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

by Eduardo R. Saguier Wednesday, Mar. 08, 2006 at 8:01 AM 054-11-4802-2979 Juan F. Segui 3955-Buenos Aires

In order to reach an international audience the 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 searched. The lack of a free academic discussion of that deficit --due to a climate of fear-- is not possible within CONICET, neither in the rest of institutions that are concerned with education and culture. 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 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 searched. The lack of a free academic discussion of that deficit --due to a climate of fear-- is not possible within CONICET, neither in the

rest of institutions that are concerned with education and culture. 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:

indicating their complete name, area of expertise, institutional affiliation, and email.

Hugo Castello


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

Beatriz García


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

Eduardo Montero


Universidad Nacional de Tucumán

Rolando Quiróz


Full Professor

Director Aquatic Systems Area, Agronomy School

Buenos Aires University

Eduardo R. Saguier


Museo Roca

Urteaga, Irma

Pianist and composer

Ex Conservatorio Nacional de Música de Buenos Aires

and Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colón

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,;

the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences

and Humanities, Max Planck Society, 2003,; the

Declaration of Bucharest about values and ethical principles,

UNESCO-CEPES, 2004;; and The

International Researcher´s Charter for Knowledge Societies,

IAMCR, 2005,

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,, 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


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


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

( 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


and 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


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


control, share their knowledge, communicate with the public and

educate the younger generation"


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"


Decline in Quality in the Artistic and Scientific Competitiveness and


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


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


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



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


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



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,


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


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


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;

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


All those who wish to give us their support, we will appreciate to apply

to 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 ( This petition is hosted here at as a public service. There is no endorsement of

this petition, express or implied, by Artifice, Inc. or our sponsors. For

technical support please use our simple Petition Help form.

Send this to a friend

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