Defense and Security Ministers Take Office in Argentina

By Dialogo
December 17, 2010

Arturo Puricelli took office Wednesday as Argentine defense minister, and Nilda Garré did the same at the head of the brand-new Ministry of Security, created amid the crisis generated by the seizure of a city park by thousands of homeless people, which left three dead.

Puricelli – who is replacing Garré at the head of the Defense Ministry – is an old acquaintance of President Cristina Kirchner and of her late spouse, former president Néstor Kirchner, with whom he was in conflict in various disputes about the government of the province of Santa Cruz (in southern Argentina).

Sixty-three years old, he was governor of the Patagonian province from 1983 to 1987 and has been serving since 2006 as the top manager of the state-owned military manufacturer Fabricaciones Militares, a post in which he developed ties with the armed forces.

Nilda Garré (sixty-five years old), a lawyer with youthful ties to the Peronist left, was elected to a congressional seat in 1973 as a Peronist and again in 1995 as a member of the Frepaso (center-left) coalition.

In addition, she coordinated the government’s Special Investigative Unit looking into the attack on the AMIA Jewish community association until October 2001 and was ambassador to Venezuela until 2005, when she took on the Defense portfolio.

The creation of the Ministry of Security was announced by President Cristina Kirchner on Friday, amid the conflict over the occupation of a city park in Buenos Aires by thousands of shantytown residents.

The new ministry is intended to respond to complaints about insecurity, which is among citizens’ greatest concerns.

A survey by the Latinobarómetro NGO, published at the beginning of December, indicated that 36 of every 100 inhabitants reported having been the victim of a crime and that for 75% “living in Argentina is more unsafe every day.”