Yesterday evening President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner decided to address her Cabinet and other legislators in the Casa Rosada and make a toast to celebrate Christmas and the fact that the country didn’t implode in 2014, as many “prophets of the apocalypse” (us, the media) had predicted.
Her 23-minute toast – which was televised, by the way – included all epic awkwardness that we’re used to listening to whenever she speaks on Cadena Nacional, except this time she added a lot more informality, anecdotes that dragged on for way too long and a non-easily visible Vice-President Amado Boudou
because he’s the most unpopular political figure in the country because he just wasn’t close enough to make it in the frame.
Here are some highlights of her message, since I know many of you don’t even bother watching (the fact you’re reading this is already a Christmas miracle):
- “They said we would end this year in a mess, but luckily the prophets of apocalypse, as usual, once again, were wrong”.
- “I think that some things that shock society, like the death* of this financial adviser – we don’t know whether it was suicide or whatever -… They make us wonder… Who did really pull the trigger? Could it be that it was maybe those who always predict catastrophes in the media and speculate, saying that the dollar would reach a 20 pesos exchange rate? I was thinking about the pain the cause”.
- “Have you been fed?” (Guests say no) “Nothing?” (Guests say no. She turns to Presidential Secretary Aníbal Fernández). “Aníbal, you didn’t give them anything?”. (Aníbal replies something inaudible) “Aníbal here says that you’ll get a tupperware with food on your way out”. Classy shit.
- “I makes me proud to be here with you. I know many times you’ve complained about why we never met for this. And I thought to myself ‘this year we need to meet,’ because this has been a very productive year”.
Then alcohol quickly got everyone in a party mood:
- “No champagne, get me cider!” (Yes, that was also important).
- “Tomorrow, the editorial piece on La Nación will say that the President toasted with her drunken acolytes!”
- “Happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…!” (Seriously, that happened).
- “We need to make a toast with each one of the provinces! Let’s start from the bottom: Tierra del Fuego, Santa Cruz, Chubut, Río Negro, Neuquén, La Pampa, Buenos Aires province – stop! – Entre Ríos – hold on, I don’t want to forget – Entre Ríos, Misiones, Corrientes, Córdoba, Chaco, Santa Fe, San Luis, Mendoza, San Juan, La Rioja, Catamarca, Santiago del Estero, Jujuy, Salta, Formosa, TUCUMÁN! And the city of Buenos Aires, come on everyone!”
The toast, if you only care about watching that, takes place at the 14:25 mark, and the rest is filled with awkward silences and memorable Cristinisms.
Even rarer was when she decided to pay a visit to the press room and address journalists directly, something that she seldom – if ever – does:
Below are some highlights of what she said:
- “We’re not in Disney World but if you read earlier predictions… thank God they are always wrong”.
- “I know sometimes we fight about this and that… but I also understand you guys. You’re doing your job… and you’re doing a job that many times – and you won’t admit it publicly – in which you have to ask, or say or write things that–OK. Stop. Wait, I better stop here or this all goes to hell”.
- “If there’s one thing we can be proud of is that we live in a very peaceful region of the world”.
Merry Christmas, Madam President.
Thank you for the laughter.
* The President was referring to the death of financial adviser Mariano Benedit, whose body was found with a gunshot wound to the head last Wednesday near Puerto Madero after being missing for over 24 hours. His death has sparked national interest because, while it was initially thought to be a robbery that ended in murder, evidence and witnesses now suggest he killed himself with his own gun. Investigators have said that Benedit had severe financial problems that he had kept secret from his family.