The accused became the accuser. From the bench, which was actually the imposing office of the presidency of the Senate, with the national flag in the background, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner launched a fierce allegation against the Argentine judiciary. He accused the judges of favoring the electoral victory of Mauricio Macri in 2015 and, voluntarily confused, compared the mainstream media with the military of the dictatorship. The current vice president had everything in her favor: she was speaking looking at a camera that was broadcasting to the whole country, because the session was telematic, and she knew that the case against her was, unlike other summaries in progress, untenable.
The current vice president of Argentina denounced, to begin with, that the machinery of “lawfare”, or the use of the judiciary for political purposes, was still at full capacity. He was probably right. He appeared before a chamber of the Federal Court of Cassation that had to decide whether to dismiss a case opened in October 2015, just between the two rounds of the presidential elections that Mauricio Macri won, as a result of a complaint from parliamentarians of the then macrista opposition.
She was accused of a future sale of dollars carried out by the Central Bank that resulted in losses. That was a political maneuver as clear as the one undertaken on Monday by President Alberto Fernández, who announced a lawsuit against former President Macri for having contracted a debt of 44,000 million dollars with the International Monetary Fund. Summaries for political decisions exercised within the Constitution (the future dollar or the agreement with Iran, in the case of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, or the IMF loan in the case of Macri) are legally unsustainable, but they can last for years and have electoral effects.
For three quarters of an hour, the vice president displayed her oratorical talent (on the verge of tears when she spoke of the damage suffered by the Argentines, with flashing eyes when referring to the alleged judicial machinations) to destroy the accusation against her and to charge against certain judges, especially against the late Judge Claudio Bonadio. It is reasonable to think that Bonadio had something personal against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. In fact, when he started the cause of the “future dollar” he came to accuse it of “treason.” Higher instances lowered their tone and the accusation remained in “unfaithful administration.”
Seven of the ten cases opened against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner fell, supposedly by lottery, into the hands of Claudio Bonadio. The vice president recalled that Bonadio ordered raids on the birthdays of the two granddaughters of the Kirchner family, and that on the anniversary of the death of former president Néstor Kirchner he called her for eight investigations. He also noted that among those who benefited from the sale of dollars in the future (very profitable for those who signed it thanks to the devaluation, inevitable, carried out by Mauricio Macri at the beginning of his mandate) was Mario Quintana, Macri’s deputy chief of staff, and in On the other hand, there was no senior Kirchner official.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner cited numerous judges who, according to her, had prevaricated (without mentioning the term), and extended the accusation to the dominant news media in the country, fundamentally the multimedia empire of Clarion. At one point, pointing to the Cassation magistrates who were watching her on the screen, she stated: “You helped Macri win.” “Do not look the other way,” he continued, “you are responsible for what is happening and it gives me a lot of anger because people suffer.”
Then he added a confusing but perfectly studied phrase. He referred to the removal of radical President Hipólito Yrigoyen, the first democratically elected and overthrown in 1930 by the Army leadership under a generic accusation of “corruption.” And he continued, establishing a parallel between the military coup and “the media”: “There began a series of military coups where the persecution was carried out through the Armed Forces (…) It is no longer necessary to materially disappear the political leaders [en referencia a los crímenes cometidos por la dictadura militar entre 1976 a 1983], with the articulation of the media it is enough, not only because of what they title, but because they have things that are not in the files and when the sentences are produced they are based on the media ”.
The vice president knew she had won the cause. Now, as can be interpreted from the announcements made on Monday about a reform to subject the judiciary to political controls, he needs to deploy all his resources to tackle other causes of corruption, such as those that link him to businessman Lázaro Báez, recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for laundering money allegedly coming, directly or indirectly, from the Kirchners. There his situation is much more delicate.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner concluded her statement with a challenge: “I am not going to ask you to dismiss, comply with the Constitution and do what you have to do.” The three magistrates of Chamber I of the Federal Chamber of Cassation have 20 days to make their decision on the matter public.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.