Send a letter opposing the devastation of science in Argentina

Send a letter opposing the devastation of science in Argentina
President Javier Milei of Argentina [photo:]

From the RAICYT Network, Argentina

The Argentinean scientific system is under serious threat.

The Network of Authorities of Science and Technology Institutes (RAICYT) of Argentina is undertaking a campaign to request international support in defense of the research system.

On 10 December 2023, a new government took office, headed by President Javier Milei. An economist and TV celebrity, Milei conducted his election campaign with insults, incitement, and violence on television and social media. His main targets have been women, feminism, and what he sees as the “left", i.e. anyone he does not consider “good people” = his supporters. With the goal of extreme free-market anarcho-capitalism, he has installed a hate discourse and is now in the midst of massive government reform that is erasing hundreds of rights. In line with right-wing leaders and business interests, he says his main goal is to return to 19th century Argentina, a time of supposed economic supremacy. However that too is false: his aim is to destroy the state and transfer the productive capacities of the public sector to private companies.

In the election campaign, Milei expressed his intention to close the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MINCyT) and to privatize the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET). These government agencies support the development of science and technology in Argentina.

This anti-science policy has been implemented since then and, only a few months into the new administration, has already resulted in the following actions:

  1. Shutdown of MINCyT;
  2. Implementation of a substantial staff reduction, which implied dismissals of the Science and Technical Institutes administrative employees nationwide and a cut in the length of contracts;
  3. Freezing of the budgets of CONICET and the National Universities at 2023 values in an inflationary context of 200% per annum;
  4. Interruption of the payment of research projects financed by state agencies.
  5. Interruption of infrastructure works;
  6. Questioning of continuity of Ph.D. and postdoctoral fellowships and new permanent positions for researchers.

This critical situation has been covered in articles published in the prestigious journals Science (de los Ángeles 2024, de los Ángeles 2023) and Nature (De Ambrosio & Koop 2023, Debat 2023).

In this context, the authorities of scientific institutions, organized in the RAICYT network, are vigorously expressing their opposition to these measures through various initiatives. Among these is a letter already submitted to the government, signed by more than 13,000 colleagues in the country. RAICYT is currently seeking support from scientific institutions and scientists in the form of a letter of support. Such letters urging the national government to reconsider the above decisions, will significantly help us fight this destruction of research in Argentina.

Take action

Using the sample letter attached, please edit and send to e-mail addresses listed below. We appreciate your help in defending the future of science in Argentina.

[subject line] Stop the destruction of scientific research in Argentina

Mr. Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers, Engineer Nicolás Posse
c.c. Mr. President of CONICET, Dr.Daniel Salamone
c.c. Members of the Board of Directors of CONICET

Dear Chief Minister Posse,

I am contacting you to express my concern at the reports coming daily from Argentina about the deterioration that is taking place in the country’s prestigious National System of Science and Technology.

Interrupting or curtailing Ph.D. fellowships and promotions in the research career, stopping the transfer of funds already committed to projects currently underway, canceling infrastructure works, reducing operating expenses, and firing administrative employees will devastate Argentina’s Science and Technology System.

I write [option: on behalf of my institution XXX] to declare my [our] support for the Argentinean scientific community in these challenging times, to ask you to listen to their demands and work with them to strengthen a system that will enable their talented scientists to thrive and increase the progress they have been producing with their valuable work in all their areas.

A thriving science and technology system is crucial to the development of nations and global growth, as your country’s institutions cooperate effectively and continuously with those in other parts of the world.

Sincerely yours,