Oscar Aguad: "We were able to make mistakes with San Juan, but we never lied" – 18/11/2018


What reflection do you make on the appearance of the lost submarine and appeared only a year later?

It's very difficult to find a submarine. We have always had the obstinacy to find him and we never cease in our intention, and in this I thank the strength that the president gave me to continue with the search tasks. The President told me from the beginning that, as long as there was an expectation of life, life should be prioritized. Those who were in the south say that the search operation was impressive, with the number of ships of different flags. Unfortunately, we could not find him at that time. Then the president told me "we could not find the submarine" that justice is done and we know the truth of the shipwreck ", and he asked me for collaboration with the Justice and Monitoring.

With the relief of having found it, there are also doubts about the moment they found it, just for the birthday, as if it were planned …

"A submarine is made so they can not find it." All the sonars of the world's best marines have been placed in the service of the search and, at that point where it was found, is where we thought it was. Only this company that is the one that could leave is the one that was sure that was there. Before we had sonars that register many points that may be related to other things, with the maritime geography, with rock formations, that confuse. The story shows the amount of submarines that were lost in times of war and have never been found.

What would you say to the people and relatives of the 44 members of the San Juan crew who felt they had been cheated?

"We could have made many mistakes, we always made many mistakes, but what they will never find is that we lie to them. When someone tells the truth, it is easier to explain things, we are explaining them clearly, and it is the consequence of never being deceived. This is one of the government's premises and change: telling the truth at all costs and putting things on the table. Here he was found and there he was a month before and they would say the same thing. But the pain of families is what justifies any of these expressions, what they are saying.

You, at yesterday's press conference, spoke of responsibilities being considered as well. What do you mean?

– There may be two causes, one material failure or one human failure, or both together. This has to be investigated by the Justice and the investigating commission.

In addition to what the judge in charge of the case says, the government will seek to rescue the remains?

-Let's study the possibilities. Experts say it is very difficult to bring the submarine, but let's see what the technicians say.

Seabed has passed the point where the discovery occurs and before you return, can you expand me?

-Aca, in this search, there were more than 100 points of contact. One ended up being the submarine. When the company was going to South Africa, reviewing all the images they had, they detected one that had not received the attention it should have. They returned 200 miles to check and found the submarine there. This was last Thursday and I figured out they would do it.

You said you have no way to rescue ARA San Juan. But has at least one look of the Defense changed them?

No The South Atlantic continues to be a priority of the Argentine defense, first for its strategic place, and second for the natural resources that exist. And for his projection to Antarctica.

Aguad gave a news conference on Saturday with Navy officials. (Jorge Sánchez)

Aguad gave a news conference on Saturday with Navy officials. (Jorge Sánchez)

And what equipment will they buy?

-We are about to make an IPO for France (ships that serve for sea patrol) and also we have to make a decision on submarines: if we are going to fix the two that we have in Tandanor or we will discard this option and we will buy a new one. These are decisions that have not yet been made.

The defense budget for 2019, what stipulates? The value of the dollar makes it difficult to buy equipment …

"It's very similar in nominal terms to last year. We have not suffered a great loss. We can work with the budget we have. We are working to establish re-equipment priorities.

What lack of defense reform now?

– Failure to issue the Reserves Act, which will certainly go to Congress next year, the personnel law and a Military Code of Ethics. Former Minister Horacio Jaunarena is collaborating and will be in charge of a commission to write a project for the Legal Defense Digest. Taking into account the technological changes and the new times that present themselves, every time there is a thin line that separates the security of the defense. And we have to see how we treat threats that are not just one state against another state, especially in our region where we have peaceful and friendly relations with our neighbors. Now other actors that affect the security of states also act. We have to see how national interests are defended more precisely and effectively. Argentina has to cover its borders, defend its natural resources. All spaces must be covered.

You talk about a technological revolution. How do you rate the new operation of the Army with Security in the North? Budget just …

The Northern Integration Operation is in its first stage. We are adapting the new demands. It is about covering a large region and supporting the security forces in the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime. We are in the territory in tasks of logistics and support to the community. Optimum coordination will take time. But right now we have 500 men on the border and next year we have to double that number.

They say the United States will help in this operation. As?

-The United States wants to help us with equipment.

With what things, for example?

-We do not know yet. But the equipment we need especially for the northern border. Technology I spoke with the Pentagon's Secretary of Military Affairs for Latin America in Mexico, and we continue to talk, but they are interested in helping us. Let's see the conditions, we do not go deep.

During the G-20 meeting, will they also provide a plane and a radar to help with air defense?

Yes But we will coordinate the security task of the entire G-20. They will help us, the US, with a plane and a communications boat. This is having airspace information with powerful radars that will inform the Argentine Air Force of what is happening in the airspace. But all the material that will be used is from Argentina.

The president has decreed aviation security protocol to shoot down unauthorized aircraft …

Yes We are talking about the air space of Buenos Aires, which will be closed to operate the two days of the summit. If an airplane attempts to enter the prohibited airspace, there will be a protocol to prevent it from entering that space. There is a presidential decree two years ago stating the security emergency. There is a law on demolitions, and now the President has extended that and empowered the Minister of Defense to be the only one to carry out the demolition order. But it will never be a warplane. Let's see … what is expected in these cases is that a civil aircraft tries to do something crazy. But still this probability is very low. Do you understand?

