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Andres Loubet Jambert
Chairman and Co-Founder of FIS - Fish Information & Services

Filmus, Bustamante, The Falklands and if only there were many others in Argentina like Benegas
Friday, November 06, 2015
It was almost two years ago when I wrote an article in the section 'People with Opinion' entitled "Falkland Islands (Malvinas): Argentina strengthens management. What could be improved?

At that time I was hopeful that the brand new team, led by Ambassador Daniel Filmus, could offer positive solutions to the inhabitants of the islands, such as the improvement of the control and administration of the areas in conflict, proposing specific solutions. Filmus has had a team of professionals who were supposed to be working with information aimed at carrying out "intelligence" tasks on the movement of fishing vessels, landings, licenses, affiliates and other issues related to the Falkland Islands.

It was almost a year ago when John Benegas denounced a move performed by Nissui group that fits perfectly with Argentine law related to fishing operations in the area of the Falklands.

I was also hopeful that Miguel Bustamante, Undersecretary of Fisheries of the Nation and Chairman of the Federal Fisheries Council, in his capacity as the highest authority in the area, would implement the law, sanction Nissui and the involved companies, and leave a clear message to all the national and international fishing industry.

Bustamante and Filmus

And I hoped that someone from Filmus’ team would explain that, in fact, what Benegas had denounced was not new to the Foreign Ministry, and that they were about to go public.

But it was not like that. Neither did Bustamente’s team punish or take preventive measures against any of the companies involved in Benegas’ complaint nor did Filmus’ team explain anything. This leads me to suppose that they did not have any information on Nissui’s illegal act or that they had been ordered to hide it. (Everything seems to indicate that work was done on "misintelligence" tasks, which implies the absence of what I mentioned above).

In a short time Filmus and Bustamante are to end their official positions and it seems that if the candidate Scioli wins the elections, both will be recycled into a new position. But not in recognition of their incompetence, it will be so because they had fulfilled the role of obeying superior orders without questions, and perhaps also because they had favoured certain companies close to the Government in exchange for some benefits that I do not know about.

Fortunately, one can be pleased to have come across a different kind of "Argentine" person, as is the case of Juan Benegas, who placed his country ahead of his own interests. It is worth remembering that Benegas was not only immediately fired by the Japanese group Nissui but also he spent almost a year devotedly denouncing, informing, visiting, demanding and expecting that someone from the Government would really take the bull by the horns.

Juan Benegas.

This week I have received an e-mail in which Benegas publicly says: "Every day that takes place (SIC) without penalizing the firm NISSUI explains that NISSUI Japanese officials have dared to mock our laws in a written way, obviously they are not afraid of us not due to the lack of military resources but because of the lack of moral resources. They are convinced that in Argentina everything is solved with money and I tried to show them that almost all the mockery of our sovereignty is not one of them. I keep waiting for the decision and subsequent sanction to Nissui from Dr. Pederiva, of the Legal Department of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries of the Nation".

At this time of year, I have not just lost hope, but also the respect for the officials who have spent time and public resources on simply leaving office in a few weeks in a situation that I believe is shameful. I can be ill-informed, in which case this whole situation I describe could very easily be replaced by other kind of information that only these officials could provide.

I do not want to finish this article without leaving the possibility open for Mr. Bustamante to explain to us, all Argentine citizens, why he has not presented his resignation if there is a reason that prevents him from making decisions. We will gladly publish any kind of information or opinion that we receive.

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Andres Loubet Jambert
Chairman and Co-Founder of FIS

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