This is what democracy looks like

Amanda Landaverde
May 27, 2017

This blog is coming out a tad late but then again most people back home don’t keep up with Argentine news anyways. That being said, about 2 weeks back I was in Argentina to witness a historic moment: 2 x 1 and the march against 2 x 1.

So what is 2 por 1? A type of sale? I didn’t know either when all the hub-bub broke out in Buenos Aires. Newspapers had it in their headlines, posters were plastered everywhere saying “No 2 x 1,” and I even saw people posting pictures or captions saying it on Instagram. None of my professors really addressed the matter until my poetry class, interestingly enough. We were learning about a Montonero poet, Juan Gelman, who was exiled during the dictatorship. My poetry professor typically goes on tangents and makes references to a plethora of things, but this time his side-note rant actually was based on a pretty relevant topic.

From what I understand, 2 por 1 (or “two for one”) is a pre-existing Argentine law that allows for prisoners to petition to half their time (serve only 1 year for every 2 years of their sentence, hence “two for one”).  Previously, this law did not extend to the petitions of those who had committed genocide or war crimes (aka war criminals from the dictatorship). However, war criminals had been petitioning to be eligible for the use of 2 por 1 and took it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court then actually ruled, surprisingly, contrary to popular opinion and extended the use of 2 por 1 even for those convicted of crimes against humanity.

The response was immediate outrage from all sides of the political spectrum, right and left alike. A large march was immediately arranged for 2 days after the hearing. During that time I couldn’t stop seeing or hearing  “nunca más” or “never again,” a slogan created during the first trials against war criminals post-dictatorship that meant that never again would Argentina allow a dictatorship to rule their country.

The march took place on May 10 and thousands in Buenos Aires alone attended. If I remember correctly, after multitude of marches around the country, the political sphere took note of the public disapproval and the case was then revised by Congress and the Senate and repealed.

Maybe that’s why so many people march here for union strikes, labor rights, women’s rights, etc.-- it actually works. And that’s what democracy should look like.

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Amanda Landaverde

<p>Amanda Landaverde is a 20 year-old Spanish and Psychology student at Gustavus Adolphus College who aims for a career in neuroscience studying generational trauma. In her free time, Amanda likes to creatively illuminate and counteract social injustice through art, writing, and performance with her social justice theatre troupe on campus.</p>

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