Christina Kirchner: memories of the corrupt leader ascending in Argentina again

Argentina has the third-largest economy in Latin America, after Brazil and Mexico; by most economic measures it is perhaps weeks from failure.

It faces Inflation of 50%, interest at 60%, and a pending liquidity crisis that will require the IMF to renegotiate or face default on its largest loan ever to an emerging economy. The human reality of these conditions is a crushing 35% poverty rate and unemployment over 11%. A Wall St. Journal article quotes Marisa Martínez of Catholic aid agency Caritas, who says “Fruit is like a treasure here because it is so difficult to get due to the cost.”  The Article describes people swapping sweatpants for flour on Facebook.

Cristina Kirchner will return to power, as a vice president to Alberto Fernandez, a longtime political ally who won over incumbent Mauricio Macri on Sunday. While Fernandez ran as Batman, a hero willing to do anything to help his people, Kirchner is still the political force in the Peronist party. Putin was Vice President for awhile, this promises to be similar. That’s bad news. Her last term as Prime Minister resulted in corruption convictions, and she’s shielded now from additional charges due to immunity as a serving Senator.

My recollection of Kirchner as President came after she suspended press freedom in Argentian. She had been invited to speak at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and perhaps had hoped gain prestige from stepping on stage at the Kennedy School. Instead, 13,000 comments from Argentinean citizens and press packed the IOP’s website, requesting that Harvard students question their President on her foreign trip as no one could at home.

You can still see her presentation on the IOP website, or just take a look at this article in the Harvard Crimson by a student who witnessed her contempt for anyone who would raise questions in public.

It was Mark Twain who noted, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” As Argentina starts a new verse in its history, its worth remembering the form of its last stanza led by Christina Kirchener.

 

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