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Montevideo, May 24th 2024 - 17:23 UTC



US State Dept. addresses corruption in Argentina under Alberto Fernández

Tuesday, April 23rd 2024 - 10:15 UTC
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The study was released during a press conference by Secretary of State Antony Blinken The study was released during a press conference by Secretary of State Antony Blinken

According to a human rights report released Monday by the US State Department, corruption was substantial in Argentina under former President Alberto Fernandez. The document highlighted the conviction of then-Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (CFK) in the so-called Vialidad case. The study was released Monday during a press conference held by Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

 “The law provided for criminal sanctions for corruption of public officials, but the government did not implement it effectively. During 2023 there were numerous reports of government corruption. Weak institutions and an often ineffective and politicized judicial system undermined systematic attempts to curb corruption,” the State Department described while recalling that ”Fernández de Kirchner and nine implicated (45 in total) were accused of receiving bribes, paying bribes, or both, in public works contracts between 2008 and 2015, when she was president.“

”Prosecutors estimated the total value of the bribery scheme at 160 million dollars. Fernández de Kirchner was convicted and, in December 2022, a trial court sentenced her to six years in prison, a fine, and perpetual disqualification from public office. The sentence would not become final until final appeals were decided,“ the text also highlighted.

The statement also mentioned the case of former Mendoza Federal Judge Walter Bento: ”On July 26, a federal trial began against former federal judge Walter Bento, his family, and 29 other defendants, including lawyers and police officers.“

”The court accused Bento of leading a criminal organization with links to drug trafficking and was charged with money laundering and accepting bribes in exchange for clemency and other judicial benefits. On November 8, he was remanded in custody after losing his immunity privileges when a jury decided to remove him from office for poor performance of his duties,“ the text added.

The report also addressed ”corruption and complicity“ within law enforcement agencies. ”The most frequent abuses included extortion and protection of those involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, and the sex trade. Accusations of corruption in provincial and federal courts were frequent,“ the document read.

”Prison conditions are harsh due to overcrowding, poor nutrition and medical care, and unsanitary conditions (...) Prison overcrowding continued to be a problem. As of June (2023), the province of Buenos Aires estimated a prison population of 53,097 in a space designed for 26,886 people,“ the report also mentioned.

”Overcrowding in detention centers often resulted in people being held in police stations for prolonged periods, although some NGOs and the national penitentiary ombudsman pointed out that the law prohibited doing so. On July 18, human rights organizations protested overcrowding in Buenos Aires police stations. Human rights organizations estimated that 1,155 detainees were being held in spaces designed for 543,″ it went on.

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