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Column 012516 Brewer

Monday, January 25, 2016


Argentina's Ambitious New Security Plan shows Real
Promise
By Jerry Brewer
Argentinas recently elected President Mauricio Macri (56)
appears, so far, to be a breath of fresh air for Latin America
with his avowed, motivated and aggressive posture against
drug trafficking and organized crime that is so prevalent
throughout the hemisphere.
That may not be such a tough act to follow, after outgoing
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchners eight years in the
high office with considerable controversy and many
allegations of corruption.
She began her two terms as president on 10 December 2007,
following her late husband Nestors four-year term as
president. The challenges facing her from the inception were
poor public security, inflation, and international credibility.
Essentially, Cristina was never able to overcome the
accusations, ranging from covering up a terrorist bombing in
Buenos Aires to claims of collusion with the late Venezuelan
leftist President Hugo Chavez, who was accused of funneling

hundreds of thousands of dollars to her presidential


campaign.
Public records would eventually reveal that both Kirchners
terms, in power from 2003, showed an accumulated wealth
that increased by 572 percent.
Nestor was once quoted, in a speech to Venezuela's National
Assembly, as saying, "Venezuela represents a true democracy
fighting for the dignity of its people." And Cristina Kirchner's
latter days in office closely followed her husbands alignment
with much of the Hugo Chavez doctrine.
President Macri thus campaigned strongly on pledges to tackle
crime and fight corruption and bring new investment into the
ailing economy. He also had an additional strong motivation
against crime, as he had been kidnapped in 1991 and kept
captive for 12 days by a gang of corrupt policemen demanding
millions in ransom.
Transnational organized criminals have stealthily and
increasingly encroached into the Argentine homeland,
engaging in violent battles for control of lucrative criminal
turf and illicit contraband supply chains.
Argentina has easily transitioned from having been a transit
country for drug trafficking, into a huge consumer country,
controlled by an ever growing nucleus of illicit power
brokers and growing corruption of security forces.
Argentina is now the second largest domestic market for
cocaine in Latin America, after Brazil. As well, it has become
both a major market and transit point in the world drug trade
as international trafficking groups have expanded their
activities, from a destination for synthesis to increasing
exports, as well as consumption.
Further motivation for Macris pledges on crime relate to the
shame of Argentina in becoming a source, transit, and
destination country for men, women, and children subjected to

forced labor and sex trafficking, according to the U.S. State


Department.
There are reported significant numbers of sex trafficking
victims from rural areas or northern provinces, and the
Chilean border region, who are forced into prostitution in
urban centers. Many are sent to wealthier provinces in
central and southern Argentina.
Macri has strategically, and hopefully wisely, appointed a
multi-faceted Minister of Security by the name of Patricia
Bullrich (59) to his cabinet.
Bullrich left Congress in 1997 and began Union for All
(UPT), described as a vehicle for studying and campaigning
on the subject of crime and security. She also worked for the
state government in Buenos Aires Province on security
matters, developing a community policing project that became
well-known nationally and internationally. Bullrich also
served in the Department of Criminal Policy and Penitentiary
Matters.
Argentina must have proper police and security deployments
and effective coordination and oversight. Proactive training
and professional development by a selected cadre of
international security and policing experts who have a diverse
expertise in confronting transnational organized crime and
counterterror is critically important.
There must also be a professionalization of the criminal justice
functions to enhance criminal investigation of violent crimes
and criminal conspiracies to achieve successful prosecutions
leading to extended incarceration. Argentinas judicial system
faces and is susceptible to severe delays, inefficiency and
thousands of open cases and few solved.
President Macri shrewdly wants to strategically deploy his
operating units via the Superintendent of Dangerous Drugs
into the interior territories. This will require superior criminal
intelligence and counterintelligence capabilities to recognize,

interdict and monitor any continued acts of crime and


corruption.
Policing infrastructure in many of those areas will be weak
and vulnerable. Areas in provinces of Mendoza, Santa Fe,
Salta, Jujuy and others may require military-like strategies to
minimize aggressive confrontations. Argentina has little
control of its borders with Paraguay and Bolivia that are
extremely dangerous regions and heavily transited by criminal
and insurgent-like guerrillas.
Sectoring these enforcement efforts to stop the spread or
organized crime will require strong senior leadership and
management for maximum efficiency and a tough anti-crime
posture. Taking control of each territory must be a wellcoordinated effort and require superb crime analyses. The
policing techniques must be professionalized and modern.
Macris policing efforts must be
tough and decisive against all violent
criminal acts. Argentina must not
make the same mistakes and suffer
the human carnage of Mexico in
2005 and 2006, or the northern
triangle tier nations of Honduras,
Guatemala and El Salvador that
continue to suffer indecision and
defeat.

Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of


Criminal Justice International
Associates, a global threat
mitigation firm headquartered
in northern Virginia. His
website is located at
www.cjiausa.org.
TWITTER: CJIAUSA

Jerry Brewer Published


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