Weekly InSight: Argentina Takes a Step Towards Militarization

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In our July 26 Facebook Live session, InSight Crime’s Spanish Editor Ronna Rísquez and Managing Editor Josefina Salomón discussed recent changes to the role of Argentina’s armed forces and their impact on the country’s fight against organized crime.

On July 23, President Mauricio Macri announced a series of changes to the role of the armed forces in Argentina.

In a speech Macri gave at one of the largest military bases in the country, he said the armed forces will be deployed for use in a “deterrent or effective” way against any kind of external threat. On the same day, he repealed a 2006 decree that had limited the use of the armed forces to defense against threats from other nations.

Macri stated that on August 1 a total of 500 army soldiers will join members of the gendarmerie at the country’s northern border to support logistics and to deter criminal organizations from taking root in local towns.

SEE ALSO: Argentina News and Profiles

Rísquez and Salomón talked about the various reactions to the announcement, which included misgivings regarding the need to deploy the armed forces when the country already has two militarized security forces (the gendarmerie and the coast guard) in charge of policing the border. People also asked about the lack of established protocols for how the forces should act under the new circumstances they will face.

Salomón explained that several experts consulted by InSight Crime said important changes such as this should be based on a wider consensus, which can only be accomplished through a debate and vote in Congress.

The experts also highlighted the experiences of other countries in the region — Mexico, for example – where security strategies based on militarization to combat organized crime and violence have backfired.

The editors finished up by examining the details of the security strategy the government is implementing to combat the real threat that drug trafficking poses in Argentina, which has gone from being a transit country to one of increasing consumption and production. They also pointed out to the lack of sufficiently effective measures to fight corruption, which allows criminal groups to operate freely within the country.

Watch the full conversation (in Spanish) below:

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