Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta confirmed today that he is replacing Eugenio Burzaco as the city government’s security and justice minister just five months into the job. The decision comes after leaked videos showed Burzaco attending a US Open tennis match in New York, amid public outcry over the murder of engineer Mariano Barbieri during a mugging in Palermo.
City police have also been criticized after a TV crew found what appeared to be the murder weapon — a kitchen knife — in a public park the day after the incident.
“Today I made the decision to ask for Eugenio Burzaco’s resignation as head of the Ministry of Security and Justice of Buenos Aires City,” said Larreta.
“Eugenio traveled to the US in an official capacity, on a trip that had been scheduled a long time ago, and held meetings with government officials from his area, that is, the FBI, the NYPD, and the Department of Homeland Security, among others.”
“I can understand the personal reasons behind some of his activities during the trip, but today’s context demands that we focus 100% of our efforts on the responsibility our public roles entail. It was Eugenio who decided to bring forward his return to Buenos Aires.”
Burzaco, who had taken office in March replacing Marcelo D’Alessandro, will be succeeded by Gustavo Coria, who worked in the city security ministry as chief of staff between 2018 and 2021. Coria is a close collaborator of Diego Santilli, Larreta’s former candidate for governor of Buenos Aires province.
“Thanks to the work of Gustavo and the Security staff, in 2021 we achieved landmarks such as the lowest homicide rate since 1995 (which made the City of Buenos Aires one of the safest cities in the Americas), and a 90% reduction in both kidnappings and car theft”.
The mayor also announced that Genoveva Ferrero will sit as Secretary of Security. He said Ferrero was “an essential part of the team behind the transfer of the City Police, the implementation of the video monitoring system and the digital ring [vehicle surveillance system], the [police] territorial deployment system and the creation of the College Institute for Public Safety, which constantly trains our police staff”.
Barbieri, 42, died on Wednesday night after being stabbed in the chest by at least one criminal, who stole his cellphone when he was walking through the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo. Although he managed to ask for help at an ice cream parlor in the area, he died on arrival at the hospital.
The attack took place around 10.45 p.m. in the Plaza Sicilia area, near the city’s Japanese Garden.
With information from Télam