Vice President and two-term former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner last night posted a lengthy letter online confirming that she would not run for the presidency or any other elected office in this year’s elections.
Her declarations confirm the position she announced immediately after being sentenced in the Vialidad case in December 2022. Despite that announcement, in recent months her supporters have been calling for her to run for president.
In the text, she discusses the degradation of Argentina’s democracy, the country’s economic distress, and what she sees as the use of the judicial system to achieve political ends.
Here is the letter, translated into English, in full. The original is available on her website.
To my comrades,
This year, 2023, marks 40 years of uninterrupted democracy in our country. However, an important part of the citizenship does not feel represented, nor its aspirations contained, in a Democracy that was lost in the economic field, degraded in the social field and has begun to break down in the political and institutional field. With anger and disillusionment appears something that, some time ago, I named “democratic dissatisfaction”.
The loss of economic Democracy began in 2016, when the Cambiemos government, which had just taken power, started a brutal new cycle of foreign indebtedness that would culminate in the return of the International Monetary Fund through an unusual, unprecedented and political loan, whose objective was not only to help that “friendly government” to win the elections, but also to allow the withdrawal of speculative investment funds in dollars.
The story that followed is the same as always with the Fund in our country: it intervenes, takes the helm of the Argentine economy, imposes its economic program and the process of uncontrolled in Argentina is triggered once again. Chance is not a political category and, therefore, it is no coincidence that neither of the two Presidents who accepted the IMF program retains electoral aptitude. In politics there is, however, causality, and the determining factor is the economy.
Within this framework of brutal indebtedness in dollars, the dual-currency nature of the Argentine economy, in addition to the already historic balance of payments constraint and the compulsion to form dollar assets abroad, inevitably places our country’s current account in the red, which, in view of the scarcity of dollars, always ends up with uncontrolled inflation, exchange runs against the national currency, devaluation and more inflation. This makes it impossible for any government to reasonably manage the natural distributive struggle for income and turns inflation into the most phenomenal instrument for the transfer of resources from society as a whole to the richest and most concentrated sectors of the economy, which take possession of this extraordinary income within a framework of tax laxity. In light of the history of our country and except for very specific periods of government, there is nothing new under the sun.
Moreover, it is unavoidable to point out the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic, not only in the health and social aspects, but also in the economic realm, with the deepening of income concentration and the growth of poverty. We did not come out of the pandemic any better off.
For those who keep repeating that the monetary issue is the only cause of inflation, and still have some critical spirit of investigation, I invite them to look at the Monetary Base evolution graphs at constant prices and as a percentage of GDP, published by the Central Bank every month.
With the end of economic democracy, social democracy and the Peronist paradigm of upward social mobility have become degraded. For the first time in Argentina we are witnessing a low unemployment rate (6.3%) coexisting with a high level of poverty (40%). Thus, we find formally employed workers who are poor and the emergence of a dual society, where one part has access to all goods and services and the other, the majority, sees its possibilities of progress significantly reduced or outright absent.
In these 40 years of uninterrupted democracy we have also gone through two extremely serious economic and social crises: in 1989 with hyperinflation and in 2001 with the end of convertibility. The latter also included an institutional crisis that saw a succession of 5 Presidents in one week, which was solved within the framework of the National Constitution. However, in neither of these moments was there any questioning of the Democratic Pact voted for in October 1983, by which neither political violence against the adversary nor electoral proscription constituted elements of political action.
Today, the ghosts of the past have returned to the political reality of Argentina. During 2022 we saw how the verbal and symbolic violence that, for years, had been implanted in society by the hegemonic media, materialized in the streets through the actions of violent groups that assaulted, insulted and made death threats with mortuary bags, guillotines, torches, stones and escraches [protests, often at someone’s home or work, with a view to calling attention to their actions]. These groups had an absolutely targeted goal. It was not against all political parties or all leaders, as in the 2001 crisis. It was against Peronism or Kirchnerism, whatever you’d like to call it.
