|Governor of Chaco|
February 27, 2015
|Lieutenant||Juan Carlos Bacileff Ivanoff|
|Preceded by||Juan Carlos Bacileff Ivanoff|
|Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers|
20 November 2013 – 26 February 2015
|President||Cristina Fernández de Kirchner|
|Preceded by||Juan Manuel Abal Medina|
|Succeeded by||Aníbal Fernández|
|Governor of Chaco|
10 December 2007 – 20 November 2013
|Lieutenant||Juan Carlos Bacileff Ivanoff|
|Preceded by||Roy Nikisch|
|Succeeded by||Juan Carlos Bacileff Ivanoff|
|Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers|
2 January 2002 – 3 May 2002
|Preceded by||Antonio Cafiero|
|Succeeded by||Alfredo Atanasof|
28 November 1964 |
Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña, Argentina
|Political party||Justicialist Party|
|Alma mater||National University of the Northeast
University of Belgrano
University of San Andrés
Jorge Milton Capitanich (born November 28, 1964) is an Argentine politician, businessman, and accountant who has been Governor of the province of Chaco since February 2015. A member of the Justicialist Party, he previously served as Chief of Argentina's Cabinet of Ministers from 2013 until 2015, as Governor of Chaco province from 2007 to 2013, and as a Senator for Chaco Province from 2001 to 2007. Since 2007 he has also been president of the Sarmiento Athletic Club.
Early life and education
Capitanich (originally Kapitanić) descends from the first Montenegrins who settled in Chaco and created Colonia La Montenegrina, the biggest Montenegrin colony in South America. He was born in Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña, the son of Daniel Capitanich and Mirca Popovich, who owned a small farm. Capitanich married Sandra Mendoza, and the couple has two daughters. His nickname is “Coqui.” 
He attended the National University of the Northeast, graduating with a degree in accountancy in 1988. He earned a post-graduate degree in Public Administration from the University of Belgrano in 1991, and taught in his discipline. In 1999 he obtained a master's degree in Economics and Political Science at the School of Economics and Business Administration.
Early political career
Capitanich took up his first position in politics in 1987, serving as private secretary to the Governor of Chaco Province, Danilo Baroni, a close friend of his father-in-law. Capitanich's wife, Sandra Marcela Mendoza, whom he met in 1985, herself said: “No 23-year-old gets a job as the governor’s private secretary unless it is by the request of someone very special, like my father.”
Capitanich thereafter experienced a quick rise through the government ranks. In 1994 he was named coordinator of a private-sector jobs-creation program in the Ministry of Assistance for the Reform of the Provincial Economy. The next year he became assistant secretary for technical-administrative coordination in the Ministry of Social Development. He was appointed assistant secretary of social projects in the Ministry of Social Development in 1998, and in 2001 was named Minister of Infrastructure.
Early business activities
Shortly after Capitanich received his masters in 1999, politician and economist Domingo Cavallo hired him to handle a bank liquidation. He also was hired as a financial adviser for the province of Formosa. While he was performing this job, according to accusations later made by Deputy Carlos Ullrich, Capitanich charged the province unusually high commissions. In a criminal complaint filed in 2002, Henos José Maza, a former Governor of the province of Formosa, charged that Capitanich's actions as an accountant for the province had been irregular.
In the 1990s, Capitanich formed several companies, including the consultancy firm M-Unit SRL, of which he sold his share in 2002, when he became head of the Cabinet under President Duhalde. Capitanich and economist Aldo Ducler established the Fondagro investment fund together in 1997. U.S. officials investigated Ducler in 2002 on charges of laundering money for the Juárez Cartel and froze his bank accounts in New York, which contained over $13 million in Mexican narco-dollars. In response to the controversy, Capitanich sold his share in their joint business.
Capitanich was elected Senator for Chaco Province in October 2001, and named Argentina's interim Minister of Economy of Argentina during the institutional crisis of December 21 of that year, serving for two days in the post. President Eduardo Duhalde appointed Capitanich Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers on January 2, 2002. While in that position under Duhalde, Capitanich was involved in the consulting firm M-Unit, for which he was accused of arranging covert government financing. He worked at M-Unit with Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, with whom he collaborated on a book. Capitanich held the position of Cabinet Chief until May 2002.
He retained his Senate seat, making headlines that September for introducing legislation that would mandate mental health testing for all elected officials. He endorsed Néstor Kirchner's Front for Victory in the 2003 presidential race; Kirchner was elected, but Capitanich's own 2003 bid for governor of Chaco was defeated by Roy Nikisch of the Radical Civic Union (UCR).
On 12 September 2007, he stepped down from the Senate to be elected Governor of Chaco on September 16, 2007, taking office on December 10. In that election, he defeated former governor Ángel Rozas by a margin of just 0.8% of the vote. Capitanich was the first Argentine of Montenegrin origin to hold the Governor's post in any province.
