Capitanich blasts media's 'systematic repetition of crimes' in Senate report
Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich briefed senators on different government actions for the second time since he was appointed to head Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s ministerial team back in December, with crime and security one of the key issues during the session.
Today's session marked the third time Capitanich has addressed Congress: twice at the Upper House (March 12 and today), once at the Lower House (April 3) in a shift of tone by the government following Kirchnerism's defeat in the 2013 parliamentary elections.
Among first issues to bring up this afternoon, Capitanich highlighted the government’s efforts and policies in the fight against human trafficking as well as the protection of the environment.
The government's agenda on crime and security was also questioned in Capitanich's message to the Senate this afternoon. The minister affirmed that media treatment of the subject helped contribute to fears.
"There has not been a substantial change in murder [rates], but the volume of minutes on television dedicated to crime stories has changed," he fired, underlining that "four out of every 10 news stories are about crime."
"There is a systematic repetition of criminal activity in the media," he asserted, also highlighting a 48 percent rise in law enforcement officials since the beginning of Néstor Kirchner's presidency in 2003.
One of Capitanich's fiercest discussions of the session was held with the UCR's Ernesto Sanz over government advertising and poverty figures, suspended by the INDEC.
"How old are you? What time is it? How many senators are here? What is the poverty index?" the Radical fired in a stream of questions.
"If you want to defend the fact there are not many in poverty, tell me what the poverty index is. You want to lie to us with numbers, and drive us crazy. Tell me with the same certainty what the poverty index is. You do not want to day what the poverty index is because you do not have it."
In response, the Cabinet Chief accused Sanz of posturing ahead of a presumed presidential campaign in 2015.
"You are using my presence here for your positioning as a presidential candidate, and that is great for me," he fired at the senator.
"We will give the issue serious debate, and it should be done in a serious, deep manner."Vulture Funds
The politician asserted in his monthly report that the vulture funds had "spent millions of dollars in a campaign against Argentina... they use aggressive and unethical tactics to achieve their goal."
"Argentina has been forced to fight in French, US, Belgian and Swiss courts," Capitanich added, highlighting the government's decision to "meet its commitments" over debt restructuring.