitting reports about Guerrilla warfare, and this contradicts the well-known precept that history is usually told by the victors. Thanks to the oral tradition it is possible to know the history of the Guerilla, otherwise the memory of the guerilla would be erased. (9)  In light of this, it can be said that most of the information available on the guerrilla today is due to journalistic matters, which preserved memory and avoided forgetting.

    According to Brazilian Criminal Law, no one is obliged to create evidence against himself, which makes it difficult for the facts confessed by the military and some also for the militants, such as articulation, torture, execution, concealment and disposal of mortal remains.

    Of course there are exceptions, such as published books and testimonials provided. As an example we have the book of Colonel Licio Maciel, who worked in the fight against the Guerrilla, told his story after 30 years, and the book of captain aviator Pedro Cabral, helicopter pilot, who published "Xambioá - Guerrilha do Araguaia" confirming that participated in so-called 'cleaning operations', transporting bodies to be burned in the Serra das Andorinhas. But the key characters didn’t give testimony, which means that the problem cannot be completely solved.

    The Brazilian State also published a book on the dictatorship, Direito à Memória e à Verdade (Right to Memory and Truth), dedicating 76 pages exclusively to the narrative of the events of the Araguaia Guerrilla. (10)

    Among the museums that keep the history of the Guerrilla, there are the archives organized in the nearby Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi – nearby the Araguaia region –, which has the intention of making available to the general public all collected material, such as interviews, maps, sketches, photos and documents. The intention is to connect this collection with other archives and memory centers that already exist or are being deployed in Brazil, such as Memorial da Anistia Política no Brasil. In addition, it should join efforts for the preservation of memory that are being undertaken in the region, such as the small Museu da Guerrilha do Araguaia (Araguaia Guerrilla Museum), in São Geraldo do Araguaia, and the Instituto de Apoio aos Povos do Araguaia (IAPA - Araguaia Peoples Support Institute), in Xambioá.

    But there are also memorials and tributes to the soldiers killed in combat, for example, with the militants of the Araguaia Guerrilla. Among these honors we can find the website Museu Vítima dos Comunistas (Museum Victims of the Communists).

    On May 15, 2008, the Minister of Justice, Tarso Genro, signed the ordinance establishing the Memorial da Anistia Política no Brasil (Political Amnesty Memorial in Brazil). The memorial should have been built by 2010 and house a documentation center with collections from the repression periods between 1946 and 1988, as well as all Amnesty Commission files. It should also promote actions to promote the research and publication of socially relevant materials on the struggle for democracy in Brazil. (11) But as of January 22, 2016, there is still no Memorial, as on this date the Banco Nacional do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (National Bank for Economic and Social Development – BNDES) approved financial support of R$10 million for its creation. (12)

    In Recife, the monument "Tortura Nunca Mais” (Torture Never Again) is the first monument of the type built in the country in honor of the dead and disappeared politicians and victims of the military dictatorship installed in Brazil in 1964. In Porto Alegre the City Hall inaugurated the Memorial aos Mortos e Desaparecidos (Memorial to the Dead and Disappeared). In São Paulo, the Memorial da Resistencia (Memorial of the Resistance) was inaugurated in the building where the Department of Political and Social Order (DOPS) operated, which was one of the most feared places of repression of the military dictatorship in the city of São Paulo.

    It is important to say that the existence of the crimes committed by the Brazilian State is indisputable, since the very existence of the Associação dos Torturados da Guerrilha do Araguaia (Araguaia Guerrilla Torture Association), in the city of São Domingos do Araguaia, is already evidence of this violence. That is why it is important to emphasize the collective memory not only local but also national so that the event is not forgotten - as they still want sectors of the State.

    After the condemnation by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, those who died during the military dictatorship won a monument in Belo Horizonte - The first of ten monuments to be erected in Brazil to honor the dead and missing politicians in the struggle against the military dictatorship. (13)

    In 2014, at Ibirapuera Park, one of the most visited in the city of São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, was inaugurated a monument with names of 463 dead and missing during the period of military dictatorship. The monument is located near the gate 10 of the park, making neighborhood with the Comando Militar do Sudeste (Southeastern Military Command), which at the time of the dictatorship was known as the Quartel Gerenal 2 do Exército (Army's Gerenal Quarters 2) and also with the former Destacamento de Operações de Informação - Centro de Operações de Defesa Interna (Deployment of Information Operations - Operations Center of Internal Defense – DOI-Codi), considered one of the greatest torture centers of the dictatorship.

    Among the commemorative and remembrance practices we can find: federal government website which is the largest collection on the history of memories of the military dictatorship (14);  a big diversity of documentaries and interviews, for example, the Brazilian documentary “Osvaldão”(15) – which tells the story of the militant Osvaldo Orlando da Costa who was the first combatant to arrive in the region of Araguaia with the mission of establishing a guerrilla group along with other comrades (16) –, the documentary Camponeses do Araguaia: A Guerrilha vista por dentro (Peasants of Araguaia: The Guerrilla seen from within) the movie “Araguaya Conspiração do Silêncio” (Araguaya Conspiracy of Silence). (17)

    Recently, a super series called Os Dias Eram Assim (The Days Were Like This) was reproduced in prime time of Brazilian TV. The story happened at the time of the Brazilian Military Dictatorship, showing images and recordings of that time and showing how the crimes were supposedly committed and how the support of the military was given.

    Among the personalities who fought against the military dictatorship regime are the two former presidents-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff, and the former deputy José Genoino. Genoino was in combat in the region of Araguaia and managed to survive. Nowadays this prisoner, but the doubt as to the reason for his arrest is: is he imprisoned for being corrupt, or not corrupt, but a political prisoner persecuted to this day?

