José Alperovich

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José Alperovich
José Alperovich y Néstor Kirchner 20060817.jpg
Alperovich (left) and President Néstor Kirchner.
Governor of Tucumán
Incumbent
Assumed office
October 28, 2003
Lieutenant Fernando Juri (2003-07)
Juan Luis Manzur (2007-09)
Sergio Mansilla (2009-11)
Regino Amado (2011-15)
Juan Luis Manzur (since 2015)
Preceded by Julio Miranda
Senator from Tucumán
In office
December 10, 2001 – October 28, 2003
Personal details
Born (1955-04-14) April 14, 1955 (age 60)
Banda del Río Salí
Political party Front for Victory
Spouse(s) Beatriz Rojkés de Alperovich
Alma mater National University of Tucumán
Profession Accountant

José Jorge Alperovich (born April 13, 1955) is an Argentine Kirchnerist politician; currently the governor of Tucumán Province. He was elected in 2003, and reelected in 2007 and 2011. He is married to Beatriz Rojkés de Alperovich, who has served as National Senator and president of the Justicialist Party in his province. Both Alperovich and Rojkés have been close allies of presidents Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Alperovich was the first Jew to be elected Governor of Tucumán. He has called himself Argentina’s first Jewish governor; but that distinction belongs to Néstor Perl, who was governor of Chubut Province from 1987 to 1990.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Alperovich was born in Banda del Río Salí to Marta León, an Argentine Jew, and León Alperovich, a Lithuanian Jew from Lithuania whose parents had settled in one of the numerous Jewish agricultural colonies in Argentina. His father relocated to Tucumán Province and later established León Alperovich S.A., one of the most important auto dealerships in Tucumán.[2]

He enrolled at the University of Tucumán, graduated as an accountant, and married Beatriz Rojkés, with whom he had four children.[3]

Career[edit]

He worked as an accountant for several years, then began his political career in the provincial legislature in 1995. He served as chairman of the provincial Committee of Finance and Budget under Governor Antonio Bussi.

Alperovich was a member of the centrist Radical Civic Union until 1999, when Bussi failed to achieve re-election and the new Justicialist Party governor, Julio Miranda , appointed Alperovich to be Minister of Economy. Alperovich thereupon switched to the Justicialist Party. His appointment to the ministerial position was part of an agreement that was designed to maintain a channel of communications between the Justicialist Party and the Alliance government of Fernando de la Rúa. Alperovich was elected to the Senate amid the political crisis of 2001, and ran for governor of Tucumán Province in 2003.[4]

Some commentators had speculated that Alperovich would not be able to become governor if elected because of the provincial law that required him to give an oath on the Christian Bible. A constitutional crisis ensued; ultimately, Alperovich's challenge to the provincia law met with success in the Supreme Court, which amended Tucumán's Constitution to allow Alperovich to take the oath on the Hebrew Torah.[4]

Alperovich owns several houses and apartments, concessionaires, and many acres of soybeans and cattle. He has auto dealerships, sells truck and agricultural machinery, and is also active in hotel and commercial development and in construction and real estate. He owns several apartment buildings in San Miguel de Tucumán and over 120,000 hectares of land in Tucumán, Salta, and Santiago del Estero provinces.[5]

Governor of Tucumán Province[edit]

During his early years as governor, Alperovich formed strong political ties with President Nestor Kirchner, who provided funds for various projects in the province that included a comprehensive public-works program. Consequently Alperovich's tenure as governor has been marked by significant developments in health, education, and social services[6][7] and record public works funding for extensive public housing, highways, and other projects.[6][8][9]

He was re-elected governor in 2007 with more than 78% of the vote. In that year a law was passed limiting the number of gubernatorial terms to two, starting in 2007. In that year, he was reelected by a 73% margin over Ricardo Bussi, who ran on the right-wing Republican Force ticket,[10] He secured a constitutional amendment that would allow him to run for a third term, and in 2008 unsuccessfully proposed another amendment that would remove all gubernatorial term limits.[11]

Alperovich was able to run for a third term because his 2003-07 term did not count under the 2007 term-limits law, which limited governors of Tucumán to two terms, starting in 2007. He was the first governor in the modern history of Tucumán to be elected for a third time.[1][12]

His wife was elected Provisional President of the Argentine Senate in November 2011, and served in the post until February 2014.

