Tag Archive | "cristina fernández de kirchner"

Ex-President Cristina Fernández Rallies Supporters After Court Date


Former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appeared in court this morning for questioning over allegations of ‘public fraud’ in future currency trades conducted by the Central Bank while she was in office.

After presenting a written statement to the court, Fernández gave a lengthy speech to thousands of supporters who had gathered outside the Comodoro Py courthouse.

Ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner speaking to supporters today after her court appearance (Photo: Carlos Brigo/Telam)

Ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner speaking to supporters today after her court appearance (Photo: Carlos Brigo/Telam)

“They can put me in prison, but they can’t silence me,” said Fernández to a jubilant crowd that had waited most of the morning in the rain. Her hour-long speech, the first in public since she left office, included sharp criticism of incumbent president Mauricio Macri and the judicial investigations she is now facing.

“They kept saying that I would have some public title so as to have protection [from prosecution], but I don’t need that, I have the protection given to me by the people in two consecutive elections.”

The two-term ex-president also called for a new “citizen’s front” to resist conservative policies carried out by the current administration. “You must create a front where no-one asks anybody who they voted for, which union they belong to, or if they are working or retired. Where they just ask if they are better now than they were before. That is the point where Argentines can unite: demanding the rights that they have snatched from us.”

Police estimated that around 12,000 people attended the rally, which was organised by Kirchnerist activist groups including La Cámpora and Movimiento Evita. Those groups claimed the number was much higher.

The march passed mostly without incident, except an ugly scene when journalist Mercedes Ninci was insulted and forcefully ejected from an enclosed area by activists. Media organisations condemned the aggression towards Ninci, who works for Clarín’s Radio Mitre and Canal 13 .

Dollar Futures Case

Fernández returned to Buenos Aires after being legally summoned by Judge Claudio Bonadio, who is investigating whether the Central Bank’s trading of dollar futures at a price below the market value at the time amounts to “public fraud.”

The futures contracts, which fix an exchange rate for a future date, have reportedly cost the state millions of pesos as a result of the devaluation carried out by the new government.

Fernández presented a written statement to Judge Bonadío today, but refused to answer questions. The statement, which the ex-president also published on social media, criticised the judiciary and the current government led by President Mauricio Macri for what she said was an arbitrary and politically-motivated accusation.

“Every time a national and popular political movement was overturned or finished its mandate, the authorities that followed systematically discredited its leaders, attributing serious crimes linked to abuses of power, corruption, and unlawful gains to them,” read the statement.

“The [government’s] austerity and misery plan again requires defamation and slander to be implemented… they’ve accused us, attempted to devalue the currency ‘judicially,’ forced the Central Bank president to resign, devalued the currency and now, with the judiciary’s help, they are trying to blame us before the public for the measures and decisions they have taken.”

Former Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and ex-Central Banker Alejandro Vanoli are also being investigated in the case, and have already provided written statements.

In his testimony presented yesterday, Kicillof stated that: “there is no crime, neither corruption nor bribery crimes by no official from the Central Bank or the previous government.” He also added: “All central banks in the world carry out control practices; it is a normal and regular operation in foreign exchange policy.”

Other Investigations

Cristina Fernández also currently faces other criminal investigations. On Saturday, she was formally accused by a Federal Prosector of taking part in a money laundering scheme involving Lázaro Baez, a businessman and close associate of the Kirchner family. Baez is currently being detained after being questioned last week.

The former president is also facing a probe into alleged financial irregularities and corruption at Hotesur, the company that manages her high-end hotels in Patagonia. The hotels allegedly rented out rooms to companies that benefited from public works contracts, with investigators seeking to establish if this was a mechanism to launder money obtained unlawfully.

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Prosecutor Requests Ex-President be Investigated for Money Laundering


Federal Prosecutor Guillermo Marijuan has formally requested ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner be investigated for alleged money laundering.

The measure was announced hours after the marathon testimony of Leonardo Fariña before Judge Sebastián Casanello yesterday. Former Federal Planning Minister Julio De Vido was also implicated in the case.

