Cristina Fernández de Kirchner


Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
New Year Message of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (2010)
President of Argentina
Incumbent
Assumed office
10 December 2007
Vice President Julio Cobos
Amado Boudou (Elect)
Preceded by Néstor Kirchner
First Lady of Argentina
In office
25 May 2003 – 10 December 2007
President Néstor Kirchner
Preceded by Hilda de Duhalde
Succeeded by Néstor Kirchner (First Gentleman)
Senator
for Buenos Aires
In office
10 December 2005 – 28 November 2007
Senator
for Santa Cruz
In office
10 December 2001 – 9 December 2005
In office
10 December 1995 – 3 December 1997
Deputy
for Santa Cruz
In office
10 December 1997 – 9 December 2001
Personal details
Born 19 February 1953 (1953-02-19) (age 58)
La Plata, Argentina[1]
Political party Front for Victory
Justicialist Party
Spouse(s) Néstor Kirchner (1975–2010)
Children Máximo, Florencia
Alma mater National University of La Plata
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature
Website Official website

Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner (Spanish pronunciation: [kɾisˈtina eˈlisaβet ferˈnandes ðe ˈkiɾʃneɾ];[2] born 19 February 1953), commonly known as Cristina Fernández or Cristina Kirchner is the 55th and current President of Argentina and the widow of former President Néstor Kirchner. She is Argentina's first elected female president, and the second female president ever to serve (after Isabel Martínez de Perón, 1974–1976). A Justicialist, Fernández served one term as National Deputy and three terms as National Senator for both Santa Cruz and Buenos Aires Provinces.

A native of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Fernández is a graduate of the National University of La Plata. She met her husband during her studies, and they moved to Santa Cruz to work as lawyers. In May 1991, she was elected to the provincial legislature. Between 1995 and 2007, she was repeatedly elected to the Argentine National Congress, both as a National Deputy and National Senator. During Kirchner's presidency (2003–2007) she acted as First Lady. Fernández was chosen as the Front for Victory presidential candidate in 2007. In the October 2007 general election she obtained 45.3% of the vote and a 22% lead over her nearest rival, avoiding the need for a runoff. She was inaugurated on 10 December 2007, and was reelected to a second term in the first round of the October 2011 general election. As a First Lady, and later President, she has become a fashion icon for women and a notable advocate for human rights, poverty awareness and health improvement.

Contents

Personal life

Fernández was born in Ringuelet, a suburb west of La Plata, Province of Buenos Aires, daughter of Eduardo Fernández (of Spanish heritage) and Ofelia Esther Wilhelm (of German heritage).[3] She studied law at the National University of La Plata during the 1970s and became active in the Peronist Youth. During her studies there, she met her future spouse, Néstor Kirchner. They were married on 9 March 1975, and had two children: Máximo and Florencia. Néstor died on 27 October 2010 after suffering a heart attack.[4]

Political career

Fernández started her political career in the Peronist Youth movement of the Justicialist Party in the 1970s. During the period of authoritarian rule in the country, she and Néstor dropped out of politics and practiced law in Río Gallegos. She picked up politics again in the late 1980s, and was elected to the Santa Cruz Provincial Legislature in 1989, a position to which she was re-elected in 1993.

In 1995, Fernández was elected to represent Santa Cruz in the Senate. She was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1997, and in 2001, returned to the Senate. Fernández helped with her husband's successful campaign for the presidency in 2003, but without making joint public appearances.[5] In the 27 April 2003, presidential election first round, former president Carlos Saúl Menem won the greatest number of votes (25%), but failed to get the votes necessary to win an overall majority. A second-round run-off vote between Menem and runner-up Néstor Kirchner was scheduled for 18 May. Feeling certain that he was about to face a sound electoral defeat, Menem decided to withdraw his candidacy, thus automatically making Kirchner the new president, with 22% of the votes. This was the lowest number in the history of the country.[6][7]

During her husband's term, Fernández became the First Lady of the country. In that role, she worked as an itinerant ambassador for his government. Her highly combative speech style polarized Argentine politics, recalling the style of Eva Perón. Although she repeatedly rejected the comparison later, Cristina Fernández once said in an interview that she identified herself "with the Evita of the hair in a bun and the clenched fist before a microphone" (the typical image of Eva Perón during public speeches) more than with the "miraculous Eva" of her mother's time, who had come "to bring work and the right to vote for women".[8][9][10]

At the October 2005 legislative elections, Fernández was her party's main candidate for Senator in the Province of Buenos Aires district. She ran a heated campaign against Hilda González de Duhalde, the wife of former president Eduardo Duhalde. Fernández won the elections by 45.77%, followed by González de Duhalde with 20.43%.[11]

Election to presidency of Argentina

President-elect Cristina Kirchner celebrates election night with her husband and predecessor, Néstor.

