Cristina, one way or the other

If a tsunami of electoral fraud does not prevent it, Mauricio Macri will receive the final stab to make him leave Argentina’s presidency next October 27, thus giving way to Alberto Fernandez, whose running mate for the office is Cristina Fernandez, a former head of state everlastingly slandered, persecuted by those who hate the Latin American left and that, repeatedly brings Eva Duarte de Peron back.

Cristina has said: “I’m not to blame for being born rich”, but in her task of two presidential tenures, within her possibilities, she tried to do the best for her people.

Involved in six trials of false charges brought by the “justice” of the current regime to hinder her nomination, she has already dismantled five of them, as the hatred campaign launched by Latin America’s mainstream press strengthens.

The former leader has responded to this state of affairs:

“Do you know what? We’ll leave hatred, grievance, calumny and slander for them; we’ll keep the Universal Child Allowance, retirement pensions, egalitarian marriage, expansion of rights, collective labor agreements, the best adjustable living minimum wage in history, the national industry, infrastructure investments, education, universities, scientists, schools, children”.

A system, which it’s not very well known why nobody calls it regime, is falling. Media, judges, intelligence services and friends of power mounted a sinister plot that made persecution a policy; slander a tool; lies an electoral ingredient; contempt for the people an ideology. This too, or mainly this, is what comes to an end.

What Macri was hiding has been exposed. The vices of his existential routine have come to light.

Everything indicates that next October 27 a horrible political, social and cultural experiment will come to an end. There was a “crack” these years, in this time of popular suffering.

There was such a crack because Kirchnerism, with all legitimacy, hinted at touching the nodal points of real power in Argentina. But it was not Macrism what defeated Kirchnerism that unlucky 2015, but certain inconsistency of Kirchnerism that allowed the victory of Macrism and its national deployment as a political option.

Meanwhile, the political strength of Cristina Kirchner is still the hard fact of Argentine politics. There’s hope, although hard times will come. If everything goes well, as I believe, there will a better future for the people of this South American nation.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

Argentina: 'No Reason to Fear Fernandez', Weisbrot Says

Last week, the international capital markets responded negatively to an economic crisis which Mauricio Macri has been blamed for. 

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) codirector Mark Weisbrot stated on Monday that there are no real reasons to fear the rise of Alberto Fernandez and Cristina Fernandez in Argentina.

RELATED:  Argentina's Energy Sector Rejects Macri Emergency Measures

"From an economist or social scientist’s perspective, it is not clear why Kirchnerism should inspire fear. Looking at the most important economic and social indicators, the governments of the Kirchner presidencies were among the most successful in the Western Hemisphere," he said.

The U.S. economist also recalled that the Argentinian economy grew substantially and poverty was significantly reduced during the time in which Nestor Kirchner and then Cristina Fernandez held office (2003-2015).

“Independent estimates show a decline of 71 percent in poverty and an 81 percent decline in extreme poverty... According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), gross domestic product per person grew by 42 percent... Unemployment fell by more than half, and income inequality also fell considerably. The 12 years the Kirchners held office resulted in large increases in living standards for a vast majority of Argentines."

After losing by more than 15 percentage points in the primary elections held on August 11, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri tried to blame former president Cristina Fernandez for the ongoing economic crisis, which was expressed by a further devaluation of the Argentinian currency last week.

This South American country's conservative media echoed his words in an attempt to halt the electoral advance of the opposition candidates, who are the favorites to win the election on October 27.

Nevertheless, Weisbrot, who is also the Just Foreign Policy president, explained that recent movements of the international financial markets are most probably related to the failure of the Macri administration.

"In the case of last week’s news, we have electoral losses by a government whose economic policies have clearly failed."

Similar opinions were held by Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, who attributed the current Argentine economic crisis to austerity policies implemented by the right-wing government.

"The problem was that the policies to which the Government committed were not conducive to economic growth," Stiglitz said and added that "austerity and tight budgets lead to low growth and that makes debt less sustainable."​​​​​​​

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Brazil, Argentina leaders step up pressure on Venezuela's Maduro

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri said after their first meeting on Wednesday that they agreed on their opposition to Venezuela’s authoritarian government, with Macri calling Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a “dictator.”

“Our cooperation with Argentina on the Venezuelan question it the clearest example of a convergence of positions and shared values,” Bolsonaro said. Since taking office on Jan. 1, Bolsonaro has adopted a tougher stance on Venezuela and a closer alignment with the United States than previous Brazilian governments.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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Argentina's Largest Labor Union Begins 36-Hour Strike Against Macri’s Austerity

Argentina’s largest labor union, which boasts membership from 20 percent of the country’s workforce, strikes against Macri’s austerity measures, bringing Buenos Aires to a standstill.

Argentina’s largest labor union, the CGT organized a 36-hour strike across the country starting Monday, the second strike Argentina has faced within a month. Previously, on Sept.12, public sector employees and employees from educational institutions walked out of their jobs to protest the austerity measures of the Mauricio Macri government.