President Fernández was accused of being involved in a money laundering scheme (Photo: Presidencia/Télam)

President Fernández was accused of being involved in a money laundering scheme (Photo: Presidencia/Télam)

Earlier this week, Lázaro Báez, a businessman and close associate of the Kirchner family, was arrested and questioned in the same money laundering investigation.

The businessman is accused of laundering at least US$5m through his company Austral Construcciones, which was created in 2003 and won a number of state contracts for public works during the presidencies of Néstor and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. According to the prosecution, money obtained through fiscal fraud was filtered through SGI Argentina, a financial consultancy firm in Puerto Madero known commonly as “La Rosadita”.

Fariña, who has been in prison for two years for tax evasion, has claimed he helped Báez move funds abroad. He reportedly gave up new information and evidence about the case yesterday in exchange for a potential reduction in his sentence.

Fernández is due to appear in court on Wednesday to face questions in a separate investigation into dollar futures traded by the Central Bank of Argentina last year.

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The Indy Eye: Two Days, Two Presidents, One Plaza de Mayo


In the last 24 hours, the iconic Plaza de Mayo has twice filled with people to support two different presidents, marking a change of era in Argentine politics. On Wednesday night, the now ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner gave an emotional farewell speech to a huge crowd of supporters. Earlier today, another impressive crowd came to the square to welcome new president Mauricio Macri, who received the presidential baton and sash in the Casa Rosada before addressing the masses from a balcony.

Indy photographers were there for both historic occasions, and bring you these photos.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner 1 by Reilly Ryan

Supporters bring models of Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández to Plaza de Mayo (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner 3 by Reilly Ryan

Fernández supporters at the back of Plaza de Mayo (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

CFK's Last Speech Crowd 2 by Reilly Ryan

Whole families came out to say goodbye to Cristina Fernández (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

Crowds gather for the farewell act of President Fernández (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

Crowds gather for the farewell act of President Fernández (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

A photographer captures the scene of a packed Plaza de Mayo from above (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

A photographer captures the scene of a packed Plaza de Mayo from above (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

One supporter remembers the moment Néstor Kirchner took down the portraits of former military dictators (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

One supporter remembers the moment Néstor Kirchner took down the portraits of former military dictators (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

CFK patricio6

Cristina Fernández in her final speech as president (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

Crowds spilling out of Plaza de Mayo in ex-president Fernández's final public act (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

Crowds spilling out of Plaza de Mayo in ex-president Fernández’s final public act (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

Macri Inauguration by Reilly Ryan

The presidential guard at the inauguration ceremony for Mauricio Macri (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

Macri Inauguration by Reilly Ryan

Awaiting the presidential motorcade (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

President Mauricio Macri at the Casa Rosada (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

President Mauricio Macri at the Casa Rosada (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

Macri receives the presidential sash from Federico Pinedo, who was interim president for 12 hours (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

Macri receives the presidential sash from Federico Pinedo, who was interim president for 12 hours (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

Macri Inauguration 1 by Reilly Ryan

President Macri’s supporters enjoying his inauguration in Plaza de Mayo (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

Macri Inauguration by Reilly Ryan

Crowds wave Argentine flags as they wait for the new president (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

Macri Inauguration by Reilly Ryan

Watching the inauguration ceremony on a baking Plaza de Mayo (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

Macri Inauguration 3 by Reilly Ryan

President Macri and the first lady Juliana Awada (right) greet the crowds from the Casa Rosada (Photo: Reilly Ryan)

President Macri greets his supporters from a balcony of the Casa Rosada (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

President Macri greets his supporters from a balcony of the Casa Rosada (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

As has become customary, Macri performed a dance for his supporters (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

As has become customary, Macri performed a dance for his supporters (Photo: Patricio Murphy)

 

 

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Ex-President Fernández Gives Farewell Speech at Plaza de Mayo


After eight years as President of Argentina and another four as the First Lady, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner bid farewell yesterday to her supporters in a speech in Plaza de Mayo.

