Former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner appeared yesterday on Russia Today’s Conversando con Correa, a show hosted by former Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa, and discussed both of their experiences as heads of state associated with the wave of leftist Latin American leaders. Below are some of a few highlights from their conversation as they discussed populism, neoliberalism and offshore tax havens.
- “Look, we have this new wave of late neoliberalism in the region that has been paired with lawfare, that movement that uses the courts to persecute the opposition, to stigmatize them and to convince all of those citizens who saw an improvement in their lives what they were actually living was a lie. That there was actually a lot of corruption and if they had a better life it was almost a fiction, a lie by the populist, corrupt and lying leaders. Perhaps you have heard of this before?”
- “When you had liberalism in the first wave, there wasn’t any need for persecution nor repression but in this wave of neoliberalism that arrives after the democratic social movements, people will begin to compare their quality of life that they had with the populists with the level that they have with the neoliberals. Because history shows that it’s always what happens, at least in the region, or at least in our country. That’s why it’s necessary to convince people that it was a fantasy, a fiction. Even if it was 12 and a half years in our case. 12 and a half years of fantasy is a bit much, isn’t it?
ON TAX HAVENS
- “Corporations have begun to go global and have acquired more power than local governments. And so the actors that don’t have an interest in discussions like global governance…who doesn’t have an interest in debate about tax havens, for example? Tax havens that siphon off billions of dollars from every economy in the world. In the G20 we have been able to a gradual condemnation in a document for tax havens. But nobody has made a convention against the tax havens, which we know reduce billions from real economies, which mean hospitals, schools, better jobs, technology.
- “In my country, which has an offshore government from the president down, all of them have offshore accounts and companies. What’s happening in Argentina I imagine if happening in infinite number of countries therefore nobody want to discuss a form of government where theses issues are included in the Constitution.”
- “This is a system that is doomed to fail. And they are going to say not because they implemented neoliberalism and liberal orthodoxy but rather because they didn’t do what they had to do.”
ON THE CULTURE WARS
- “What we weren’t able to dominate was the culture. Not only that but also the psychological issues. This version of neoliberalism, all of this fake news, has been explored and researched with think thanks, what people think. They have been able to, in significant swathes of society, to convince them that the progress that they experienced was due to their individual effort. And if you were able to get a better car, or buy one if you didn’t have one, or a house, it wasn’t actually because of the political, economic and social project that was governing but rather your personal effort. It was your ability that made it possible for your children to go to university, for you to travel. The policies had nothing to do with it.”
- “They convinced million of workers that had found registered work, with a good salary that the taxes on high incomes were being sent to the lazy, people who weren’t working, the beneficiaries of social programs…they managed to divide the popular social base.”
- “Nobody who creates an offshore [account] is legal. At a minimum, an offshore is for tax evasion. Why would you leave the country for a tax haven? To not pay taxes and the money isn’t declared. Because if you have it declared in my country you have to pay taxes on it. The Argentine tax system sets out that if an Argentine citizen has money in an offshore and it is declared, taxes have to be paid. It’s a lie.”