    Peasants of Araguaia received compensation after 30 years, this was based on a work that had hundreds of testimonies on cases of torture, loss of small properties and deaths during the action of the Brazilian military against the guerrilla. These testimonies were collected, filmed and recorded in the Araguaia region by the Comissão de Anistia (Amnesty Commission). In addition, in order to promote moral and not just economic reparations, a public apology was issued in the square of Santo Antônio do Araguaia, in the State of Pará, with the presence of the then Minister of Justice. (18)

    In the year 2009, on June 18, in a public act where hundreds of people were present in the streets of São Domingos do Araguaia, the Amnesty Commission of the Ministry of Justice made public the granting of political amnesty to 44 peasants persecuted for military repression during the Guerrilha do Araguaia.

    After 50 years of the beginning of the military regime, the Comissão Nacional da Verdade (CNV – National Truth Commission) was established in Brazil in 2011, and began work only the following year. The National Truth Commission was yet another of the determinations of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. (19)

    This commission is extremely important because it not only aims to construct the narrative of memory and truth about the practices of violence and repression of the State at that time, but also formulated 29 recommendations with the purpose that the State can promote justice in relation to the crimes occurred in the period, repair symbolic, perfecting democracy and focusing on the non-repetition of human rights violations that occurred in that period. (20)

    5. Collective memory and social-cultural featuring

    It is very important for the community to preserve the memory, so that the gaps are not left are important witnesses of the story and also its protagonists, what causes me not to have a single memory but rather polysemic. (21)

    Currently, Brazil is governed by a democracy, and is also a signatory of international conventions and agreements that deal with Human Rights. In addition, the jurisprudence of international courts demonstrates and serves as a reminder that a country (not only Brazil) needs to know its past and assume its faults.

    Currently in Brazil, the division between parties and followers of "right" (conservative) and "left" (progressive) political parties is very large. Often this is confused with corruption and not with conservatism or progression, which causes the population to end up being divided not by ideals but by supporting a party that is not what is involved with corruption at the moment - this is technically impossible in Brazil, since all parties are involved in corruption.

    For this reason and because of a number of other factors, it is still difficult to know what the truth is in the context of the present and in the past of the country, but one thing cannot be denied that the military dictatorship really happened, unfortunately, there are people who deny that the military regime was a coup, but that it was only a time when there were many uprisings - that's why there were deaths - but that the country's economy improved significantly at that time, but there are also those who say the contrary, which makes complete sense, given that even the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recognized the guilt of Brazil.

    By way of illustration, in my own family the two versions are present, through a person who fought against the regime and another who is retired military, who says that the command of the military is governed with great efficiency.

    The last two president-elects of the country, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Vana Rousseff, who fought and were perceived by the military regime, advanced significantly in respect of the impositions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. But other things were not accomplished, such as the already-mentioned Memorial construction that has been thinking for almost 10 years, and having including authorized money for the construction.

    The current president, Michel Temer, assumed the presidency after several articulations against the president Dilma Rousseff, who ended up being removed from power by having suffered impeachment.

    At the beginning, a large part of the population was supporting the process of impeachment, but after, in the early days of government, it became clear that the concerns of the president are not linked to the memory of the country and neither to the population, personal interests and of great businessmen and politicians.

    Despite the great evolution over the years, Brazil still has a lot to do to keep the memory of those who fought and still have much to do so that the practices of remembering what happened is really remembered so that it will not happen again.


    (1) Marcos José Pinto, A condenação do Brasil no caso da Guerrilha do Araguaia pela Corte Interamericana de Direitos Humanos. Available in: https://jus.com.br/artigos/21291/a-condenacao-do-brasil-no-caso-da-guerrilha-do-araguaia-pela-corte-interamericana-de-direitos-humanos

    (2) Luiz Flávio Gomes e Valerio de Oliveira Mazzuoli, Condenação internacional do Brasil e o dever de investigar os crimes da ditadura. Available in: http://www.migalhas.com.br/dePeso/16,MI123895,11049-Condenacao+internacional+do+Brasil+e+o+dever+de+investigar+os+crimes

    (3) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010, Série C, nº 219, parágrafo 219: Este Tribunal salientou que o direito de acesso à justiça deve assegurar, em um prazo razoável, o direito das supostas vítimas ou de seus familiares a que se faça todo o necessário para conhecer a verdade do ocorrido e, se for o caso, sancionar os responsáveis.  A falta de razoabilidade no prazo de andamento de um processo judicial constitui, em princípio, por si mesma, uma violação das garantias judiciais. A esse respeito, a Corte considerou quatro elementos para determinar a razoabilidade do prazo: a) a complexidade do assunto; b) a atividade processual do interessado; c) a conduta das autoridades judiciais, e d) a afetação provocada na situação jurídica da pessoa implicada no processo.

    (4) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010, Série C, nº 219, parágrafo 253: (...) o Brasil deve adotar todas as medidas que sejam necessárias para assegurar que a Lei de Anistia e as leis de sigilo não continuem a representar um obstáculo para a persecução penal contra graves violações de direitos humanos. Além disso, solicitou que se publiquem os resultados dessa investigação, para que a sociedade brasileira possa conhecer esse período de sua história.

    (5) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010, Série C, nº 219, parágrafo 174: Dada sua manifesta incompatibilidade com a Convenção Americana, as disposições da Lei de Anistia brasileira que impedem a investigação e sanção de graves violações de direitos humanos carecem de efeitos jurídicos. Em consequência, não podem continuar a representar um obstáculo para a investigação dos fatos do presente caso, nem para a identificação e punição dos responsáveis, nem podem ter igual ou similar impacto sobre outros casos de graves violações de direitos humanos consagrados na Convenção Americana ocorridos no Brasil.

    (6) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010.

    (7) idem.

