HomeNewsBriefArgentina Police Strikes Lead to Widespread Looting
BRIEF

Argentina Police Strikes Lead to Widespread Looting

ARGENTINA / 10 DEC 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

As many as ten people have died during looting in Argentina sparked by provincial police strikes -- unrest which the government claims is being stoked by criminal and political forces.

The looting began last week in the northern city of Cordoba when the provincial police force went on strike demanding higher wages.

Though the situation in Cordoba was resolved after the local government agreed to almost double police pay, the strikes and looting spread to 17 of Argentina's 23 provinces, reported the BBC.

Hundreds of people have been arrested and hundreds more injured -- many from gunshot wounds. Four of the deaths happened in the northeastern province of Chaco, and among the dead was a police chief, reported Clarin.

The strike does not involve the federal police, which numbers about 60,000 (comparable to the Buenos Aires provincial force alone, which has around 55,000 officers).

The provincial police say their typical entry level salaries of below $960 a month are not enough to live on in the face of inflation now running at around 30 percent, according to analysts. The government says inflation is much lower but has been accused by the International Monetary Fund of providing inaccurate figures.

The chief of the government cabinet, Jorge Capitanich, accused the provincial police forces of "treason," calling for them to engage in dialogue rather than "holding governors to ransom."

InSight Crime Analysis

While Argentina has a long history of social unrest, it is notable that the locations in which looting has surged most violently in these protests -- Tucuman, Chaco and Salta, for example -- are northern border regions with a known presence of organized crime.

Justice Minister Julio Alak said the breakouts of looting were not spontaneous but organized and "were promoted by a criminal organization," reported Rosario 3. He also blamed "certain political sectors" for fomenting unrest on social media. Meanwhile cabinet chief Capitanich said the lootings and attacks were "deliberate actions by determined groups, many of whom had pre-existing motives," though it was not clear if he was referring to political groups, criminals or the provincial police.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Argentina

Chaco province, which has seen the highest number of deaths -- including the police chief -- is close to the tri-border area of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina -- a known smuggling hub, which has been described as a drug trafficking "free zone." Local police have been accused of involvement in the trade and even forming their own criminal gangs, raising the possibility that organized criminal elements are taking advantage of the chaos to settle scores.

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.

Tags

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 / 9 AUG 2016

Argentina's government is cooperating with the United States and Israel as it pushes ahead with an increasingly militarized approach to…

ARGENTINA / 14 AUG 2019

While the seizure of hundreds of high-powered weapons in Argentina and a subsequent investigation offer fresh clues about criminal dynamics…

ARGENTINA / 18 OCT 2013

Authorities in Argentina have arrested a man posing as the head of a travel company to sell synthetic drugs at…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

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.