April 20, 2014
‘This was not unpredictable’
For The Herald
FpV lawmaker says De la Sota holds responsibility
Former Córdoba National University Chancellor Silvia Carolina Scotto, the first woman to head the institution in its 400-year history, was Victory Front’s (FpV) top candidate in the October 27 midterm elections. She challenged Córdoba Province Governor José Manuel de la Sota’s dissident Peronist Unión por Córdoba ticket but she ended up far behind ruling party’s dauphin, Juan Schiaretti and even Radical Party’s Oscar Aguad.
When analyzing the looting episodes in your province, to what extent can it be attributed to a pre-existing social situation as a condition that fuelled violent episodes?
Most of the looting appeared to have been encouraged rather than planned, although I must say, a high level of organization was evident. The purpose of certain sectors seemed to be fuelling a dangerous climate of insecurity in a wide radius of neighbourhoods, starting in the City’s surroundings but moving towards more centric areas.
Do these actions and the way they were tackled set a precedent?
I guess an uneasy feeling remains that deprived sectors may eventually copy this behaviour.
What are the limits then for police’s workers when calling for better working conditions taking into account their role in society?
Police play a key role in society so there is a limit they can’t cross no matter how legitimate their struggle for better working conditions may be. And I believe they are. The risk of unpredictable consequences that may jeopardize society’s well-being is just too high.
Beyond mutual accusations between De la Sota and national government over assistance, could the government have acted unilaterally during the emergency and sent border guards forces without consulting Córdoba provincial authorities?
The presence of border guards to control the situation was needed earlier, that is a fact. But the truth is the national government can’t act on its own, even given the seriousness of the episodes we were witnessing. The provincial administration shouldn’t have waited that long to request help. But in the absence of any official request, a unilateral landing by border guards forces in the province may have escalated into a major crisis for the number of police officers that were heading the protest in their headquarters.
Could the provincial government have acted in another way?
Of course it could have because this was not an unpredictable situation. Not that long ago, a deep crisis caused part of the police leadership to step aside along with high-level government officials after links with drug lords were brought to light by an investigation. That episode generates an atmosphere of anger among police ranks due to suspicion of complicity between drug business and judges circulated for a long time. The bonds between police superiors and their subordinates broke down. In that context, claims for better working conditions contributed to harden their stance. Local government should have paid more attention to this. The Security minister acknowledged they didn’t see this emergency coming and De la Sota wasn’t even in the office, he was travelling abroad.
Should he be blamed for these episodes?
De la Sota has a great responsibility on all this looting episodes. All his administration play a key role in letting this outburst get out of control because they dodged a negotiated solution with police forces when time was on their side. Seen another way, how can you explain that the moment he landed in Córdoba from his trip to Panama he was able to reach a solution over the wage demand when just a couple of days before he had insisted there was no possible answer to the requests. Nothing changed in the meantime. Nothing, except looting episodes extending along Córdoba City.