“We have repaid our debt to the IMF”: Argentinian President Kirchner speaks at GU

UntitledPresident of Argentina Christina Fernandez de Kirchner visited Georgetown today for the opening of the Catedra Argentina, a new forum for dialogue and lecture about relations between Argentina and the United States.

President Kirchner highlighted the relationship between Argentina and the U.S. by referring to a shared colonial heritage, slavery, Enron, and similar governmental structures.

“We both have constitutional systems that are very similar,” Kirchner said. “The Argentine constitution is a copy of the U.S. Constitution, but they do not differ substantially because both are presidential systems with parliamentary systems and checks and balances.”

Now, Argentina is deviating from the American model it once embodied. Controversial legislation passed in December 2011 granting the government complete control over the production of the sale and distribution of wood pulp and newsprint. This legislation greatly diminished the power of newspapers such as Clarin and La Nacion that have criticized Kirchner’s policies. The Kirchner administration even removed Argentina’s top cable television company, Cablevisión, and its Internet provider, Fibertel , from the management of the Clarin group.

President Kirchner has substantiated these acts of media repression and her unwillingness to speak to the press by claiming the media reacts violently when she does not give the response they want.

“When they say that you do not talk to the press it is because you do not tell them what they want to hear,” Kirchner said. “In Argentina when they [the press] do not like the answer you give they shout and they get mad at you. They may even kick a door. All journalists are independent, but only from the Spanish Crown. No woman president has been more harshly insulted or slandered than I have been. I even sent a bill to congress where journalists can say whatever they want without repercussion.”

Addressing the recent allegations from the International Monetary Fund that Kirchner was supplying false information on the inflation rate of Argentina, Kirchner condemned the IMF for doing its job.

The IMF does not talk about the inflation rate; instead, it talks about statistics in Argentina. The head of the IMF threatened to give Argentina a red card. The position of the IMF is clearly contrary to Argentina. Let me ask what are the stats of Greece, the stats of Portugal, the stats of Spain, the UK, or the USA? Do you all really believe that the cost of living in the US only increases by 2% a year? The IMF seems to be taking it out on Argentina. We are the bad student. We said no to each and every one of the restrictions they tried to impose on us. We have nothing against the IMF in the ideological field, but the issue of the IMF is that it led to the worst tragedy in Argentina.

Kirchner portrayed the IMF as a European sponsored body that exists solely to slander the government of Argentina. The National Institute of Statistics and Census reported that the inflation rate holds at four to six percent, but many other statistics show inflation rates double or triple that figure. INDEC wrote that a person can have a balanced diet in Argentina on 6 pesos a day, but an alfajor, a sweet biscuit nibbled between meals over coffee, costs five pesos and yogurt costs nine pesos. So unless an alfajor contains all major food groups and 2,000 calories, these INDEC statistics are questionable.

Kirchner remains adamant in following the path she set for Argentina. “We have repaid our debt to the IMF. We have autonomy in our economy.”

Photo by Stephania Sferra

15 Comments on ““We have repaid our debt to the IMF”: Argentinian President Kirchner speaks at GU

  1. AL SRA. FERNANDEZ NO ES LA PRIMERA PRESIDENTE MUJER DE LA ARGENTINA. LA PRIMERA PRESIDENTA TAMPOCO SE LUCIO EN SU CARGO: MARIA ESTELA MARTINEZ, VIUDA DE PERON

  2. Thank you Gabin, for you question to our president. She did not answer it anyway. She lied when she said that she “talks a lot with journalist”. Her last press conference was in June/2011. So you can imagine.
    Thank you again.
    Regards.

  3. I was kinda worried about the quistions you guys would ask to CFK, but I must say that you did a great job. You’ve been able to experience (in a very small dose) what we experience every day. The government tells us:
    1) There is no inflation, you are just experiencing some sort of sensation of the existence of inflation.
    2) There is no insecurity, crime, etc. You are just experiencing some sort of sensation of the existence of insecurity.
    3) We have a growing GDP that increases with “chinese rates”, and that’s good!. They don’t tell people that the increases in our GDP are a result of busting consumption and government spending, and that investments are decreasing and that the difference between exports and imports is getting smaller.
    4) They tell us that the current, and past, situation of Argentina is not our fault. They blame the U.S.A., they blame neoliberalism (they don’t even know what it is), they blame opposite political parties, etc.
    5) They say that the 6% of our GDP is redirected to education. They don’t say that all this money goes to university level education and not to primary and secondary education.
    6) Etc…

    Anyways….thanks for the quiestions! Now we know that she will lie no matter who she has in front of her.

