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Montevideo, October 4th 2023 - 17:33 UTC



Messi's native town not a safe place to live

Friday, January 27th 2023 - 10:55 UTC
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Criminality in “The Argentine Chicago” even resulted in the death of local football legend Tomás Carlovich at the hands of a petty thief Criminality in “The Argentine Chicago” even resulted in the death of local football legend Tomás Carlovich at the hands of a petty thief

By Mordechai Taji – Rosario Central, a traditional football club in the city where Lionel Messi was born on June 24, 1987, has had trouble getting ready for the upcoming Professional League tournament starting this weekend when many players refused to relocate citing growing insecurity.

“There are players who do not want to live in Rosario,” coach Miguel Russo said in an interview published Thursday. ”We met with wives (of players) who do not want to come to live in Rosario. It's a reality, it's very hard and it hurts me to say it, but we have also come up against that,“ the 66-year-old Russo lamented. Nevertheless, he managed to sign six new players for his team.

Until last Saturday, 18 people had been murdered this year in the city that has for decades claimed to be the second-largest in the country, a feat which has been challenged by Córdoba.

In the late 19th Century, Rosario was dubbed ”The Argentine Chicago“ because the country's grain Stock Exchange was -and still is- operating there as it does in the Windy City in the US state of Illinois.

But in the 1930s the city in the Argentine province of Santa Fe saw a rise in criminality paramount to that which legendary FBI agent Eliot Ness had to fight. ”Never like today does Rosario deserve to be called the Argentine Chicago: it has its all-powerful gangs, its police impotent to destroy them and its heroic and martyred journalists,“ the Buenos Aires daily Crítica published on Oct. 9, 1932, thus reshaping the city's motto.

Rosario also has to admit it kills its own legends. Footballer Tomás Felipe Carlovich was born there on April 19, 1946. He died there on May 8, 2020. He had been struck in his head by a thief who stole his bicycle two days before. He was hospitalized and put under an induced coma, from which he never recovered.

It is one of Rosario's urban legends that in 1993 when Diego Maradona was hired by Newell's Old Boys, a journalist said he was proud to welcome in Rosario ”the best player ever“ to which Maradona reportedly replied: ”I thought I was the best, but since I arrived in Rosario I heard wonderful things about a certain Carlovich, so I don't know anymore...“.

Carlovich, nicknamed ”El Trinche” (The Pitchfork) was a talented player who lacked professional discipline. “I liked women too much,” he explained in an interview in recent years. Hence, he never lasted at any club, made barely enough money to live to the next day, and dwelled in a humble room until his last day. That is also why he rode a bicycle, one of his few possessions.

On Wednesday, leaders of the main provincial opposition parties gathered at the headquarters of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) in Rosario to reach a consensus on the extension of the security emergency requested by Governor Omar Perotti.

“The year began with a public safety crisis that continues to worsen and a prolonged drought, both problems, increased by the increasingly conspicuous absence of the provincial and national governments that do not offer answers to the citizens and the few actions they carry out are implemented with total improvisation, discretionality, and arbitrariness in the distribution of resources,” they pointed out in a joint statement.

“We closed a year of homicides, and this shows that there are no changes in sight. It is necessary that the government reacts with the proactivity required by the urgency and responsibility of an administration that is in retreat and that must ensure that its decisions do not complicate the situation even more,” they added.

Regarding the extension to the security emergency, they said that “this must be the occasion to transform a mere administrative disposition into a security program that makes it possible to retake the government of the streets and the penitentiary units, the control of the security forces, the implementation of territorial policies and the strengthening of the criminal prosecution system.”

“It is already clear that an empty slogan is not enough, that is why we reiterate our request for the Ministry of Security to account for the resources it had available and did not execute due to lack of direction and decision,” the declaration went on.

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