US Senator Ted Cruz called on the US State Department to impose sanctions against Argentine Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner for corruption allegations brought forward by a local prosecutor.
The accusations against Fernández de Kirchner, who was also Argentina’s president from 2007 to 2015, are “public, credible, and now backed by Argentina’s judicial system,” the Texas Republican said in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.
“I therefore urge you to process past and recent information about Fernández de Kirchner’s corrupt acts, and to impose a Section 7031(c) designation on her and immediate family members,” Cruz wrote, referring to sanctions that bar foreign leaders entry into the US.
Fernández de Kirchner is unlikely to face jail time in the near term. Beyond her legal immunity as vice-president, a judge would have to rule on the case and a date hasn’t been set yet for such a hearing.
Despite Cruz’s letter, it’s unlikely the US State Department will take any immediate action against Kirchner.
On Monday, a federal prosecutor in Argentina urged a court to send Fernández de Kirchner to prison for 12 years and permanently ban her from holding public office. The prosecutor accused the vice-president of fraud and leading an “illicit association” between her, her family’s hotel business and a construction firm that received several government contracts when Fernández de Kirchner was president.
Fernández de Kirchner has long denied any wrongdoing and labeled the case a political persecution. Her spokesman and President Alberto Fernández’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.
Cruz’s letter comes about 10 days before Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa plans to meet with high-level US officials about his economic strategy and the country’s US$44-billion loan with the International Monetary Fund.
by Patrick Gillespie, Bloomberg