    (8) Joana D’Arc F. Ferraz, Carolina D. B. Scarpelli. Ditadura Militar no Brasil: Desafios da Memória e do Patrimônio. Available in: http://encontro2008.rj.anpuh.org/resources/content/anais/1212961440_ARQUIVO_TrabalhoCompletoanpuhrj2008.pdf  page 2

    (9) Rodrigo Corrêa Diniz Peixoto. Guerrilha do Araguaia and the afterwards war's social memory. Available in: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1981-81222011000300002#back10

    (10) BRASIL. Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República. Direito à Memória e à Verdade. Comissão Especial sobre Mortos e Desaparecidos Políticos. Brasília: Secretaria Especial de Direitos Humanos, 2007.

    (11) Idem, page 3.

    (12) Brazilian Government, Memorial da Anistia Política do Brasil terá R$ 10 milhões. Available  in: http://www.brasil.gov.br/economia-e-emprego/2016/01/memorial-da-anistia-politica-do-brasil-tera-r-10-milhoes

    (13) Hoje em dia. Mortos da ditadura h=ganham monumento em Belo Horizonte. Available in: http://hojeemdia.com.br/primeiro-plano/pol%C3%ADtica/mortos-da-ditadura-militar-ganham-monumento-em-belo-horizonte-1.150554

    (14) Governo do Brasil, Memorias da Ditadura. Available in: http://memoriasdaditadura.org.br/ 

    (15) Portal Vermelho. Celso Sabadin. Osvaldão é filme obrigatório sobre líder do Araguaia. Available in: http://www.vermelho.org.br/noticia/274314-11

    (16) Revista Fórum, Filme narra a historia do comandante da Guerrilha do Araguaia que virou mito. Available in: https://www.revistaforum.com.br/rodrigovianna/vestigios/filme-narra-historia-comandante-da-guerrilha-araguaia-que-virou-mito-na-regiao/

    (17) Filme Araguaya - A Conspiração do Silêncio. Direção: Ronaldo Duque. Manaus. Produtora Paris Filmes. DVD, stereo, color. Duração: 109 min. 2007.

    (18) Governo do Brasil. Camponeses do Araguaia vão receber indenização após 30 anos. Available in: http://www.brasil.gov.br/cidadania-e-justica/2011/11/camponeses-do-araguaia-vao-receber-indenizacao-apos-30-anos

    (19) CIDH, Caso Gomes Lund e outros ("Guerrilha do Araguaia") Vs. Brasil, Exceções Preliminares, Mérito, Reparações e Custas, sentença de 24 de novembro de 2010

    (20) Memórias da Ditadura. Comissão Nacional da Verdade. Available in: http://memoriasdaditadura.org.br/comissao-nacional-da-verdade-2/index.html

    (21) Joana D’Arc F. Ferraz , Carolina D. B. Scarpelli. Ditadura Militar no Brasil: Desafios da Memória e do Patrimônio. Available in: http://encontro2008.rj.anpuh.org/resources/content/anais/1212961440_ARQUIVO_TrabalhoCompletoanpuhrj2008.pdf  page 6.

    Note: This essay was conducted for the evaluation of the course Sociological Analysis of International Law (Prof. Moshe Hirsch - Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

  • 23 Nov 2017 15:51 | Pamela Teutli (Administrator)

    Conoce a nuestra Kuadrilla: Entrevistas con el alumnado de la Maestría del IISJ

    Serie de entrevistas semanales por Pamela Teutli y Emma Hyndman

    Los estudiantes de maestría David López Martínez (Colombia) y Narith Non (Cambodia) son compañeros de cuarto, compañeros de clase y amigos. Platicamos con ellos sobre su relación, que han aprendido en Oñati y sobre lo que su amistad significa para ellos. David y Narith se llevaron bien desde el primer momento y frecuentemente los puedes encontrar cocinando juntos en la residencia o compartiendo notas en clase. Fueron muy amables en ofrecerse como voluntarios para esta primera entrevista de una continua serie llamada “Conoce a nuestra Kuadrilla”. Estas entrevistas buscan que la Comunidad de Oñati tenga la oportunidad de conocer a los actuales estudiantes de maestría. Les hicimos unas algunas preguntas iniciales a David y Narith y luego les dimos la oportunidad de entrevistarse el uno al otro.

    Que lo disfruten!

    *Nota del editor: Esta entrevista ha sido condensada y editada para mayor claridad


    Entrevistadora: ¿Cómo decidieron venir al IISJ en Oñati?

    Narith: Para ser honesto, no sé que hacer con mi vida. Después de graduarme como abogado, quería trabajar en el sector privado pero estaba perdido. Tenía un amigo en Cambodia que estuvo de intercambio de la Universidad de Indonesia y él fue quién me compartió la información sobre Oñati. Decidí aplicar y fui exitosamente aceptado, entonces aquí estoy. Vine aquí a probar y ver que nuevas cosas pudiera aprender.

    Ya han pasado dos o tres meses desde que llegué y encuentro que todo es hermoso aquí, inclusive todo el nuevo conocimiento. Nunca me he arrepentido de haber venido. Todo lo que he aprendido ha sido muy satisfactorio.

    David: El venir aquí ha sido una grandiosa e interesante experiencia. Hay tantos temas por entender, tantas culturas, tantas cosas nuevas que he logrado aprender en tan solo un par de meses. Yo estoy en una situación similar a la de Narith, no tengo idea de lo que quiero hacer con mi vida. En la carrera de Derecho estaba interesado en sociología y antropología. Algunos profesores y amigos me sugirieron venir a Oñati a estudiar porque es el programa más importante de este estilo en todo Europa.

    German Bernal, mi profesor de sociología del derecho, me sugirió por primera vez este programa. El vino a Oñati como visiting scholar hace unos veinte años. Andrés Abel Rodríguez también influenció mi decisión de aplicar a este programa, el pasó tiempo en Oñati durante su post-doctorado. Finalmente, cuando conocí a Mauricio García de XXX, el me convenció que el Instituto es uno de los lugares más interesantes en el mundo para estudiar sociología del derecho.

