National lawmaker Margarita Stolbizer yesterday presented her book, “I accuse” (Yo acuso), in which she denounces sophisticated corruption schemes set up by former presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Among the most eyebrow-raising claims? Fernández supposedly only drinks Evian water.
Nothing new from Stolbizer, considering Fernández practically can’t go to the bathroom without having Stolbizer waiting for her with a new claim of corruption. But the book does seem to consolidate Stolbizer’s position as the public figure who will most forcefully go after the previous administration with allegations of corruption.
Throughout more than 400 pages, the lawmaker delves into the former administration’s most emblematic corruption cases to describe how the “Kirchner’s business model” worked. Among the highlights:
- The Ciccone case, for which former Vice President Amado Boudou will have to face trial in the next months.
- The ephedrine-trafficking business. It’s suspected that money coming from this illegal business was used to finance Fernández’s 2007 presidential campaign.
- The gambling business.
Moreover, Stolbizer disclosed details of her accusations in the (in)famous Hotesur and Los Sauces cases, which investigate an alleged money laundering scheme set up by the Kirchners along with businessmen Lázaro Báez and Cristóbal López. Stolbizer alleges that Fernández used these two companies to launder state funds.
- Read more: More Embezzlement Charges For Cristina: Prosecutor Indicts Former President And Son Máximo
“Corruption will end when society finally puts its foot down, reacts, and stops voting for corrupt people. Society as a whole needs to make a serious commitment to never forget the lesson taught by Cristina Kircnher’s two administrations: Corruption kills,” Stolbizer said.
In one passage of her book, Stolbizer takes on the presidential son, Máximo Kirchner: “At age 39 and never having developed a consistent career, he is in charge of administering a fortune that is higher than AR $100 million … The heir was given a financial insurance that guarantees him a luxurious life for him and his children. But they also put an unavoidable burden on his back: criminal responsibility.”
And there is also room for juicy behind the scenes stories. In the book’s prologue, Stolbizer recalls when she was in a Congressional committee with Fernández in charge of investigating money laundering cases. “She would arrive to the meetings impeccably dressed, wearing shimmering jewelry and surrounded by a large group of aides,” says Stolbizer, who remembers Cristina treated her subordinates as “subjects” and only drank Evian water.
Lucky for readers, Stolbizer doesn’t go over the charges she pressed against Cristina for allegedly having US $5 million worth of undeclared assets, or the charges Cristina pressed against her for allegedly mounting a smear campaign. That book would have been endless.
Just as important as the book though is who went to its presentation. Representatives from all non-Kirchnerite political parties were there, in a seeming effort to tie themselves to Stolbizer’s crusade. Most emblematic of them all, however, was the presence of National lawmaker and leader of the Renewal Front (FR) Sergio Massa. Stolbizer and Massa appear close to sealing an alliance ahead of next year’s mid-term elections.
The makings of a Massa-Stolbizer alliance already seemed clear earlier this week, when Stolbizer surprised many by taking the stage at the FR’s summit that took place in Parque Norte this week: “I’m not here because I was just passing by. I’m where I have to be,” she said before a cheering crowd. That appearance led pundits to speculate about the possibility that Massa will name her as the top senatorial candidate on the FR ticket for Buenos Aires province in next year’s mid-terms.