After negative reactions to his racist sentence, Argentine President Alberto Fernández apologized in a letter to the organization that fights against discrimination in the country. In response, the director of Inadi (National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism), Victoria Donda, 43, said on Friday (11) that she considered “the criticisms of part of the management to be exaggerated. policy “of the president’s statement. .
During a visit by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Fernández said that “Mexicans came from indigenous peoples, Brazilians came from the jungle, and we [argentinos] we arrived by boat. The line, wrongly attributed to Mexican Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz, is actually taken from a song by Litto Nebbia.
After apologizing “to those who felt offended” on Twitter, he sent a letter to Inadi – linked to the Ministry of Justice, the body was established in 1994 to recognize complaints from people who claim to have suffered discrimination. However, the entity has limited autonomy and can only warn potential attackers. The most serious cases are referred to the courts.
In the letter sent to the agency, the president said the phrase “has been interpreted in a way that contradicts my actions and government decisions” and stressed that he has “strong beliefs about the identity of the Argentine and Latin American population “.
Fernández also declared that he is not unaware of “the situations of violence and genocide that have occurred in our history against the original peoples who inhabited these lands”, but that the Argentine people are the “result of a dialogue of cultures, between European immigration, an ascending indigenous population and the most recent migrations from Latin American countries. ”He also mentioned the“ very important presence of African traditions ”.
This Friday afternoon, Donda said it was “historic and remarkable” that Fernández took the initiative to deliver the letter, “apologizing for something he said that offended many communities” .
He added: “Inadi can only encourage those who make such statements to reflect and, in this particular case, the president has already thought about it and sent us this letter.”
“It’s important for a president to have the courage to say that there are a lot of things that need to change,” he added.
Apologizing to Inadi is also a way for the president to calm criticism of organizations that defend minority rights and that are part of the government’s support base. Donda herself, who had previously been with the Peronists, spent time in a dissenting left-wing party, due to the conservatism of former President Cristina Kirchner (2007-2015) over abortion, for example.
Donda, who is a popular figure among young left-wing activists, was one of the former Kirchnerists who joined the alliance that now supports the government.
In Argentina, there will be legislative elections in November, and Peronism will try to present itself, as in 2015, as a coherent bloc, in order to continue to have a majority in Congress. The opposition is already campaigning to destroy Peronist power in parliament, especially with criticism of the pandemic and the management of the economy.