    David: Ka [el apodo de Narith], ¿cómo haz percibido la multiplicidad de culturas?

    Narith: Hay muchas culturas y personas viviendo aquí, diferentes personas de diferentes lugares. Cuando estaba en mi país, no conocía mucho sobre otros países. Tenía una perspectiva de los Estados Unidos, que no aceptan personas musulmanas, por ejemplo. Pero aquí las personas son muy amables, aceptante a los migrantes. No les preocupa la competencia laboral, y aceptan diferentes religiones y culturas. Son muy amables, creo que esto es algo muy positivo.

    Narith: ¿Cómo te sientes viviendo en Oñati? ¿Cuándo ves a otras personas de Colombia te sientes como en casa o te da nostalgia?

    David: Es una cuestión de sentimientos encontrados. Es bueno el hecho de que hay una multiplicidad de culturas que están combinadas en una región geográfica pequeña. Me impresiona mucho esta situación. Tal vez esto nos está motivando a retener una sensación de unión que va más allá de los espacios continentales. La coexistencia de muchas culturas, muchos contextos, personalidades. Todas las personas tienen algo importante que enseñarnos. En esta maestría aprendes de las experiencias de los demás, de sus visiones, su lenguaje, pero lo más importante aprendes de sus historias.


    Entrevistadora: ¿Qué han aprendido el uno del otro y cómo ha sido su relación como compañeros de cuarto, de clase y amigos?

    David: Para mí ha sido sorprendente que somos tan similares. Compartimos muchas sensibilidades acerca del mundo. He admirado la disposición de Narith de escuchar a los demás en sus diferentes idiomas, su habilidad para aprender. Hay mensajes sobre el budismo que he aprendido de él. Por ejemplo, la idea de que la razón por la que estás vivo es para dar. Escucho las historias de Narith sobre su contexto, la historia de Cambodia con Khmer Rouge, sus costumbres.

    Narith: Yo también he aprendido mucho de ti. David es una persona muy disciplinada! A veces no es tan disciplinado pero una manera positive. Yo pospongo mi alarma si estoy viendo la tele y quiero seguir viéndola en vez de leer, pero David pospone su alarma mientras está leyendo para poder leer más. Siempre quiere seguir leyendo. Yo intento aprender de él pero es difícil. Es muy inteligente y disciplinado. Intento observar la forma en que come, como vive, trato de percibir su contexto en su país. ¿Qué es lo que lo hace así? A veces, cuando me lo cuestionó, se lo preguntó.

    David: Tú tienes muchas frases que me recuerdan a la sabiduría popular en Colombia. Disfrutas la simplicidad de la vida con las personas. Por ejemplo, he admirado tu sensibilidad con la naturaleza. Cuando vamos caminando, tú ves hacía arriba a los arboles y preguntas que tipo de árboles son y las plantas que nos rodean.

    Narith: Yo tengo una razón para ser sensible con la naturaleza, porque vengo de un contexto de agricultura, mi familia trabaja la tierra. Pero tú también tienes un gran amor por la naturaleza, de cualquier tipo! Cuando fuimos a Urrbia no querías perderte la oportunidad de ir hasta la cima, sin importar  que algunos de nosotros estábamos dudando porque hacía mucho frío. Te gusta pasar tiempo en el bosque y ver la naturaleza, aprender de estos lugares y de las personas.

    David: Yo admiro tus historias.

    Narith: ¿Sobre qué?

    David: Sobre todo. ¿Te acuerdas de la gacha?

    Narith: Sí, sí me acuerdo.

    David: Es una historia sobre el sufrimiento causado por la dictadura. Narith me contó sobre la comida que prepara y una forma especial de preparer el arroz--

    Narith: Usamos muy poco arroz para alimentar a muchas personas. Tal vez una taza de arroz sin cocer puede alimentar hasta 5 o 6 personas. Esto comenzó durante la dictadura. La gente se estaba muriendo de hambre porque el gobierno solo daba una taza de arroz para alimentar a cientos de personas y lo empezaron a mezclar con vegetales. David siempre aprecia este tipo de historias.

    "En esta maestría puedes aprender de todas las personas. Su lenguaje, su contexto, pero lo más importante, sus historias".


  • 23 Nov 2017 10:47 | Emma Hyndman

    Meet our Kuadrilla: Interviews with Current IISJ Masters Students

    Weekly interview series by Pamela Teutli & Emma Hyndman

    Current master’s students David Lopez Martinez (Colombia) and Narith Non (Cambodia) are roommates, classmates, and friends. We sat down with them to hear about how they get along, what they’ve learned in Oñati, and what their friendship means to them. David and Narith immediately hit it off, and can often be found cooking together in the residence or sharing notes in class. They were gracious enough to volunteer their time for this first interview in a continuing series called Meet our Kuadrilla. These interviews give the Oñati community a chance to meet current master’s students through themed interviews. We asked a few questions before turning it over to them, giving Narith and David the opportunity to interview each other.


    *Editor’s Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity

     How did you decide to come to the IISJ in Oñati?

    Narith: To be honest, I don't know what to do with my life. After graduating from law school, I wanted to work in the private sector but I was lost. I had a Cambodian friend who participated in an exchange program at the Indonesian University who shared information about Oñati. I decided to apply and was successfully accepted, so now I'm here. I just came here to try it and see what new things I can learn.

     It’s been two or three months already and I find that everything is beautiful here. Even new knowledge. I never regretted coming here. Everything I’ve learned is very satisfying.

    David: It has been a very wonderful and interesting experience. There are so many issues to understand, so many cultures, so many new things I’ve learned in just a few months. I am in a similar situation to Narith. I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I was in law school and I was interested in sociology and anthropology. Some professors and friends suggested I come to Oñati to study because it is the strongest program of its type in the European world. 