RELATED: Macri: We're Telling Everyone About Argentina's Great Future

The strike began with an event at the Pueyrredón Bridge, which will be headed by Barrios de Pie, the Clasista y Combativa Current (CCC), and the Confederation of Workers of the Popular Economy (CTEP), in addition to the CTA Perón (Workers' Central).

Social organizations will then join the mobilization that will end with an act at the capital's Plaza de Mayo. They, together with a fraction of the Autonomous CTA, will cut the entrance to the city of Buenos Aires from Avellaneda, which will bring the city to a standstill.

"The message to the government is to listen to the voice of the people. On Tuesday, there will be a forceful stoppage for the government to change economic policy. In the speeches, they say that we are doing well, but proof that this is not the case is visible to everyone, "said Carlos Acuña, one of the three general secretaries of the CGT.

President Mauricio Macri signed a US$50 billion deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that is supposed to reduce Argentina’s debt. But since the announcement of the deal in June, the Argentine peso has devalued 30 percent against the US dollar.

Macri claimed that austerity policies will help the fiscal condition of the country but workers have experienced 34 percent inflation since last year without any wage increase.

CGT warned that if labor strikes do not sway the government, it can expect growing protests in the next months. If that also doesn’t work, the CGT will call for an indefinite strike to force Macri to negotiate with workers.

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'My Worst Fears Came True': Cristina Fernandez Shows How Police Stole, Damaged Items in Her Home

In a video released on Sunday, Senator Cristina Fernandez shows how investigators damaged and stole items from her Calafate home in an August raid.

Former President Cristina Fernandez released a video Sunday from her Calafate country house condemning last month’s raids made on her three homes in connection to the ‘Bribery Notebooks’ corruption case against Fernandez.

RELATED: Argentine Teacher Tortured, Her Flesh Carved With Threat

"This house three weeks ago was more than raided. (It was) literally taken by the people that (Judge) Bonadio sent here," the current Senator said in the video in front of her Calafate home.

In late August Judge Claudio Bonadio ordered search warrants for the three Fernandez homes, one of which is located in Calafate and another in Buenos Aires, to look for information in connection to alleged payments Fernandez received in exchange for political favors and public works contracts during her presidencies (2007-2015).

In her video, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (CFK) denounced the raids saying they were not carried out to "gather information" but were actually "another chapter of humiliation and persecution" against the Citizens Unity coalition leader.

The former president went through her home detailing how for three days officials drilled dozens of holes in the walls of the home, removed stones and took an original painting.

In the video, Fernandez said she tried to mandate protections of her belongings in the house, but those were denied by her fellow Senators who narrowly voted on Aug. 22 to allow the searches to take place.

“My worst fears came true. … What I thought would happen really happened," Senator Fernandez said referring to the items stolen from her house she says have nothing to do with the investigation against her. “They came to find, God knows what, millions of dollars, I do not know," stressed the former president.

"They broke everything, took personal items in the house that have nothing to do with the investigation. In Buenos Aires they did not let my lawyer in, people who were then intoxicated,” added the former head of state referring to the cleaning staff of her Buenos Aires home suffering from “dizziness, itchy throats, and eyes, and difficulty breathing” immediately after the home was raided nearly a month ago.

Fernandez added that the current situation in Argentina "is very disturbing.”

RELATED: Argentina: New Supreme Court President 'Too Close to Executive'

She said the government (under President Mauricio Macri) is “violating rights and constitutional guarantees," and denounced the torture against the Buenos Aires teacher who last week was hooded and tattooed with ‘no more pots’ written in Spanish on her stomach.

"What happened to the teacher in Moreno (Buenos Aires) is very serious because it is a kind of harassment, persecution, and intimidation of against policies that question what is happening in Argentina."

Last Wednesday three male attackers scratched out the words ‘no more pots’ (olla no) on the stomach of teacher Corina De Bonis with a sharp object as she was walking home from work. De Bonis was a part of a group of Buenos Aires teachers who were feeding kids hot meals as the Cambiemos-lead government initiative to drastically cuts education funds, subsidies in social spending trying to plug its deficit.  

The case against Fernandez emerged after Argentine newspaper La Nacion published photocopies of eight notebooks belonging to Oscar Centeno, the driver of Julio de Vido, federal Planning and Public Investment Minister between 2003 and 2015 during the Kitchener and Fernandez administrations.

According to the newspaper, the driver kept records of alleged bags of money business executives gave to the Kirchner administration. CFK has repeatedly denied the claims of corruption.

In the video, Fernandez condemned Macri’s "borrowing policy."

In June the administration took on a US$50 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan hoping it would stem the country’s down-spiraling economy as the peso devalued to 40 to the dollar and inflation rests at 35 percent, after hovering between 25 and 30 percent for a year.

Bloomberg analysts predict inflation to hit 40 percent by year’s end bringing Argentina into a full-blown recession.  The government "has gutted the state in the most sensitive areas and that must change," said Fernandez from Calafate.

