Consoling police victims with symbolic politics?

The Movimiento del Dolor and the Argentinean state

in Focaal

In recent years police violence and impunity have become important items on the societal and political agenda in Argentina. The family members of police victims, coming together in the Movimiento del Dolor, take up a prominent place in holding the government accountable by means of repeated demonstrations, the creation of civil society organizations, and participation in public debate. In response, the Kirchner administration started a ‘politics of rapprochement’ in an attempt to establish alliances with family members of victims. The clearest expression of this politics is the creation of the PNAI, the national program against impunity, an initiative in which family members of victims participate actively. Consequences for the relations between the latter and the state and among family members of victims themselves will be examined. The ‘politics of rapprochement’ is an attempt to co-opt the Movimiento del Dolor, but at the same time includes elements of cooperation. It is a government initiative to show it is on the side of the victims but at the same time is criticized by part of the victims for being just symbolic politics that ignores the necessary large-scale transformations that the police and the judiciary have to undergo in order to stop the impunity in Argentina.