Crowds packed the square, chanting “We will return,” as Fernández, a champion of progressive policies, gave her final speech as president before her power was transferred to Mauricio Macri.

Plaza de Mayo was packed with the ex-president's supporters (photo courtesy of Wado de Pedro on Facebook)

Plaza de Mayo was packed with the ex-president’s supporters (photo courtesy of Wado de Pedro on Facebook)

“I can’t talk long because I turn into a pumpkin at midnight,” she joked to an audience that included Bolivian President Evo Morales, who was specially invited.

Earlier, the ex-President gave another speech and unveiled a sculpture of her deceased husband and former President Nestor Kirchner in the Busts Room in Casa Rosada. Kirchner’s sculpture joined busts of other former leaders.

Fernandez’s legacy includes the legalisation of gay marriage in 2010, expanding social programmes, and refusing to pay back the debt claimed by vulture funds.

The transfer of power was rocky with Macri and Fernández butting heads over how it would take place, but Fernández’s speech to the tens of thousands of her supporters in the warm night air was gracious.

“That’s the biggest thing I have given to the Argentine people: empowerment, freedom, rights,” said Fernández. “Thank you for so much happiness, so much joy, so much love, I love you, I always carry you in my heart and know that I will always be close to you.”

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1M: Thousands Rally for President’s Last Speech to Congress


Thousands of government supporters gathered outside Congress on Sunday, as President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner gave her annual speech to open the 133th legislative year. It was the president’s last speech before she leaves office following elections later this year.

President Cristina Fernández with Head of Deputies Julián Domínguez (left) and

President Cristina Fernández with Head of Deputies Julián Domínguez (left) and Provisional President of the Senate Gerardo Zamora (right) (photo: Patricio Murphy)

As is tradition, the president dedicated the bulk of her three hour and 40 minute-address to detailing her administration’s achievements in different areas — such as the economy, health, transport, pensions, education, energy, and labour legislation, among others. She also announced that she will send a bill to Congress to nationalise the railway lines that remain in private hands.

President Fernández congratulated her economic team, which she said “was able to overcome all the expectations that had been put forward about 2014, a year in which we were forecast to suffer financial catastrophes sponsored by the vulture funds from the outside, with the help of some internal sectors.” She also highlighted the government’s performance in the reduction of the foreign debt and defended the cooperation agreements with China, “the most important actor in the world.”

The tensest moment of the speech came when the president confronted a group of opposition senators holding signs about the AMIA bombing. The president responded: “I don’t need signs to talk about AMIA, I have been talking about AMIA since 1994, suing Judge [Juan José] Galeano for a cover up and asking for justice.”

Thousands rallied in support of the president (photo: Patricio Murphy)

Thousands rallied in support of the president (photo: Patricio Murphy)

This prompted a series of criticisms directed at the judiciary —which she referred to as “the judicial party” which “has become independent of the Constitution”— over the delays in the case, and to the Supreme Court in particular for not advancing in the investigation of the attack against the Israeli embassy in 1992. As Supreme Court president Ricardo Lorenzetti looked on, President Fernández demanded to be told “what has been the result of the Supreme Court investigation into the attack against the Israeli embassy” and criticised Israel for not pushing to have that case resolved as strongly as it has allegedly pushed the AMIA case.

The mention of the attack against the Jewish organisation also prompted the head of state to refer to the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, which she lamented as she would “any Argentine, any human being”.

Saying she was not going to go into the specifics of last week’s ruling by Judge Daniel Rafecas, which “speaks for itself”, she wondered “which Nisman” was the real one: “the one who accused me of a cover up, or the one that addresses me, praising my actions before the UN and the Memorandum [of Understanding signed with Iran], to take the issue to the Security Council?”.

The president was referring to a recent finding revealed by Judge Rafecas, in which two of Nisman’s collaborators in the AMIA special prosecution unit presented two documents signed by the deceased prosecutor in December 2014 and January 2015 addressed to the president, supporting the Memorandum and asking her to request the extradition of the Iranian suspects before the UN Security Council.

