Milagro Sala

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Milagro Sala
Milagro Sala (cropped).jpg
Born (1964-01-27) January 27, 1964 (age 55)
OccupationPresident of the Tupac Amaru Neighborhood Association

Milagro Amalia Ángela Sala (born January 27, 1964) is a leader of the Tupac Amaru neighborhood association,[1] part of the Association of State Workers (ATE) of Jujuy, and a leading figure in the Movimiento piquetero of Argentina.

On January 16, 2016, Sala was arrested on charges of fraud and criminal conspiracy in an alleged embezzlement of ARS $30,000,000 intended by the government to help the poor.[2]

Several human rights organizations, like Amnesty International, denounced Argentina's government at the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (GAD) of the United Nations, alleging the illegal detention of Milagro Sala. On October 28, 2016 the GAD decided that the detention of Milagro Sala was arbitrary and ordered Argentina's government to free her immediately.[3] The Argentina government considered that the GAD decision was not mandatory.[4]

Early life[edit]

Sala was born in the Lower Azopardo neighborhood of San Salvador de Jujuy.[5] At 15 years old she discovered that she was adopted and that her biological mother had abandoned her in a cardboard box in front of a hospital. She left the house where she was raised. She lived for years among hustlers, drug dealers, thieves and prostitutes. She was a shoe shiner, robbed with her friends, and abused narcotics; at age 18 she was caught and jailed. There, she organized a hunger strike that resulted in her being allowed to cook for her fellow female prisoners, with better food at equal cost. She spent eight months in prison, and counseled other Lower Azopardo prostitutes toward changing their situation and leaving that environment.

Sala subsequently joined the Argentine Workers' Center (CTA). She gained nationwide notoriety for the power she obtained in the Province of Jujuy through the Asociacion barrial Tupac Amaru (Tupac Amaru neighborhood association).[1] This NGO manages a 200 million peso (us$50 million) budget, at least 40 vehicles, and over 300 firearms registered in RENAR.[6] Its influence led to conflict with conservative political figures in Jujuy, however, and following a series of exchanged accusations. She’s also had charges filed for death threats and destruction of property by Senator Gerardo Morales.[7][8] She denied involvement in a 2009 incident in which two youths attacked Morales, asserting that the accusations are politically motivated and without proof.[9]

She is the mother of two children, and the adoptive mother of twelve.[5]

Asociacion barrial Tupac Amaru[edit]

Tupac Amaru, symbol and namesake of the Tupac Amaru association founded by Milagro Sala

Tupac Amaru receives 7.9 million pesos (us$1.9 million) per month for public housing construction subsidies from the National Government.[10] It includes 70,000 affiliates, whose membership is requisite in keeping their children in school, where applicable. Members form housing cooperatives through which government subsidies are channeled, and which completed 3,000 housing units by the end of 2009.[9] The organization also manages six factories employing 5,000 workers in the construction material, tool and die, and textile industries. It maintains two schools and a clinic equipped with a MRI scanner.[9]

The political ideology of the Tupac Amaru organization is represented by the historical figures of Tupac Amaru, Che Guevara and Eva Perón.[11] They consider themselves indigienista, proclaiming the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales as a political model.[12]

Sala attributes many of the accusations against the group and herself to racism, affirming that "we will be investigated, while there was corruption among companies. I am dark skinned, and a Kolla, but I´m not stupid." [13]

Tupac Amaru established branches elsewhere in Argentina, including Salta, Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, Buenos Aires (the Villa 31), and Mendoza; these new chapters total 16 organizations.[14]

Gerardo Morales was elected governor in 2015, and denounced that Sala may have committed financial fraud and a discretional use of the money. Morales ordered that the organizations trusted with the payment of subsidies should do so through bank accounts, so that the money can be traced. Most organizations agreed with the proposal, breaking up the Tupac Amaru organization. Sala, who started a demonstration in the main plaza of Jujuy when Morales took office, refused to do so. She also refused to leave the plaza after a month of staying there. She was eventually detained, accused of public disorder.[15]

