By Jennifer Neuman for TalkingDrugs. No matter who wins Argentina’s upcoming election, it seems the country is set to diverge from its flirtation with drugs decriminalization and embark on a highly questionable and extremely dangerous strategy of militarizing its drug policy. With the October 25 presidential election just weeks away, all three main candidates have spoken out in favor of militarizing the country’s fight against drug trafficking, reports the PanAm Post. Both opposition candidates, Sergio Massa and Mauricio Macri, have expressed being pro the shooting down of planes suspected of drug trafficking, with the former stating he would deploy the military to fight drug trafficking organizations.
The ruling-coalition candidate, Daniel Scioli, meanwhile has pleged to create localized police forces to tackle the drug trade, alongside forming militarized urban squads, and last year referred to drug trafficking as “public enemy number one” in an interview with La Nacion.
Argentina is a key transit route for cocaine coming primarily from Bolivia, and is the second largest consumer of the drug in the region. In recent years, the city of Rosario in particular, a key trafficking hub thanks to its transport links to the Bolivian border, has seen drug-related violence escalate. In 2014 alone there were 248 homicides registered, five times the national average, according to Buenos Aires Herald. At the last official count in 2013, Argentina had a homicide rate of 8.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.