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Cordoba police wage strike over; conflict revealed ongoing clash of Governor with Buenos Aires

Wednesday, December 4th 2013 - 23:04 UTC
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De la Sota announcing the salary increase; Capitanich saying public security is a matter for provinces De la Sota announcing the salary increase; Capitanich saying public security is a matter for provinces

The governor of the Argentine province of Córdoba José Manuel De La Sota confirmed on Wednesday a wage deal was reached to end a conflict and protest staged by the police force on Tuesday which coincided with a wave of looting and left two people dead.

 The night of looting and robbing also revealed once again the ongoing conflict between De la Sota, an independent Peronist, and the central government of Cristina Fernandez that has been delaying federal funds to the province.

The two victims were a 20-year-old was shot dead and an 85-year-old man died of a heart attack when looters tried to break into his house. Almost 100 people were injured, and 52 were arrested after violent lootings Tuesday night hit the capital city of Córdoba province, with a population of 1.5 million.

The incidents were reported meters away from where police officials were staging a protest to demand wage hikes.

During a speech from the city's Civic Centre, De la Sota announced that “from this moment, the police force is once again at the Cordoba public's service”, and asked the media to help the Judiciary with the video recordings of last night's lootings.

“Nobody should get away with the damage they have done in the city of Córdoba. The police force has our backing and all our support to go out and work on restoring order,” the governor fired.

De la Sota confirmed that, under the terms of the agreement, the basic wage for a policeman would rise from 6.000 to 8.000 pesos a month (approximately 1.000 dollars). Other perks and benefits for officers were also negotiated in order to put an end to the conflict.

From Buenos Aires Security Secretary Sergio Berni responded strongly to Governor De la Sota announcement's late Tuesday night that he had called for national security forces to be sent to the looting-struck province.

Berni had confirmed a special anti-turmoil team of military police was already on its way to the province but cancelled the deployment after a deal was reached with the provincial police forces over a wage hike.

He warned “De la Sota waited for the province to be set on fire to call for help.”

“What the governor is doing is embarrassing, something he is used to doing, just like when the Córdoba’s fires; he waited the province to be set on fire to call the nation for help,” the official told a news channel alluding to the wildfire fire that recently hit Córdoba.

Berni said the provincial request for federal assistance was received only on Wednesday morning at 8 am. The official then questioned De la Sota for calling for help via Twitter and waiting till this morning to demand Buenos Aires' help.

“It is not only a matter of asking the gendarmerie for help, they also need the means to deal with the situation, this is not that we are reinforcing provincial police but assuming a duty that by constitution corresponds to the province. The twitter message was embarrassing. There are institutional responsibilities that must be assumed,” the secretary added saying the conflict affecting the province of Córdoba “was no natural catastrophe.”

“Those who monitor the country knew about this,” Sergio Berni stated in reference to the police wage dispute that led to looting and violence spreading mainly in the provincial capital and claiming the life of a 20-year-old.

Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich stated that the national administration will “monitor the situation” but stressed the conflict’s “responsibility lays strictly on De la Sota”.

At the Casa Rosada presidential palace, during his routine brief to the press and just before leaving for Paraguay, the head of ministers expressed the government’s “solidarity” with the victims of stores looting affecting Córdoba as a consequence of a police strike over salary hikes leaving the province without security.

“According to the National Constitution, the Nation adopts a representative, republican and federal system and, in the context of provincial autonomies, public security is one of (provinces’) faculties, so this is a matter of wage that falls to the province (of Córdoba),” Capitanich said.

The minister added he received “no phone call” from Juan Manuel De la Sota thus rejecting the governor’s statements that he had demanded national assistance to cope with the provincial crisis.

Still, Capitanich affirmed the Cristina Fernández administration will “monitor” the situation and did not rule out the possibility of having national Security Secretary Sergio Berni in Córdoba “soon”

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

Top Comments

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  • Anglotino

    I am sure the two dead people will rest in peace while politicans bicker over who should have done what.

    Pathetic on all side!

    Dec 04th, 2013 - 11:57 pm 0
  • CabezaDura

    Capitanich messed up so bad !! Of course the Gendarmerie should have being send over to Cordoba.... What formal request did the Casa Rosada need ?? Smoke messages, pigeon messages, how come everybody else knew by late afternoon yesturday by the media and not the govenrment ?? That doesn't happen. Why didn't BsAs call over De La Sota's government and offered assistance??

    Last year it was Berni that sent over 400 Gendarmeries to control Bariloche

    And not so long ago 4500, during the last elections this year, they were massively re deployed from the borders for over two months in the suburbs in BsAs for electoral purposes to show off they were dealing with crime.

    For this reason Capitanich's gaffe was far too obscene.

    It allows De La Sota a political coverage to victimize himself, while Capitanich has lost all the new “Handy Man of government” image that he was building in these weeks since he came to office in a matter of hours, and the whole events of today and yesturday as proven him a higly inefficient man under pressure. According to Asis sombody in Cristina's security office told him to get aside, thatthis is non of your business and then Berni agreed to send over the Gendarmerie.

    Dec 04th, 2013 - 11:58 pm 0
  • Usurping Pirate

    CD : Cristina gets tough on crime only when it directly affects her . When Florencia had her Mini stolen , the police raided and closed down all the desarmaderos ( car breakers ) in Warnes and San Martin , and car theft dropped to an all time low . Now I understand it's as bad as ever again .

    Dec 05th, 2013 - 09:11 am 0
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