Which Argentine military aircraft will be used during the G-20?

– In principle, three A4 planes, two Pucará planes and three Pampa planes. They will be flying in the airspace permanently. Even the A4 will be restocked in the air during the hours of the event so they do not need to go to the beach.

You say it's a "decisive" moment for the country. What do you mean?

-A decisive time because what we are trying to do is to consolidate an integrated economic model that produces the necessary wealth and work that our young people demand. For different reasons, time has become very complex. Thanks to the confidence generated by President Macri and his policy of insertion in the world, the country gained the support of the International Monetary Fund. It is cheaper funding, and despite what our detractors say, the government program maintains its purpose, with the only variation that we need to do things faster.

When and how do you think the country will generate its own money?

– The country is now on the way to exporting and increasing manufactured goods. Argentina has to improve its production matrix, in volume and quality of exports. You have to be able to export more work, more value added and this is the export matrix that we are trying to create. The field is not only an exporter of primary resources, it is one of the most productive and competitive sectors of the Argentine economy. The aggregate of technological value that the Argentine field has today is one of the best in the world.

What do you think the government's obsession is today?

– Reduce inflation and create jobs. Inflation is a factory of the poor. It will begin to fall from November to December. And the country will begin to register investments, improve the trade balance and achieve a trade surplus.

How did you feel when this year your position was put in check with the Cabinet setting?

"The first thing I have to say is that the ministers are collaborators with the President. That is, the policy is carried out by the president, we only collaborate. I did not feel this feeling of displacement because I spoke first with the president and then with Ernesto Sanz. In these discussions there was no demand for names for radicalism. What were discussed were political.

Radical and lyceist, facing adversities

This interview was conducted in two stages: began days before the event for the anniversary of the disappearance of ARA San Juan in Mar del Plata on general and specific issues and was completed yesterday after the announcement that the remains of the submarine had been located in the waters of the South Atlantic. Oscar Raúl Aguad Beily presents himself as follows: "I was born on May 7, 1950, in the city of Córdoba, my mother, Hilda Beily, was a housewife and my father Raul Aguad had, in the decade I studied at the National University of Cordoba, graduating from the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences as a lawyer with guidance in Criminal, Economic, Tax and Correctional Law.Thereafter I married María Dolores Albarenque in 1976 and we had five daughters who gave me nine grandchildren. "

He joined the Radical Civic Union at a very young age, sharing his passion for politics with his other two: football and rugby. He joined the fourth division of Belgrano as number 9 and the Cordovan rugby team at the Tala Rugby Club. He was also a member of the council of La Voz del Interior, Cordoba's main newspaper. Aguad belongs to the most conservative sector of the UCR, which also generated the nickname of former colleagues and opponents as "the military" for their good relations with the military. They were links of his years of study in the Military Lyceum. But he is a civilian and his career in politics has grown into democracy. That is why he proudly remembers the fourth place he held on the list of constituents during the reform of the Constitution in 1994, negotiated by Carlos Menem as president and former president and radical leader Raul Alfonsin. In the 80's, he is found working as secretary of the municipality of Córdoba and later as Minister of Institutional Affairs and Social Development of the governor Ramón Mestre, father. His career has always been on the side of the game. Master, in fact, cleverly named him as his replacement when former president Fernando de la Rua intervened in the province of Corrientes and appointed former governor Mestre and Aguad to replace him. Candidate for governor of Cordoba in 2003, and in 2011, try again in 2015. He did not arrive. Macri named him Communications Minister, already very close to the PRO, even with a "look" that everyone takes with a shirt and no tie very similar to the president.

With fluid and close contact with Marcos Peña, Frigerio, Patricia Bullrich and Gabriela Michetti, her appointment in the defense portfolio in mid-2017 tried not to be a strong move. Radical, he, radical the exit, Julio Martinez, who had electoral aspirations in his own province. The movement, in the end, was not so quiet and shaken the whole ministry, which went into a complete reform, to work with the security forces, but always on a budget less than the needy.

Four months would pass until the shadow of the tragedy settled on his shoulders, with the disappearance of ARA San Juan signing his management and taking him to such tense moments with the relatives of the 44 crew, who at some point took him to remember the sadness, immeasurable loss of a relative, with the death of his daughter Lúcia. The appearance of the remains of the submarine, a year later, hardly gives a moment of relief.

To touch

A project
Build an integrated country.

A challenge
Take advantage of the technological advances to develop the country.

A dream
May our children and grandchildren have the opportunity to live with dignity.

A memory
My parents and Lucia (a daughter who died).

A leader
Raúl Alfonsín.

A hero
Alberdi, Belgrano and Sarmiento.

A food

A drink

A book
Two: The Last Encounter, by Sandor Marai and My Philosophical Testament, by Jean Guitton.

The Godfather.

A Serie
Blinders Peaky.


Oscar Aguad, lawyer Cordoban and leader of UCR, 68 years old, was secretary general of the Municipality of Cordova from December 10, 1983 to 1989. He passed through different provincial executive positions, was conventional in the Constitutional Reform of & # 39; 94, national deputy , president of the UCR Block and 1st vice-president of the Chamber of Deputies. Counselor in the Council of the Judiciary of the Nation. (2007-2014), with the management of Cambiemos fe was Minister of Communications of the Nation and since 2017 is Minister of Defense. Married, father of five daughters, he has nine grandchildren.


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