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Cablegate: Argentine Minister of Justice Describes Security

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1212/01 3132030
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 092030Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4589
INFO RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001212

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PTER SNAR KTIP CPAS AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINE MINISTER OF JUSTICE DESCRIBES SECURITY
PRIORITIES IN INTRODUCTORY CALL BY AMBASSADOR

REF: A. BUENOS AIRES 1160
B. DEA 05 2018Z NOV 09

1. (SBU) Summary: In the Ambassador's introductory courtesy
call, Argentine Minister of Justice Alak welcomed USG
interest in deepening cooperation on counter-narcotics,
trafficking-in-persons (TIP) and other security issues. The
Minister requested USG help in developing a national security
plan and a national security studies institute, and he sought
"urgent" help in designing appropriate passport security
features for a new, government-produced passport. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) Argentine Minister of Justice, Security and Human
Rights Julio Alak warmly received the Ambassador on November
5 for her introductory call at the Ministry (the two had met
previously during a U.S.-sponsored training of Argentina's
elite rapid reaction police force, the GEOF). Alak voiced
appreciation for the broad and effective cooperation received
from various elements in the Embassy, mentioning in
particular a recent seizure (by the Uruguayan Coast Guard) of
a major cocaine shipment transiting Argentina (ref B). Alak
said that the Argentines had pursued the case, involving
Croatian traffickers, for two months based on information
provided by the U.S. DEA.

3. (SBU) Alak also voiced appreciation for the Embassy's
advocacy on behalf of Police Commissioner Jorge Valleca, who
was elected Vice President of Interpol for the Americas in
September. Alak described with satisfaction Interpol plans
to establish a training center for the Americas in Buenos
Aires, an establishment he said would be Interpol's second
largest institutional presence after the headquarters in Lyon.

4. (SBU) Ambassador voiced appreciation as well for the good
cooperation between GOA law enforcement agencies and their
American counterparts on issues such as counter-terrorism,
counter-narcotics, and international crime. She thanked the
Minister for inviting the Embassy Law Enforcement Working
Group to make presentations to him on their priorities and
recommendations (ref A).

5. (SBU) Ambassador then described her strong interest in
helping Argentina address its challenges with
trafficking-in-persons (TIP). She noted Argentina's
impressive gains, including passage of a national law in 2008
and many law enforcement raids over the course of the year,
with over 300 persons rescued from forced activities, in many
cases prostitution. She emphasized the critical importance
of Argentina authorities doing more to prosecute and convict
traffickers as a deterrent to the activity.

6. (SBU) Minister Alak expressed agreement on the importance
of addressing TIP. He described it as a "terrible crime,
especially as it affected girls forced into prostitution."
Alak said that the GOA was considering legal reforms to
require provincial governments to impose new restrictions on
the informal night clubs that serve as informal brothels
(Organized prostitution is already illegal, yet is more or
less tolerated by many of the provinces.)

7. (SBU) Minister Alak described a top medium-term priority
as developing a national security plan (see ref A). He
showed the Ambassador an outline of the proposal he would
present to the President before proceeding. The outline
appeared to touch on all of the obvious law enforcement
challenges in the country, including drugs, TIP, terrorism
and money laundering.

8. (SBU) The Minister requested urgent help in understanding
U.S. passport security features. He said that the GOA had
decided not to renew a private contract for the production of
its passports and would be turning the function over to the
Casa de Moneda (essentially the Bureau of Printing and
Engraving). Alak tied plans to upgrade the Argentine
passport to returning to the U.S. visa waiver program.
Embassy will follow-up with Alak's staff to better understand
their plans and needs before developing a request for
technical assistance from Washington.

9. (SBU) Comment: The meeting confirmed our earlier
positive impression of Minister Alak's enthusiasm for working
with the USG and his seriousness in tackling Argentina's many
law enforcement challenges. He (and we) would benefit
enormously from a visit to law enforcement agencies and other

USG dependencies in the United States. We will work to make
such a visit happen.
MARTINEZ

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