The final stretch of the address entered campaign territory, as the president quoted an article by newspaper La Prensa in which the opposition complained that she was going to leave “an uncomfortable country” for her successor. “I don’t leave a comfortable country for politicians, I leave a comfortable country for the people,” she said, adding that “of course it’s going to be uncomfortable, especially if they expect to take rights off people.” She also challenged the opposition candidates to “explain what it is they want to change”.

Outside

As the president addressed Congress for the last time, her supporters followed the lengthy speech that began at 12.30pm through speakers and screens placed at the Plaza de los Dos Congresos. The occasional bout of rain did not deter the demonstrators who started arriving at the Plaza in the morning with their fellow activists or families.

Government supporters listen to the president's speech (photo: Patricio Murphy)

Government supporters listen to the president’s speech (photo: Patricio Murphy)

Despite the theory put forward by the press that the ‘1M’ rally was meant as a “counter-march” to the ‘18F’ march in memory of Alberto Nisman, demonstrators interviewed by The Indy agreed in pointing out that there was no relation between the two manifestations. “I’m here because of everything the government has done in all these years,” said María Teresa Pegorea, from Monte Grande, Greater Buenos Aires, who was attending the rally with her family.

Graciela Juárez, a lawyer who was also at the march with family and friends, considered that “it’s OK that they held the 18F march, I respect everyone’s ideas. Mine is this one, it is to come here to support Cristina.”

Organisers estimate that around 320,000 people attended the rally.

Camera and editing by Kate Rooney

Lead image by Patricio Murphy

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, VideoComments (0)

President ‘Convinced’ Nisman Death not a Suicide


Photo courtesy of CFKArgentina.com

Photo courtesy of CFKArgentina.com

In a declaration published on her official website, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has raised questions around the death of AMIA prosecutor Alberto Nisman, calling it “the suicide that (I’m convinced) wasn’t suicide”.

Nisman, who was investigating the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish centre, was found in his apartment on Sunday having died from a gunshot wound to the head. He had been due to present his findings to Congress on Monday, days after publicly calling for President Fernández and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman to be questioned over the alleged “criminal plan” to distance Iran from any involvement in the attack.

News of his death led to widespread protests around Argentina, with many accusing the government of having played a role in his death.

The initial autopsy report indicated the death was a suicide, but subsequent forensic tests have not found gunpowder on his hands. Further tests are now underway. Prosecutor Viviana Fein, who is leading the investigation into Nisman’s death, said that this could be simply due to the calibre of the gun, and does not necessarily mean Nisman did not pull the trigger. In a press statement this morning, Fein confirmed that the death has been classified as “suspicious” and asked for collaboration from the press to get to the bottom of “who is who”.

Yesterday, Nisman’s full 300-page report into the 1994 attack was released to the judge.

The Intelligence Secretariat responded to the report by denying that two of the intelligence agents listed – Héctor Yrimia and Ramón Allan Héctor Bogado – were members of the agency.

In her statement, President Fernández said: “False information was planted in Nisman’s report”, adding “they used him when he was alive, and then they needed him dead. It’s that sad and terrible.”

She added: “Nisman’s accusation not only crumbles, but it becomes a real political and judicial scandal. Prosecutor Nisman did not know that the intelligence agents that he listed as such, were not. Least of all that one of them had been accused by (ex intelligence chief ‘Jaime’) Stiusso himself.”

She went on to question the role Stiusso could have played in the providing the information.

“Today I don’t have any proof, but I also don’t have any doubts,” she continued, before asking: “Why would he kill himself if he did not know that the information in his report was false? These are answers that only those who gave him false information and convinced him that he had ‘the case of the century’ in his hands can answer.”

This morning, Fein said that she had no plans to call Stiusso to make a statement at present.

