HomeNewsAnalysisOpposing Views on Security Battle it Out for Argentina’s Presidency
ANALYSIS

Opposing Views on Security Battle it Out for Argentina’s Presidency

ARGENTINA / 22 OCT 2019 BY JOSEFINA SALOMÓN EN

With Argentina set to vote for its next president on October 27, the ongoing campaign has given hints of how the candidates would tackle the country’s evolving criminal dynamics.

The second of two debates brought together the six top candidates to present and discuss their proposals on six topics, including security and corruption.

Although six people were on stage, all attention was on the two favorites, President Mauricio Macri, who secured almost 32 percent of the votes in the primaries, and Alberto Fernández, a former government chief of staff, who secured about 48 percent, according to the official count.

SEE ALSO: Argentine News and Profile

With the South American country embroiled in a devastating economic crisis, the candidates have not provided much detail about how they would tackle organized crime and rampant corruption.

But a close look at the top two contenders' platforms and public statements show two very contrasting views.

Mauricio Macri: Tough on Crime

Mauricio Macri won the presidency in 2015 on a strong anti-crime and anti-corruption platform. Over the last four years, his government has been keen to showcase its achievements against organized crime and drug trafficking.

While in office, Macri has invested resources in improving the way statistics on crime are gathered, increasing security operations and promoting key anti-corruption legislation.

Under Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, Argentina widely increased drug seizures and arrests, expanded the role of federal security forces and developed a closer working relationship with international partners, including the United States.

Macri’s Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) coalition has made “drug trafficking networks, the professionalization of the fight against complex crimes such as money laundering, terrorism and people trafficking” the second point of their manifesto.

Amongst the 14 specific proposals, one suggests tougher punishments for crimes including drug trafficking, a new approach to crimes committed by minors and tougher punishments for violent soccer fans, known as “barras bravas.”

The platform, however, lacks specifics on how to tackle growing consumer markets that seem unabated by the rising seizures and arrests, reports of abuse and corruption at the hands of security forces and corruption accusations within their own ranks.

During the debate, Macri used much of the time he was allocated to criticize the former administration of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (2007-2015) for what he said were failures to tackle drug trafficking organizations and facilitating elite corruption.

"We are different from them. We do not make deals with drug traffickers. We combat the mafias. We lowered homicides. We propose the creation of a modern penal code, one that increases penalties for drug traffickers," he said.

Alberto Fernández: Change of Course

Differing from Macri in almost every economic, social and political issue, it is hardly surprising that Alberto Fernández’s Frente de Todos (Front of All) coalition is proposing broad changes to Argentina's security strategy.

Most of the proposals in their platform seem to be structural – right up to the Security Ministry.

Fernández says that he would establish a Security Council and an independent Public Security Observatory to look at the various security issues affecting the country from a political, judicial and social standpoint. Details on both proposals, however, remained unclear during the debate and on paper.

His platform is also proposing to modernize the federal police, providing work, health, and education for police and security force personnel, particularly women.

And he is touting the creation of a Federal Program to Control Drug Trafficking (Programa Federal de Control del Narcotráfico) to “establish a comprehensive strategy to control trafficking and commercialization of illegal drugs and related violence and criminal economies.”

During the debate, the former government chief of staff said Macri's security strategy was punishing drug users and small-time traffickers without showing any lasting results.

"It's easier to talk about 'iron fist' policies and tougher sentences, but the fact is that insecurity is directly related to inequality. We propose to create a Security Council so security becomes a state policy, allowing everybody who needs to be involved to take part," he said.

His vice-presidential running mate is former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who stood trial for corruption charges earlier this year. Despite this, Fernández sought to distance himself from ongoing accusations of the previous administrations he served in and pointed to ongoing investigations against Macri and some of his officials, as a tit-for-tat game dominated the debate.

During the campaign, Fernández also criticized the current administration for the way it handles the fight against organized crime and even pointed to the potential legalization of marijuana.

“We shouldn’t persecute those who smoke marijuana. The solution is to act with some sense. I’m not referring to hard or artificial drugs, I’m talking specifically about marijuana,” he told Pagina12.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 1 OCT 2019

A criminal ring that sent synthetic drugs by mail from Argentina to Chile has been taken down in a joint…

ARGENTINA / 5 SEP 2016

The arrest in Argentina of a drug boss with apparent links to the Mara Salvatrucha has sparked fears that the…

ARGENTINA / 1 DEC 2017

A new round of arrests and charges in an unfolding racketeering case in Argentina involving a criminalized soccer fan club,…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…