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Tue Mar 16, 2021, 04:40 PM

Argentina: Martin Soria named new Justice Minister, replacing Marcela Losardo

Argentine President Alberto Fernández has tapped Congressman Martín Soria to be Argentina’s next Justice Minister, replacing the departing Marcela Losardo.

Fernández made the announcement in an interview a week after confirming rumors that Losardo, 62, his close ally and personal friend, would be stepping down after mounting criticism from the ruling, center-left Front for All coalition that the Justice Ministry was slow-walking investigations into alleged lawfare: the weaponization of the judiciary by former President Mauricio Macri's right-wing tenure (2015-19).

A lawyer and freshman congressman from Patagonia's Río Negro Province, Soria, 45, was one of the names that first circulated after news of Losardo's imminent departure broke.

The new justice minister is no stranger to tragedy: his mother, Susana Freydoz, is currently in prison for the murder of his father Carlos Soria, after a domestic dispute in 2012 - shortly after the elder Soria, then 62, took office as governor of Río Negro Province.

His relatively low profile was raised after co-filing a complaint on February 11 against Federal Judge Gustavo Hornos on evidence that Hornos had visited Macri at the presidential residence on at least six occasions between 2015 and 2018 - each coming days before politically-charged rulings against Macri's opponents.

Judicial table

Hornos' presidential visits are alleged to be part of a wider pattern of judicial interference under Macri - who in 2019 lost his re-election bid amid an economic crash known locally as the "Macrisis."

Numerous top Macri officials who made up his "judicial table" have been indicted since then, including his Intelligence Agency (AFI) Gustavo Arribas and Federal Prosecutor Carlos Stornelli - both longtime Macri associates from his days as head of Buenos Aires' famed Boca Juniors football club.

They were among dozens - mainly AFI agents - indicted in the related d'Alessio and Super Mario Bros. cases - involving, respectively, an extortion ring that netted false testimony against Macri opponents as well as $12 million in ransom payments, and mass warrantless surveillance of public figures.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/martin-soria-named-new-justice-minister-replacing-marcela-losardo.phtml

Argentina's incoming Justice Minister, Congressman Martín Soria, and President Alberto Fernández.

Soria's appointment comes after mounting criticism against his predecessor, Marcela Losardo, for slow-walking investigations into alleged weaponization of the judiciary by former President (and Trump friend) Mauricio Macri during his right-wing, 2015-19 tenure.

Soria's agenda will likewise include judicial reform proposals whose centerpiece is a transition to a U.S.-style adversarial legal system from the prevailing inquisitorial system - a holdover from the Spanish colonial era and which critics partly blame for the country's notoriously cumbersome (and often corrupt) judiciary.

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Reply Argentina: Martin Soria named new Justice Minister, replacing Marcela Losardo (Original post)
sandensea Mar 2021 OP
Judi Lynn Mar 2021 #1
sandensea Mar 2021 #2
Judi Lynn Mar 2021 #3

Response to sandensea (Original post)

Tue Mar 16, 2021, 08:22 PM

1. What a great step forward!

inquisitorial system

Marcela Losardo, protector of Mauricio Macri's record:

Losardo bears the same furtive, suspicious expressions of Patricia Bullrich, Mauricio Macri's Minister of Defense:

Woooooo, pretty scary, kids!

It might be O.K. to try to break free of the " inquisitorial system" which is a "holdover from the Spanish colonial era" if it's possible to get it by Spain's King Felipe IV, who loves to visit the "colony" Argentina, from time to time!

Wonderful news Losardo is gone! Thank you, sandensea.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Tue Mar 16, 2021, 09:52 PM

2. I agree. My impression of Mrs. Losardo, when she was appointed, was that she wouldn't last

Last edited Tue Mar 16, 2021, 11:15 PM - Edit history (1)

Losardo's a good example of where Fernández's judgment is sometimes off.

She was, frankly, appointed mostly because she and the president have been friends and law office partners off and on since college (i.e. 40 years).

But she clearly lacks the initiative needed for a post like Justice Minister (least of all in Argentina!).

That said, the biggest thorn in Fernández's side is the Chief Federal Prosecutor, Eduardo Casal (Opus Dei).

Casal, you may recall, was named by Macri in 2017 after forcing out his predecessor, Alejandra Gils Carbó, in an effort to squash the ongoing federal probe into his using his office to write off his family's $250 million from their 1997-2003 ownership of the Postal Service.

Casal was never confirmed by the Senate - but after 4 years, he's still in that powerful post (it oversees all federal prosecutors) because Fernández's pick (Daniel Rafecas) has been help up in the Senate by right-wing obstruction.

(sounds familiar, no?)

In any case, Losardo refused to check Casal at all - leading to among other things Casal's protecting indicted extorionist Carlos Stornelli (the Macri prosecutor caught shaking $12 million down from businessmen in the d'Alessio case).

So here's hoping Soria can move some of these sorely needed judiciary reforms forward: top among them, ditching the inquisitorial system; and moving Rafecas' nomination forward.

'Inquisitorial' (as you probably know) basically means that the judge cross-examines witnesses, and directs all avenues of inquiry and even prosecutions.

Suffice it to say it's far too much power for any one person to have - no matter how ethical he/she may be.

Here's a good illustration, as seen in Time for Revenge - a 1981 thriller about a mining engineer (Federico Luppi) seeking to expose a corrupt mining firm after witnessing several deaths due to unsafe conditions.

The judge in this case is sympathetic to Luppi's character, and is acting quite ethically (many wouldn't). But you can see what a corrupt judge could do, if he/she wanted to. Thanks as always, Judi.


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Response to sandensea (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 17, 2021, 03:25 AM

3. Can't tell you how helpful is your description of the current system. It sounds horrendous.

You're so right, it puts all the power in the hands of one person, and it's so clear how likely it is that it will be treacherous in many cases, and sadly mishandled in others, and not well executed most of the time. Wow.

I was focusing on the excellent pronunciation of the actors, as the language courses I took decades ago haven't held up over time, and disuse. I really loved Spanish the years I took it in school, too. Totally loved the sounds of the language, more than other languages.

The actors had outstanding diction, very clear. They also sounded intelligent, as intelligence does show in voices, too, and the production seemed so well done.

It did seem to have such a startling story line. It would be a great film to see in full, if it had subtitles.

Looked it up, was shocked to see the little which was written in English in Wikipedia. Learning it was released during the dictatorship really stunned me! Yikes. Here's the brief account for anyone who hasn't seen it:


Very impressive, sandensea.

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