Two former Chaco candidates charged with murder in femicide investigation

They’re the parents of César Sena, who is being investigated for the disappearance of his wife Cecilia Strzyzowksi

Two Chaco political leaders have been arrested and charged with murder for the alleged femicide of Cecilia Strzyzowksi. César Sena, their son, is the prime suspect and has also been charged for her alleged murder after the woman went missing on June 1. She has not been found yet, but police have found human remains in at least two Sena family properties, a home and a field.

Cecilia (28) was last seen on June 1, when her husband César (19) picked her up from a relative’s house planning to take her to Ushuaia, where he’d found a job for her. At that point, her family lost contact with them. She has not been seen or heard from since. The disappearance is now being investigated as a femicide, with Sena being the main suspect. Carina Gómez, Cecilia’s lawyer, confirmed the investigation had been changed from searching for a missing person to femicide.

Cecilia’s husband turned himself in on Saturday after bone fragments, documents and pieces of clothing were found at his parents’ properties. Some of the bones are of animal origin, and the rest are being analyzed.

César Sena is the son of Emerenciano Sena, a powerful Chaco piquetero leader. He was also running for provincial deputy in the upcoming June 18 primaries. Marcela Acuña, Emerenciano’s wife and César’s mother, was a mayoral candidate in Resistencia, Chaco’s capital. Both of them were removed from the Frente Chaqueño ballot, led by Capitanich. In addition to the members of the Sena family, four other people have also been arrested in connection to the case.

Two other former candidates linked to the investigation were arrested and removed from the ballot. Gustavo Obregón, who was running for provincial deputy, and Fabiana González, a Sena family assistant who was a second place candidate for Resistencia councilor, meaning she was second in line to become councilor depending on the amount of votes the ballot receives.

The family’s groundskeeper, Gustavo Melgarejo, and another person whose identity remains unknown have also been arrested and are currently being investigated.

Melgarejo was the only one who answered the prosecutor’s questions. A new search of the family’s fields was ordered following his testimony.

Police raided Emerenciano Sena and Marcela Acuña’s houses and fields this weekend. They found blood and burnt bones there, as well as pieces of clothing.

Prosecutor Jorge Cáceres Olivera said on Monday they had found bone remains at the Sena family field located at Campo Rossi, a rural area in the Chaco department of 1° de Mayo. Traces of blood were also found during the raids of at least one of the Sena family properties, and will be analyzed by the judiciary.

The Herald reached out to Carina Gomez, the Strzyzowksi family lawyer who is also Cecilia’s aunt, for comment.

César Sena with his mother, Marcela Acuña

Even though they’re not allowed to communicate with the outside, Emerenciano Sena and Marcela Acuña managed to send WhatsApp voice notes on Tuesday to members of their political party Partido Socialistas Unidos por el Chaco (PSU) with instructions on how to proceed. Among their requests, they asked their supporters to offer explanations to the public about this situation “urgently” and keep having meetings.

Sena asked that while he is detained, his supporters keep doing activities to generate money, because he and his wife need it. “We have no money. We need it not only to eat, but also to buy things.”

Acuña told organization members to continue working in the neighborhoods they have influence in. “They want us to stop construction works, but you need to carry on. Take care of our spaces, the foundation, the neighborhood,” she said.

The couple denounced that they are being politically persecuted. “We’re getting out of this,” they added.

Who is Emerenciano Sena and why is he so powerful?

In his early twenties, Emerenciano Sena used to be a construction worker. Around the year 2000, he was one of the thousands in Argentina without a job suffering the economical crisis. In those years, he created the worker’s movement MTD General San Martín, a social organization that used to do piquetes in front of the provincial government house. He managed to get assistance and subsidies from provincial authorities, turning Sena into a relevant social leader.

When Jorge Capitanich became governor in 2007, Sena managed to get some local government positions for members of his movement. He was also put in charge of developing Sueños Compartidos in Chaco, a nationwide housing program conducted by Madres de Plaza de Mayo leader Hebe de Bonafini.

The housing complex Sena was supervising was halted after the program was involved in a corruption case, and later finished with provincial funding. They named it Barrio Emerenciano.

In 2015, when Mauricio Macri became president, he founded his political party, the PSU.

The mother speaks

Cecilia’s mother Gloria said she has already accepted her daughter is dead, adding she always had the feeling the relationship with Sena “would end badly.” “There is no hope” of finding her alive, she told the press.

“It’s too late for my daughter, but not for yours,” she told news station Todo Noticias (TN).

“I speak in past tense because I have a mother’s intuition, and I can assure you a mother is never wrong. When your mother tells you not to mess with someone, listen to her, love is not worth risking your life”, she said.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald