Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was interviewed yesterday by journalist Roberto Navarro on the political TV show Economía Política. During 80 minutes, Cristina discussed a number of pressing issues, from inflation and the possibility of her running for public office in 2017 (she didn’t rule it out) to the José López Case.
However, what she seemed to most care about was denying allegations (primarily from the Macri administration) that her administration was entirely responsible for the delicate economic situation the country is currently experiencing. In fact, she claimed that her administration deserves a Nobel Prize in economics for the work it did:
“I think the society they [the Macri administration] received was a society that had the highest purchasing power in Latin America. I handed over a country with the most important infrastructure plan in history; we paid off foreign debt like no one had ever done before in this country. We received a country in that had defaulted on its international debt and managed to pay off most of it. We should get a Nobel Prize in economics,” she said.
The Macri administration couldn’t disagree more. President Mauricio Macri and his cabinet have constantly argued that the reason they have enacted every unpopular economic measure they have enacted — especially the steep increases in utility bills — was a result of what they call the “K[irchner] inheritance”: a theory that posits thee Macri administration received or “inherited” a “dismantled” state from the former administration due to economic mismanagement, corruption, etc.
In fact, Macri dedicated a third of his State of the Nation address — which can be compared to the US’s State of the Union address — to extensively describing the different ways in which, according to his administration, his predecessors personally profited from the State.
“We found a State ridden with patronage systems. This is a result of corruption. We were placed 107th in a transparency ranking,” Macri said back then.
In another passage of the interview, Cristina stated that, “the [energy] utility bills were not frozen,” suggesting that Macri’s steep utility bill increases was unnecessary. “We kept investing in the energy grid as people kept consuming more. We had a policy to industrialize the country,” she added. The Macri administration has claimed that the Kirchner administration destined too many funds to subsidizing energy consumption as a way to garner votes.
The Macri administration partially removed energy subsidies back in December, leading to significantly higher gas and electricity bills and a months-long fiasco in which the administration attempted to readjust bills so that Argentines could actually afford them.
Cristina ended her economic analysis by criticizing the Macri administration for the high inflation rates the country has seen ever since Macri removed currency controls in December: “I think inflation has doubled. The State no longer has policies aimed at controlling it. Salaries were beating inflation last year,” she finished.
Cristina’s next known activity in the City of Buenos Aires will take place on August 8th. She is set to attend a judicial mediation with National Deputy Margarita Stolbizer. Both politicians saw themselves involved in yet another judicial rift after Stolbizer accused Cristina of having US $5 million worth of undeclared assets in different safety deposit boxes throughout the country. Cristina denied any wrongdoing and in return formally accused Stolbizer of mounting a smear campaign against her. They are set to have a mediation over these charges, but Cristina’s lawyer, Gregorio Dalbón, has already said his client doesn’t want to settle, but go to trial and get Stolbizer to pay (monetarily) for her statements instead.