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Announcement :: Human Rights
Academic Collapse and Bureaucratic Despotism in Argentine Culture. Collective Letter to President Kirchner
07 Mar 2006
In order to reach an international audience the main Document has to be written in the english language, and to avoid its contamination with apocryphal signatures a neutral institution like PetitionOnline has to be chosen. A free academic discussion is not possible within CONICET, neither in the rest of institutions that are concerned with education and culture, due to a climate of fear. The present invitation has been signed by a committee of six members.
Dear Colleagues

We are writing to you in order to ask your support and that of your colleagues to the following Open and Collective Letter concerning Argentine and Latin American Culture. The letter has been signed up to the present time by the following thirty-six colleages from different countries of the world.

In order to reach an international audience the main Document has to be written in the english language, and to avoid its contamination with apocryphal signatures a neutral institution like PetitionOnline has to be chosen. A free academic discussion is not possible within CONICET, neither in the rest of institutions that are concerned with education and culture, due to a climate of fear. The present invitation has been signed by a committee of six members.

In case you are willing to give your support, we ask you to read the content of our letter and if you and your colleagues agree apply to:
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/3954edus/
indicating their complete name, area of expertise, institutional
affiliation, and email.


Hugo Castello
Biologist
Secretario de la Asociacion Amigos del Museo de Ciencias Naturales,
Miembro de número de la Academia del Mar
Presidente del capítulo Argentino del Explorers Club de Nueva York
hucastel (at) gmail.com

Beatriz García
Astronomer
Directora del Laboratorio Auger en UTN-Mendoza
Miembro de la Colaboracion Internacional en el Proyecto Pierre Auger
Responsable del Area de Educacion y Difusion del Observatorio
Pierre Auger Sur
bgarcia (at) frm.utn.edu

Eduardo Montero
Paleontologist
Universidad Nacional de Tucumán
eduardmontero (at) yahoo.com.ar

Rolando Quiróz
Chemist
Full Professor
Director Aquatic Systems Area, Agronomy School
Buenos Aires University
rolando.quiros (at) gmail.com

Eduardo R. Saguier
Historian
Museo Roca
saguiere (at) ssdnet.com.ar
http://www.er-saguier.org

Urteaga, Irma
Pianist and composer
Ex Conservatorio Nacional de Música de Buenos Aires
and Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón
irmaurteaga (at) uolsinectis.com.ar


Academic Collapse and Bureaucratic Despotism in Argentine Culture.
Collective Letter to President Kirchner


To: Argentine Presidency-Buenos Aires
February 14th, 2006

To the President of the Argentine Republic
Dr. Néstor Kirchner

Dear Mr. President

The undersigned, artists, professors, researchers and scholars, from
different corners of the world, thanks to our Argentine colleagues, have
become acquainted with the critical situation which cultural institutions
in Argentina are going through.

For this reason, and based on four main documents deeply committed
with world culture and with a transparent and credible international
scientific community, we would like to ask you to consider a new
hierarchical organization of the Argentine cultural institutions (the
World Music Charter, Zone Franche, 2001,
www.zonefranche.com/pdf/CharteAnglais.pdf;
the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences
and Humanities, Max Planck Society, 2003,
www.zim.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html; the
Declaration of Bucharest about values and ethical principles,
UNESCO-CEPES, 2004;
www.cepes.ro/September/French/declaration.htm; and The
International Researcher´s Charter for Knowledge Societies,
IAMCR, 2005, www.petitiononline.com/iamcr/).

The facts and arguments leading us to this presentation, in solidarity
with our Argentine colleagues, are motivated on a series of shortfalls,
vice and symbolic violence which are publicly and globally known by
simply checking several sources of information, herein quoted through
multiple links, making it difficult for professionals to denounce them
within the country, and are listed as follows:

Degradation of Scientific and Cultural institutions

The increasing degradation of the artistic and scientific institutions
arises in part from these agencies not being hierarchically honored. This
sad situation could be reverted if the artistic and scientific
institutions are ennobled by giving them ministry status (like in Brazil,
http://www.cultura.gov.br), submitting the appointment of its authorities
to public competition with standing and independent judges, observing
the periodicity of their positions, and raising the nominations to
parliamentary hearings and control. Moreover, these appointments
should be supervised and evaluated by continental and international
auditors, without compromising national sovereignty.

