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Cablegate: Argentine Tip Legislation Stalled in Congress

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1723 2421708
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 301708Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9092
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 6508
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 6365
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RULSDMK/NSA US WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/USSOCOM SCSO J3 MACDILL AFB FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L BUENOS AIRES 001723

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

G FOR U/S DOBRIANSKY
G/TIP FOR BARBARA FLECK
WHA FOR PDAS CHARLES SHAPIRO
WHA/PPC FOR MIKE PUCCETTI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2017

TAGS: ASEC ELAB KCRM PHUM PGOV PREL SMIG KWMN AR

SUBJECT: ARGENTINE TIP LEGISLATION STALLED IN CONGRESS

UNTIL AFTER OCTOBER ELECTIONS


REF: BUENOS AIRES 1685


Classified By: AMBASSADOR EARL ANTHONY WAYNE,

FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)


1. (SBU) On August 27, Ambassador asked Argentine Minister

of the Interior (MOI) Anibal Fernandez about the prospects

for enacting comprehensive federal Trafficking in Persons

(TIP) legislation in Argentina. Fernandez stated that it is

""very difficult"" to make progress in the Argentine Congress

on this legislation at this time, and that he personally

beleives this is ""a pity."" When the Ambassador asked if he

could help move things ahead, Fernandez replied that for now

the situation is frozen, but after the October 28 elections

things could move again.


2. (C) Fernandez said that the provincial authorities are

resisiting making federal offenses out of matters that are

now handled at the local level. This is particularly true of

the provinces in northeast Argentina, where trafficking is

particularly widespread. He candidly acknowledged that

resistance in the northeast is in part because local judges

and politicians there are more likely to be corrupt - and

sometimes even connected to trafficking rings themselves -

and have a vested interest in keeping federal authorities off

their turf.


3. (SBU) Fernandez believes the meetings between Argentine

and U.S. officials in Washington earlier this year on TIP

worked against the passage of federal legislation in

Argentina. Prior to the Washington meetings, Fernandez was

optimistic that the the various interested factions in

Argentina had reached a tentative agreement on new

legislation. Criticism of Argentina's TIP situation by one

USG official during and after a Washington meeting on the

issue, he claimed, contributed to the agreement unraveling.


4. (SBU) The Ambassador also raised the situation of

Argentine anti-TIP activist Susana Trimarco, who has recently

faced threats and harassment from traffickers. Fernandez

replied that he was aware of the situation, and assured the

Ambassador that he was taking steps to ensure the safety of

Trimarco and her colleagues. Fernandez said that he has

known Ms. Trimarco for many years and he remains in close

contact with her. He observed that she was ""one tough lady""

who would not be easily intimidated.


5. (SBU) The Ambassador referred to past discussions

concerning the creation of a Trafficking Prevention and

Assistance program in Argentina. Ambasador noted that he was

pleased to see the creation of the program announced in the

July 27 ""Official Bulletin,"" but was surprised to see the

jurisdiction of the program fell under the Ministry of

Justice. All past discussions concerning the program had

placed jurisdiction for the program under the MOI. Fernandez

said he could understand why the Ambassdor was confused. He

explained that placement of the program under the

jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice was a part of the

compromise agreement that had been reached earlier in the

year and fundamentally reflected the fact that people in

Congress did not fully understand the law. He concluded,

""What are you going to do?"" evidencing clear frustration with

the legislative process on this subject.

WAYNE


=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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