The armed gang that published a video last month threatening police officers has published a new video, this time threatening certain journalists and accusing the media of portraying them in a false light. The man in the video, who identifies himself as Matías Milatich, specifically mentions Ricardo Canaletti, from the local cable news channel TN and Mauro Szeta from C5N.
“The media makes accusations without knowing anything and we have the right to speak just like any human being. This is for Canaletti, who’s been saying that I’m illiterate. He says I can’t write. In a face-to-face [confrontation], you wouldn’t hold a candle to me,” says Milatich alongside other men who cock their guns wearing monster masks throughout the video.
The gang in the video is known as “La Banda del Millón” (or the Million Gang) that stole AR$1 million from the owner of a poultry company outside a bank in General Rodríguez last month. In their first video, they said that the police was supposed to have cleared the area to allow the robbers to carry out the crime, but shots were fired during the robbery. That “betrayal” meant the robbers didn’t pay a previously agreed-to AR$200,000 bribe and now the police are allegedly threatening their families. The video explicitly illustrates the alarming cooperation that often exists between the Buenos Aires provincial police force and organized crime.
“To you, Mauro Szeta, we’re not murderers, just robbers […] I have a family. How do I tell my son I’m not a murderer? How do I hug my kid and tell him that. Are you a judge? A prosecutor? Don’t put your hands in the fire for someone you have no idea about because after the things I’m going to say, tomorrow you’ll open the palm of your hand and find it burnt,” continued Milatich, directing his words to Szeta for accusing him of murder. (“Put your hands in the fire” refers to the popular Argentine expression poner las manos en el fuego por alguien, which means vouching for someone.)
The new video once again refers to the collusion that often exists between police officers and criminals as they note that their resources come from the police. “How do you think we got these things? Why do you think they haven’t come for us? Because they know what we have, they gave it to us years ago,” Milatich tells the camera.
Journalist and TV celebrity Jorge Lanata is also mentioned:
“Let the issue be solved before making accusations. They’re saying we’re terrorists, murderers, mercenaries. This is a case for Mr. Lanata. This is for you because you have enough balls to go against the police. I’m not saying you have to be on our side. I have a lot of things to tell you and a lot of people will fall [as a result],” continued Milatich.
A day before the first video came out, Lanata’s TV show Periodismo Para Todos (PPT) had covered the issue of “liberated areas,” explaining how the practice involves a highly coordinated system in which the loot from the criminal actions is split between robbers and police. The provincial government under Governor María Eugenia Vidal has launched a high-profile drive to rid the Buenos Aires police force of corruption and federal forces are set to be sent into the province.
Milatich also mentions the cases that the police allegedly want to bring against him, which he denies, including the murder of an old woman and car theft.
“They want to blame me for all the [criminal] cases in [General] Rodríguez. I only participate in crimes that involve liberated areas. And now they’re angry because we spoke [up]. If they come to kill me, I’ll defend myself. I hope that Mr. President [Mauricio Macri] does something and [I hope] to see him on TV talking about it,” concludes the video.