    German Bernal, my professor in sociology of law, first suggested this program to me. He came to Oñati as a visiting scholar about twenty years ago. Andres Abel Rodriguez also influenced my decision to apply here, he spent time in Oñati as a visiting scholar during his post-doctorate. Finally, when I met with Mauricio Garcia from the National University of Colombia, he convinced me that the Institute is one of the most interesting places in the world to study sociology of law.

     David: Ka [Narith’s nickname], How have you felt the multiplicity of cultures?

    Narith: There are a lot of cultures and peoples living here, different people from different places. When I was in my country, I hardly knew that many countries. I have a perspective of the US, and I felt that the US doesn't accept Muslim people, for example. But here, people are very kind, they accept the migrants. They don't care about job competition, they even accept different religions and cultures. They are very kind to accept that. I think it is a good thing, after all.

     Narith: How do you feel being in Oñati? When you see a lot of Colombian people do you feel like home or do you feel homesick sometimes?

    David: It's a question of mixed-feelings. It is nice that there is a multiplicity of cultures that are combined in a small geographic region. I am impressed because of this situation. Maybe they are encouraging us to retain a sense of togetherness that goes beyond continental spaces. The coexistence of many cultures, many backgrounds, personalities. Everyone has a lot of things to teach us, in this master you learn for everyone through their experiences, their visions, their languages, but most important their stories.

     Interviewee: What have you learned from each other and what has been your relationship as roommates, friends, and peers?

    David: To me it has been surprising that we are so similar. We share so many sensitivities about the world. I have admired Narith's disposition to listen to people, to the language, his ability to learn. There are messages about Buddhism that I've learned from him. For example, the idea that you are only alive to give. I listen to Narith’s stories about his background, the history of Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge, the customs of Cambodian people.

     Narith: I've learned a lot of things from you, too. He is a very disciplined person! Sometimes he is not disciplined, but in a good way! I will snooze my alarm if I'm watching TV so that I can keep watching but he snoozes his alarm while he is reading so that he can read more. He always wants to keep reading. I try to learn from him but it is very difficult. He is very smart and disciplined. I try to observe the way he eats, the way he lives, I try to perceive the context back in his hometown. What makes him like this? Sometimes, if I wonder, I ask him.

     David: You have many wise quotes that remind me of popular wisdom in Colombia. You enjoy the simplicity of life with people. For example, I have admired your sensitivity with nature. When we are walking, you are looking up at the trees and you ask what kinds of trees or plants we are surrounded by.

     Narith: I have a reason to feel sensitive towards nature because I come from a farming background, my family are peasants. But you also have a deep love of nature. All kinds of nature! When we went to Urrbia together, you didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go to the top, even though some of us were hesitant due to the cold. You spend time in the forest here and see nature to learn about this place and its people.

     David: I admire your stories…

     Narith: About what

     David: Everything. Do you remember the porridge?

     Narith: Yes, yes I remember.

     David: It was a story about the suffering caused by the dictatorship. Narith told me about the food he cooks and the special way of preparing rice to--

     Narith: We use a little rice to feed a lot of people. Maybe a cup of uncooked rice can feed at least 5 or 6 people. This happened during the dictatorship. People starved because the government only gave out one cup of rice to feed hundreds and mixed it with vegetables. And David always appreciates these stories. 

    "In this master, you are allowed to learn from everyone. Their language, their background but most importantly their stories".


  • 17 Nov 2017 15:49 | Emma Hyndman

    Recently, I wrote an article for OpenDemocracy 50.50, a UK-based website that focuses on issues of gender, sexuality, and social justice. I wrote about my work as an activist in college combatting rape culture and the world-wide #MeToo campaign. Here it is for anyone interested in accessing the article: The Invisible #MeToo: How Anonymous Testimony can Help Survivors of Sexual Abuse

    I welcome the opportunity to connect with anyone who does similar work in their respective fields/countries/research! Best, Emma

  • 10 Nov 2017 16:28 | Jone Arrazola Maiztegi

    Oñatiko Udaleko Berdintasun sailak Selma Huxley Berkham ikerketa beka aurkeztu du. Beka honen helburua Oñatiko emakumeek herriko historiari eginiko ekarpena argitara ekartzea da. “Oñatiko emakumiak errekadutan. XX. mendeko denden etnografia feminista” proiektu proposamenarekin beka hau eskuratu genuen. Lan honek, ikuspegi feminista batetik XX. mendeko Oñatiko komertzio txikia eta bertan emakumeen papera izango du aztergai. Denda hauek herriari eginiko ekarpen hirukoitza -sostengu ekonomikoa, sozioemozionala eta espaziala- ezagutu eta argitara ekartzeko asmoz. Metodologikoki teknika kualitatiboak gailenduko dira, herriko emakumeei ahotsa eta protagonismoa emanez. Hala, herriko memoria historikoan atal berri bat idatziko da.

    La comisión de Igualdad del Ayuntamiento de Oñati ha promovido la beca de investigación “Selma Huxley Berkham” dirigida a rescatar la historia de las mujeres de Oñati. “ Los recados de las mujeres de Oñati. Una etnografia feminista del comercio pequeño del siglo XX.” es la propuesta con la que hemos obtenido dicha beca. La investigación se centrará en el triple aporte realizado por las mujeres han sostenido el pequeño comercio durante la historia: el sostén economico, el socioemocional y el espacial. Metodológicamente prevalecerán las técnicas cualitativas, dando así voz y protagonismo a las propias mujeres. En definitiva, serà un ejercicio de desde la antropología feminista para escribir un nuevo episodio de nuestra memoria histórica.

    Irati Garai Aldekoa y Jone Arrazola Maiztegi

  • 2 Nov 2017 16:40 | Pável H. Valer Bellota
    "El Derecho en la Colonización de America"  es el título de mi reciente post en Derecho y Cultura. Están todos invitados a leerlo.