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Amid Economic Convulsion, Argentinean Gov't Announces Changes

Buenos Aires, Sep 3 (Prensa Latina) In the midst of an economic convulsion hitting Argentina, with a mega-devaluation of the peso that impacts social life, today eyes focus on the measures to be announced by the Government, together with possible changes in the Cabinet.

Much has been speculated this weekend on the busy ins and outs at the presidential Residence of Olivos, where last Saturday, Mauricio Macri summnoned several officials, among them governor of the capital, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta and that of the province of Buenos Aires, Maria Eugenia Vidal.

Meanwhile, today the minister of the Treasury, Nicolas Duvjonem, summoned a press conference where he will announce a package of fiscal measures, while it is also talked of possible changes in the Executive, among them the post of foreign minister which could be assumed by former Minister of Economy, Alfonso Prat-Gay, according to local news media. Dujovne will be in charge of announcing the measures that, according to speculations could include the application of retentions to exports, which already generates strong rejection from agricultural workers and to boost even more asdjustments to the State's structure.

The minister will also go tomorrow to the United States to meet director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, looking to fix an advancement of the loan extended by the IMF last June for 50 billion dollars.

Also over the weekend circulated news about the possible closing of 12 ministries, among which those of Science and Technology, Culture, Energy and Agribusiness, which would pass to be secretaries of State, together with changes in half of Macri's cabinet.

In the country tension is everywhere, above all among many citizens affected by the drastic rise of the U.S. currency on Thursday, from 34 to 42 pesos, who hurried to withdraw their savings in that currency with the ghost hovering of the so-called 'corralito' that exploded into a great crisis in 2001 which many still remember. In a race against time and the 2019 budget debate around the corner, the Government looks to calm down the situation and will try by all means to reduce the fiscal déficit and prices, while looks point again to what happens at the banks and financial entities this Monday that is quite agitated.

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Argentine Opposition Warns of Crisis Amid Macri's Return to IMF

In 2001 an IMF-induced crisis left one in five Argentines without a job while people flooded the streets in protests that saw more than 20 people killed.

The block of deputies of the Peronist-Kirchnerist alliance Frente para la Victoria (Front for Victory) criticized the decision of the Argentine President Mauricio Macri to request a financing for US$30 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

RELATED: IMF to Argentina: Implement More Austerity, Privatization

"We demand from the Executive Branch that any possible agreement with the IMF, prior to its approval, be widely discussed in the National Congress, and nothing that the Fund [MF] wants to agree on has to be done behind the backs of the Argentine people," the block said in a statement.

"The decision on Tuesday means a serious setback. Within two and a half years of the Néstor Kirchner administration, Argentina canceled the debt with the IMF, 13 years later, two and a half years into the government of Mauricio Macri, [he] send us to the Fund.”

The lawmakers further warned that the IMF deals have always resulted to austerity measures and cuts to social programs.

"The agreements with the Fund have always been detrimental to our people, meaning cuts in salaries, retirements, privatizations, layoffs in the public sector and an increase in poverty among Argentines, leading the country to very deep economic and social crises," the statement added..

“The Fund” is the word used by many Argentines to refer to the IMF and carries negative connotations as many in the country associate the organization with crisis after several right-wing governments borrowed millions of dollars from it over the years. The most recent crisis was the country’s 2001 devaluation and US$100bn debt default.

The IMF-induced crisis left one in five Argentines without a job, while the country's peso, which was tied to the dollar at the time, lost two-thirds of its value and banks froze deposits. Protests engulfed the country in which at least 20 people were killed. In just two weeks, the country had five successive presidents.

That is why when President Néstor Kirchner paid off the IMF debt of almost US$10 billion in 2006, he celebrated it as a way for the country to regain its sovereignty. “With this payment, we are interring a significant part of an ignominious past,” Mr. Kirchner, who would die in 2010, said at the time.

The new IMF loan will include severe conditions, in case the government asks for funds to finance the deficit until 2019. Macri began negotiations with this body to obtain a loan to avoid a serious financial crisis in exchange for freezing retirements for two years and applying mass layoffs, according to the Argentine media El Destape.

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Argentine Teachers Strike Again

Buenos Aires, Apr 11 (Prensa Latina) Argentine teachers of the Education Workers Union (Ctera, in Spanish) are striking again today for the repudiation of the police aggression they suffered.

The teachers are striking again in rejection to the repression by the public force last Sunday, when they tried to raise a metallic structure that would serve as a roving school to make visible the fight for better salary.

Describing the excessive use as serious, Ctera called for a national strike today and tomorrow.

The events occurred when educators on Sunday night, who had begun to erect a metal structure in the afternoon at the Congress Square in a peaceful manner, were attacked with pepper spray and the federal police force. The teachers, who have been fighting for more than five weeks for the government to convene a national parity (salary negotiations), which they say is instituted by law, decided to abandon their work stoppage and find another form of resistance and struggle.

According to the plan, the idea was to install a metal structure and make a kind of itinerant school in several squares of the nation to make their struggle visible.

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