Brain Drain

The anti-democratic mechanisms of appointment, evaluation, and
qualification of the national artistic and scientific bodies currently in
effect in Argentina and many other countries of Latin America, are
feeding illegitimate situations that lead to a state of deterioration and
obsolescence, detrimental to what should be modern, autonomous,
competitive and meritocratic institutions.

This regrettable circumstance happens when the idea flourishes that
people consume only goods and that the spiritual well being belongs
exclusively to elitist minorities. It also happens when the institutions
that accommodate the cultural patrimony do not invest in patterns of
excellence, capability and quality; or in the search, discovery and
dialogue between cultures and disciplines that could lead to true
advances or innovations, and not mere imitations.

This increasing deterioration, which also disseminates into higher
educational levels, causes profound uneasiness, and a cultural
backwardness that encourages unrestrained brain drain. This drain
does not only respond to economic motives, but essentially to
cultural and symbolic ones
(http://www.alternet.org/globalaffairs/13148).

Subordination to Geopolitics of Knowledge

This deterioration has nourished a cultural provincialism and an
ideological subordination to a geopolitics of knowledge and culture,
which undermines the incorporation of strategic fields from art,
science and humanities
(http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/argentina/falda-del-carmen.htm),
banning research and creativity as well as producing a digital regression
of modern methods and techniques; all of which has further deepened the
technological, scientific and humanistic prevailing gap with regard to
institutions of developed countries.

Lack of Electronic Transparency

The Argentine artistic and scientific system, which survives isolated and
fragmented, and whose actions have been assimilated to public
administrative routines, is used to surrendering to ritual simulations of
periodical artistic and scientific reports, which are neither published
nor otherwise made public.

The fact that these reports remain unpublished for years might have been
violating not only the principles about the publicity of official
documents but also the free access paradigm of information and
knowledge exchange, by preventing the local and foreign colleagues the
right -assigned by the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge
in the Sciences and Humanities (Max Planck Society, 2003)-- to
ascertain electronically their intellectual quality, as well as their
honesty and seriousness
(http://www.zim.mpg.de/openaccess-berlin/berlindeclaration.html). Thus,
it would be reasonable to assume the existence of numerous violations of
ethical codes.

Obstacles to Verify Scientific Frauds

Because of lack of electronic transparency of unpublished academic
production, abuse of confidential procedures and lack of appropriate
mechanisms to denounce fraud --which anybody can check visiting
Argentine official websites
(http://www.secyt.gov.ar; http://www.cultura.gov.ar;
and http://www.conicet.gov.ar/)-- evidences of scientific fakes or
uncontrolled results are very difficult to detect and reveal, and
therefore an external verification of Argentine public academic
institutions is full of obstacles extremely hard to overcome
(http://www.lafogata.org/04arg/arg8/art6.htm).

Besides the lack of electronic transparency, reports lack also linguistic
or semantic transparency because they happened to be extremely
hermetic ".to purposefully encrypt morally suspect information", often
lacking abstracts written for non-specialists, as a support to the
technical report, that only very few experts can follow.
Potential Artistic and Scientific Hoax

Thus, hidden behind the lack of electronic transparency and covered
by an hermetic jargon and an abuse of confidentiality in administrative
procedures, in an uncertain number of reports, its sources or data might
have been distorted, adulterated or falsified, and its methods and
conclusions do not fulfill a scientific truth or an artistic excellence.

It is also suspected that some reports might have been plagiarized,
produced through evil acts and/or simply constructed out of thin air. As
no system-wide control or checks and balances of these values exist,
violations are prone to multiply, with even cases of fraud occurring,
without its authors ever being investigated, or judicially prosecuted.