  4. “This legislation greatly diminished the power of newspapers such as Clarin and La Nacion that have criticized Kirchner’s policies.”

    That’s not true. Neither newspaper has any problem or shortage on paper gathering.

    “The Kirchner administration even removed Argentina’s top cable television company, Cablevisión, and its Internet provider, Fibertel , from the management of the Clarin group.”

    That’s not true. Clarín holds management of Cablevisión. And Fibertel’s dimission was a company decision to merge ISP and Cable Tv services into one company.

    “Kirchner portrayed the IMF as a European sponsored body that exists SOLELY TO slander the government of Argentina.”

    Not true either. Listen carefully what she said.

    ” The National Institute of Statistics and Census reported that the inflation rate holds at four to six percent, but many other statistics show inflation rates double or triple that figure.”

    Again, not true (and the link actually refute this). This year inflation by INDEC is about 10% and by private statistics is about 23%

    “INDEC wrote that a person can have a balanced diet in Argentina on 6 pesos”

    Once again, not true either. Indec publication was for a, don’t know how to say in english, “minimal diet so a person not to starve”
    And it wasn’t “6$ a day”. Instead, it was a montly cost of the total groceries.

  5. When I heard the first question by the mexican girl I thought they were all going to be just as lame as that. But they weren´t. Thanks fo asking what we aren´t allowed to ask here. When she explained her relation with media she said she did have a lot but only because she broadcasts every single speech she gives, interrupting the highest ranking tv shows so that everybody can see her. The problem is she will never answer to questions and also that “hace oídos sordos” (I don´t know how you say this, disregard?) to the popular street protest (known here as “cacerolazos”) and stands behind her social prejudices to disregard this complaints, which is not democratic at all. I think Mariano is right in arguing she didin´t say that IMF exists Solely to slander the government…. but all the other thinks are true, and we are living a very complicated situation here in Argentina, due to insecurity, misinformation, and to add to these our president aims to divide us as society by sharp and acid comments about some social groups. I think that is the worst of all, lets hope that we, argentinians, don´t get carried away in this game and that we remain or go back to being a bit more reunited. (sorry is some expressions are wrong, I’m handling my english the best I can)
    Thanks again for questioning her and lest hope they do the same or harsher tonight at Harvad University.

  6. Interesting to note that Argentina currently has trade disputes running with the USA, EU, Japan and 7 other countries and is the World’s top protectionist county. Argentina is also a member of the UN C24 Decolonisation Committee along with countries like Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran. The C24 Committee is working to decolonise the US Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. Argentina also supports the Puerto Rico independence party and wants to decolonise the Falklands so it can colonise them.

  7. I was surprised the clear position seen in your article. I’ve heard that only one of the two bells, I’m not fan of Cristina, but also support the Clarín group. In Argentina there is a clear “media war” known to all. The Government Vs Clarin. I think you read Clarin!
    I would like to clarify something I think is essential, Newsprint intervention occurs because the group Clarin and La Nacion what were at the time of the military dictatorship of the ’70s, with the support of a de facto government and using measures of torture against a businesswomen did not want to sell you. With newsprint, these two major newspapers for years made ​​sure to get the paper at a much more accessible than other newspapers and also decided, when they did not want the news to be published, not selling daily paper to opponents.
    Regarding the “Audiovisual Media Law,” Importantly, Grupo Clarín is a monopoly that Cablevision concentrated, Fibertel, several radio stations and many TV channels which, from a law passed in the Senate, is illegal.

  8. Carolina, you should also add to your large exposition about the media in Argentina, That in his last day as a President Mr. Kirchner approved the merge between Cablevision (grupo clarins TV company) and Multicanal, that now Cristina is fighting against. Oh… and finally remember that in those times Clarin was a good friend of Mr. Kirchner…
    so don’t be hypocrite…

    Jeffry well done!

    Nico

  9. I would like to thank Jeffrey Lin for posting this and even more so Gavin Bade, who spoke in behalf of millions of Argentinians who unfortunately do not get that chance. To the latter I address the following: you have no idea how significant your contribution has been to spark discussion and notoriety to the issue at hand. I applaud your courage and journalistic passion. All the best to the bright and 3rd-world-conscious Georgetown students!

