Gendarmerie in the suburbs
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in my district there are fewer gendarmes than in the time of Patricia Bullrich”. The complaint of a mayor of the suburban with arrival at Cristina Kirchner exhibits the matter that today reveals the ruling party of the province of Buenos Aires and that knocks on the door to Alberto Fernandezin electoral concern format.

Behind the public claim of the vice president for the Government to deploy “thousands of gendarmes” in Greater Buenos Aires hides the despair of the communal chiefs so that there is a change of rudder in terms of security, main demand of their voters, along with inflation.

The communal chiefs have been pressing hard on this issue. In addition to a greater presence of uniformed officers in their regions, they want a change of figures and point to the Minister of National Security, Hannibal Fernandez, and his peer from the province, Sergio Berni.

Fernandez He had a working lunch today with the President at the Casa Rosada. It was their reunion after the presidential tour to France and Indonesia, with the claims over the issue of insecurity in the main electoral stronghold of Kirchnerism as a riot. Close to the minister, they assured that the issue of retirement passes and promotions in the security forces that become official in the first days of December was addressed at the meal. But the theme of the suburbs is inescapable, and it has been on the desk of the head of state for some time.

Gendarmerie in the suburbsFile, Archive

It is that, several days before Cristina aired the claim in the act that she organized in the Estadio Único de La Plata, the communal chiefs had already passed the message to Alberto Fernández. A group of mayors transmitted it to the President in Admiral Brown, at the end of October. They explained to him that the presence of the Gendarmerie in the suburbs is crucial, because it acts as an “elite force” to alleviate criminals, drug gangs and asphalt pirates.

The head of state, in fact, I had already discussed the issue with the minister. As a senior official pointed out to THE NATION, Aníbal Fernández explained to the President, behind closed doors, that the gendarmes are affected in key areas of the interior of the country and that human resources are finite for the deployment that is intended in Greater Buenos Aires, territory that should be guarded by the Buenos Aires Police, by Berni.

The vice president echoed the reproach of the mayors when she spoke of the Sentry Operative and said that “people asked for it because they had more confidence.” And he emphasized: “I don’t know why we can’t do the same thing again: deploy thousands of gendarmes in the Conurbano instead of having them in the middle of Patagonia, nobody knows doing what.”

Cristina Kirchner during the act at the Estadio Único de La Plata
Cristina Kirchner during the act at the Estadio Único de La PlataFDT Press

Government sources aware of the discussion they did not refuse to assign more gendarmes to the province. In fact, 24 hours before Cristina spoke in La Plata, Aníbal had met with the Buenos Aires chief of staff, Martín Insaurralde, a “spokesperson” for the concerns of the mayors. But close to the Minister of Security they warn that “Of the 35,000 gendarmes in the country, 4,000 are assigned to the suburbs.”

“The Gendarmerie is a national force, which The borders are affected, and there are special operations in Rosario, in the towns of the Federal Capital and in the South. In the suburbs, the Sentinel Operation continues and the programs were also launched Safe Stations Y motorized patrols to guard different highways”, said a collaborator aware of the arguments that Aníbal Fernández offered to the interior of the Government. “The will is to improve the presence of the suburbs but we must attend to all of Argentina and it cannot be done lightly or replace the approximation forces, such as the Buenos Aires Police.

An official from Casa Rosada stated: “This issue has already been addressed when we lowered funds for security in 2020.” He thus alluded to the $38 billion plan, a “mini suburban fund” to combat crime.

Hannibal Fernandez -who today paints his face to defend the President as he once did with Cristina Kirchner- has already responded publicly to the vice president. She replied that the gendarmes “are in the places they should be.” And, regarding the presence in Buenos Aires territory, she noted: “It’s not our jurisdiction. what we do is collaborate. The gendarmes are in the suburbs. What is said is sometimes said without knowing each other”.

Beyond demanding a greater presence of federal forces in their regions, the mayors consider a face replacement. They see Berni and Aníbal Fernández worn out in management and in public opinion. “What is sought, ultimately, is to renew the security area,” said one of them to THE NATION.

Mayors of the Frente de Todos who mobilized to support Cristina
Mayors of the Frente de Todos who mobilized to support Cristina

Berni today is held in office by Axel Kicillof for the simple reason that he has no other candidates to place in charge of the provincial security forces, a position that cannot remain headless “not even for five minutes”, as recognized in La Plata. Kicillof was always uncomfortable with the issue of security. That is why Berni, who tends to easily attract media reflectors, always served as a filter. But now the pressure on the governor and his minister is stronger than ever, because of the claims of the mayors and Máximo Kirchner (who strongly criticized him for the episode of police repression in the Boca-Gimnasia party a little over a month ago ) adds the discontent of the vice president, who incorporated the problem of insecurity to its agenda with a view to 2023.

A mayor who sat at the table with the vice president last Thursday, at the dinner that took place in the government house after the act in La Plata, ranted: “Both Aníbal and Berni talk more about politics than security and it is an issue in which the presence of the State must be constantly shown. Cristina understands the problem. And if Aníbal doesn’t give Berni more uniforms It is because there is a political order from Alberto”.

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