With Fernández leading all the pre-election polls by a wide margin, her challengers were trying to force her into a run-off. She needed either more than 45% of the vote, or 40% of the vote and a lead of more than 10% over her nearest rival, to win outright.[12] Fernández won the election in the first round with 45.3% of the vote, followed by 22% for Elisa Carrió (candidate for the Civic Coalition) and 16% for former Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna. Eleven others split the remaining 15%.[13] Kirchner was popular among the suburban working class and the rural poor, while Carrió received more support from the urban middle class, as did Lavagna.[14] Of note, Kirchner lost the election in the three largest cities (Buenos Aires, Córdoba and Rosario), although she won in most other places elsewhere, including the large provincial capitals such as Mendoza and Tucumán.[15]

On 14 November, the president-elect publicly announced the names of her new cabinet, which was sworn in on 10 December. Of the 12 ministers appointed, seven were already ministers in Néstor Kirchner's government, while the other five took office for the first time.[16] Three other ministries were created afterwards.

The president elect began a four-year term on 10 December 2007, facing challenges including inflation, union demands for higher salaries, private investment in key areas, lack of institutional credibility (exemplified by the controversy surrounding the national statistics bureau, INDEC), utility companies demanding authorization to raise their fees, low availability of cheap credit to the private sector, and the upcoming negotiation of the defaulted foreign debt with the Paris Club.[17][18][19] Kirchner was the second female president of Argentina, after Isabel Martínez de Perón, but unlike Perón, Kirchner was the head of the ballot, whereas Isabel Perón was elected as vice president of Juan Domingo Perón and became president after his death. The transition from Néstor Kirchner to Cristina Kirchner was also the first time when a democratic head of state was replaced by his spouse, without involving the death of any of them.[20] Néstor Kirchner stayed active in politics despite not being the president, and worked alongside Cristina Kirchner. The press developed the term "presidential marriage" to make reference to both of them at once.[21] Some political analysts as Pablo Mendelevich compared this type of government with a diarchy.[20]

Presidency

Presidential styles of
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Presidential Standard of Argentina.svg
Reference style Su Excelencia Señora Presidente de la Nación Argentina
"Her Excellency Mrs. President of the Argentine Nation"
Spoken style Presidente de la Nación
"President of the Nation"
Alternative style Señora Presidente
"Mrs. President"

2007

During the first days of Fernández's presidency, Argentina's relations with the United States deteriorated as a result of allegations made by a United States assistant attorney of illegal campaign contributions, case known as the maletinazo (suitcase scandal). According to these allegations, Venezuelan agents tried to pressure a Venezuelan American citizen (Guido Antonini Wilson) to lie about the origin of $790,550 in cash found in his suitcase on 4 August 2007 at a Buenos Aires airport. US prosecutors allege the money was sent to help Kirchner's presidential campaign. Some of the allegations were proven and several individuals received a prison sentence after a widely reported trial.

Fernández and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez called the allegations "a trashing operation" and part of a conspiracy orchestrated by the US to divide Latin American nations. On 19 December 2007, she restricted the US ambassador's activities and limited his meetings to Foreign Ministry officials; a treatment reserved for hostile countries, in the opinion of a former US Assistant Secretary of State.[22][23][24] However, on 31 January, in a special meeting with Kirchner, the US Ambassador to Argentina, Earl Anthony Wayne, clarified that the allegations "were never made by the United States government," and the dispute cooled down. Having said that the prosecutors making the charges are part of the independent judicial branch of the US government.[25]

Elisa Carrió and María Estenssoro, both high ranking members of the main opposition parties, have claimed that the Argentine government's response to the allegations and its criticism of the US are a "smokescreen", that the US involvement in the affair was merely symptomatic, and the root cause of the scandal is corruption in the Argentine and Venezuelan governments.[26]

2008

Cristina Kirchner with former Brazilian President Lula

Riding a wave of approval during a dramatic economic recovery from a 2001–2002 crisis, the Kirchners' FPV had prevailed enjoyed increasingly large majorities in Congress, reaching their peak following the 2007 general elections (with 153 Congressmen and 44 Senators, at the time). In March 2008, Kirchner introduced a new sliding-scale taxation system for agricultural exports, effectively raising levies on soybean exports from 35% to 44% at the time of the announcement.[27] This led to a nationwide lockout by farming associations, starting on 12 March, with the aim of forcing the government to back down on the new taxation scheme. They were joined on 25 March by thousands of pot-banging demonstrators massed around the Buenos Aires Obelisk and in front of the presidential palace.

