BUENOS AIRES – Human rights organizations held a press conference on Monday to denounce the Argentine government’s talk of using the armed forces to intervene in the work of internal security, an idea that brings to mind for many the 1976-1983 military regime that killed 30,000 people.
Members of dozens of associations, together with numerous legislators and activists, were united in their rejection of a measure that is expected to be implemented very soon.
“More people are joining the protest every day. If by this decision they intend to strike fear in us, far from doing that it gives us courage. The courage we had during a ferocious dictatorship, although we knew we could lose our lives,” said the head of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto.
People unhappy about the Macri government’s economic policies have stepped up protests over the president’s decision to seek financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund, which is deeply unpopular in Argentina.
The current controversy broke out last Tuesday when President Mauricio Macri, when taking part in an event for the 208th anniversary of the Argentine army, noted how important it is for the armed forces to increase their collaboration with other functions of government, such as the police work of internal security.
Speakers at the press conference recalled the decree issued in 2006 by then-President Nestor Kirchner enforcing a 1988 law limiting the role of the military in external aggressions by another state.
The leader of the Socialist Workers Party, Myriam Bregmen, said that while the Macri administration has spoken of using the military against drug trafficking and terrorism, the “true objective” is to repress social unrest.