Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner reignited her ongoing feud with Argentina’s Judiciary on Friday, comparing its members to the mafia and declaring that they seek to “ban” her from holding public office.
During a speech in Viedma, where she received an honorary doctorate from the National University of Río Negro (UNRN), the former president lashed out at the three judges who convicted her for corruption offences last December and sentenced her to seven years in prison and a lifetime ban from holiding political office.
Fernández de Kirchner, who denies wrongdoing, is expected to appeal the verdict and challenge it all the way to the Supreme Court.
"Yesterday's grounds are more euphemisms than grounds. Millions of words and adjectives, [there’s] no evidence and only one objective: proscription. I think the one who defined it best was the Interior Minister [Eduardo] ‘Wado’ de Pedro when he said 'they have replaced the electoral code with the penal code' – that’s the truth today in Argentina,” she declared.
It was her first public appearance since the court released a 1,600-page document outlining the grounds for its ruling.
"How are we today, 40 years after democracy? In Argentina it seems that not even the three powers do not work," declared the former president, who warned: "When we see the opposition allied with the Judiciary to do what we know is being done, we are not facing a state of democracy.”
In a remark that’s sure to raise eyebrows, Fernández de Kirchner said that “today we are not facing a constitutional democratic state.”
Moving onto the economy and politics, the vice-president admitted that Argentina’s rate of inflation – running at more than 100 percent over the last 12 months – is “absolutely excessive."
She called on President Alberto Fernández's administration to “align prices and salaries so that growth is not taken away.” The country’s "bi-monetary economy is leading Argentina to inflation,” she added, declaring that wage rises were not behind runaway price hikes.
In response to those economists who propose the dollarisation of the economy, Fernández de Kirchner warned: "If dollarisation takes place in Argentina, the great sacrifice will be made by the middle classes. Those who block the streets are not going to have major problems. The biggest consumers of dollars are the middle classes. If there is dollarisation, there will be no limit to the impoverishment of the middle classes. How much will their wages be worth?”
Although the former president affirmed that "nobody is saying that the loan granted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should not be repaid," she argued that "the conditions under which the agreement was signed will have to be reviewed.”