The culmination of these actions took place on September 1, 2022, in front of my private home when, accompanied by God and the Virgin Mary and surrounded by comrades, they made an attempt on my life. Strangely enough, after the frustrated assassination, the groups that organized and whipped, criticized and threatened me on a weekly basis disappeared as if by magic. This confirms, without a doubt, the premeditated nature of the political violence of these groups, lacking any trace of spontaneity. They were encouraged and financed by the opposition and the hegemonic media guaranteed them ample media coverage.
“The bullet that did not come out and the ruling that will” was the headline of Héctor Magnetto’s newspaper Clarín, the main source of hatred towards me and my family; a sort of lament for the failure of the assassination, but anticipating the ruling that a few days later exponents of the Judicial Party would issue against me and whose condemnatory result I publicly pre-announced three years earlier, when the trial known as the public works of Vialidad Nacional started. The conviction and disqualification in that case has only one political and electoral translation: proscription.
As I have been arguing for a long time, this is not only about the proscription of a person, but of Peronism. Although some, out of pettiness or mediocrity, denied it by resorting to legal technicalities, reality has once again confirmed it.
Last week, after an electorally adverse weekend for Juntos por el Cambio and an objectively favorable one for Peronism, the Court suspended the gubernatorial elections in the provinces of Tucumán and San Juan, only 72 hours before the beginning of the electoral silence and with a clear political objective: to harm Peronism and cover up its own crimes. On the same day and at the same time this ruling was issued, the Impeachment Commission of the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation was denouncing both the scandal of the Judiciary’s social security system involving one of the Court’s members, and the illicit enrichment of its President. I mentioned each and every one of these facts in the document “From the exemplary court to the court of four: a brief chronicle of decadence” published on July 18, 2022.
When I spoke of proscription in December 2022, it was not an exercise in the arts of divination, but with an understanding of the historical stage we are going through. Just as three people did with the provinces of Tucumán and San Juan, have no doubt that they will do it against me in order to prevent Peronism from participating in the democratic process, or to weaken it, leading us to a dead end.
I already said so on December 6, 2022. I will not be a mascot of power for any candidacy. I have shown, like no one else, that I prioritize the collective project over my own personal position. I will not enter into the perverse game they are imposing on us with a democratic façade so that those same judges, now perched in the Court, can dictate a ruling disqualifying me or directly removing me from any candidacy I may have, in order to leave Peronism in absolute fragility and weakness in the electoral contest. Recent events have proved me right.
This was not a hasty or spur-of-the-moment decision, but a reasoned and thought-out decision. I know them, I know how they think, how they act and how they will act. I have seen them throughout history and experienced their game in my own and my family’s flesh, with a persecution tied with surgical precision to the electoral calendar.
Since 2016 the Judicial Party has been functioning as a Task Force of Juntos por el Cambio and the concentrated economic groups to eliminate their political adversaries. From this façade of justice and mutilated democracy they provoke us and intend for us to fall into the terrain they want: violence and intolerance. They treat us as enemies and use phrases such as “eliminate us” or “finish with Kirchnerism”. We are not that and we firmly believe that in Democracy there are adversaries, not enemies.
We must be intelligent to get out of this labyrinth and break the trap they want to lead us into: that of our candidate being banned by the Judicial Party. Because, in the face of a right-wing whose only proposal is to take away rights, Peronism continues to be the political space that guarantees the defense of the interests of the people and the Nation.
In view of this situation, it is essential -more than ever- to build a government program that will enamor Argentines again and convince them that a better country is not only possible but also desirable. A government program that is necessary not only for Peronism, but for the democratic system as a whole.
As for those who demand the disappearance of Peronism or Kirchnerism -as a caricature of the “final solution” for Argentina-, after 40 years of Democracy, I recommend they pay attention to history and to the long list of “vernacular exterminators” who could never convince Argentines that eating well four times a day is an ideological issue; that having a decent place to live and see their children grow, study and progress is populist; or that work and decent salaries is an ancient belief. To them I say: they could not and will not be able to put an end to the memory and dreams of millions of Argentine men and women of living in a free nation, where its people can progress in order and are happy.
I embrace you all from my heart, as always.