Without the sponsorship of the national bank, Vaccaro felt free to refuse Milei’s presence.

At the opening of the Argentine National Book Fair, a blunt statement was made by Alejandro Vaccaro, president of the El Libro Foundation, expressing that Javier Milei, current president of the nation, is not welcome at the cultural event. This is an unprecedented event in national history, marking a moment of tension between the cultural sector and the Argentine government. The event never took place without official presence.

Vaccaro highlighted that Milei’s participation in the fair represents more than just a protocol issue; It is an act that goes against the principles of the fair and the cultural values ​​it represents. He stated that “participating in the fair this year represents an act of rebellion and resistance” against the policies proposed by the government, which have negatively affected the cultural sector.

Vaccaro also criticized the absence of the national government at the event. Vaccaro denounced that the excuse given by the government, claiming that participation in the fair would involve an expense of 300 million pesos, is a blatant lie.

“The national government was absent, without a stand, at this event. The excuse that the participation of the national state implied a disbursement of 300 million pesos is nothing more than a blatant lie,” declared Vaccaro in his speech.

He explained that the El Libro Foundation agreed to all the government’s requirements in a tough negotiation, but Banco Nação decided to withdraw its sponsorship of the fair, making it clear that the order came from above. This decision left the foundation in a difficult situation, unable to bear the extraordinary costs of a presidential appearance at the event.

“Mr President, if I say it with one hand on my heart, there is no money. Therefore, everything that affects your safety and that of the people competing at your event will be at your sole expense. Or what’s worse, it will be an extra expense for the National Treasury”, stated Vaccaro.

He also expressed his disappointment with the stance of the nation’s president, who, after ignoring the fair, is now asking to participate in the event to launch his book “The end of inflation: anarcho-capitalist proposals to rescue the economy of a nation in crisis”. Vaccaro highlighted that presidential participation in the fair would require a series of extraordinary expenses that the El Libro Foundation cannot bear.

Liliana Heker: The voice of Argentine culture in challenging times

At the opening of Argentina’s National Book Fair, writer Liliana Heker gave a moving speech that addressed the critical issues facing the country and Argentine culture. Amid a scenario of growing poverty, unemployment and disinvestment in fundamental areas such as health and education, Heker highlighted the importance of culture and education as essential pillars for a democratic and inclusive society.

“The fair opens this year in a country where poverty and misery are growing day by day and there are thousands of unfounded dismissals. Public health and education are in an emergency situation. Public works were cancelled. Universities are underfunded to the point where they are at risk of closing their doors. Scientific and technological research and the practice of science and technology are being devastated. Every institution or means that favors the development and dissemination of culture has been distorted or erased. Our natural resources are donated and the State seems absent even in the case of an epidemic.”

Heker emphasized the need for equal opportunities for all Argentines, highlighting that the lack of access to quality education, adequate food and decent employment leads many people to act “not out of choice, but out of desperation”. She highlighted that full democracy requires a sovereign people, capable of freely choosing their destiny, and this is only possible with equal opportunities for all.

Throughout his speech, Heker criticized the current government’s policies, which have negatively impacted the cultural and educational sector. She highlighted the importance of knowledge and sensitivity as tools to understand reality and resist attempts at manipulation and misinformation.

“I wondered why this clear intention on the part of the Government to undermine or suppress any institution or means of communication that promotes or disseminates scientific knowledge, artistic creation and university education. An attempted explanation that was given at one point is that they were measures proposed as a distraction so that other heavier measures would take a backseat, such as the sale of natural resources and state-owned companies or the destruction of the national economy, industrial in favor of large monopolies. Today this seems to me a naive explanation that could only be caused by initial perplexity, it was a way of avoiding any association with the fearsome phrase attributed to Joseph Goebbels: when I hear the word culture I pull out the gun.”

Heker was suspicious of the argument that was used by different areas of the Government that these institutions and cultural media take away resources that should be allocated to hungry children. “It seemed minimally suspicious to me, at the same time that the government stopped sending resources to the community kitchens and closed the window for the 20 blocks of people who were queuing up to ask for food.” “The objective of this attack would be to reduce as much as possible the number of people who can read, to weaken, so to speak, the potential adversary,” he added.

The writer also debunked the far-right argument of rescuing the powerful Argentina of the beginning of the 20th century, “in exactly 35 years”. She mentioned the setback that this would mean in bringing back the inequalities and servitude of the underprivileged classes of that period.

“People are happy, I heard the Minister of Economy say and I asked myself: Who are the people he is talking about? Have you ever walked down the street, seen those sleeping on the sidewalks, tried to at least imagine the desperation of someone who goes to a community kitchen to satisfy their hunger and doesn’t even find food there? Have you spoken to any of those who were just fired without justification? Or did he just think it was a cool phrase and say it without too much trouble?”

Heker also addressed the issue of Argentine youth, highlighting the historic role of young people in the struggles for social justice and democracy. She praised the engagement of young Argentines in demonstrations and protests, highlighting their ability to understand and face the country’s challenges, as proof that the strategy of alienating youth is not working.

“As can be seen from Dr. Menem’s perplexity, this appears to be the purpose sought. Because if not, what would be surprising? Wasn’t it young people who carried out the university reform of 1918? Weren’t secondary and university students the ones who defended the law on secular, free and compulsory education in 1958? The young people of our country have always been at the forefront of the struggles.”

Furthermore, Heker criticized the government’s attempts to undermine cultural and educational institutions, suggesting this is part of a strategy to reduce the informed and engaged population. She highlighted the importance of Argentine culture and its potential to resist and overcome current challenges.

“We all have the same rights. To be very basic: good food, quality education, protected health, access to a dignified life. Now, not in thirty-five years: the life that is lost today can no longer be recovered. However, we will be able to carry out all the ideological debates that are necessary. They need to happen. But I think when things are bad, the most important thing is that we find ways to agree on the essentials.”

Finally, he expressed optimism regarding Argentina’s future, highlighting the vital role of public education, culture and civic engagement in building a more just and inclusive society. She concluded her speech with a toast to the future of the public university and the continued growth of Argentine culture, represented by the National Book Fair and other cultural initiatives throughout the country.

Liliana Heker’s speech at the opening of Argentina’s National Book Fair was a reminder of the importance of culture and education as fundamental pillars of Argentine society, and a call to action to protect and strengthen these values ​​in challenging times.

Source: vermelho.org.br

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