The cruelest thread of the venal State

The cruelest thread of the venal State
The cruelest thread of the venal State

To this day, the Sáenz Peña Law is not complied with in the domains of the “feudal governors” privileged by federal co-participation. They are re-elected or dynastically succeeded by their cohorts of public employees and clienteles recruited from urban or semi-rural poverty.

In some cases, authoritarianism over the media and journalists creates the impression that democracy is reduced to an empty ritual of pre-produced results.

And as always, among its various actors, the provincial commissioners stand out; owners of freedom and life above the rule of law and freedom. They are also custodians of venal activities; a source of income that then goes up to mayors and officials and descends to their entourage of complicit neighbors.

The problem is aggravated in border jurisdictions as a result of historical processes that have converged over the last few decades: the outline of regional integration that Mercosur aspired to, human trafficking for work in the informal rural economy or in large urban centres, and the country’s geopolitical situation as an exit point for cocaine destined for Europe via the Hydroway. Activities that follow similar paths and that record links of solidarity between their mafia links.

None of this was seen in the prosperous provinces until the economic restructuring crowned by globalization and the technological revolution consolidated a new poverty resulting from unemployment around their large urban areas. Political clienteles exploited by their subsistence needs also emerged there.

Beyond the specificity of each territory, actors with a certain family resemblance have been perceptible since then, especially in the new illegal occupations and their subsequent “settlements”. In each new community, various groups come together to replace the classic conception of citizenship: from extended families, ethnic and religious communities, or former workers from industrial activities that have become extinct.

Each of these aggregates produces referents from which emerges a territorial operator – the leaders – who act as a link with the communal public powers: from the commissioner to the mayor, passing through councilors or various officials representing the deals between political groups. They exchange predictable collective electorates for direct resources for subsistence or indirect resources in the form of franchises for illegal activities.

As in the large suburban settlements, in the semi-rural villages of survivors of internal provincial migrations, this fabric remains intact to this day. The case of the disappearance of Loan Peña in the Corrientes town of 9 de Julio near Goya sparked the attention of the national media, laying bare the framework.

An extended family brought together by an octogenarian matriarch who calls her children, grandchildren and close relatives to certain patron saint festivals in which the Christian faith converges with immemorial cults: from the Pombero to the Umbandas, passing through El Gauchito Gil and San La Muerte.

The elderly matron has handed over her role as mediator with power to one of her daughters, who is married and has a criminal record for rape, cattle rustling and drug trafficking. This is where the macabre plot of the local gang begins: both report to an all-round official – from school secretary to municipal official – who is the partner of a powerful ranch owner, a former member of a military force.

The commissioner, who has been the subject of several indictments, displays the arrogance of his despotism combined with his fondness for taking photos of children in kindergartens. In addition, he exhibits his strange relationship with the parish priest of the chapel. The mayor also recognizes that illegal traffickers pass through his municipality: drug dealers, smugglers of cigarettes and traffickers of children and young people.

The picture is completed by a provincial justice system that is suggestively incompetent in its investigation tasks after more than half a month; and four hypotheses arising from false testimonies and sometimes contradicted by its own spokesmen.

From a traffic accident followed by a strange trip by the leader and her husband “authorized” by the commissioner to tailoring expertise, timely power cuts and erased phone calls.

And a balance of six detainees who participated in the family meeting attended by the father with the child and his sister, a reference who has changed her version of events several times about the disappearance of her nephew. Then, the intervention of a court and federal security forces disconnected from the provincial ones, a governor in a hurry to close the case; and a neighborhood mobilization that calls for “all of them to go.”

Finally, there is a suspicion that is spreading among experts and criminal lawyers: a kidnapping and a business transaction carried out by the last link in an international chain of trafficking that, given Loan’s age, ends in the multi-million dollar business of child pornography; an essential ingredient for pedophilia.

The edge of a wider range of sales of babies for adoption, and kidnappings of young people destined for prostitution or various servile exploitations. A repertoire well known in the margins of our great suburbs as the most ferocious battering ram of the administration of poverty.

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