Insane Security: Police Abuse in Argentina
This project is an attempt to give voice to victims or relatives of victims of police abuse through series of portraits and interviews of Argentinians Civilians whose fundamental rights have been injured as a result of the corruption, the violence and the misuse of power perpetrated by police officers.
I traveled to Argentina for the first time in March 2009. A few days after my arrival, on March 24, I attended the massive demonstration held to celebrate the Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice.
On this date the Argentinians officially commemorate the victims of Dirty War but it's also the occasion for thousands of people to take the streets for claiming for a greater protection for human rights.
Beside the families of disappeared persons and murdered during the military dictatorship, I have seen many families seeking justice for the thousands of young people, that under the current democracy, are victims of abuse, torture, and disappearance perpetrated by the Argentine Security Forces.
Today in Argentina, every 28 hours one person dies as a victim of trigger-happy, torture or the abuse of power enforced by argentinian security bodies, the very same forces that are in charge of safeguarding the citizens’ safety.
The legacy of Argentina’s military regime, is silenced by major media corporations which perpetuates the culture of fear that ultimately legitimates the people’s urging need for protection. This leads to police abuse as a means of social control. This co-dependency is aimed at the youngest and poorest population, who become targets for being the perfect scapegoat of a society profoundly seared by a deep separating class crack which is unable to grant solutions to the violence this gap produces.
Most of modern democratic societies uphold the protection of physical security in their constitutions. However, there is a constant tension between the protection of this right and the real use of force by the security bodies.
In the Republic of Argentina, where the crime rate is lower compared with that of other Latin American countries, the feeling of being unsafe ranks among the highest across Latin America. This constant perception of danger, heightened by the media, becomes an increasing social demand on the use of force, several times lethal to diminish the country’s crime levels.
In a political, economic and social context where the culture of fear rules, the police force legitimates the systematic use of violence, and justifies the violation of individual rights to freedom, physical security and fair justice for the civilians.
My aim is to honor the courage of those who have decided to break the silence and have had the determination to denounce the abuses. Even though the power and menacing reputation of the police often inhibit the discussion and the reporting of this reality, the people I portrayed, overcame fear and transformed the pain into action. They are fighting for a common justice, trying to create a dialogue between civil society and governments, to leave to future generations a country in which “when people see a squad car at night, feel protected, rather than feeling fear.”