Protests extended across the country. In Buenos Aires, hours after Kirchner attacked farmers for their two-week strike and "abundant" profits, there were violent incidents between government supporters and opponents, to which the police was accused of wilfully turning a blind eye.[28] The media was harshly critical of Luis D'Elía, a former government official who took part in the incidents, with some media sources and members of the opposition (notably Elisa Carrió), claiming that he and his followers had disrupted the protest pursuant to the government's orders.[29][30][31] On 1 April, the government organised a rally during which thousands of pro-government protesters marched through downtown Buenos Aires in support of the bill increasing Argentina's export taxes on the basis of a sliding scale; at the event, Kirchner called on farmers to act "as part of a country, not as owners of a country."[32]

The President in a meeting with the nation's governors.

In April 2008, on the 26th anniversary of the Falklands War, Kirchner stepped up Argentine claims to the Falkland Islands. She called Argentina's rights to the islands "inalienable".

"With faith in God, and with the work that we all have to do to build a country that is strong and respected around the world, so that our voice is heard in all International forums, and we can denounce the shameful presence of a colonial enclave in the 21st century".[33]

The large majorities in the Argentine Congress enjoyed by the Front for Victory (FPV) could not ultimately guarantee a legislative blank check: on 16 July 2008, the presidentially sponsored bill met with deadlock, and was ultimately defeated by the tie-breaking "no" vote of Vice President Julio Cobos. The controversy cost the FPV 16 Congressmen and 4 Senators by way of defections. This put an end to the 2008 Argentine government conflict with the agricultural sector, though it cost Cobos access to the executive branch of the government. He was reportedly considered "a traitor" by the followers of Kirchner's administration. Cobos denied that he would resign, although the relationship between the President and the Vice President has an uncertain future.[34]

A poll result published in El País, Spain's most widely circulated daily newspaper, revealed that following the protests, Fernández's approval rating had "plummeted" from 57.8% at the start of her administration[35] to an unprecedented 23%.[36] Once recovered from the conflict with agrarian interests, Cristina Kirchner's public approval improved; her job approval ratings rose by 30% (Poliarquía, August 22, 2008). Her inflexible handling of the protests and reluctance to review the policies that sparked the protest have led to speculation that it is her husband, predecessor in office and current leader of the Justicialist Party, Néstor Kirchner, who controls her administration. The British weekly newspaper The Economist has described this situation as Kirchner "paying the price for her husband's pig-headedness",[37] and as of February 2009, her job approval rating was 28%.[38]

On 20 October 2008, Fernández proposed the transfer of nearly US$30 billion in private pension holdings to the social security system,[39] a law that was passed by Congress in late November.[40]

President Cristina Kirchner is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, an international network of current and former women presidents and prime ministers whose mission is to mobilize the highest-level women leaders globally for collective action on issues of critical importance to women and equitable development.

Fernández was invited to the prestigious Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy in Washington, D.C., on 15 November 2008, by President George W. Bush. During her stay in Washington, she held meetings with Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown), Madeleine Albright (representing US President-elect Barack Obama), Senator Christopher Dodd and Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd at the Park Hyatt Hotel. She then attended the G20 meeting in London 2 April 2009 and was given a seat of honour at the dinner held the night before at 10 Downing Street, when she was seated across from President Obama.[41]

Also in the year 2008, Cristina Kirchner vetoed the "Law of protection of the glaciers" ( Spanish: ley de protección de los glaciares ), which had been approved almost unanimously in Congress (only 3 senators opposed the law). Critics have stated that the President's attitude would threaten over 75% of the country's water reserves.[42][43]

Cristina Kirchner has travelled extensively as president, visiting Algeria, Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, France, Libya, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Spain, the UK, the US and Venezuela, among other nations.

