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OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 22-06-2023 00:33

Corruption, political nepotism and dirty money: Chaco femicide shocks country

The disappearance of Cecilia Strzyzowski has mobilised a province and rocked national politics. Twenty-eight-year-old’s disappearance and links with alleged murderers put spotlights on local politics and ongoing court investigation.

“If they bother us, they’ll end up with the pigs.” A comment, said in jest, repeated by Emerenciano Sena to his employees and friends. But he also said it, with the nerve provided by impunity, to senior officials in the administration of Chaco Governor Jorge Milton Capitanich.

In the meantime, the victim of this entire political web is called Cecilia Strzyzowski, who disappeared on June 1 and is presumed dead by everybody. Lawyers fear a wall of impunity.

Pigs wander freely about their pen located in one of the properties gifted by the Chaco provincial government to the foundation carrying the name of his deceased father-in-law. Those grounds were raked in search of the remains of Cecilia’s body. Two weeks later, nobody searches those fields anymore, located in Campo Rossi, 15 kilometres north of the Chaco capital of Resistencia.

Cecilia met the man of her life early last year on the dating app Tinder. They chatted for six months until she decided to start seeing César Sena, who won her heart at the age of 19. Cecilia’s family always thought Sena was older. They got married in September without the groom’s family present, the most dreaded couple in Northern Argentina.

Emerenciano learned from the masters of extortion. He secured his political relationships via Ángel Rosas, a previous Unión Cívica Radical governor, earlier this century and built his empire thanks to his best man, Capitanich, who celebrated the union between his dear Emerenciano and the domineering and jealous Marcela Acuña, then an employee of Alicia Kirchner’s Social Development Ministry.

During Easter, 2009 they had a shoot-out with Sergio Schoklender, accused of money-laundering, who was running scared of the picket leader. The former putative son of Hebe de Bonafini complained about the delay in the construction of houses and the “skimming” of public funds. The gangs and thugs of Ciudad Oculta who travelled to Resistencia came back empty-handed.

Sena doubled down. He kept the works. He renamed Sueños Compartidos in his own name, with 424 million pesos managed by Chaco, a third of the fortune Sena gained in power. He opened schools, radios, healthcare centres and squares. He acted as the shock force against other picket and social protests. He appointed himself school headmaster without a degree and managed to get all cases against him shelved.

Writing books prefaced by his best man, he travelled to Cuba to present them with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, prevented Mauricio Macri from stepping on Chaco soil early in his administration and laughed at Covid-19 by coughing up in his critics’ faces. Today the people of Chaco believe the courts will find him not guilty in the abhorrent event shocking this country.

Cecilia was last seen entering the Sena family’s chalet. The footage is conclusive. She was welcomed by Emerenciano, Marcela Acuña and their son at their home. Cecilia did not leave the residence. One of the detainees, a caretaker at the Sena’s home, assures that the young woman left alive and was murdered among the pigs. Emerenciano and his wife were not there, Gustavo Melgarejo testified after being severely beaten in prison.

César Sena wrote in his own handwriting that his former defence lawyer is lying. He implied that the young man was the only murderer. There is plenty of interest in having it all end there. If Emerenciano falls, everyone will fall with him. Policemen, politicians, judges and prosecutors. Will a fiefdom fall?

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by Luis Gasulla, Noticias Argentinas

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