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Families of Argentina sub crew decry govt response

The Associated Press

Relatives of Luis Carlos Nolasco, one of the sailors from the missing ARA San Juan submarine, protest outside the navy base in Mar del Plata, Argentina, on Sunday with a sign that reads in Spanish “Uncle, we wait for you, we miss you, we love you.”

Reuters BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) — Dozens of relatives of the 44 crew members of an Argentine submarine that went missing on Nov. 15 marched from a naval base on Sunday, demanding to know what happened and criticizing the government’s response to the tragedy.

Holding posters with photos of the crew and chanting “Search and Rescue!” the family members walked away from a naval base in Mar del Plata, following a press conference during which the navy said the submarine had still not been located.

The disaster has spurred soul searching over the state of the military in Argentina, which now has one of Latin America’s smallest defense budgets in relation to economic size after a series of financial crises.

“Our disagreement is with the government, not with the navy,” said Marcela Moyano, wife of crew member Hernan Rodriguez, during the protest. “Whoever is responsible needs to be held responsible.”

Spokesman Enrique Balbi said Thursday the navy had abandoned hope of rescuing the crew alive, noting the ARA San Juan had air supplies for a week while 15 days had passed since it last reported its position.

Some family members complained they were not advised before the general public of the end of the rescue mission and have also demanded more contact with President Mauricio Macri in Mar del Plata, where the San Juan was scheduled to end its journey.

While local media have speculated Macri will soon declare a period of national mourning for the submarine crew, he has been silent in recent days.Speech

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