It's for your own good.
Critics concerned Argentina will use anti-terror package to attack government opponents
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina approved a tough package of new laws against terrorism and financial crimes Thursday, dismissing concerns that the government could use them to attack political opponents.
After three hours of post-midnight debate, the Senate agreed to double penalties for any crime committed with the goal of terrorizing the people or pressuring authorities to take some action. Human rights groups are concerned that the vaguely worded law will give future governments broad powers to crack down on social protests.
Sen. Miguel Angel Pichetto, who leads the ruling party’s bloc, acknowledged that the crackdown is being done under pressure from the United States, describing it as price of entry for Argentina to continue having a voice at international economic summits.
The laws are meant to conform with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, which was established by the G-7 countries to combat terror financing and money laundering worldwide.
But according to an investigation by The Associated Press for this year’s 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, similar laws have been widely used around the globe to curb political dissent. The AP gathered government records worldwide and found that 120,000 people were arrested and 35,000 convicted as terrorists in the past decade.
Many were put behind bars simply for waving a political sign or publishing anti-government commentary.