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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gov’t: they are undermining democracy

A looter breaks into a store in Mar del Plata yesterday.

Capitanich, Randazzo, Alak take aim at Sergio Massa, claim incidents are ‘organized’

As reports of widespread looting and violence emerged from several provinces yesterday, the national government took aim at its detractors, claiming the incidents were deliberate, pre-planned and far from spontaneous.

“We haven’t seen anything like this in 30 years of democracy,” Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich told reporters. “I don’t believe that this authoritarian caricature, that tries to undermine the basis of democratic legitimacy, takes place on a date like this only by coincidence.”

Capitanich added that the national administration led by Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is “dismayed” at the violence, which “seeks to generate chaos and uneasiness among (members of) society.”

Justice Minister Julio Alak also argued the lootings were staged. “The looting were not spontaneous and are taking place at the same time as the (police) strike,” he said.

‘Monitoring the situation’

The first of the officials to speak out was Capitanich, during his usual contact with reporters at Government House. The national administration, said the Cabinet Chief, is “monitoring the situation in each province, with each provincial government” in order to create “mechanisms of social and civic protection.”

If necessary, Border Guards, Coast Guards and Federal Police forces will be deployed to the affected districts, the former Chaco governor explained. Capitanich appealed for harmony and social peace.

“This is not the method or the way” to demand wage hikes, he said, before rejecting “the extortion to the provincial governments” implied by such measures. “Collective bargaining has already taken place.”

Official sources revealed President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was especially briefed with a detailed report on the unrest, during a meeting that took place yesterday afternoon at the Olivos presidential residence. Among those present were Capitanich and Security Secretary Sergio Berni.

Massa ally involved in the protest

Facing the media, Alak told reporters the population “cannot be deprived of security services” and said the Security and Justice ministries were coordinating responses to pursue those responsible. Recent lootings have nothing to do with hunger, he added.

Alak was flanked in a show of support by Justice Secretary Julián Álvarez, who later criticized a local lawmaker who has allegedly been working with with the Renewal Front led by Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa.

Salvador Baratta, a former police chief who is currently a local lawmaker for the Greater Buenos Aires district of Lanús, “has been making statements” related to the police protest, Álvarez declared.

Earlier in the afternoon, Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo issued a press statement talking about the “conspicuous silence of opposition leaders.”

“By now they should have come out to publicly condone the looting and violence” of the last few days, Randazzo said.

Policemen with ‘terrible records’

Entre Ríos Governor Sergio Urribarri said he was convinced that there was some political motivation behind the conflict with police forces in his province.

Incidents in the provincial city of Concordia were sparkled “by some 50 non-commissioned officers, most of them with terrible records,” Urribarri told reporters.

The provincial leader compared the lootings in Concordia to what was happening in the coastal city of Mar del Plata, in the Buenos Aires province.

“No ‘social’ situation can explain what happened,” the Kirchnerite governor said.

UCR, Massa respond

The Radical Party (UCR) responded by trying to put pressure back on the government, demanding those in office take responsibility for the lootings.

“These pseudo-chaotic scenarios prove the limits of an authoritarian populist government, incapable of anticipating and preventing conflict,” party leaders said in a press release. “Conspiracy theories have grown old,” the UCR leaders.

After days of silence, Tigre’s local leader Sergio Massa also issued a statement regarding the events.

“Looters are thieves,” Massa said. “That is why we have decided that 4,000 security cameras in 11 municipalities will gather evidence against those trying to loot.”

According to a Renewal Front spokesmen, Massa made those statements following a meeting with provincial lawmakers and mayors of the Greater Buenos Aires area.

—Herald with DyN, Télam

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