Photo via La Nación.

In what was his first press conference of the year, President Mauricio Macri went over almost all of the pressing issues that have been at the center of the political conversation for the last month: the floods in the interior of the country; the initiative to reform the juvenile criminal system; the case against AFI intelligence agency Gustavo Arribas; and the reopening of late prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, and his accusation against former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and other high ranking officials from her administration, were among the topics discussed. Here’s a recap of Macri’s most relevant quotes on the issues that matter the most.

The Floods

Macri began his press conference by showing his concern for flood victims. He said the Government is “supporting” those affected and that they have “mobilized army and police officials, as well as members of the Social Development Ministry” to work alongside district mayors and governors to address the problem.

“We need each province to work towards rebuilding roads and begin producing again, so no jobs are lost. But on our end, we need to invest in infrastructure to mitigate these problems, just like I did when I was Buenos Aires City Mayor, because climate change is here to stay.”

“We’ll declare the agrarian emergency. We don’t know how much money has been lost yet [some say US $1.5 billion]. We do know it was a very large amount. We will do everything within our power to face the situation.”

Photo via Prensa Municipio de Concordia
Photo via Prensa Municipio de Concordia

The Economy

“We begin the year with optimism. We will grow again after five years. But the challenge is not to grow for one year, but for 20, as that’s the way of solving the country’s problem. The key to do this is promoting dialogue and finding intelligent solutions that will allow us to start a path of growth that will never stop again.”

Reforming The Juvenile Justice System

“It will be very interesting. That debate deserves to be had. Our role is to take care of the Argentine family. Today, as a result of different factors, Argentina has become a country that is attractive to organized and not so organized crime. Last year, we laid the groundwork to change that. We saw what policies work and which don’t. We started going into the different shantytowns (villas) with the state, both to control what’s going on there as well as to bring urbanization. However, there’s still a long road ahead.”

“We have suffered a systematic increase in crime and violence. First we have to acknowledge what’s going on – only then we can sit down and discuss how to solve it. Refusing to talk about it would be a mistake. The way Brian’s [Aguinaco] case ended was the only possible outcome [under the current legal code], but it left us all with a bitter taste, especially the parents. This forces us to find other solutions, other tools. The world has moved forward and has developed juvenile justice systems to contain kids and teens. That debate deserves to be had.”

Justice Minister Germán Garavano spearheads the government's initiative. Photo via Youtube.
Justice Minister Germán Garavano spearheads the government’s initiative. Photo via Youtube.

AFI Head Gustavo Arribas’ Alleged Payment From An Odebrecht Official

“What Arribas claims is clear. He says he sold an apartment and was paid for it via an exchange agency that was also used by Odebrecht. I don’t understand the link between Arribas and Odebrecht. I don’t understand either how Arribas could be linked with Meirelles [the financial operations specialist working for the Brazilian company who allegedly paid him the money] and the project to get the Sarmiento train line underground. It’s a tale that seems attractive, but I don’t understand it. When he comes back from his vacation he will present all the required documentation.”

Social Leader Milagro Sala’s Imprisonment

“It’s a case that is being handled by the Jujuy Province’s independent Judicial System. The only thing I can say is that they are going through a huge number of accusations because it is believed she committed several crimes. To the organizations that showed concern, we invited them to go there and check out the situation for themselves.”

Photo via Telam
Photo via Telam

The Government’s Intention To Not Allow Immigrants With A Criminal Record Into The Country

“I’m the son of immigrants, as most of us are. We need to continue receiving people who want to come to work and build the Argentina we all dream of. We call those people to join us. But, at the same time, we can’t allow for criminals to continue choosing Argentina as the country to commit crimes in. We need to coordinate with other countries to determine who is who. If there’s someone who committed crimes, he or she is not welcome. If we sentence someone and want to send him or her to their country of origin to serve their sentence, we have to do that as well. We can’t take eight years to do it. It’s for our safety.”

The IMF Lowering Its Projections For Argentina’s Growth In 2017

“We have other expectations, but what’s important is that we will start growing again. We have had periods where we grew for five years, but then we stopped again. The challenge is growing for 20 years straight.”

On The Judiciary’s Decision To Reopen Late Prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s Case Against Cristina Kirchner

“I think it’s very positive [sign] that investigations are moving towards finding the truth. There’s still a long way to go but it would be good if we could know the truth in a reasonable amount of time.”

 Source: Forbes
Source: Forbes

Bilateral Relations With The US Under Donald Trump

“I hope Trump gives importance to the relationship with Argentina. We have a great road to go down together. The relationship between Argentina and the United States has to be at the benefit of both. Since we have really low trade levels [with the USA], I don’t think protectionist measures will affect us significantly.”