Thursday, October 02, 2014

Pres. Cristina Fernandez of Argentina in 'Muy Loca' Mode

As my Argentine friends tell me, their country has a lot of natural resources and a wonderfully literate population, but some very crazy leaders.

Let's add incumbent President Cristina Fernandez to the list.  (She was elected president after her husband, Pres. Kirchner, passed away a couple of years ago.)

Let me give you some context: Argentina is once again an economic mess.

In an effort to distract her population, President Fernandez is now saying that the US is out to get her:
“If something should happen to me, don’t look to the Middle East, look to the North,” Fernández said during the address on Tuesday night, in which she alluded to an alleged plot against her by local bankers and businessmen “with foreign help”.   
Fernández had previously claimed to have received death threats from Islamic State (Isis) because of her friendship with Pope Francis. In last night’s speech, however, she seemed to suggest the threats against her, received in three emails to Argentinian security officials, had come from the US. 
Her claim comes in the wake of a rapid deterioration of Argentina’s already rocky relationship with the US after the country went into default in August.  
Argentina has rejected paying $1.3bn (£990m) awarded by New York Judge Thomas Griesa to “vulture fund” investors who refused to accept a “haircut” on Argentinian bonds from the country’s previous default in 2001. 
“I’m not naive, this is not an isolated move by a senile judge in New York,” said Fernández. “Because vultures look a lot like the eagles of empires,” referring to the bald eagle, the national symbol of the US.  
Fernández almost threw out the US embassy chief of mission Kevin Sullivan for saying “it is important Argentina get out of default” to a local newspaper. Fernández claims that despite its debt crisis, Argentina is not in real default and Sullivan was called in for a reprimand by the Argentinian foreign ministry for using the “default” word.  
With economic stagnation, Argentina’s peso currency in free fall and an alarming rise in crime levels, Fernández has seemed increasingly beleaguered in the last few weeks.  
There is also increasing uncertainty within her Victory Front party regarding who Fernández will back as presidential candidate in 2015. Fernández’s second term ends next year, and she is unable to stand for re-election, though her 37-year-old son Máximo Kirchner could be a candidate to replace her.
Let me add that President Fernandez is not the first Latin American leader to see "ghosts" from the north.  At the same time, President Cristina Fernandez has gone a long way from "hope and change" to publicly saying that the U.S. is out to get her.

I just hope that our friends in Argentina do a better job in their next election.

P.S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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