Alberto Fernández opened the parliamentary year with a speech with an electoral tone and harsh threats against the opposition and the judiciary. The Argentine president announced a "criminal complaint" against the Administration of former President Mauricio Macri for having starred in "the greatest embezzlement of funds that our history remembers," in reference to his indebtedness to the International Monetary Fund. And he accused the judges of "living on the margins of the republican system" and of "enjoying privileges that no member of society enjoys."
Fernández was received in Congress by the president of the Senate, the former president of the Republic Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, without a mask, and the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Massa. Faced with a reduced capacity, out of precautions against the pandemic, the top Argentine leader advocated political reconciliation and at the same time charged against his rivals: the long speech, of almost two hours, had to be interpreted in an electoral key. A victory in the parliamentary elections next October is considered fundamental by the Peronist majority.
Most surprising was the decision to take to court the loan received from the IMF in 2018, the largest in the institution's history. They were 57,000 million dollars, of which 44,000 were disbursed. "The government that preceded me," he said, received the largest loan in history. The $ 44 billion was gone before we took office. In 2018 Argentina was plunged into a deep crisis. We never have to allow suffocating indebtedness again ”. And he continued: "I have asked that a criminal complaint be initiated to determine who have been the perpetrators and participants in the largest fraudulent administration and embezzlement that our history remembers."
Perhaps that complaint constitutes a revenge for the one that the macrista opposition presented in 2015 against former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. It was on account of the losses, about 17,000 million dollars, that the Central Bank incurred for some operations of sale of dollars in the future. Judge Claudio Bonadio, now deceased, was the one who instructed the case and charged, in addition to the former president, his Minister of Economy, Axel Kicillof (current governor of Buenos Aires), and other senior officials. Three years later, the investigation was closed for lack of crime.
The lawsuit can also be a way of displacing the solid accusations of corruption that persecute Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and several of her collaborators towards the opposition. In any case, it further poisons the extremely tense political environment.
Fernández was noticed off-center and perhaps injured by the “VIP vaccinations” scandal (the priority application of vaccines to Peronist personalities, friends and family in the Ministry of Health and in the Posadas Hospital), which overshadowed his trip to Mexico. The president considered the matter settled, forcing the resignation of his Health Minister (and personal friend), Ginés González García: “If mistakes are made, the will is to correct them immediately. When it was said that the rules had been violated, I have been in charge of gathering the pertinent information and even though personally they caused me a lot of pain, I made the corresponding decisions ”.
There was no relevant economic announcement, despite the distressing of the crisis, because in electoral year it is preferred to avoid sacrifices. Fernández assured that service rates would remain frozen and the decline in inflation in 2020 (36.1% compared to 53.8% in 2019) was attributed as a success, although the merit would correspond rather to the slowdown in activity due to of the pandemic. In fact, in January of this year prices rose 4% and an inflationary rebound is feared.
The Argentine president dedicated a good part of his speech to criticizing the judges, starting with the members of the Supreme Court (who followed the act on television from their headquarters), and to announcing a battery of reforms that should be added to the reform undertaken in 2020 Fernández accused the judges of enjoying privileges and acting according to the pressures they receive or according to their political preferences. “No magistrate or judicial official today pays the income tax that millions of workers and officials of the public and private sector pay. In the case of the members of the Supreme Court, accessing the affidavit of their assets is practically impossible, "he said.
Alberto Fernández announced the creation of an “intermediate court” of arbitration prior to the Supreme Court, another court in charge of regulating the actions of the Supreme Court, a reform of the Superior Council of the Magistracy “to depoliticize it” and of a law so that the Federal crimes (such as several of those charged to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner) are tried by popular juries. "Let's end the convictions or acquittals based on a preference or pressure of power factors," he proclaimed.
The president said he wanted to be remembered for sowing "the best of the seeds that a human being can sow: the unity of his country beyond differences." His speech angered the liberal and conservative opposition, who immediately called a cacerolazo for that same night.
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