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CFK names first Security Minister to address the challenge of “social problems”

Thursday, December 16th 2010 - 12:05 UTC
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Former Defence minister Nilda Garré has a new challenge Former Defence minister Nilda Garré has a new challenge

In an attempt to cope with what has been described as “social problems”, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner swore in Nilda Garré as new Security Minister and Arturo Puricelli as new Defence Minister during a ceremony at Government House.

Puricelli, a former governor from the province of Santa Cruz and until this week head of Fabricaciones Militares (military arms and munitions manufacturing) was sworn in to replace minister Garré since she will be at the head of the Security Ministry.

The newly sworn in Security Minister Nilda Garré said that “we want to guarantee security for all citizens through the Constitution, the law and respect for human rights.”

“We will be working with security forces” which are being “strengthened, made more professional along with better conditions for complex criminal investigations,” she said.

Garré moves into her new job taking a well known prosecutor, Cristina Camaño as her Deputy and her closest aide at Defence as head of Strategic Planning of the new ministry.

On taking office Minister Puricelli anticipated no major changes in Defence besides those already under implementation.

“Defence nowadays is not a difficult ministry because human rights policy has been consolidated and the military are strictly subordinated to civilian rule. We must work to consolidate what has been achieved in human rights and continue with education and more professional, versatile forces”, said Puricelli.

Regarding military procurement and equipment Puricelli was rather colloquial: “I don’t think that to equip the Armed Forces we need to go shopping”.

Garré described “insecurity”, which has become Argentine public opinion main concern, as “a complex, multi-cause problem” but “we are committed to appeal to all possible resources to ensure that law abiding citizens have the right to what they deserve: to live in a safe, quite, respectful society and that when social problems emerge they are not solved through repression and violence”.

The decision is also seen as a strong reply to rampant crime and insecurity in metropolitan Buenos Aires ahead of next year’s presidential election.

The new Security ministry which is made up of the powerful (and allegedly corrupt) Federal Police, Coast Guard and Gendarmerie (border patrol) (plus intelligence services) was announced last week by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during the human rights day celebration and when neighbours in the south of Buenos Aires city clashed with squatters trying to occupy a huge park and open space.

At least four people were killed, dozens injured, some of them with bullet wounds and special forces had to be sent in to surround the 130 hectares area. The estimated 6.000 squatters have since moved out following promises that they will be entitled to emergency housing.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

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