 

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President Fernández Resumes Public Activities


President Fernández was greeted by supporters outside the Sheraton hotel (photo: Presidencia/CF)

President Fernández was greeted by supporters outside the Sheraton hotel (photo: Presidencia/CF)

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made her first public appearance after 26 days yesterday, at the annual convention of the Argentine Chamber of Construction, in Buenos Aires.

In her 40-minute address to the convention, President Fernández dismissed the opposition’s demands for changes in the income tax before the end of the year, saying: “How can we finance public works if we don’t collect taxes?”. She also stated that “Argentine workers are still the best paid in the whole of Latin America.” Local media reported that union leaders were “uneasy” with the president’s words, as they were expecting her to announce the exemption on the payment of income tax of the December half-yearly bonus (aguinaldo).

The president then referred to next year’s election, prompting the opposition to explain what are their plans for the country, and highlighted the need to commit to long-term policies that do not change from one administration to the next.

Finally, she made the now usual mention of the holdouts, when she said: “No financial or judicial vulture will extort this president against the interests of the Argentine people.” The reference to the “judicial vulture” was aimed at Judge Claudio Bonadío, who is in charge of a case investigating the president’s hotel company, Hotesur. Later on, she took to Twitter to add that Judge Bonadío’s family company has allegedly failed to lodge balance sheets for 2012 and 2013, like Hotesur. “Just like Hotesur S.A. Will any lawmaker file a lawsuit? Will any judge order a raid? What will the independent press say?”, she wrote.

The president had spent the month of November recovering from sigmoiditis, an inflammation of the colon. She is travelling to the Unasur summit in Ecuador on the 4th and 5th December and will host a meeting of Mercosur heads of state in Paraná, Entre Ríos, between the 14th and 18th December. However, and due to her doctor’s advice, she will not travel to the Book Fair and Ibero-American Summit in Mexico as planned.

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Argentina News Roundup: 23rd January 2014


President Fernández during yesterday's announcement (photo: Carlos Brigo/Télam/aa)

President Fernández during yesterday’s announcement (photo: Carlos Brigo/Télam/aa)

Presidential Announcement: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner made her first public appearance since December last night. In a televised speech, she announced the launch of a programme of student allowances for people between the ages of 18 and 24 who are unemployed, employed in the informal labour market, or earn less than the minimum wage ($3,600). Beneficiaries of the allowance will need to submit certificates in March, July, and November of each year showing that they are enrolled in an educational institution of any level, and will have to carry out a yearly health check in order to receive the $600 monthly payment. The programme, called Progresar, is seen as an extension of the Asignación Universal por Hijo (AUH), will have an estimated cost of $11.2bn, and will potentially reach 1.5m people. “Young people who don’t work or study are the children of neoliberalism, they’re the children of parents who didn’t have a job or who lost it, and weren’t educated in the culture of labour. This is why they need the state to move forward,” said the president. She also confirmed she will travel to Cuba to participate in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit on 28th and 29th January.

Devaluation: The Argentine peso lost 12% of its value today, closing at $8 per US dollar, after reaching a peak of $8.31 at around noon. The Central Bank abstained from trading in the exchange market for most of the day, letting the local currency weaken dramatically for the second day in a row. Yesterday, the peso had closed at $7.14 per US dollar, up $0.24 from the previous day, the highest daily rate of devaluation since 2002. With today’s move, the peso has depreciated by 22.7% since the beginning of the year. On the parallel -or ‘blue’- market, the US dollar was selling at approximately $13, a 62.5% gap between both markets.

Overseas Shopping Restrictions: Tax agency AFIP informed today through a statement on its website the exceptions to the restrictions in overseas purchases announced yesterday. Books, prescribed medicines, works of art, and certain personal needs items will not be subjected to the limit of two purchases per year set by AFIP.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (2)

New Government Ministers Face the Press


 Economy minister Axel Kicillof this morning.  (photo: Télam)

Economy minister Axel Kicillof this morning. (photo: Télam)

Two new cabinet ministers promised predictability and no “grand announcements” concerning the economy in their first press conferences after Monday’s cabinet reshuffle.

