A new study analyzes the political and judicial environment in Argentina, arguing that the current government has allowed a culture of impunity to take root and, in doing so, enabled the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman.
In an International Assessment and Strategy Center (IASC) report titled “The Murder of Alberto Nisman: How the Government of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner Created the Environment for a Perfect Crime,” analyst Douglas Farah examines the circumstances surrounding Nisman’s death, and offers a damning critique of the Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner administration.
Nisman was investigating the 1994 car bombing of an Israeli community center in Buenos Aires — in which Iran is widely suspected to have played a role — that left 85 dead and hundreds wounded. He was found dead in his apartment on January 18, the day before he was to present his case to Congress.
According to Farah, Nisman had uncovered a plot by the Kirchner government to guarantee impunity for Iranian officials indicted in the bombing case. In exchange, Kirchner sought oil to relieve fuel shortages, as well as promises to buy agricultural products and weapons.
Since his death, a judge has dismissed Nisman’s judicial accusation, a move Farah calls “part of a much larger mosaic of corruption, foreign influence peddling, and lawlessness which has come to define [the Kirchner] government.”
Citing recent polls that show 70 percent of Argentinians believe the crime will never be solved, Farah argues that the government suffers from a complete lack of credibility, which is further demonstrated by numerous corruption scandals that have dogged members of the current government.
Overall, Farah claims that the suspicious circumstances surrounding Nisman’s death, and its inadequate investigation, demonstrate how Kirchner “now presides over a highly criminalized state,” one that is “more allied with rogue nations and terrorism than with democracy and the rule of law.”
InSight Crime Analysis
Farah’s analysis of the circumstances surrounding Nisman’s death highlights a culture of impunity that has likely contributed to the country’s deteriorating security situation and growing role in the drug trade.
In previous reports, the IASC has examined scandals involving money laundering, corruption, and precursor chemical trafficking in which members of the Kirchner administration have been implicated, as well as allegations that Kirchner has meddled in judicial proceedings. Meanwhile, Argentina appears to be playing a growing role as both a drug transit and consumption nation, and has seen rising violence and the presence of foreign drug trafficking groups in addition to increasingly sophisticated local crime syndicates.
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In addition, Nisman’s case is not the first time a high-profile case in Argentina has involved a mysterious death. In the past, several key witnesses in politically sensitive cases have perished in unusual circumstances, preventing the judicial system from achieving justice.