Amnesty International considers “that Milagro Sala is being criminalized for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression and protest” and, along with other human rights groups, have called for the granting of precautionary measures to guarantee the liberty of Milagro Sala, along with the exercise of freedom of expression and the right to social protest in Argentina.[16][17][18]


  1. ^ a b We Magazine “Milagro” is Spanish for “miracle” which is what many think Milagro Sala has accomplished. Like other jobless groups in Argentina her organization, Tupac Amaru (named after a revolutionary 18th century Inca), received money from the government. But unlike most of them, the organization of this diminutive Indigenous woman has gained the love and respect of her people.
  2. ^ Ampliaron la denuncia contra Milagro Sala y exfuncionarios por "asociación ilícita", Infobae 19 January 2016 (Buenos Aires) (in Spanish).
  3. ^ Henao, Luis Andrés (28 October 2016). "UN panel tells Argentina to release activist Milagro Sala". The Washington Post.
  4. ^ "DDHH El Gobierno y el CELS hacen distintas lecturas de la resolución del organismo de la ONU sobre Milagro Sala". telam. October 28, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Página 12 "Milagro también es peronista desde niña. Su madre adoptiva, de quien estuvo distanciada muchos años pero a quien siempre amó mucho, y sigue haciéndolo, le escribió una vez una carta a Evita y tuvo respuesta. Le llegó una de aquellas máquinas de coser de las que habla la leyenda. A Jujuy llegó aquella Singer. A Jujuy nunca había llegado nada."
  6. ^ Milagro Sala: Una comandante K...
  7. ^ Procesan a la piquetera Milagro Sala por amenazas y daños 06/10/10 - 10:04
  8. ^ La Nacion Newspaper article
  9. ^ a b c "Violencia mediática, odio de clase y género contra Milagro Salas". Insurrectas y Punto.
  10. ^ milagros-sala-the-governor-of-a-parallel-state (EN)
  11. ^ Arte Politica Túpac Amaru es el que representa a nuestros antepasados y también Evita y el Che Guevara.
  12. ^ El Ojo Digital El vertiginoso desarrollo de Tupac Amaru en 17 provincias tiene que ver con una característica original: es la única organización social que capta políticamente a las comunidades indígenas. Sala lidera los reclamos de tres comunidades, los guaraníes, los coyas y los mapuches, siendo los dos últimos los más activos. Pese a ser una dirigente promocionada por la Casa Rosada, su terminal política no es Kirchner sino Evo Morales. En la ceremonia del Tiwanako del año pasado, Sala se sentó a pocos metros del mandatario boliviano para festejar el "renacimiento de los pueblos originarios."
  13. ^ "Milagro Sala defends her housing programme". Buenos Aires Herald.
  14. ^ Tupac Amaru Ya estamos avanzando, en Salta tenemos Tupac Amaru, en Tucumán, en Santiago del Estero, también estamos teniendo Tupac Amaru; en Capital Federal, en la Villa 31; trece, quince, dieciséis, también en Mendoza. Estamos avanzando despacio, la idea es tratar de instalarnos en todos los lugares y pelearla. Mirá, una manera de no ser egoísta: Mendoza, por ejemplo, nosotros conseguimos doscientas viviendas para los mendocinos de la Tupac. Ahora, si nosotros hubiésemos tenido una mentalidad cerrada, de decir todo para nosotros, hubiésemos dicho, por qué tenemos que conseguirle doscientas viviendas a Mendoza, cuando podía haber traído esas doscientas viviendas a Jujuy; por qué tenemos que conseguirle ciento veinte viviendas a Salta, en lugar de traerlas para acá.
  15. ^ Tensión en Jujuy: detuvieron a Milagro Sala, pero mantienen el acampe contra Morales (in Spanish)
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

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