    "Law in Colonization of America" is my last post in Law and Culture. You are invited to read it.

    El Derecho en la Colonización de América. 

  • 27 Oct 2017 12:31 | Angela Melville

    How good are your blogging skills?

    Justis Publishing have announced the first Law & Technology International Writing Competition, with a grand prize of £2,000 for the best 1,000 word blog-style article. The competition is open to all university and college students around the world. The winning article will also be published in the Justis newsletter, which reaches over 30,000 people within the legal profession. The first runner-up in each category will win £250.

    Find out more - http://www.justis.com/ltiwc2018/?email-WC-intro

  • 26 Oct 2017 09:54 | Angela Melville

    As many of you many know, Susana is a runner. She is also a strong supporter of her running community, and has encouraged many people (especially women) to take up running. Last year, I signed up for a virtual marathon through the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP), which raises funds to assist Indigenous runners in Australia. Susana wasn't able to run last year, and so I presented her with my IMP medal. I hope it encourages others to also support healthy lifestyles in Indigenous communities.

    The IMP supports Indigenous peoples in Australia to take up marathon running as a means of promoting a healthy lifestyle. Running is an ideal means of changing lives. It is accessible to any age, ability and location and can provide a tremendous sense of achievement. The IMP was set up by Robert de Castella in 2010. De Castella is an Australian marathon runner who set the world record for the marathon in 1981, and dominated the event in the 1980s.

    The IMP selects a group of young Indigenous men and women every year to complete the New York City marathon after just six months of training. De Castella hoped that competing in the New York marathon would highlight the talent of Indigenous runners in Australia, and would unearth future champions. Runners also complete a Certificate in Fitness, and this qualification helps graduates to become role models who promote health and physical exercise to address chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and renal failure in Indigenous communities. IMP’s runners can now be seen at many major running events in Australia and internationally.

    One of the ways in which the IMP raises funding to support Indigenous runners is through a virtual run. The virtual run was started in 2014, and is run every December. Participants register with the virtual run by making a donation to the IMP, and then tracking the number of kilometres that they run or walk throughout December. Participants can set their own goals, for instance they may want to accumulate 42.2 km throughout December, or run their first 5 km event. At the end of December, all participants receive a medal from the IMP.

    Further information on the IMP can be found at: http://imf.org.au/ and on facebook.

  • 25 Oct 2017 17:23 | César Pérez-Lizasuain

    Publicado originalmente en la revista 80 Grados.

    Ante el paso del huracán María varias personalidades, medios de comunicación alternativos y organizaciones periodísticas independientes han levantado la voz de alerta sobre posibles violaciones de Derechos Humanos por parte de los gobiernos de Puerto Rico y Estados Unidos en el manejo de la emergencia provocada por este desastre natural. El Derecho Internacional vela por la preparación adecuada de los Estados para minimizar riesgos en desastres naturales, así como también obliga a estos a dar una  respuesta oportuna y adecuada antes, durante y posterior al evento. En una publicación escrita por Juan Pablo Terminiello, profesor de Derecho Internacional de la Universidad de Buenos Aires, se explica que en “…el contexto de los desastres naturales, las actividades de protección de derechos humanos pueden abarcar un abanico amplio de acciones e iniciativas que pueden ir desde la instalación de letrinas y la distribución de agua potable, vestido y alimento, […] como así también el trabajo con las propias personas afectadas para el desarrollo de acciones de prevención y respuesta a la violencia sexual y de género en los centros de albergue y campamentos”.

    Las experiencias en pasados desastres naturales muestran que las personas afectadas por estos fenómenos, explica Terminiello, se encuentran susceptibles a encontrar “…limitaciones y serios obstáculos al ejercicio de sus derechos humanos”. Y añade: “Los desastres afectan la organización y estructura de la comunidad y hacen sentir fuertemente su impacto en áreas como la seguridad, el acceso a alimento, agua y saneamiento, la atención de la salud, el empleo, la educación y la vivienda. Producen muertes y daños que debieran ser mitigados desde la actuación de las autoridades como parte de la obligación genérica de los Estados de respetar y garantizar los derechos humanos de las personas sujetas a su jurisdicción”.

    Entre los Derechos Humanos reconocidos por el Derecho Internacional, además del derecho de los pueblos a recibir agua potable y alimentos, también se encuentra la garantía y protección de los derechos políticos y económicos como lo son la libertad de asociación, de movimiento, expresión, acceso a la información y a la salud. Por ejemplo, el “Marco de Sendai para la  Reducción del Riesgo de Desastres 2015-2030”, firmado en Japón en el 2015, dispone que los Estados siguen teniendo la obligación jurídica de garantizar la seguridad y el mantenimiento de estos derechos tras los desastres naturales.

    Aunque este marco no es vinculante, el mismo fue adaptado por la Asamblea General de la ONU y se atañe al Derecho Internacional vigente pues vela por el modo en que los Estados miembros impulsan medidas de prevención y acción para disminuir los riesgos, daños y víctimas que ocasionan los desastres naturales y el cambio climático. Este acuerdo también incluye “metas para reducir el daño a la infraestructura y la interrupción de los servicios básicos, incluyendo instalaciones de salud y educación”, así como maximizar el acceso a la información y difusión pública antes, durante y posterior al evento catastrófico para beneficio de la población.

