Op-ed in Spain’s El País:
Argentina adopts anti-immigrant rhetoric over public safety fears. Macri administration pledges to stop foreigners with criminal records from entering the country
Argentina’s foreign population is 4.5%, and foreign inmates serving time represent 6% of the prison population. The figures do not look alarming. Yet the government is providing another set of data that focuses on federal penitentiaries, and points to foreigners as being responsible for the most serious crimes, particularly drug trafficking.
“The foreign national population in the custody of the Federal Penitentiary Service has grown over the last years to reach 21.35% of the total prison population in 2016. In crimes linked to drugs, 33% of the people in the custody of the Federal Penitentiary Service are foreigners.”
The op-ed talks of Argentina as an open country. It does not mention that the drug cartels have taken notice.
Last year the WSJ reported that Argentina is becoming an international narcotics hub as cocaine traffickers have been flying south into Argentina from Bolivia:
Argentina doesn’t produce cocaine, but its porous borders, roads, rivers and ports make it a good transit point. Low chances of prosecution also attract drug dealers, says Patricia Bullrich, Argentina’s security minister.
Since 1999, Argentina has successfully prosecuted only seven money-laundering cases, according to the U.S. State Department’s latest international narcotics report. That record has inspired traffickers from Colombia, Peru and Mexico to buy luxury homes and farmland—which can accommodate clandestine airstrips—to evade tougher controls farther north in South America and secure profitable southern supply routes, officials say.
As you may recall, back in 2008 I posted on how Mexican drug cartels can use Argentina as an entry (ephedrine/pseudoephedrine) and exit (cocaine) point, as the country became a hub for U.S. methamphetamine and European cocaine. By 2013, Argentina was believed to supply 70 tons of cocaine a year to Europe, a third of its annual consumption.