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Argentinian teachers union denounce kidnap and torture of teacher

TEACHING unions today denounced the “cowardly” attack on a Buenos Aires teacher who was kidnapped and tattooed in blood with a chilling warning for giving away free school meals.

Corina de Bonis was hooded and bundled into a vehicle by three men as she walked home from work at Education Centre 801 on Wednesday afternoon.

According to reports, her assailants threatened to kill her before scratching the words “no more pots” on her stomach and warned her to “remain loyal” before releasing her.

United Workers Union of Education general secretary Roberto Baradel said the cowardly actions would not stop the union in its fight for better conditions and dignity for their people, describing the attack as “very serious.”

Teachers at the Education Centre 801 have been providing free hot meals for the children as government cuts have seen schools left without heating or warm food. 

Members of the local community who have been pushed into poverty by the neoliberal policies of President Mauricio Macri are also being fed at the school.

School director Leila Mendel Revilla explained: “The kids need to eat well. We started to make hot meals with donations from teachers, families, business and the unions Suteba and the Association of State Workers.

But the unions have received anonymous death threats including a phone message to “stop fucking with the pots” and a warning demanding their members stay out of politics and go back to teaching.

The Provinical Memory Commission of Buenos Aires expressed “extreme concern” over the kidnap and torture of Ms de Bonis.

It blamed the government for its “official practices and discourse that discredits education workers, delegitimises their claims, curtails the rights to protests that promote, legitimise and encourages repressive actions and violence against them.”

Young people are being disproportionately affected as the Argentinian economy is on the brink of recession.

A Unicef report earlier this month showed that 40 per cent of Argentine youth are living in poverty compared with just over 25 per cent of the general population.

 The children’s charity urged Argentina’s government to take action to “prioritise and strengthen the financing of social protection and redouble efforts in favour of children, or face enormous consequences for children and adolescents.”

Teachers took two days on strike today and Thursday demanding a pay rise and a clause in their contract linking future pay awards to inflation, which continues to spiral.

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