    El derecho a estar debidamente informados en caso de desastres naturales

    La escasa información y la deficiente corroboración oficial por parte de las autoridades, tanto locales como federales, se han sumado a la desesperación de miles de personas aún incomunicadas en Puerto Rico, así como también de la diáspora puertorriqueña radicada mayormente en Estados Unidos. Entre las condiciones que se reconocen a escala internacional, es de vital importancia el derecho a la información, tanto la que puedan ofrecer las autoridades estatales así como también los medios de comunicación. A modo de ejemplo, el Centro de Periodismo Investigativo ha iniciado una serie de indagaciones sobre el número real de fatalidades asociadas al paso del huracán María por Puerto Rico. Desde el día siguiente al evento, aunque de forma muy fragmentada, medios sociales y medios de comunicación tradicionales informaban sobre las desapariciones y muertes provocadas por deslizamientos de tierra e inundaciones asociadas al ciclón María. En esos días se hablaba de más de una veintena de víctimas.

    Sin embargo, el gobernador Ricardo Rosselló y diversos secretarios de su gabinete, incluyendo el secretario de Seguridad Pública Héctor Pesquera, aseguraban que el número de muertes relacionadas al fenómeno climático era menor. Hasta la mañana del martes 3 de octubre, día en que el Presidente estadounidense Donald Trump visitaba la Isla, el gobierno solamente había confirmado 16 muertes. En las primeras declaraciones del Presidente en la Isla, este destacó – con su usual insensibilidad y poco tacto– lo que según él constituía un número limitado de víctimas y parecía felicitar al gobernador Rosselló por ello. El mismo martes 3 de octubre, apenas unas horas de concluida la visita de Trump al país, El Nuevo Día informaba a las 8:41 PM que el gobernador Rosselló confirmaba que la cifra de fatalidades asociadas directa e indirectamente a María ascendía a 34.

    La inconsistencia de la información emitida por las autoridades locales tiene varias connotaciones. Entre ellas, se encuentra la importancia del flujo de comunicaciones e informaciones oficiales en las emergencias ocasionadas por un desastre natural. Para algunos observadores en las redes sociales, ha habido una especie de desfase en la forma en que ha circulado la información en donde los medios de comunicación y el Estado han claudicado en su responsabilidad ética y pública de informar con transparencia a la población en general.

    ¿Por qué es de vital importancia mantener un flujo de información constante y veraz en este tipo de situación?, se le preguntó a Liza Gallardo quien es la directora del Capítulo en Puerto Rico de Amnistía Internacional: “Para tomar las decisiones que van a salvar a tu vida. Para que, en primer término, puedan salvaguardar su vida y la de sus familiares”. Cabría añadir que este derecho a estar debidamente informado por parte de las autoridades estatales queda plenamente entrecruzado con el derecho a la salud.  El sábado 7 de octubre el medio noticioso Noticel reportaba  una serie de muertes provocadas por Leptospirosis, según lo anunciaba Lornna Soto, la alcaldesa del Municipio de Canóvanas. Hasta el momento en que escribo, el Departamento de Salud no ha emitido ninguna comunicación oficial y en su cuenta de Twitter la última actividad registrada era del 5 de octubre pasado. Mientras brilla por su ausencia esta dependencia pública, la información circulada para prevenir este tipo de infección ha provenido principalmente desde las redes sociales de profesionales de la salud en su carácter individual.

    El desastre natural es político

    También en entrevista para 80 Grados, la especialista en Derechos Humanos Parastoo Anita Mesri, quien se encuentra afiliada a la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), afirma que de acuerdo al Derecho Internacional los Estados se encuentran obligados a enfrentar con prontitud y diligencia las emergencias que ocasionan los desastres naturales en favor de sus constituyentes: “Sobre todo el Derecho Internacional Público impone una serie de obligaciones a los Estados en su actuar con relación a su población (la que reside dentro de su territorio y la que esté sujeto a su dominio político, social, económico y jurídico de forma remota, es decir, colonial). Estas obligaciones deben regirse por una ética en que el resguardo de los derechos humanos sea la primera consideración. En el caso de un desastre natural, igual que en todos, los derechos humanos primordiales son el derecho a la vida y a la dignidad humana”.

    Parastoo Mesri considera que la condición colonial en Puerto Rico ha agravado los efectos que haya podido ocasionar el huracán María. Por un lado, las Leyes de Cabotaje no permiten el que se puedan recibir las diversas ayudas humanitarias de países regionales que así deseen hacerlo. La coordinación con otros Estados o países es esencial para enfrentar un desastre natural, especialmente si las víctimas se encuentran en una isla: “Lo anterior implica una coordinación con otros Estados, para primero, realizar operaciones de rescate, sólo para después,  llevar a cabo la reconstrucción”. Además, el Derecho Internacional obliga a los poderes coloniales, en nuestro caso los Estados Unidos, a responder por los desastres naturales en los territorios subordinados bajo su control. Para Parastoo Mesri, esa obligación se desprende, sobre todo, de una ética que debe ser “…la base del actuar político. En el ambiente de las crisis humanitarias, los poderes coloniales tienen que asegurar, aún más, el bienestar de sus colonias con miras a acciones que den pie a su descolonización. Un desastre natural, como lo sucedido en Puerto Rico, puede desatar una crisis al no ser respondido de forma ética por los amos coloniales”.

    Por su parte, Gallardo insiste en que la crisis política y económica por la que atravesaba el país, antes del fenómeno atmosférico, ha sido un fuerte agravante a los efectos ocasionados por este. Particularmente, la desigualdad social promovida estructuralmente desde las políticas de austeridad sirvieron de base para multiplicar los efectos del huracán: “La situación económica del país es el agravante número uno. No había recursos suficientes para enfrentar de inmediato la emergencia y había que [buscar] los recursos de afuera. Especialmente la Ley Jones ha retrasado la entrada de suministros. Y ahí hay un elemento de discrimen por parte de Estados Unidos para con nosotros. ¿Qué cantidad se va a enviar? ¿Cuánto personal se va a enviar a Puerto Rico? En dos semanas, en términos de movilización y apoyo de Estados Unidos, aquí había menos de 10 mil personas trabajando. Así que ahí tú puedes ver también la falta de interés [del gobierno estadounidense] y que deja en evidencia la visita de Trump. En realidad la ayuda llega a cuenta gota”.

