Argentina: Wave of kidnapping as law and order breaks down

28bn. USD kept under beds

While public confidence in the banking system has led people to keep their savings at home, the criminals have become wise to the issue, leading to private security options being deployed instead of the police.

A wave of kidnappings and robberies has swept through Buenos Aires, a symptom of the fact that the people of Argentina have lost confidence in the banking system. An estimated 28 billion dollars is being stashed under beds, floorboards and in walls, leaving the population open to a growing level of robbery and violence.

The phenomenon has forced communities to hire private security guards as confidence in the police force is also low.

The government, which faces an election in March, 2003, has reacted by calling up more police, deploying an anti-kidnapping squad of 200 officers and monitoring the escape routes used by criminals.

The economic instability in Argentina has already been exported to its neighbours in Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. Should the social instability follow, this part of Latin America will be a flashpoint.


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