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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Binner questions Rosario operation

Security Minister María Cecilia Rodríguez tours Rosario yesterday.
Security Minister María Cecilia Rodríguez tours Rosario yesterday.
Security Minister María Cecilia Rodríguez tours Rosario yesterday.

Results from the anti-drug sting ‘are not very encouraging,’ says Bonfatti ally

Almost a week after the largest security operation in the history of Rosario, former Santa Fe province governor Hermes Binner questioned whether the sting led by federal Security Secretary Sergio Berni really produced results that one would expect from such a large show of force.

“The results are not very encouraging. I mean, 3,000 security forces and all they uncovered were three guns, a couple of thousand dollars and some drugs,” Binner told Radio La Red yesterday. “It is quite a poor collection of information.”

Yesterday, Berni and federal Security Minister María Cecilia Rodríguez monitored the Villa Banana shanty town some kilometres west of Rosario and other areas that are now controlled by Border Guards and other federal security forces.

Rodríguez said she was “pleased” with the results of the sting operation and ruled out claims that the move was a kind of federal intervention in the province.

Berni emphasized yesterday that the security operation was a work in progress, noting that the leaders of the largest drug trafficking groups have yet to be aprehended.“This is just beginning,” Berni said. “It’s an operation that requires a lot of calm and patience, we have to go centimetre by centimetre.”

Berni added that “the federal forces will stay for a while,” specifying that they’ll remain in the region “for a year or months.” For her part, Rodríguez emphasized that this work would take place jointly between the province and the federal government. “We can see the combined work of the federal forces with the provincial police,” Rodríguez said.

Even as he questioned the efficacy of the cinematic-like operation in Rosario last week, Binner highlighted that “it’s important to keep going down this road,” noting his support for “the creation of the Complex Crimes Observatory and three new federal courts” in the province because drug trafficking “is a federal crime.”The national government has launched a process to fight against drug trafficking and organized crime with the provinces, Rodríguez said yesterday.

“Neighbourhoods are calmer, people are happy with the presence of federal forces and with the coordination work that has been carried out to pacify the neighbourhoods,” she added.The security minister also said there was nothing particularly special about Rosario that made it any different in terms of drug trafficking than other large cities, including Córdoba and Buenos Aires.

The fight against trafficking “is not limited to the famous gangs but rather extends to politicians, police forces, which could have ties to crime,” the minister added.

Sticking around

Federal law enforcemnet forces are not going anywhere anytime soon, local leaders said yesterday.

“The federal forces will stay in Rosario as long as they’re needed,” Rosario Mayor Mónica Fein said yesterday. “We don’t have to give ourselves time limits. Any way the federal government can collaborate will be important. Let’s think that the idea is to develop community policing, which takes time, so all that federal forces can stay alongside provincial forces” she said.

In overall terms, the local government seeks to “strengthen the territorial work we’ve been carrying out to dismantle those places that generate violence,” such as drug trafficking dens, said Fein, noting that the goal is to recover positive neighbourhood life.

“Due to violent actions, neighbourhoods get degraded in all their forms,” Fein said. “Neighbours stop going out after dark, the health centre begins to close earlier.”

Herald Staff

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