Low Ethical and Electronic Standards

Individual researchers and artists are not only morally responsible to
the research and representation process -selection of topics and
methods, and the integrity of creativity or research-but also to its final
results. According to the Declaration of Bucharest (2004) all scholars,
artists and scientists alike, should ".commit themselves to high ethical
standards and a code of ethics based on relevant norms enshrined in
international human rights instruments should be established for
scientific professions". The social responsibility of artists and
scientists requires that ".they maintain high standards of integrity and
quality
control, share their knowledge, communicate with the public and
educate the younger generation"
(http://www.cepes.ro/September/French/declaration.htm.).

In that same ethical line, The International Researcher´s Charter for
Knowledge Societies (IAMCR, 2005) established that authorities should
promote ".open, collaborative and self-organizing publishing models and
software development methods that are accessible to researchers and
available in not-for-profit databases, libraries and archives; thereby
supporting researchers as content producers and as active participants in
the open access paradigm of knowledge creation and exchange"
(http://www.petitiononline.com/iamcr).

Decline in Quality in the Artistic and Scientific Competitiveness and
Productivity

The jurisdictional decline in quality, the geopolitical censorship and
curtailment, and the ethical and bureaucratic corrosion and decomposition
create a situation in which Argentine competitiveness in the
international ranks radically diminishes; local artistic creativity and
scientific productivity erodes; patented innovation abroad decreases; and
royalties which should accrue to national institutions simply disappears
(http://hipforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52579).

Hidden Authoritarian Factionalism

All these anomalies, anachronisms and obstacles such as the institutional
decline in quality, the geopolitical censorship or curtailment and the
academic corruption made possible a situation in which artistic,
scientific and higher educational institutions have become overwhelmed
by a hidden authoritarian factionalism totally devoid of any sign of
meritocracy, transparency and fair competition
(http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v12n6/).

In its place a policy of "pulling strings" and of awards, punishments and
personal vendettas; a hidden discourse of discrimination, destined to
silence critical opinions and supress dissidents; and obscurantist habits
inherited from different authoritarian regimes, that have cost the
Argentine people, in its recent past, numerous losses of their more
precious artists and scientists who disappeared in the fog of torture and
extermination
(http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/universidad/index-2003-11-26.html)

In this regard, the artistic, scientific and higher educational agencies
should promote a creative work environment free of all kind of political,
ideological, regional, racial, sexual, religious or moral harassment.
According to the above mentioned international documents, these agencies
should form a community where mutual trust prevail, based on the values
of an open, pluralistic and democratic society.

Illegitimate Symbolic Violence

The perversions of the cultural system (devaluations, censorships and
covering ups) have uncovered the phantom of an illegitimate symbolic
violence, that is to say. an ideological control and the mechanisms of
exclusion (discrimination, proscription, postponement and reprisal), that
without producing physical death continues castrating the soul and the
mind of what should be an independent intellectual community
(http://quebec.indymedia.org/en/node/23503).

Feeding of Violence and the Following Institutional Devaluation

This illegitimate apparatus of symbolic violence --which hinders the
dispersion of its captive clientele-- generating misconduct of different
kinds (cover-ups, censorships, malfeasance and ideological falsehoods),
abets the silence and consent to anachronistic superposition by state
institutions; ignores the decline in quality production and the
fragmentation of artistic and scientific common spaces; censors or
curtails the editorial information and production; and silences the
abandonment, desolation and decomposition of institutions dear to
Argentine culture, such as CONICET, National Library, Colon Theatre,
National Archive, National Academies, National Museums (Natural
Science Bernardino Rivadavia, Miguel Lillo, Bellas Artes, etc), and
National Universities
(http://www.simon-bolivar.org/bolivar/un_barrio_para_ba.html).

Conclusion

The purpose of our document is to kindly request from you, as President
of the Argentine people, the creation of a new and more relevant hierarchy
to the Art and Science areas, incorporating and centralizing them under a
presidential jurisdiction or giving them a Ministry status.

Finally, we wish to confirm that no constructive or lasting policy could
be successfully implemented if in the agencies of art, science, research
and higher education, practices and habits do not have their organization
chart restructured in a way that would eliminate the corruption,
falsifying, genuflective behavior, opportunism, moral indifference and,
what is more serious and lethal, the self-censorship or fear to express
oneself freely.

