The North American publication Bloomberg Press reports on presidential candidate Roberto Lavagna’s criticism of the way President Nestor Kirchner has approached the Argentine crime problem. In a recent campaign speech, Lavagna claimed that Kirchner has failed to solve the problem because he refuses to admit that a problem exists and that the issue will continue if Cristina Kirchner is elected.
Lavagna Says Argentina’s Kirchner Fails to Curb Crime
19 de octubre 2007
Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) — Argentine presidential candidate Roberto Lavagna, seeking to narrow the gap with front-runner Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, said the government’s failure to curb surging crime stems from its refusal to face facts.
Lavagna, a former economy minister in President Nestor Kirchner’s office and chief strategist of the country’s restructuring of about $104 billion in defaulted debt, said the main issues facing Argentina are crime and inflation, which he said Kirchner and his wife, Fernandez, are ignoring.
“The government denies everything that contradicts their ideal image of the country,” Lavagna said in a campaign speech at a Buenos Aires memorial to fallen police officers. His comments were posted on his Web site. “It creates an illusory image and that’s why it can’t solve the problems.”
Lavagna said on average eight Argentines are murdered every day, and one of four residents was a victim of violent crime in the past year. Inflation and crime are viewed as worsening by more than 75 percent of Argentines, according to Poliarquia Consultores’ poll of 1,329 people between Sept. 19 and Sept. 26. Its margin of error was 2.68 percentage points.
Three police officers on guard duty at a police-radio tower in Buenos Aires province were killed today. Kirchner said the killing is an attempt by political opponents to create chaos and stoke fears before the Oct. 28 presidential election.
“This was a wild crime that all Argentines repudiate,” Kirchner said today in a speech at the presidential palace. “It’s not a coincidence that this situation happens only a few days before the election.”
Police, Guns, Poverty
Lavagna, 65, running in third place behind Fernandez and Elisa Carrio, a former lawmaker from the opposition ARI party, has pledged to reduce crime by adding police officers, strengthening the law on weapons sales, and fighting poverty. Crime is the foremost concern of Argentines, followed by unemployment and inflation, according to Poliarquia.
Crime is also an issue in the campaign for governor in Buenos Aires province, Argentina’s most populous. Francisco de Narvaez, of the opposition PRO party, released a television advertisement showing a man with a tomato in his hand. He says that a lot of the pre-election debate has centered on inflation and rising food prices. He then splatters the tomato on his shirt, leaving a blood-colored stain over his chest. “But I live in the province and my main concern is crime,” he says.
The first lady has the support of 44.2 percent of registered voters, putting her 29.3 percentage points ahead of Carrio, who was backed by 14.9 percent of those surveyed. Lavagna is in third place with 12.5 percent, according to a poll by Ricardo Rouvier & Asociados released Oct. 12. The poll of 1,200 people, conducted from Oct. 9 to Oct. 12, has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.
Under Argentine rules, a candidate wins office with backing from 45 percent of voters, or 40 percent support combined with a 10 percentage point lead over the second-place contender.
To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires [email protected]