Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner spoke at the University of Rio Negro on Friday after being awarded an honoris causa degree. She heavily criticized the judiciary, but did not make any concrete statements about the candidacies for this year’s elections.
She did say that there has to be “political unity” to rediscuss the agreement between Argentina and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Her public appearance came a day after a federal court published their reasons for her conviction in the Vialidad case for fraudulent administration in 2022. She was sentenced to six years in prison and a lifelong ban from public office by Judges Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu, Jorge Gorini, and Andrés Basso. Kirchner said that the ruling “proscribed” her — a politically significant term for a political ban — and said that in Argentina, “there is no democratic constitutional State anymore”.
Kirchner also denounced collusion between the judiciary and members of the opposition. She mentioned the recent controversies sparked by the leak of chats appearing to show relationships between federal judges, Buenos Aires city officials, and representatives from media conglomerate Grupo Clarín.
“Our democracy is turning 40, and it seems like none of the three leading powers [the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary] are working,” she said, recalling how former President Néstor Kirchner’s government gained office in 2003 with only 23% of the vote.
“Back then, we didn’t have an executive power, you could buy and sell laws in the legislative power and the court had an automatic majority,” she said. “But Néstor rebuilt it all by putting the Casa Rosada in the middle: the decisions were made by the president.”
In her speech, which was named “Hegemony or consensus? Rupture of the democratic pact in a bimonetary economy” and lasted for one hour and 10 minutes, she addressed the assassination attempt on her on September 1, 2022.
“I hated to be a protagonist that day.”
Kirchner said that she has been consistently attacked since then, both personally and through the judicial system. She stated that the aim is to hinder her participation in the presidential race, and to curb the “national and popular project” that she represents.
“If one looks at what happened since 2015 [since Mauricio Macri gained office], it seems to be a logical sequence leading to September 1,” she said. “My Senate office was attacked in March 2022 without any intervention from the city or the federal police,” she added, and also referred to March 28, 2022 when the city awoke to photos of her face and the word “killer” painted on the streets.
Last year, the government and the IMF signed an Extended Fund Facility agreement in 2022 after renegotiating the US$44 billion debt former President Mauricio Macri acquired in 2018. During her speech, CFK called for the creation of “political unity” that could “re-discuss the agreement with the IMF,” something she considered essential given the maturity curve the country will have to face in the coming years.
“Argentina doesn’t just lack a constitutional, democratic state, it also lacks a currency of its own,” she said, referring to the Argentine peso crisis.