2009

Following the 28 June 2009, mid-term elections, the ruling FPV's party list lost its absolute majority in both houses of Congress, shedding a further 24 seats in the Lower House (including allies) and 4 in the Senate. They lost in the four most important electoral districts (home to 60% of Argentines), and among these, the loss was narrow only in the Province of Buenos Aires. The FPV obtained a very narrow victory, overall, as a percentage of the national vote, and retained their plurality in Congress.[44] This will be reflected in strengthened opposition alliances, notably the center-right Unión Pro, the centrist Civic Coalition and the left-wing Proyecto Sur, when elected candidates in both chambers take office on 11 December 2009.[45]

Allegations of impropriety have contributed increasingly to the Kirchners' decline in approval, as well. The couple's own, latest federal financial disclosure in July 2009 revealed an increase in their personal assets by 7 times, since Néstor Kirchner's 2003 inaugural. The increase was partly the product of land deals in El Calafate, a scenic, Santa Cruz Province town where the couple has long vacationed and own property (including 450 acres (1.8 km2) of land and two hotels).[46]

On 17 October 2009, President Cristina Fernández proposed the compulsory submission of DNA samples in cases related to crimes against humanity, in a move lauded by the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, but excoriated by opposition figures as a political move against Clarín Media Group Chairperson Ernestina Herrera de Noble, who is in litigation over her suspected adoption of two children of the "disappeared," and whose hitherto cordial relations with Kirchnerism had recently soured.[47] Similar motives are alleged by the opposition against the president's Media Law, which would restrict the number of media licences per proprietor and allocate a greater share of these to state and NGOs, thereby limiting the influence of Clarín and the conservative La Nación.[48] The president's proposed enactment of mandatory primary elections for all of Argentina's myriad political parties, and for every elected post, was likewise rejected by opposition figures, who charged that these reforms could stymy minor parties and the formation of new ones.[49][50]

Following charges of embezzlement filed by a local attorney, Enrique Piragini, on 29 October, Federal Judge Norberto Oyarbide ordered an accounting expert to investigate the origin of the Kirchners’ wealth. Public records show that since their arrival to power in 2003, the declared assets of Cristina and Néstor Kirchner have increased by 572%. A preliminary report on the investigation by the Argentine Anti Corruption Office (OA) established that the official figures provided by the Kirchners "don't stack up".[51] The investigation was suspended by Judge Oyarbide on 30 December, though a week later, Piragini appealed the ruling.[52]

On 29 October 2009 she launched a universal child benefit plan (Spanish: Asignación Universal por Hijo ) as a way to fight poverty with the goal to reach approximately five million children and youths.[53] Since its creation, the program has been lauded for having boosted school attendance rates and reduced poverty amongst families.[54]

2010

Cristina Fernández and US President Barack Obama in the 2009 G-20 Pittsburgh summit.
Cristina Fernández and Algeria President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers

The year began with controversy surrounding the president's order that a US$6.7 billion escrow account be opened at the Central Bank for the purpose of retiring high-interest bonds, whose principal is tied to inflation. The move met with the opposition of Central Bank President Martín Redrado, who refused to implement it, and following an impasse, he was dismissed by presidential decree on 7 January 2010.[55]

Redrado refused to abide by the initial decree removing him from the presidency of the Central Bank, however, and petitioned for a judicial power to keep him in office. Accordingly, the president enacted another decree for his dismissal, citing "mis-conduct" on Redrado's part. The legitimacy of this new decree was questioned as well, as his dismissal would deny Redrado due process. Congress was in recess period at the time, but most of its opposition members considered returning to override the decrees through an extraordinary session.[56] The session became a source of controversy as well: Kirchner considered that, according to the 63rd article of the Constitution, only the President may call for an extraordinary session while the Congress is in recess. Cobos replied instead that all regulations concerning decrees require the immediate advise and consent of Congress, that the body's by-laws (56 and 57) allow extraordinary sessions called by any member, and that the commission formed for that purpose functions all at all times, even during recess.[57]

The planned use of foreign exchange reserves through a Necessity and Urgency Decree was itself questioned by several opposition figures, who argued that such a decree may not meet a threshold of "necessity" and "urgency" required by the Constitution of Argentina for its enactment.[56] Judge María José Sarmiento handed down a ruling preventing said use of reserves, and the Government reacted by appealing the ruling.[58] President Kirchner defended the policy as a cost saving maneuver, whereby government bonds paying out 15 percent interest would be retired from the market.[59] The move, however, also provided numerous vulture funds (holdouts from the 2005 debt restructuring who had resorted to the courts in a bid for higher returns on their defaulted bonds) a legal argument against the central bank's autarky, and thus facilitated a judgement lien on 12 January against a central bank account in New York.[60]

