December 9, 2013
Taiana: 'Nobody will vote us for the past'
By Constanza Heller
Top Victory Front (FpV) City legislature candidate Jorge Taina met the Buenosairesherald.com at the office of the San Martín University human rights programme in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta.
In a 45-minute talk, Taiana questioned the ruling PRO party “lack of sensitivity” to address citizens’ pressing social demands –housing, for instance; considered the Metropolitan Police a “crash group”; assured that improvements in security responds to the federal government’s action; hesitated about the legalization of drugs and acknowledged that the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration failed in its PASO primaries campaign strategy. ‘Nobody will support us for what we’ve done. We need to explain what we are going to do,” the also Foreign Minister during the government of late Néstor Kirchner said.
What do you think about the Buenos Aires City Metropolitan Police?
I don’t have a very good impression of the Metropolitan police for a couple of reasons. First, it has been shaped with members of the Federal and the Buenos Aires province police. Second, it has no civilian leadership. Third reason is that it rather looks like a crash group, it is enough proof to see its action at the Indoamericano Park, a situation that led to the creation of the Security Ministry at a national level, and the Borda mental hospital case which is frankly scandalous. Beating patients of a psychiatric institution it is the proof of the lowest level of professionalism. Another reason is that it has no specialized units to deal with protests. And fifth is that I think it responds to the security forces' old logic as it prioritizes its presence in commercial areas.
What would the FpV do? Will it improve the Metropolitan police project?
I think we must continue to take responsibilities. We should take the Metropolitan police closer to neighbors and provide them with a less violent security force.
Is the city of Buenos Aires safe?
Compared to other Latin American capitals, the city of Buenos Aires has a lower homicide rate and most homicides involve family or acquaintances. I mean, they don’t take place during thefts in most cases. Main problem is there, in theft cases and statistics are not that reliable because people usually file a report only when they have insurance. Still, there is a significant intervention of the federal government in the City of Buenos Aires through the Cinturón Sur operation. Following what I’ve personally heard from people and officers, it has had an overral positive result. People feel they are more protected, that crime has lowered. Security improvements respond to the national government rather than to the local administration.
As Taiana ramps up Kirchnerite criticism of the local administration of Mayor Mauricio Macri, the Buenosaireshearld.com poses a question that makes him think about the answer. He starts by saying “I don’t have a definitive position”.
How would you fight drug trafficking? Are you in favor of drug legalization?
It is a complex issue and I can’t find a definitive position. Certain is that the war against drugs has failed as a strategy. Strategy based in repression serves no purpose. It has only served to increase violence and has stopped anything. Any strategy missing large consuming markets, that has no will to reduce and combat the business of drugs, is doomed to failure. Without doubts, I am against all legalization of hard drugs and I don’t think personal consumption should be criminalize because I think we are taking about an addict there, about someone who has a health problem and not about a criminal. It is an issue that must be addressed from the health perspective and not from the penal code.
During the PASO primaries campaign, you talked about Kirchnerism’ need to "reconcile" with Buenos Aires citizens. How?
I think it is a process of multiple steps. Main point is that there has to be more dialogue. Some Kirchnerites have always thought the city as the city of gorilas and I am positive that there are many gorilas in the city but not all porteños are, meaning gorilas as those high-income sectors that oppose to the interest of popular sectors. I think the city of Buenos Aires is home to gorilas but not everybody here is a gorila. Most porteños are middle-class, working class sectors who have solidarity and common good visions, that care about production, work and many other things the federal government has done. It is also a city that has historically had a position different to the national government. It has always been a city difficult for Peronism. Those in the Victory Front should listen more to what porteños say, what they think, feel, fear, hope. We have to have more dialogue with them. Politics is persuation. We have arguments because Kirchnerism's 10-year balance is positive. But the balance must serve to present what we want to do and not based ourselves in the past. Nobody will vote us for the past. I think that has been our mistake in the PASO primaries campaign. Nobody will support us for what we have done. Churchill won the war and got fired the next day. We have to explain what we are going to do. What we have done serves as credibility.
What are the main problems the Buenos Aires City has?
This is a rich city. Per capita income here is similar to cities from developed countries. So there we have a problem and that is growth. The country grew over the past 10 years, the city did as well. What have they done with the money? Population has not increased and Mauricio Macri has raised taxes so he has more money. The city has become indebted reaching next year 1.8 billion dollars. In the meantime, the problem of garbage is not resolved, the problem of floods is not resolved, the transport is not resolved. Everybody knows the subte is the solution to the traffic problem and there we have the Metrobus which is the metro of the poor. It is ok; I am not against the Metrobus but it has to be done right. There should be green buses and less cement. Besides, it had an initial cost of 115 million pesos and it ended up costing 195 millions. Such is the politics of marketing. There is a great social insensitivity.
And what about the housing problem?
We are creating ghettos with cheap, unregistered, accessible workforce because they are close –in the city slums- and we expel the rest. That seems to be the plan. We make housing for real estate interest. There are 160,000 vacant residences but nobody can but them. The only social housing is that of the federal government’s PROCREAR. Macri builds no social housing.