While he was governor of Chaco, Capitanich appointed his wife, Sandra Mendoza, to be provincial Minister of Health. Her handling of a 2009 dengue epidemic in the province was criticized because she used expired pesticides on the mosquitoes. Capitanich asked her to resign, in response to which she “jumped into her Toyota truck and proceeded to use it as a battering ram, destroying six parked cars and an entire section of the government building’s wall.” She then campaigned successfully to represent Chaco in Congress, and led a protest outside the statehouse in which 30 people were detained. She filed for divorce shortly thereafter.
In May 2013, Capitanich's Vice Governor, Juan Carlos Bacileff Ivanoff, accused him of doing nothing to combat drug trafficking. Bacileff said that Capitanich had lost control of the province and described it as being in a state of “anarchy.” One report noted that the province is located “near the smuggling hub of the Triple Frontier, which is a major transit point for drugs smuggled out of Paraguay and into Argentina.” Members of the opposition UCR filed a petition to investigate Bacileff's charges.
In 2010, while he was governor of Chaco Province, Capitanich was questioned about his management of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo Foundation's Sueños Compartidos (Shared Dreams) housing construction program. He was accused of involvement in various irregularities, including overpricing and substandard construction. In February 2014, Capitanich dismissed a General Audit Office (AGN) report stating that nearly 150 million pesos (US$20 million) had been diverted from the “Shared Dreams” program during his tenure as governor and paid to corporations that had no connection with housing construction. Capitanich denied any irregularities and called the GAO a “tool” of the political opposition whose objective was to “attack the government.”
Capitanich nevertheless presided over record investments into public works in general, including the completion of 28 community centers, 41 schools, sewerage connections for 150,000 households (half the total number of households), 500 kilometres (310 mi) of new highways, and fiber optic cable connections for 66 of 69 municipalities in the province; these works created employment for 12-14,000 construction workers.
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appointed Capitanich Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers in November 2013.
Capitanich and his predecessors as Cabinet Chief, Juan Manuel Abal Medina and Aníbal Fernández, were charged by the federal prosecutor in 2014 in connection with suspected abuse of federal funds in the “Fútbol para Todos” program.
Capitanich and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman both harshly criticized Germany in September 2014. Capitanich accused Germany of having a “hostile attitude” toward Argentina and of showing “favoritism” toward the vulture funds and other holdout bondholders. In September 2014, commenting on the U.S. role in Argentina's bond dispute with vulture funds (which demanded other bondholders' payments be blocked until they collected up to 16 times what they had paid for said bonds from resellers), Capitanich compared the United States to an adult who rapes his own child. Eduardo Amadeo, former Argentine Ambassador to the U.S. and opposition congressman, said that Capitanich's “vulgarity” was a sign of “a weak government” that was courting conflict with the U.S. “to cover his own failure.”
Kevin Sullivan, the charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, told Clarín in September 2014 that it was “important for Argentina to exit default as soon as possible to return to the path of growth and attract the investment it needs.” In response, Capitanich, reflecting the official Argentinian view that the country was not in default, called Sullivan's remarks “incorrect, unfortunate, and inappropriate” and said that they “constitute undue interference in the country's sovereignty.”
At a news conference in January 2015, Capitanich rejected charges by prosecutor Alberto Nisman that the government had covered up a probe into the 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires. Capitanich called the charges part of an international conspiracy against Argentina.
On February 3, 2015, Capitanich ripped up a page from the newspaper Clarin during a televised press conference, claiming that a report in the newspaper was completely false. The report stated that a draft warrant for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had been found after the January 18 death of Prosecutor Alberto Nisman. “The battle between the Kirchners and Clarín goes back years, but Capitanich's actions ripping up a newspaper report were a new low for the government,” maintained one commentator. “A cabinet member destroying a newspaper was an implicit threat against a top opposition media outlet.” Hours after Capitanich's press conference, prosecutor Viviana Fein confirmed that the document existed and Clarín published photos of it.
Capitanich was dismissed as Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers in February 26, 2015.
Honors and awards
Capitanich received the Annual ADEBA (Association of Argentine Banks) Award in 1997 for efficiency in social spending.
He was given a Konex Award in 2008 in recognition of his career as a senator.
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- "Jorge Capitanich defendió el plan Sueños Compartidos de Sergio Schoklender y Hebe de Bonafini". La Nacion. Feb 13, 2014.
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- "Capitanich: En 8 años de gestión cumpliremos una meta de casi 500 kilómetros de rutas pavimentadas". Chaco Federal. 5 October 2013.
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- "Argentina summons US diplomat over default comments". Yahoo. Sep 16, 2014.
- Turner, Taos (Jan 15, 2015). "Argentina’s Jews Reel From New Twist in Terror Probe". Wall Stret Journal.
- "Cristina desplazó a Jorge Capitanich de la Jefatura de Gabinete y designó a Aníbal Fernández; entra al Gobierno el camporista Eduardo "Wado" de Pedro". La Nacion. Feb 26, 2015.
- "Jorge Capitanich reasumió en Chaco: echó a todos los ministros y suspendió la campaña electoral del peronismo". La Nación. Feb 27, 2015.
- "actividades premio adeba". ADEBA.
|Minister of Economy
|Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers
|Governor of Chaco
Juan Carlos Bacileff Ivanoff
Juan Manuel Abal Medina
|Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers