Tag Archive | "cristina fernández de kirchner"

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”.


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.


Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (1)

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.

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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.”

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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.

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President Will Undergo Surgery Tuesday Morning

Vice-president Amado Boudou on his first day as acting president (photo: Paula Ribas/Télam/ef)

Vice-president Amado Boudou on his first day as acting president (photo: Paula Ribas/Télam/ef)

Doctors will operate on President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner Tuesday morning to remove a subdural haematoma.

Just after 1pm Monday, President Fernández reported to the Favaloro Foundation complaining of a “tingling” sensation in her left arm, prompting doctors to hospitalise her and schedule an operation.

A statement released by Favaloro Foundation confirmed that the president had been hospitalised and is undergoing tests in preparation for tomorrow morning’s surgery.

The hospital stated that the operation “consists of the surgical removal of the president’s haematoma,” which was the result of a head trauma she suffered on 12th August.

After some uncertainty over what his role would be during the president’s medical leave, vice-president Amado Boudou officially signed an act Monday morning granting him the executive power until President Fernández’s recovery.

Boudou also stepped in for President Fernández at the inauguration of a fleet of ambulances earlier in the day at the Casa Rosada.

Speaking at the event, which took place before news broke of the president’s impending operation, Boudou assured the public that they “would soon be eagerly listening to the President,” but that in the meantime matters of business would continue as planned.

“We will continue with full force to keep the management of the government on track,” Boudou told the crowd.

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President Meets with Industry, Trade, and Labour Representatives

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Río Gallegos(Photo: courtesy of Presidencia de la Nacion)

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Río Gallegos (Photo courtesy of Presidencia de la Nacion)

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is currently meeting with representatives from workers’ unions, banks, and trade and industry organisations in the southern city of Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz.

The meeting was announced by the president in a speech in Tecnópolis last week, when she said that she wanted “to discuss important matters with the UIA [Argentine Industrial Association], the banks, the unions, the true economic actors and not with the substitutes they put on the [electoral] ballots.”

Immediately before the meeting, which began at 2.30pm at the Hotel Patagonia, the president gave a speech before these representatives as she announced the results of a public tender to build two hydroelectricity dams. There, she anticipated the talks she will hold with business and union representatives would be based around the discussion of macroeconomic issues. “It is necessary to discuss, after ten years of reforms, about economic growth, industrial development, and debt reduction,” she said. “It’s important that we can share opinions about these last ten years, the things we have done, the ones we still need to do, those that we did right and those that we did wrong.”

The president then presented the latest economic statistics, saying that the country’s GDP “has grown 5.1% so far this year, in a world in crisis, where unemployment keeps rising. Gurus say that the fiscal situation is weak -they are the same ones that in 2001 [before the economic crisis] said that everything was ok.” She stated that her intention was to “put down myths, lies, and falsehoods” about the country’s economic situation.

To illustrate her point, she compared certain economic indicators, such as dollar reserves and imports, with those of Australia and Canada.

With regards to the dams, the president stated that “it will be the largest hydroelectric enterprise after Yacyretá.” Two new dams will be built in the province of Santa Cruz by UTE, a consortium of two Argentine companies (Electroingeniería and Hidrocuyo) and the Chinese company Ghezouba. The project will begin construction in December and is expected to take five and a half years to complete. With an investment of over US$22bn, it will add 1,740 MW to the grid.

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Official Results of Primary Elections Announced

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner congratulating Martin Insaurralde (courtesy of Carlos Brigo/Télam/cf)

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner congratulating Martin Insaurralde (photo: Carlos Brigo/Télam/cf)

The official results of the open, simultaneous, and compulsory primary elections (PASO), which were carried out yesterday, were published in the early hours of this morning. They show that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s party, Frente Para La Victoria (FPV), is still on top at the national level – with 26,31% of the votes. However, it lost in key districts such as the province and city of Buenos Aires.

The government came first in La Pampa, Rio Negro, Santiago del Estero, Formosa, Entre Rios, and Tierra del Fuego, but lost the main districts in terms of population and political strategy: Buenos Aires (province and city), Sante Fe, Mendoza, and Córdoba.

Tigre Mayor Sergio Massa, from the Frente Renovador, won in Buenos Aires with a difference of over five points ahead of his FPV rival, Martin Insaurralde.

Massa declared: “We want to thank those who chose us this time and to tell them that, facing the future, we are going to work so that they will choose us [in October] with confidence.” President Fernández showed support to her candidate Insaurralde: “I especially want to thank a partner, who, until a month and a half ago, was only known by 20% of the Buenos Aires province electorate, and who has done an excellent pre-election.”

In the City of Buenos Aires, UNEN got a combined total of 35.6% of the vote for deputies, coming in on first place. However, the individual lists that competed in the alliance’s primary were placed third, fourth, fifth, and ninth overall. PRO received 27.5% of the vote and FPV 19%. In the category of senators, which the city is electing this year, UNEN got a combined total of 32% (with the individual lists getting 13.3%, 10.4%, 7.58%, and 1% respectively), whilst PRO got 31.4% of the vote, and FPV 19.85%.

In Córdoba, governor José Manuel De la Sota’s candidate Juan Schiaretti from Union por Córdoba (UC) won with 30% of the votes, while former vice-president Julio Cobos, from the Union Civica Radical (UCR) won in Mendoza with 44,13%. Former governor Hermes Binner, from the Frente Progresista Civico y Social (FPCS) won in Santa Fe with 41,06%, where PRO’s candidate Miguel Del Sel came second, and the FPV third.

The winners of the primary election will go on to compete in the legislative mid-term elections to be carried out on 27th October, when half of the Chamber of Deputies and a third of the Senate will be elected.

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President to Meet with UN Secretary-General in New York

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (courtesy of Casa Rosada)

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (courtesy of Casa Rosada)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will receive Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner today at 5pm local time in New York, ahead of the Security Council meeting she will chair tomorrow.

The meeting will take place at the UN headquarters and will have an “open agenda”. Ban met with the foreign affairs ministers of Mercosur earlier today, where they discussed the countries’ “concerns” over alleged US espionage.

President Fernández travelled to New York to preside over the Security Council meeting, after Argentina became temporary chair of the council last week. She will deliver a speech at 9.30am before the representatives of the countries attending the event.

As well as the members of the Security Council, representatives of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), the African Union, the Arabic States League, and regional and sub-regional organisations have been invited to attend the meeting.

Argentina has proposed two items to be considered by the Council this month. The first one concerns the relationship and cooperation between the UN and sub-regional as well as regional organisations. The second issue is the protection of civilians in armed conflict, and is scheduled to be debated on 19th August. At the end of the month, the reconstruction of Haiti will also be discussed.

After the meeting, president Fernández will provide an official lunch “in a restaurant close to the UN headquarters” for the UN Secretary-General, foreign affairs ministers, and representatives of the Security Council’s members. She will head back to Buenos Aires tomorrow night.

This will be the 15th time since 1948 that Argentina assumes the presidency of the Security Council.

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