The President addressed members of Congress and the rest of the nation on Cadena Nacional today as she inaugurated the 132nd congressional year.
As mandated by the Argentine Constitution, the head of the Executive branch must go to Congress every March 1st to declare the legislative sessions officially open and provide congressmen with details about the state of the nation. And If that sounds suspiciously similar to the State of the Union in the United States, that’s because it is pretty much the same thing (the Argentine Constitution was largely inspired by the US Constitution.)
The President spoke for 2 hours and 45 minutes yesterday, which was kind of a relief, considering that in the last few hours her speeches in Congress have lasted close to four hours. Too bad for those of us who purchased pop corn, hot dogs, beer and had a porta-potty installed right next to the couch.
So below is the full Cadena Nacional broadcast, which includes footage of her arrival to Congress and a message to Kirchnerite militants who stood guard outside Congress to show their support.
- On the economy: “We ratify once more that the Economy keeps growing and we’re completing the most virtuous period of economic growth with social inclusion in our 200 years of history.”
- On inflation: She didn’t mention the word “inflation” once. Oops! Although she did talk about price hikes.
- On price hikes: “There’s no justification for the price hikes that empty the wallets of the Argentine people, prices that are in no way based on reality. This is why our party, both in the Legislative and Executive branches, will focus on drafting legislation that will defend consumers from monopolies.”
- On unemployment: “For the 37th time in a row, the last quarter saw a decrease in unemployment. Unemployment currently stands at 6.4 percent, the lowest unemployment rate I have memory of.”
- On bank runs: “Our administration has dealt with and defeated eight bank runs. I’m not saying this to show off, only to show the kind of obstacles we’ve had to face.”
- On soybean exports: “We will have record-breaking soybean exports this year. We are expected to export 53 million tons. I believe it will be above 55 million tons thanks to investment, the rain and God.”
- On Aerolíneas Argentinas: “Even though (UCR senator Gerardo) Morales is shaking his head at me, I say that it can be done. That he doesn’t have to be a skeptic. Politics can be better at doing business than businessmen.”
- On carbonated drinks: “Argentina is the largest soda consumer in the world. I thought it was the United States, but it’s not. At least that’s what studies show. I wouldn’t know, I don’t even drink half a can.”
- On her relationship with Mayor Mauricio Macri: “I talked to Macri on the phone yesterday. This is for all of those who say I don’t talk to anyone. I talk to anyone who calls me. We both agreed on several things… and who knows… we have seen strangers things.” As Kirchnerite supporters present booed her statements, she asked them “to have some sense of humor.”
- On the December blackouts: “There was record energy consumption. Back in 2003 we were all broke. Now consumers are buying all sorts of electronics. washing machines, TV’s, refrigerators and air conditioners.”
- On street protests and picketing: “We need a bill for citizen cohabitation,” she said in a surprising change of heart, now calling for the regulation of protests and picketing that usually interrupts traffic and creates chaos around the city.
- On healthcare: “We are the country that spends the most on healthcare in the region, even more than the United States. This is something we must be proud of. We have an large amount of doctors. The problem is how they are distributed around the country.
- On the agreement with Iran, which seems to have stalled in Tehran: “As President I am committed to denouncing this agreement and supporting a new bill that you may draft.” Looks like the President is running out of patience.
- On the current situation in Venezuela: “This is a soft coup. I’m not here to defend (president) Nicolás Maduro, but the democratic system of a country, just like we’ve done when it happened in Bolivia and Ecuador, no matter whether they are right-wing or left-wing.”
And there’s a lot more. Watch the video above instead of hoping for me to write a full transcript. Not gonna happen. (Featured photo via YouTube.com/CasaRosada)