It is no secret that Jorge Lanata and former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner don’t have the slightest love for each other, but the journalist definitely took the fight to the next level when he called Fernández a “sick old woman” and a “piece of shit” in his TV show last night.
How did we get here? In August, Fernández de Kirchner took Lanata to court by formally accusing him and another journalist from the show, Nicolás Wiñazki, of slander for a report stating that she allegedly covered up the siphoning of US$500 million overseas.
— Gregorio Dalbon (@Gregoriodalbon) August 22, 2016
“It’s a shame to smear Cristina Kirchner like Clarín, Wiñazki and Lanata do. There’s not a single fact that involves her. #ToTrial.”
The latest chapter of this fight took place this past week, when both parties were set to meet up at a pre-judicial mediation, but Lanata didn’t go. While leaving the mediator’s office, Fernández’s lawyer, Gregorio Dalbón, took on the journalist for his failure to show up: “Lanata is very brave with his microphone and on TV, but when you take him out he doesn’t show his face, it’s typical of cowards,” he said.
Lanata answered right away with not-so-subtle attacks of his own live from his radio show, Lanata Sin Filtro: He said he was summoned at a time when he was working and that he didn’t have as many savings as the former president to take time off.
And that was supposed to be that. But then in yesterday’s show he set aside all manner of political correctness and, among other things, called her a “sick old woman” and a “piece of shit.”
“Widow of [late President Néstor Kirchner]: If I let myself be moved by your sickness, I wouldn’t say anything and let you be treated. But you took a shit on Argentina’s poor. You robbed them to their face with cynicism and are still lying to them. You prostituted everything you touched and fueled hate and resentment because you never had any merit of your own, unless you think that because you speak without stopping you are a good public speaker […] I can go to this trial or to thousands of others, maybe in one of them they will make me pay and I’ll lose everything; they can leave me with nothing. I lived most of my life with nothing and everything was the same. With nothing, you are a sick old woman, alone, fighting to not be forgotten, and crawling for a place in history that I hope judges you as the piece of shit you were,” Lanata ranted.
It seems unlikely Fernández will leave things be. We can expect her to make reference to these comments today afternoon when she gives a speech via teleconference at a rally of the City of Buenos Aires branch of the Justicialist Party (PJ) to be held in commemoration of the so called Día de la Lealtad Peronista (Peronist Loyalt Day).
During the last years of Fernández’s administration, Lanata took it upon himself to go after her, especially with his TV show Periodismo Para Todos, solely dedicated to reveal corruption scandals within her administration.
In fact, the show itself is ironically named after one of her administration’s better known slogans, which highlighted its policies included Todos y Todas (all men and all women).
The former president will make the headlines again on October 28, when she goes back to the federal courthouses of Comodoro Py to testify regarding her alleged involvement in a case investigating whether fraud was committed with public works during her administration. And we can expect her public appearances happen more and more often in the future as the campaigns for next year’s mid term elections slowly start their engines.
It’s still unknown whether Fernández will run for a seat in Congress next year, but the Macri administration believes this is very much a possibility and, in contrast with what many pundits say, believe she still holds a great influence in the Argentine electorate. In an interview with Perfil, Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña said that “she’s more important than what she’s given credit for” particularly in the Buenos Aires province. “What other Peronists will put forward depends a lot on that,” he concluded.