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ARGENTINA | 21-12-2018 07:58

Pichetto blames immigrants for crime, warns of 'Bolsonaro effect'

Peronist Senator Miguel Angel Pichetto points the finger of blame for Argentina's drug and organised crime problem at Latin American immigrants.

Presidential hopeful Miguel Ángel Pichetto on Thursday warned Argentina was heading towards a major crisis if it failed to deal with organised crime in Greater Buenos Aires.

The Peronist Senator controversially pointed the finger of blame at Latin American immigrants and described Argentina's shantytowns as a hotbed for crime.

"I'm not saying there are no Argentines, there are. But the cocaine is handled by Peruvians, the money laundering by the Colombians, and the Paraguayans organise the movement of drugs, bringing tonnes of marijuana (to Argentina)", Pichetto said, speaking alongside Federal Judge Sergio Torres at a panel event organised by the Argentine Council of International Affairs (CARI).

He suggested the country's political system was failing to address the issue of organised crimes, which he described mainly as "drug trafficking in Greater Buenos Aires, organised prostitution and the abuse of minors".

"It is a novelty that politicians are getting involved, like some prominent mayors in Corrientes and Santa Fe (provinces). Even so, I believe the issue has not gained ground in the (national) Congress", he added.

Pichetto also warned of the so-called "Bolsonaro effect", in reference to Brazil's president-elect Jair Bolsonaro.

"The arrival of Bolsonaro, who is committed to a hard repressive security policy, could have serious consequences for Argentina and its northern borders because they (Brazilian security authorities) will pursue organised crime in the south of Brazil, which will push them into that diffuse border in the Paraguayan jungle", he added.

STRONG STANCE

Pichetto has long taken a strong stance on immigration, speaking out about the perceived inaction of the country's Judiciary to act against foreigners committing crimes in Argentina. He most recently criticised laws that restrict police and security personnel's use of force. 

"If the French police had to deal with an event like this, they would throw real punches", he said, referring to hooligan violence in the lead up to the Copa Libertadores Superclásico final between River and Boca.

The Senator for Río Negro province announced he would run for presidency in 2019 in August.

-TIMES

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