BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Mauricio Macri said Monday that he does not want a state that is a “partner of drug trafficking,” a business that, he said, for years grew behind the back of a government that “did nothing to stop it.”
“We Argentines choose to change and part of that change also means not wanting to turn back: We no longer want them to lie to us, we don’t want corruption any longer,” said the president during the inauguration of the “Argentina without Drug Trafficking” conference at the Kirchner Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, in which the country’s judicial and political officials are participating.
Macri emphasized that when “values like truth, dialogue and transparency” are lacking, this leaves a “dangerous space” that can be filled by corruption, authoritarianism and “extortion.”
“This is how decadence enters into institutions, the advance of infrastructure stagnates, people stop respecting the laws and the result is that we lose our way,” warned Macri before adding that, for years, drug trafficking grew “behind the back of a state that did nothing to stop it.”
“We no longer want a state that is a partner of drug trafficking,” he insisted.
At the meeting, judges, political authorities and government representatives will work jointly to evaluate different measures that will be implemented in the coming months.
Among them is the “Strengthening Federal Justice” law intended to broaden the reach of the judiciary into the “most critical” areas of the country, including the city of Rosario, the province of Buenos Aires and the Argentine northwest and northeast.
In remarks to the press, Justice Minister German Garavano said that the law is designed to “double” the number of federal courts and create more criminal judges to combat “this scourge” of drug trafficking, especially in frontier zones.
He also emphasized that on June 21 the government will send to Congress a bill concerning the Penal Code that will include increasing sentences for drug trafficking and “everything having to do with making a much greater social ... therapeutic approach to the consumption of narcotics.”
“The fight against drug trafficking is a state policy,” he affirmed.