Macri repealed the measure of Néstor Kirchner that established that the military could only act in the face of an attack by an external State
Last Monday, July 23, Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced a new defense policy directive, which repealed Decree 727 signed by Néstor Kirchner in 2006, which will allow the Armed Forces to face "the challenges of the 21th century", like drug trafficking and terrorism.
"The Armed Forces, military instrument of the national defense, will be used in a dissuasive or effective way against aggressions of external origin against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of the Argentine Republic; the life and freedom of its inhabitants, or any other form of external aggression that is incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations", states the first article of the new decree.
After the dictatorship led by the Armed Forces between 1976 and 1983, in which according to the newspaper El País, 30,000 people disappeared and more than 2,000 soldiers have been accused of crimes against humanity, military functions had been reduced to repel attacks from foreign governments and their resources were considerably reduced.
"Only putting the problems on the table and solving them will generate a future. Hiding the problems under the carpet brought us here. "- Mauricio Macri (@mauriciomacri) July 18, 2018
"We Argentines live in an area of peace and stability, but we are part of that complex world where threats, risks and challenges that affect states require coordination and efficiency. We need our forces to be able to face the challenges of the 21st century" said Macri in Campo de Mayo.
It was also announced that the Armed Forces will be modernized and readjusted to the new functions: "What little we have is quite old, but today the defense in the world appears with new appliances and a re-equipment of the armed forces with new technologies is foreseen", Defense Minister Oscar Aguad told Radio Miter.
According to the Infobae newspaper, this paradigm shift arose comparisons with the failure of Colombia and Mexico to use the army to defeat the drug cartels.
Macri did not hesitate to face this debate: "The Armed Forces are not going to repeat the experiences of the armed forces of Colombia and Mexico. In our case, they are not going to be protagonists. They are going to do logistics. The instructions will be given by Patricia Bullrich, who is the Security Minister. For that reason, I am not afraid that the Armed Forces will end up like Mexico and Colombia", said the president.
The decision has been strongly criticized from human rights defenders to pro-government supporters who, according to the BBC, fear that the measure will be a way to quell social protests in the face of Argentina's tough economic situation.
Macri questioned in a dialogue with San Pedro radio the rejection of the opposition to his decree: "They are giving the debate based on prejudices. You cannot continue to raise everything in terms of a tragic and regrettable episode that happened 50 years ago", said the Argentine president.
The use of militarization in Latin America
In Central America, the military forces are those that have the greatest field of action in the internal order of a country, only Panama and Costa Rica lack these. In the book of defense of Nicaragua of 2005, the power to the army is given to be used to guarantee the internal order, mainly terrorism and organized crime.
Brazil is the most recent case, where the current president Michel Temer has taken the army to large cities like Rio de Janeiro, to combat the crime that was taking over the city. According to data from the Brazilian defense ministry, military forces since 1992 have been used 132 times instead of using federal police.
LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez and Carlos Eduardo Gómez
Translated from “Más allá de la dictadura: Las Fuerzas Armadas argentinas enfrentarán "los desafíos del siglo XXI"“