New Economy Minister Axel Kicillof assured the public there would be no “abrupt changes” to economic policy and that the government is “working very hard to carry out a program of government targets, with very clear objectives that the President has given us,” in a short press conference held before midday.

The goals have to do with, “employment, production, income distribution, and improvement of living conditions of Argentines,” Kicillof told journalists at the Economy Ministry.

“There are many instruments and one goal: to ensure predictability. There will not be anything harmful done to workers or employers, because this model is for companies to have good results,” he said.

Addressing the Central Bank’s reserves which have fallen more than US$10bn so far this year, he said, “We have reserves that have suffered some cuts but are at consistent and very strong levels, and the exchange rate is part of a comprehensive economic management plan.”

“What we have to do is generate increased supply of dollars with respect to demand and to see what these dollars are used for; we are not going to do anything to generate abrupt changes in the economy,” he reiterated.

Both Kiciloff and new Chief of Cabinet Jorge Capitanich, who also gave a press conference this morning, faced questions concerning inflation. Kicillof said: “We are working with price agreements,” while Capitanich said that the controversy over the INDEC figures is a thing of the past thanks to the new price indicator that will come into effect next year.

During his press conference early this morning, Capitanich said the Government has “objectives to carry out” to “generate economic growth, employment opportunities, conditions for public and private investment, certainty and predictability, and to preserve the purchasing power of wages.”

He said the government will work to strengthen the Central Bank’s reserves, which have dropped drastically this year, by stimulating exports and creating conditions to encourage higher levels of private investment. “We have a dynamic agenda with 200 goals seeking to fulfill the 2014 budget, an increase of 6% [growth rate] and and a trade surplus of US$10bn.”

Capitanich said it was important to prioritise productive investment over luxury items. “We will protect, care for our reserves… It is much more important to have essential supplies for the production chain than to buy a luxury car that only satisfies one person.”

He promised to work openly with all governors and will maintain “permanent interaction” with Congress, coordinating meetings with various parliamentary groups, including the opposition.

He also proposed daily talks with the press, starting earlier than today’s press conference which began at 8.15am.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner yesterday attended the swearing in of the new cabinet ministers after 47 days absent from the Casa Rosada.

She also spoke from the courtyard of the Casa Rosada to hundreds of young supporters, speaking about “deepening the model.”  She announced that unemployment had fallen to 6.8% and promised to invest in freight trains to improve their “economic competitiveness.”

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, News Round Ups, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

President Fernández to Resume Duties on Monday


President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner . (courtesy of CFK Argentina)

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. (courtesy of CFK Argentina)

The Casa Rosada announced last night that President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will return to office next Monday following her successful recovery from surgery.

The presidential spokesman, Alfredo Scoccimarro, indicated that final medical controls “have shown a good cardiovascular state” after neurological tests on Friday gave a clean bill of health.

President Fernández will return to office in just under a week, on Monday 18th November, a date that some of her supporters are now calling “18K”.

This announcement comes just over a month after she received neurosurgery to treat a subdural haematoma.

From the Casa Rosada, Scoccimarro revealed yesterday that Fernández will continue to have “secondary prevention controls” that will include “oscillatory tests”. Additionally, two months after the date of the original operation she will have another “neuroimaging test” to evaluate her progress on 9th December.

Doctors at the Fundación Favoloro, Facundo Manes, and Gerado Bozovich indicated that clinical controls and tests, which took 48 hours during the last few days, proved the absence of any significant arrhythmia.

Finally, Scoccimarro informed that future communications about Fernández’s state of health would be published by the Medical Presidential Unit rather than then Fundación Favaloro.

Vice President Amado Boudou, who was acting president during Fernández’ absence, said “We are happy for your return!” via a public post on Facebook.

City Mayor Mauricio Macri said he remains “optimistic” about the president’s return, adding that he hopes to see “a change of cabinet”.

President Fernández will continue resting at the official residence in Olivos until Monday 18th.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

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