    Aclaró la directora de Amnistía Internacional en Puerto Rico que además del discrimen colonial y la vulnerabilidad en la que se encuentran poblaciones tales como los viejos, las mujeres, los enfermos y la gente en los refugios, también en el plano local se viven otros tipos de discrímenes y situaciones injustas. Estas situaciones se reflejan sobre todo en un ya maltratado sector laboral: el nuevo trabajador precario. “Pero dentro de la colonia también hay discrimen. Ante la pobreza, la gente se ha quedado sin empleo. Los que viven de cheque en cheque ahora mismo no tienen ninguna entrada económica, como lo son los empleados por contrato. Hay empresas que ya están despidiendo. Ahora, las empresas van a contar con la nueva reforma [laboral] en donde han bajado los salarios” y en la cual existen menos protecciones legales para los trabajadores.

    Como vector político en esta coyuntura,  hay que considerar las reformas neoliberales que promueven las privatizaciones, la austeridad, los despidos, la desregulación del derecho laboral, así como la reducción de la esfera pública en general. Estas políticas han acentuado la desigualdad social en un país que antes del huracán ya registraba más de la mitad de su población en condiciones de pobreza, además de sufrir una elevada tasa de desempleo, deserción escolar y el mayor flujo migratorio en su historia. A eso se suma que Puerto Rico es una de las jurisdicciones en Estados Unidos con la mayor tasa de ejecuciones hipotecarias al ritmo de 14 familias que pierden sus casas diariamente. Lo que, a su vez, ha provocado que miles de familias no hayan podido contar con un hogar seguro para enfrentar el huracán María.

    Construir sobre cadáveres: etapas de emergencia y recuperación vs. la reconstrucción del país

    La reconstrucción del país es importante. Sin embargo, como ha declarado la antropóloga puertorriqueña radicada en los Estados Unidos, Yarimar Bonilla, se corre el riesgo de que los gobiernos neoliberales quieran adelantar las agendas económicas de sectores privados interesados en capitalizar sobre la tragedia humana promoviendo privatizaciones de bienes públicos e instaurando mayores medidas de austeridad. Bonilla estima que inversores privados, a quienes los gobiernos neoliberales de Ricardo Rosselló y Donald Trump responden, son “…the kind of people who are going to benefit and profit and do very well in this post-hurricane economy at the expense of the folks who are now trapped in their homes without food, without water, without gasoline. So the suffering that people are experiencing right now could prove to be of economic benefit to a chosen few.” Sin embargo, en el Derecho Internacional prima el interés público por encima del privado en los periodos de recuperación y de reconstrucción tras un desastre natural.

    No en balde, la delegación de los Estados Unidos en la ONU hacía constar sus reservas ante la adopción del Marco de Sendai por considerar que el interés privado debe jugar un rol protagónico en las etapas de recuperación y reconstrucción.  “We do not accept any reference to the coordination of international bodies that fails to acknowledge their respective authorities and competencies, and we dissociate from any reference to processes or relationships that disenfranchise the private sector, a vital partner in our endeavors.” Así lo comunicaba Wilson Sumner explicando la posición de los Estados Unidos ante la adopción de este marco por parte de la Asamblea General.

    De todos modos, el Marco de Sendai, y su predecesor el Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, imponen a los Estados varias temporalidades o etapas para lidiar con desastres naturales: etapas de emergencia, recuperación y reconstrucción.

    Apenas salía el ojo del huracán María de territorio puertorriqueño, en la única onda radial que quedaba con vida en el área metropolitana no se escuchaba del vocabulario empleado por periodistas y funcionarios públicos, incluido el gobernador, el uso de la palabra “rescates”. Sin embargo, en su lugar se comenzaba a promocionar un slogan mediático promovido por el gobierno local que aludía a que la inmediata reconstrucción económica, así como el de la infraestructura afectada, eran la prioridades desde el día uno: “Puerto Rico se Levanta” se les escuchaba decir una y otra vez.

    Al establecer un paralelo con el reciente caso mexicano ante el siniestro terremoto que sufrió buena parte de ese país, Parastoo Mesri entiende que es vital que los gobiernos se tomen en serio su deber ético y legal para proteger y rescatar aquellas víctimas que se encuentren en grave peligro tras el desastre natural.  Pretender posicionar la reconstrucción por encima de las operaciones de rescate constituye una crasa violación de los Derechos Humanos. “De ser así, se está planteando edificar y cimentar sobre los posibles muertos, cosa que la misma sociedad civil ha impedido en esos días de semejante tragedia en México”. Y Añadió: “Urge respetar las leyes, y la ética que ellas imponen, del Derecho Internacional Público y trabajar solidariamente con los demás Estados para primero agotar los medios idóneos para el rescate humano (y animal) para después, buscar la reconstrucción”.

    Liza Gallardo considera que a más de dos semanas del evento ciclónico, el país aún se encuentra en etapa de emergencia y recuperación: “Las campañas [mediáticas] que estoy viendo son sobre la reconstrucción. Las campañas sobre la recaudación de fondos son sobre ‘vamos a reconstruir a Puerto Rico’. Y aquí realmente estamos todavía en una etapa de salvar vidas. Hay pueblos en donde [la ayuda] no ha llegado a la gente. Hay muertos que no se han sacado del fango, de casas enterradas, de funerarias e incluso de hospitales. Estamos en etapa de recuperación de cadáveres y de salvar vidas”.

    Finalmente, Parastoo Mesri, desde la experiencia mexicana, puntualizó que, además, la reconstrucción “…debe ser conforme a la geografía y paisaje cultural propios del Caribe, con los materiales adecuados para tal fin, dando prioridad a materiales naturales y la arquitectura vernácula. Hay que velar que el desastre no se desate en una crisis humanitaria”.

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