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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Empress Cristina Fiddles While Argentina Burns

Links A: Cristina Fernandez Kirchner Wikipedia Entry
          B. Kirchner Always A Victim

Argentina has quite a history when it comes to politically powerful women.  Evita Duarte de
Evita Peron 1919-1952
Peron is probably the most famous, inspiring both a Broadway Musical and a feature film starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas.  Eva was the wife of Argentina's president, Juan Peron.  Her beauty and her charm, on display during her many philanthropic visits to the lower income areas of Buenos Aires to hand out candy to children and Pesos to peasants, served as a powerful distraction away from the brutal, repressive activities of her husband's Army and Secret Police.  Before tragically dying of Cancer when she was only thirty-three years old, Eva Peron had taken control of her husband's life.  She was even more ambitious than he was, and she knew how to mobilize the crowds as  a political battering ram.  Eva Peron declined the invitation to run as her husband's Vice President, but another wife decided to seize that opportunity.  But Isabel Peron was a far cry from Evita.  As her husband's health collapsed
Isabel Peron 1931-
Source: Romanian Communism
Online Photo Collection
and she was obliged to take the reigns of government, she was easily manipulated by the security forces.  She eventually ended up in Spain, where she lives today.

Doesn't the old cliché say that "three's a charm"?  Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was also married to the President of Argentina, Nestor Kirchner.  Cristina didn't have to run for Vice President, and then hope for lightening to strike.  She and her husband decided that after his term was complete, she would run for the presidency.  In 2007 she was elected President of Argentina, a reversal of roles for her and her husband Nestor.  From the beginning it was apparent that they shared political philosophies.  They believed in a leftist type of nationalism that evoked the idea of the Working Class and Unions as the caretakers of society.  Anything involving trade and international commerce was an obvious attempt by foreigners to enslave the Argentinean people. Kirchner's relations with the United States started badly as a U.S. Prosecutor alleged that
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
Kirchner and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were involved in money laundering with funds meant for her election.  Although this dispute was ironed-out, its obvious that she has no love lost for the United States.  Both Kirchners were big government spenders.  Money was borrowed and agreements signed with multi-national companies.  The economy, once the laughing stock of South America, was growing and people were working.  As the end of her term approached, everyone expected that she would stand-down and that her husband would run again for president.  When Nestor Kirchner unexpectedly died of a heart attack in 2010, Cristina decided to run for re-election, which she won with 54.1 percent of the vote.

Since 2011, she has been confronted with one scandal after another.  She doesn't seem to care about the long-term impact of her actions.  Rumors and innuendo regarding campaign funds never seem to disappear.  She is true to her roots, and embraces the "Unions and Working Class" whenever she needs a pick-me-up.  Her political philosophy is not complicated.  Distract as much as possible, and then accuse the enemy of wanting to destroy the Working Class of Argentina.  She understands the politics of victimization like nobody's business, and is brave enough to use it in international forums.  The domestic policies of the two Kirchners were disastrous for Argentina.  Economies in recovery can't be burdened with huge amounts of social spending; it's that simple. But social spending is necessary in order to keep the people happy and win elections.  In June 2010, Kirchner's government completed a debt swap agreement that was originated by her husband in 2005.  This effort did clear ninety-two percent of bad debt leftover from Argentina's 2001 sovereign default.  But the spending which caused the problem to begin with, continued unabated. 

Kirchner will always question the motives of others and look to assign blame.  This is part of her modus operandi to distract and avoid serious examination.  Sometimes its difficult to address issues when you are obliged to constantly defend yourself. Kirchner's strategy is to attack and attack and attack, because everyone knows that at the end of the day, she (or Argentina) is always the blameless victim.  Argentina doesn't want to pay back a loan?  Why should they, if the loan was contracted under false pretenses?  In 2001, Argentina was selling bonds at bargain-basement prices.  One particular Hedge Fund picked up quite a few, as did many others.  Later, Argentina restructured the value of the Bonds, arguing that they were purchased at a time of desperation.  Except one Hedge Fund refused to accept the lower value of its Argentinean Bonds. They demanded payment, and Argentina refused; it ended up in New York District Court, where Judge Thomas Griesa ruled in favor of the Hedge Fund.  Cristina rallied the "Workers of Argentina" and refused to honor the court ruling.  In the eyes of many, Argentina is the victim, in reality, the Hedge Fund is only asking for full value of the Bonds it purchased.  Can you imagine if you owned a valuable painting or work of art, and out of the blue someone arbitrarily decided it was worth less than fifty percent of its previous value?

Kirchner should be spending this final year cleaning up her legacy, dedicating a few statues, and possibly writing a book.  Instead she is engulfed in the latest scandal, which threatens to be the worst yet.  An Argentinean Prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, was found murdered in his home. He was preparing to address Congress regarding his investigation into President Kirchner and her actions regarding a 1994 terrorist attack in Buenos Aires.  Surprisingly (or not), his murder occurred one day before he was scheduled address Congress on Kirchner's actions.  Kirchner's reaction to his death was to quickly introduce the idea that Nisman committed suicide.  The very next day, her opinion had changed.  In typical Kirchner fashion, she and her government were now the victim, as Nisman's murder must have been an attempt to make her look bad.

Baring an unforeseen change in the Argentinean Constitution, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will not be re-elected President of Argentina.  The tone of her legacy, though, has yet to be determined.  She is a tremendously intelligent woman and a superb politician, and she always seems to be the last one standing.  I wish I could say with complete sincerity that I believe that Kirchner has no connection to the Nisman murder whatsoever, but I can't.  What I can say in complete honesty is that I hope she has no involvement.  Evita, Isabel, and Cristina: three beautiful women who reach the pinnacle of power in Argentina.  Cristina may very well be on her way to eclipsing the other two, although it may not be by choice.          

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