During the opening speech of the 2015 legislative year, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said on Cadena Nacional that she would send a bill to Congress looking to nationalize the Argentine railway system. She also criticized the Judicial branch for it approach to the bombings of the AMIA and Israeli embassy buildings.
Cristina offered the longest speech of both her administrations, which roughly lasted 3:45 hours.
SHE FIRST STARTED WITH HER ADMINISTRATION’S GREATEST HITS (AS SHE ALWAYS DOES)
And she took a long time to talk about them. I mean, considering it was her last speech, I say let her. Here are some highlights of her speech (thanks to La Nación):
- “We’ve managed to definitely pay Argentina’s debt”.
- “A lot of people were scared on 2014 because of what they heard on television, people had to take Rivotril (local name for Clonazepam).
- “The vulture funds are internationally known to be bloodsuckers”.
- “We recently heard that a bank, the HSBC, had millions of Argentine dollars that had been taken out of the country through fiscal evasion”.
- “They predicted a December that included looting and blackouts. They were close to saying we were all going to be raped, then December came and the world kept turning”.
- “We created more universities so that the Quilmes guy doesn’t have to come to UBA to go to class”.
- “Besides vaccines, we’ve provided everyone with clean water and sewers”.
ON HER FIGHT WITH THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
No love for the Judiciary. In fact, she accused part of the Judicial Branch (or “Judicial Party”, as she likes to call it) of becoming “independent” from the Constitution.
“Lately the Judicial Party has become independent, but from the Constitution,” she said. Chief Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti didn’t look amused. “The Justice system has to be independent from politics, from the concentrated economic powers, but never from the Constitution, from legal codes,” she said.
ON THE DEATH OF PROSECUTOR ALBERTO NISMAN
She finally addressed prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s death, and said that she regretted his passing “as much as she would regret the death of any other human being”. However, she said that despite his accusation against her – now rejected by judge Rafecas – she was surprised to learn that Nisman had recently drafted two documents in which he praised her work before the UN and supported the decision to seek a memorandum of understanding.
These documents seem to contradict the accusation against her. “Maybe the name of the official report shouldn’t have been ‘Alberto Nisman vs. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’ but ‘Nisman vs. Nisman'” she said.
ON CONTROVERSIAL AGREEMENTS WITH CHINA
As expected, she also made a strong defense of the agreements recently signed between Argentina and China. She said that today the world “is very different from what it was ten years ago” and urged critics not to be “so stupid and intellectually subordinated”. She then wondered why people “feared” the Chinese.
“In five years China will be the largest economy in the world. If we were always told we could have carnal relations with those who didn’t give anything to us” *cough* the US *cough*, “why can’t we have normal relations with those who want to come and invest?” she asked. So she told those pro-‘Murrikah political leaders to “escape the intellectual, colonial corset that the media has put on their heads”.
Translation: China is on the rise, the US is going under, time for us to side with the ones that will rule the century and stop looking to the US for guidance and economic alliances. Get it?
SHE LOST HER COOL WHEN DISCUSSING THE AMIA BOMBING INVESTIGATION
She did get really mad when discussing the investigation of the AMIA bombing, and targeted a few lawmakers who were displaying “AMIA” signs on their benches. She fired back at the local intelligence services – who she says are responsible of planting false evidence in the case.
“You can put down those AMIA signs now”, she said as she began to discuss her track record in justice and human rights issues. “I’ve been talking about AMIA since 1994,” she said. “I’ve been taking the AMIA case to the UN like no other President’s ever done,” she said.
Then she mentioned the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy.
Since it took place in an embassy (officially Israeli soil), she said “she still can’t understand why Israel insists on solving the AMIA bombing case” but doesn’t seem to care much about the attack that took place two years before.
“The absence of claims over this is particularly strange,” she stated.
OPPOSITION LEADERS MOSTLY COMPLAINED ABOUT HER SPEECH
SHE ANNOUNCED THAT SHE WILL ASK CONGRESS TO NATIONALIZE THE RAILWAY SYSTEM
One of the big announcements today was that she would introduce a bill in Congress looking to nationalize the railway system so they are completely state-run and it can become more “efficient”. She denied that this decision is motivated by a desire to “nationalize everything” and said the Government could save up to 415 million pesos.
If passed, the bill would nationalize the Mitre, San Martín, Roca, Belgrano Sur, Belgrano Norte and Urquiza train lines. While the Government will send the bill to Congress next week, she announced that the state would be taking over starting tomorrow.
She also teased mayor Mauricio Macri, saying that since he recently claimed he was a supported of Peronism, then he shouldn’t be against this measure since it was originally supported by Juan Perón himself.
SHOTS FIRED BETWEEN CRISTINA AND THE INTERNATIONAL PRESS
The President opened her speech by quoting the following tweet from Financial Times journalist Joseph Cotterill.
They did it. They finally did it. Argentina’s 2033 restructured bonds are trading above par. — Joseph Cotterill (@jsphctrl) February 27, 2015
By quoting him, the President was trying to say that the value of 2033 restructured bonds had gone up even after the country entered the so-called “technical default” last July, when the country failed to pay bondholders.
But alas, Cotterill has having none of that nonsense and was quick to reply via Twitter.
Thanks for the mention in your speech, @CFKArgentina. But I fear that the bond’s price is going up the less time you have left in office.
— Joseph Cotterill (@jsphctrl) March 1, 2015
BOUDOU WAS IN URUGUAY DOING VICE-PRESIDENT STUFF
Vice-President Amado Boudou did not attend Cristina’s opening speech because he was in Uruguay, attending the inauguration ceremony of President Tabaré Vázquez.
Considering how toxic his presence is (the video below shows he was heckled in Montevideo), the President probably thought this was a convenient move.
MACRI ALSO OFFERED AN OPENING SPEECH AT THE CITY LEGISLATURE
This morning, City Mayor Mauricio Macri offered the opening speech of the legislative year in Buenos Aires. It was a big weekend for the PRO party after he announced that Deputy Mayor María Eugenia Vidal would be running for governor of the Buenos Aires province this year.
Just like Cristina, this is Macri’s last year in office as mayor. He did not go to Congress to listen to the President’s speech.