Argentinean President Mauricio Macri, has reversed the degree that guarantees civilian leadership of the country’s armed forces, in a move that has alarmed citizen and human rights organizations
The provision 436/1984, in place since 1984 when democracy was restored to the country, was introduced by former President Raúl Alfonsín and decreed civilian control over the military.
It has now been replaced by Decree 721, which Macri announced in a Special Bulletin, reinstating the power of autonomy to the armed forces.
A member of the Argentinian parliament and former defense minister, Agustín Rossi, told the newspaper Pagina 12 that this is the biggest setback in civilian leadership of the armed forces and is a modification of the fundamental precept of democracy.
In response to Página 12, the current director of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Defense, the radical former parliamentary member, Julio Martínez minimized the implication of the government measure saying that ‘there is not as such a withdrawal of civilian control but a rearrangement of administrative tasks’.
According to the radio commentator Marta Speroni, the arrangement Alfonsín introduced in 1984 was intended to empower the democratic civil apparatus by establishing that any military body decision had to pass through the President and the Ministry of Defense.
She explained that the measure was meant to establish civilian control over the armed forces to prevent them holding the power, which in the past decades had allowed them to take actions against democratically elected governments.
Alfonsín signed the degree in January 1984, with the return of democracy, after the bloodiest dictatorship in Argentina’s history