December 11, 2013
Cabinet chief backs reform of juvenile crime policies
Top CFK official ‘celebrates’ Insaurralde’s bill
Crime control seems to have stuck in the Kirchnerite agenda after the PASO primaries. While Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina backed the Victory Front’s (FpV) top congressional candidate Martín Insaurralde’s proposal to lower the age of criminal responsibility, Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli yesterday put in office his new Security minister Alejandro Granados, a mayor with a heavy-handed narrative who promised that Border Guards and police officer will flood the streets.
Days ago, Insaurralde said that the FpV was about to table a bill to lower the age of criminal responsibility and to promote disarmament. After his announcement, Kirchnerites tried to clarify that the Lomas de Zamora mayor was, in fact, calling to debate new legislation specifically designed to deal with juvenile delinquents, a new Juvenile Penal Code, in order to meet international standards. But the ruling coalition was divided between those supporting Insaurralde’s proposal and those who opposed it.
Yesterday President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s Cabinet chief backed Insaurralde’s idea, which can be seen as a signal of the president’s support. “Teenagers who commit crimes should not stay on the streets, they shouldn’t be sent to adult prisons either, which turn out to be places where they learn new crimes,” Abal Medina, who is an FpV campaign strategist, said.
“We celebrate the discussion prompted by Insaurralde. All of us are analyzing these issues,” Abal Medina, who is said to be the link between the Lomas de Zamora mayor and the president, added.
Insaurralde is a candidate in Buenos Aires province where the Victory Front lost the August 11 primaries against the Renewal Front headed by Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa.
Scioli, who also had an important role during Insaurralde’s campaign, yesterday formally named the former Ezeiza mayor, Granados, as the new Security minister. In his first statements to the press, Granados said that changes in crime control policy don’t pursue an electoral interest.
“The Border Guards came to Buenos Aires province to stay for good,” the newly-appointed minister said in reference to the 5,000 members of the security force deployed in Greater Buenos Aires districts. “They will stay. This is a topic I have already discussed with late president Néstor Kirchner. They came to stay,” Granados said. He explained that Border Guards will be deployed according to the needs expressed by the crime map.
Granados added that more police officers will be on the streets, as Buenos Aires governor had previously announced.
Meanwhile, Scioli praised Granados’ record in Ezeiza and said that he is a man who has a “special sensitivity to detect what is going on in the neighbourhood.” Scioli highlighted that Ezeiza has the lowest crime rates and he said he expected the same would happen in the entire province. Human rights associations like the Provincial Commission for Memory (CPM) expressed concern about the recent policy changes ordered by Scioli and characterized them as part of “punitive demagoguery.”
In the provincial Government House —where the ceremony to swear-in Granados and Ricardo Casal as the Justice minister took place—, Scioli also thanked the support provided by the president, who decided to deploy the Border Guards in Buenos Aires province. Casal until yesterday was the head of the provincial Justice and Security portfolio.
Even though Granados’ appointment was not welcomed by human rights organizations, most of the opposition leaders backed it. Jorge D’Onofrio, Massa’s Renewal Front provincial senator, told the Herald that Granados would improve dialogue with mayors, who are the ones who have to deal with cirme in their towns. Yesterday Vicente López Mayor Jorge Macri agreed and said he thought Granados would improve the situation in the province.
Laying down arms?
Part of Insaurralde’s proposal also included the idea of relaunching a plan for guns to be turned in. However, within Kirchnerism, that suggestion also prompted a debate. In 1999, Granados suffered a burglary and he opened fire against the criminals. Since them, he has been a supporter of registered gun possession. Tres de Febrero Mayor Hugo Curto has also since stated that he owns a gun and knows how to use it.
Victory Front Senator Aníbal Fernández yesterday said that he used to have four guns at home, but explained he had donated them during the Disarmament Plan led by the Kirchnerite administration. “Families should not have guns,” the former Kirchnerite Cabinet chief said. He also criticized the municipal police bills that are being discussed in the provincial Legislature: one was filed by Massa’s Renewal Front and the other by Scioli’s lawmakers.
From the opposition field, Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri yesterday took part in the controversy.
“Due to the state’s absence, many people have decided to buy arms,” the PRO party leader said. He added: “I’m not in favour of it, but people are desperate and due to the lack of assistance, they do it.” Macri confirmed his support for the idea of lowering the age of criminal responsibility.
— Herald with Télam, DyN, Online media
Border guards arrested.
Eight officers of the Border Guard were arrested yesterday in Paso de los Libres and Mercedes in Corrientes accused of being part of a criminal gang that worked along the 14 national Route 14. Officers of the Federal Justice did also a raid at the 15th Infantry Regiment of La Rioja and seized lists of conscripts and deserter soldiers during the last dictatorship, some of whom are still missing. The raid was ordered due to a criminal case regarding the disappearance of Adrián Díaz Romero, partner of the forcibly disappeared soldier Alberto Ledo, which case could compromise Army Chief César Milani.