  10. I apologize in the name of most Argentiean people. Unfortunately, our current President, as well as Carlos Menem in the 90’s, are an embarassment for the Argentinean Republic. I felt deeply ashamed watching the way that our President has represented us at the GU. I saw how she played around the bush skipping the answers, and trying to change the subject every time someone asked an uncomfortable question.

    You guys made a great job at questioning to her. I just wish someone answered about Ciccone.

    Regards

  11. a muchos argentinos nos dan vergüenza ustedes, así que estaríamos a mano. Ponele.

  12. Without getting in any political argument, that I think is not worth in this kind of forum, I just want to say that THE MAJORITY of Argentinian people doesn´t apologize about anything, we are 55% of the country and we support our President, we´re proud of her and her answers to your laim questions. And also, most of what you said here is not true, or incomplete. You should do a little research before posting such a liable “opinion”.

    PS: I´m a journalist of age 21, I don´t work for the goverment or nothing like that, and I can assure you my country has never had more of a free press. In fact, most of the press spends all of their time seaking for new ways to attack our President, almost always with lies and agressive headers, and they go on with no problem.

    PS2: It´s true, we are deviating from the American model we once embodied. Because that model brought upon us a horrible crisis 11 years ago. We don´t want to be like you: we are LATINOAMÉRICA UNIDA.

  13. Dario, let me talk for all middle class I know, and every middle class people they know. We are not supporting the president at all. Day by day the attitude of the government is increasing in pride and childish behaviour.

    It is not hard to realize that the amount of votes does not implies that THAT amount of people in the country supports the president. That’s not only wrong, it intention is to validate whatever they do when anybody criticise it. Every single person that agree with this gobernment fall out of argument in a debate, falling in falacies or silcence.

    I’m trying not to guess that you are a fanatic, but that last “latinoamerica unida” gave you up. I doubt you can discuss your ideals in a debate with arguments without deviating the matter in discussion or lying, If you could, you’d be the first kirchnerista (those who agree with Kirchner’s model) I’ve ever come across.

    I want to clarify that Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner lied when she said she usually talk to the media or journalists. She never answers any question, not because she doesn’t respond, but because there is no place for questioning, ever, since her first day. She also said there is no restriction for buying dollars. That is a lie too, she knows that no single argentinian citizen can buy dollars, unless they fulfill a form, requesting it, and the only scenarios where it is allowed is if you travel outside of the country, and the amount of dollars you can buy is really low and set by the gobernment.
    our inflation is over 20% yearly, prices confirm that. And I could keep going, all backed up with data if you need it.

  14. Mariano, INDEC (the oficial institute that measures different economic things) said indeed that a person can eat the 4 meals a day, eating everything you need to be healthy (vitamins, proteins, etc.), at least with $6 (pesos) per day per person. It is not as you intend to sugest, “to stay alive” or “not to starve”, and they also published that a person can live for thirtysomething, I gues it was $37 a day to be above the line of poverty, I mean, not to be poor. INDEC says a family need some more than $1500 no avoid being considered poor, that family should be of 4 members.

    Clarin is a huge corporation, with all negative things a corporation has. This government did not diminish Clarin and La Nacion because they are strong enough and most people buy them instead, but the government did indeed whatever they could to harm them. Remember Papel Prensa. No intention to defend Clarin, just to point out that this government is no heroe at all, just as bad or worse.

    On the rest I concur.

    I apologise for any mistake, english is not my native language, I am and live in Argentina)

  15. I´m sorry to disapoint you Manuel, but I´m no fanatic (funny to realize that, for you people, all of us are fanatics, idiots o corrupt buyed people). I don´t understand what “Latinoamérica Unida” has to do with that? Don´t you want to see us all together? Or is just that you love yankee so much?

    I can assure you I can defend my President easily and with no problem (you can visit my facebook page and talk with me all you want, I´m Dario Kullock), and I know tons of Kirchneristas who can do it as well. Is not that difficult. And I´m also middle class, and also most of the middle class people I know support this government. If you don´t know any middle class Kirchnerista, or any Kirchnerista who can debate, it´s obvious that you live in a very small world.

    I never said that being the Majority allows the government to justify anything, I only said that we live in democracy, and this system shows that the Government is the Majority by a large difference, so the Majority supports the government. The opinions I see here ar not representative of the biggest part of argentinian people. Thats not an opinion, it´s a fact.

    And once again, I feel obligated to say that your last paragraph is also mistaked or incomplete. But I understand that is necessary, there´s no other way tof criticizing the government, I´m used to it. I see it on Clarin every day.

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