Alperovich announced on January 15, 2014, that he would not seek a fourth term as governor, but “did not dismiss the possibility that his wife, Senator Beatriz Rojkés, would run to succeed him in 2015.” [13]

Controversies[edit]

Alperovich's reaped considerable criticism from opponents for an allegedly authoritarian governing style,[14] as well as for suspected patronage in favor of businesses related to the Alperovich family.[15] During his first term, he sought to build a local base of partisan power by controlling the Justicialist Party in the province. He also arranged for changes in the provincial constitution that increased the power of the governor and made it more difficult to remove the governor through impeachment. This effort caused considerable controversy; four separate lawsuits were filed in an effort to prevent the constitutional changes, and constitutional lawyer Luis Iriarte called for an investigation of Alperovich's actions.[1]

In 2012, journalist Jorge Lanata began an investiation to expose any corruption in Tucumán under Alperovich. Lanata had to broadcast his TV program, "Journalism for All", from a soup kitchen in San Miguel de Tucumán because Alperovich would not allow him to use local broadcast facilities.[16]

Police misconduct[edit]

Alperovich condemned a December 2013 police sit-in as “an attack against democracy.” Police officers abandoned their jobs and engaged in looting, and when citizens protested outside the provincial Government House, police officers attacked them physically.[17] Ultimately, police officers throughout the province engaged in violence that left four people dead. Nine police officers were arrested. Alperovich fired 25 police chiefs and replaced the head of the provincial police, Jorge Racedo, with Dante Bustamante.[18][19]

In October 2014 two Tucumán provincial police officers were shown torturing a prisoner on a video that was distributed via online social media. The officers were arrested; Alperovich stated he had not been aware of such behavior by police officers and said he would punish them “with the full weight of the law.”[20]

Bankers' strike[edit]

Bank workers held a two-hour national strike on May 15, 2014, to protest the alleged repression of banking workers in Tucumán. “There is state terrorism in Tucumán,” said Banking Association Press Secretary Eduardo Berrozpe, explaining that several banking workers protesting layoffs had been shot and “brutally beaten.” Berrozpe accused Alperovich of ignoring the demands of the bankers.[21]

Lynchings[edit]

In late 2014, a series of public lynchings by vigilantes took place in Tucumán Province. Alperovich remained silent for several weeks, then spoke out in mid December, defending the vigilantes. The province's Human Rights Secretary, Gonzalo García, reportedly downplayed the lynchings, calling them “isolated incidents” and stated that he would not be investigating them because he had not received any official complaints.[22]

Corruption allegations[edit]

La Nacion claimed that while provincial law made it impossible to know for sure just how much money they had, information from various sources indicated that Alperovich had several residences in his name. In 2010, Rojkés was alleged to have cash assets of over $20 million; Alperovich was assumed to have much more than that. He is said to be worth about $800 million, much of which is alleged to have been obtained through illegal business activities, including brothels, gambling enterprises, and drug trafficking.[5]

Preceded by
Julio Miranda
Governor of Tucumán
2003–present
Incumbent

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Soltys, Michael (Aug 30, 2011). "Tucumán man". Buenos Aires Herald. 
  2. ^ "Murió León Alperovich, el padre del Gobernador de Tucumán". El Siglo. 
  3. ^ "La tucumana Beatriz de Alperovich está entre los 10 senadores más ricos". Contexto. 
  4. ^ a b "El juramento sobre la Torá". Página/12. 
  5. ^ a b Lopez, Fabian (Mar 30, 2015). "Los Alperovich no tienen 10 mansiones, pero sí una incalculable fortuna". La Nacion. 
  6. ^ a b "Alperovich: Ha quedado atrás el Tucumán de los altos índices de desocupación". El Intransigente. 
  7. ^ Clarín
  8. ^ "Alperovich supervisó obras en Villa 9 de Julio". LV7. 
  9. ^ "Alperovich: Lomas de Tafí es la obra más importante que se ha hecho en Sudamérica". LV7. 
  10. ^ "Tucumán: Gobernador (2007)". Atlas Electoral de Andy Tow. 
  11. ^ "Tucumán: Alperovich obtuvo la re-reelección". Xpuesto. 
  12. ^ "Tucumán: Gobernador (2011)". Atlas Electoral de Andy Tow. 
  13. ^ "Alperovich to leave in 2015". Buenos Aires Herald. Jan 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Presión de Alperovich". La Nación. 
  15. ^ "La familia Alperovich-Rojkés domina la política y los negocios de Tucumán". Perfil. 
  16. ^ "Lanata en Tucumán: cómo se vive en la provincia del “Zar” Alperovich". Clarin. Feb 7, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Two dead in Tucumán, citizens take to street to protest". Buenos Aires Herald. Dec 11, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Tucumán Governor Alperovich purges police top brass". Buenos Aires Herald. Jan 19, 2014. 
  19. ^ Romig, Shane (Dec 11, 2013). "Wave of Looting Sweeps Argentina". Wall Street Journal. 
  20. ^ "Governor vows sanctions". Buenos Aires Herald. Oct 2, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Bank workers go on two-hour strike today". Buenos Aires Herald. May 15, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Governor tries to justify lynchings". Buenos Aires Herald. Nov 18, 2014.