Argentina needs to consider using the armed forces to battle drug trafficking and an accompanying increase in drug-related violence, two prominent politicians said Friday.
Law enforcement efforts would benefit from "the collaboration of the armed forces," Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, a presidential hopeful, told Radio Continental.
Macri, scion of a wealthy industrial family and leader of the opposition conservative Pro party, said he was "very worried" about the expanded presence of illegal drugs in the capital
The issue was first publicly broached by the governor of Buenos Aires, Daniel Scioli, who urged a reconsideration of the ban on army intervention in domestic affairs that was enacted after the brutal military dictatorship of 1976-1983.
"Certainly, at some moment we will have to examine, a little, the role of the armed forces, because it (drugs) is evidently a matter of internal security," Scioli, a leading figure in Argentina's governing center-left Peronist party, told media outlets.
President Cristina Fernandez's administration does not plan to enter into a public discussion of using the military for law enforcement tasks, according to sources at the Defense Ministry.
Several Argentine cities have experienced increases in violence attributed to conflict among rival drug gangs and evidence has emerged that the criminal outfits have infiltrated law enforcement agencies, politics and the judiciary.
Fernandez's administration announced Friday that the office of Security Secretary Sergio Berni will take overall charge of efforts to combat drug trafficking organizations.
Sedronar, Argentina's existing drug enforcement agency, is to devote itself to prevention and treatment, the government said. EFE