We remain with due respect

Yours truly,

Sincerely,

The Undersigned


Name Comments area of expertise institutional affiliation

36. Gabriel Kreiman Computational Neuroscience MIT MIT

35. Julio Reyes Robles Biología, Zoología, Cetáceos
Areas Costeras y Recursos Marinos Peru

34. Alberto Enrique D´Ottavio Docente-Investigador Médico
Consejo de Investigaciones Rosario-Argentina

33 Peter McLaren Political Sociology and philosophy of education
Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
University of California-Los Angeles

32. Gary Orfield Civil Rights, Education & Social Policy
Harvard University Civil Rights Project

31. Pilar Barbosa Linguistics Instituto de Letras e Ciencias
Humanas Universidade de Minho

30. Miriam Marmontel Wildlife Conservation Instituto de
Desenvolvimento Sustentavel Mamiraua Brazil

29. J.W. de Wekker Vegas Director Organizacion
Simón Bolívar Venezuela

28 Fairlamb, Alan H. Biochemistry and drug discovery for
tropical diseases University of Dundee Scotland

27 Diniz, Alai García Literatura Hispanoamericana Universidade
Federale de Santa Catarina

26. Philippe Marliére Senior Lecturer in Politics
University College-London United Kingdom

25. José Martins da Silva Júnior Conservação Centro Golfinho Rotador
Fernando de Noronha - Brasil

24. Domenico Losurdo Philosophy University Urbino Italy

23. Jules M. R. Soto Cultural Renaissance of Argentina now! Museology
Universidade do Vale do Itajaí and International Council of Museums
Brasil

22. Stephen D, Morris Political Science University of South Alabama USA

21. José Yáñez Zoology Museo Nacional de Historia Natural Chile

20. Perez Rivera Graciela Education Centro de Estudios sobre la
Universidad de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

19. Karina Groch Biology Projeto Baleia Franca - IWC/Brasil Coordinator

18. Maria Emilia Yamamoto Animal behavior Universidade Federal do Rio
Grande do Norte Brazil

17. Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D. Biology Humane Society International
Washington, DC, USA

16. François Houtart prof. em à l'UCL (Belgique) developpement Centre
Tricontinental Ave Ste Gertrude 5, 1348 Louvain la Neuve

15. Paul Spong Cetacean science OrcaLab/Pacific Orca Society Canada

14. Luciano Nunes de Almeida Historia da America Latina Care

13. Simon Ashworth Wood Politics and Japanese studies graduate of the
University of Sydney Industrial Workers of the World

12. Rodrigo Fabián Muñoz Cerón Veterinary Sciences, Wildlife, Welfcare,
Parasitology Universidad de Concepción Chile

11. Ricardo Palma Entomology Museum of New Zealand Wellington, New
Zealand

10. Hugo Patricio Castello Marine Biology Academia del Mar Argentina

9. Eduardo Montero Natural Sciences University of Tucuman Argentina

8. Prof. Dr. Alexander Fedorov media education, media literacy Russian
Association for Film and Media Education President of Association

7. William W. Rossiter aquatic mammal science, conservation and
education Cetacean Society International P.O. Box 953, Georgetown,

CT 06829 USA; www.csiwhalesalive.org

6. Marcelo Mendieta Journalist National Association of Hispanic
Journalist (NAHJ)

5. Mara Rogers Language Faculty of Arts - French, Italian and Spanish
Studies University of Melbourne - Australia

4. Nils Jacobsen Latin American History University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign 910 S. Fifth St, Champaign, IL 61820 USA

3. Lewis Pyenson History of Science University of Louisiana at
Lafayette Lafayette, LA 70504-0831

2. Rolando Quiros Chemist, Ph.D. Buenos Aires University CONICET

1. Eduardo R. Saguier Historian Museo Roca-CONICET-Buenos Aires
Researcher



All those who wish to give us their support, we will appreciate to apply
to http://www.PetitionOnline.com/3954edus/ indicating your complete name,
area of expertise, institutional affiliation, and email.




The Open Letter to Argentine President Nestor Kirchner Petition to
Argentine Presidency-Buenos Aires was created by and written by Eduardo
R. Saguier (saguiere (at) ssdnet.com.ar). This petition is hosted here at
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