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CFK, Scioli part ways on fighting crime

Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli is seen with local officials in La Plata city yesterday.

Cabinet chief says BA governor is following ‘his own agenda’ with emergency decree

The national government yesterday began to distance itself from Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli after the provincial leader announced a battery of measures to fight crime in the district, suggesting the beginning of a division that may deepen as the 2015 presidential election gets closer.

Scioli’s decision to declare the state of security emergency in the nation’s largest province “is part of his own agenda,” Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich told reporters yesterday.

“The approval of security laws must not be part of a demagogic strategy,” the official warned.

The head of the government-sponsored SEDRONAR anti-drugs agency Juan Carlos Molina openly criticized the move carried out by the Buenos Aires province governor, who is technically a Kirchnerite ally, by saying that the measures announced last weekend “lacked a prevention focus.”

A provincial government can “buy bullet-proof vests and bullets, but let’s also triple the amount given to athletic, cultural and therapeutic scholarships,” Molina wrote on Twitter.

Scioli acknowledged that he did not discuss the plan with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner because — he said — security “is a provincial responsibility” and he is well aware that “when you rule you can’t make everyone happy.”

Yesterday morning, Scioli took the spotlight to defend his decision to declare the state of security emergency in the district for 12 months, and urged politicians to “be in harmony with society, with what people are requesting.”

The decree signed last week, he said, seeks to “answer to the fear of the most humble, of people who go to work every day, the concern of our middle class.”

But allies of the national government were not afraid yesterday to show discomfort with Scioli’s tough-on-crime approach that, they said, amounted to nothing more than populist reactions.

This included Lieutenant Governor Gabriel Mariotto, a staunch Kirchnerite, who stood against the effort to fight crime through “opportunistic stances” and said it was time to fight the “structural causes” of the phenomenon.

Mariotto, who was conspicuously absent from Saturday’s presentation of the plan, said that there was no possibility of citizen safety without “attacking the roots of the problem.”

He then told Radio Provincia that he aligned himself with the interparty “consensus for Democratic Security,” a multi-dimensional plan for crime prevention that was presented in 2009 and that is at odds with the idea of giving police forces too much power — like Scioli hinted last weekend when he presented the measures.

A lack of prevention

Molina, who was appointed as Sedronar head by Fernández de Kirchner in November in what was seen as an effort to join forces with the Catholic Church to fight drug addiction, yesterday went on a Twitter rampage to express his displeasure over the anti-crime measures announced by Scioli.

“Apart from the 15,000 retired police officers (that Scioli will re-insert into the force), he should also lure back 15,000 retired teachers, doctors, workers, psychologists and nurses,” the priest said.

The Sedronar chief said he was still waiting for the provincial leader to announce a “state of emergency for (drug) prevention.”

Hours earlier, Capitanich spoke against some of the draft legislation addressing the issue of crime and asked to avoid “demagogic strategies” that only end up favouring a certain “presidential candidate.”

On behalf of the national administration, the former Chaco governor said that only “inclusion and equity” as well as the “resocialization of those inmates who are about to be released” will help to fight crime in the country, and that the investments made by the national government regarding public safety were “unprecedented.”

Different strokes

Last year, Scioli decided to realign himself with the ruling Victory Front (FpV) after flirting with Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front at the stroke of the electoral registration deadline. (The governor appeared next to Kirchnerite candidate Martín Insaurralde in almost every campaign rally, but Insaurralde ended up losing the election to Massa.)

However, his alliance with the FpV — which has prevailed over the tumultuous comings and goings with the CFK administration — hides the fact that his positions on anti-crime policies clash with the Kirchnerite approach to security, more linked to a centre-left view on crime prevention.

Yesterday’s moves might be read as an indication of how Scioli and Kirchnerism will part ways on this issue now that the next presidential elections are only months away.

— Herald staff with DyN, Télam

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