Only weeks away from election day and a mere three months until she waves goodbye to her presidency, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her Peronist possy have certainly put the ‘pain’ into ‘painting’ with a newly released, highly cringe-worthy children’s activity book.
It’s being distributed among kindergarten pupils aged four to five, full of coloring pictures, brain teasers, puzzles, dot-to-dots and… pictures of a cartoon Cristina?
That’s right, an apparently harmless little book, commissioned and printed by the Ministry of Social Development, seems to be the latest piece of subliminal (or perhaps not so subliminal) Peronist propaganda.
The National Secretary of Childhood, Adolescence and Family, who printed the booklet, has advertised it as a chance for young children to learn about their civil rights and the three elements of Juan Domingo Perón’s slogan — “ Family, Community and the State” — a slogan propagated in the ’50s and still used today by the Kirchnerites.
Harsh criticism has abounded from education specialists, opposition deputies and various media concerned that, in reality, this cuadernillo is full of games and pictures that portray Cristina as the State.
Take, for example, the first picture in the book. Cristina is dressed in a purple suit, with a presidential sash draped across her front; her right hand is held high in a powerful salute and behind her stands the Casa Rosada adorned with Argentina’s flag.
You can dress her up in purple, pink and blue, but the only color people are seeing right now is red.
“Why do kids need to think that the President is the State?” Asked Justicialista National Deputy from Buenos Aires, Felipe Solá. “Why not teach them that the State is also comprised of teachers, health workers, social workers?”
A child’s brain is like a sponge. It may be hard for them to read at this stage, but they do have a very acute cognitive capacity for absorbing messages through pictures.
Education specialist Gustavo Laeies thinks that we ought to teach them more “serious material.”
“I feel like this [booklet] has no purpose, that it is a waste of time… Argentina isn’t doing so well with its education. We have to decide what is important for the kids to learn, and whether or not we should start teaching it.”
So, what seems like a nice new activity book for kindergarten pupils could just be a tool for Peronist persuasion.