It is not new to say that for some time Rosario has a worrying violence problem which was put back on the national agenda with the assassination of the ballerina Virginia Ferreyra. But the events happen daily and are being covered by others increasingly shocking. In a few days, a person was executed on the highway to Buenos Aires when they tried to steal a motorcycle; the bodies of two women appeared executed on a country road; one person, apparently resisting an assault, shot and wounded two others who were walking through the city center; Two women – mother and daughter – who were waiting for the bus in a neighborhood were hit by a burst of shots that killed the mother and left the daughter in serious condition. The number of homicides so far this year reaches 161 and threatens to exceed the 264 of 2013

    Faced with this scenario, the need to find an explanation collides with an undeniable reality: there is no single answer and those that can be tried from the institutions that investigate cannot explain the entire phenomenon. None of the events listed have a single explanation. However, once this first difficulty has been resolved, some approximations can be made. There is no doubt that there are three homicides that serve to understand the current situation.

    On Saturday September 8, 2012 Martín “Fantasma” Paz was executed with five bullets, who was accused of placing money from “The monkeys”. The perpetrators of the homicide were never found, but the investigation gave rise to the case that ended with the trial and conviction of the gang’s leaders.

    On May 26, 2013, at the entrance of a bowling alley in Villa Gobernador Gálvez, Claudio “Pájaro” Cantero was assassinated, leader of “The Monkeys”. The revenge of this murder by the gang was the first spring for the escalation of the murder rate in Rosario. The trial ended with all three defendants acquitted.

    Finally, on December 30, 2013, Luis Medina, Alvarado’s partner in the drug trafficking business in southern Santa Fe, was executed in the Colectora de Circunvalación, confronted with the “Los Monos” gang.

    These three homicides generated a fragmentation of the city’s drug gangs, to which the security forces joined as a fundamental player in the business. This fragmentation and the active participation of different police forces allow us to understand some of the dynamics that sustain the harmful violence between criminal gangs, which represents between 70 and 80 percent of the homicides in the city.

    Last week, the court that sentenced one of the most important drug traffickers in Santa Fe, Esteban Alvarado, explained in the sentence how the organization had the significant participation of state components to grow and maintain itself over time and, also, how it was able to launder money through real estate and corporate investments. Those are the components that allow organized crime to grow and maintain the levels of violence in Rosario. Part of the answer to the question of violence is found in that cocktail. The rest require a broader discussion. Against this background, only a 10-year institutional political agreement, which leaves security out of electoral discussions, can change the current situation.

    *By Matías Edery, prosecutor of the Complex Crimes and Organized Crime Agency of Rosario.

    by Matías Edery, prosecutor*

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