Judge Sarmiento also annulled the decree that removed Redrado and reinstated him as President of the Central Bank the following day. The ruling also refuted claims of mis-conduct cited by President Cristina Kirchner to justify his removal.[61] International media described the attempted removal of Redrado as authoritarian, while criticizing the planned use of reserves for debt retirement, as well as accelerating spending growth, as fiscally irresponsible. Opposition Congresswoman Elisa Carrió, a likely candidate in the upcoming 2011 presidential campaign, has raised the possibility of impeachment procedures against Mrs. Kirchner.[62][63][64] At the start of the month of February 2010, one of Cristina Fernández's private asessors resigned his post due to the claims of "illicit gain". Just two weeks afterwards, another of her private asessors, Julio Daniel Álvarez, resigned for the same reason.[65]

On 22 February 2010, British oil explorer Desire Petroleum, started drilling exploration wells some 60 miles (97 km) north of the disputed Falkland/Malvinas Islands, despite strong opposition from Argentina which took the issue to the Latin America and Caribbean Presidents summit where it received unanimous support.[66] According to geological surveys carried out in 1998, there could be 60 billion barrels (9.5×10^9 m3) of oil in the area around the islands[67] but the 2010 drill carried out poor results.[68] As a result Desire's share price plummeted and the company announced further work could begin later this year (2010).[69]

In March 2010 Fernández made an historic amends trip to Peru a country with whom relations had been adversely affected following the Carlos Menem administration's illegal sale of weapons to Ecuador in the 1990s.[70] In the same month Fernández received the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Buenos Aires, where she received great support for the way her administration was managing the foreign debt issue[71] and emphasized the positive relationship between the two countries[72] something which was not reported by local major news media.[73]

With President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev in Buenos Aires, April 2010.

In April 2010, Chile's new president Sebastián Piñera was received in Buenos Aires on his first foreign tour abroad and reaffirmed the current strong ties between the two countries.[74] following which Cristina Fernández attended the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC, after which President Barack Obama thanked Argentina for its role in international stabilization and earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.[75] Back in Buenos Aires, she received the President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev the first such visit in Argentina's history. Two days later, the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyễn Tấn Dũng arrived.[76] On 19 April, she was invited to the bicentennary of the independence celebrations in Venezuela, where she was the main speaker in front of the National Assembly.[77] She signed 25 trade agreements with Venezuela relating to food, technology and energy.[78]

In May 2010, the President traveled to Spain for the European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean summit, where she was asked to compare the 2010 European sovereign debt crisis and the 2001 Argentine's default.[79] Back in Buenos Aires, during the Argentina Bicentennial celebrations, Cristina Fernández did not participate in the military parade of 5,000 troops (which included delegations of Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, etc.) on the 9 de Julio Avenue, which was considered a gest of contempt towards the Argentine Armed Forces.[80]

Cristina Fernández and Ban Ki-moon

In June 2010, her administration completed the debt swap (which was started by former president Néstor Kirchner in 2005) clearing 92% of the bad debt left from its sovereign default in 2001.[81] Argentina external debt now represents 30% of the country's GDP,[82] whilst the Central Bank foreign reserves reached $49 billion {USD},[83] more than the amount that was available when the decision to pay foreign debt earlier in the year was taken.

Also in June 2010, she gave a speech at the International Trade Union Confederation (CSI) Global Summit, being held in Vancouver, Canada where she asserted that "many Euro-zone countries today have applied the same policies that led Argentina to disaster (in 2001)," stating, also, that "it's an inescapable responsibility of the government to intervene in the financial system.".[84] Later, she traveled to Toronto to attend the G20 Summit and spoke against the EU fiscal austerity plans fearing this would lead to a slow down in the global economy. French President Nicolas Sarkozy responded by saying that the Latin American representatives who reject the Eurozone adjustments do not know the "harrassment" to the Euro, to which Cristina Fernández responded that he shouldn't "question somebody" just because he doesn't "agree" with what they say and also clarified that Argentina is interested in the euro because parts of its reserves are held in euros and that she's "sure that Sarkozy does not have even one cent in Argentine pesos in his Central Bank.".[85] Later addressing the press she added, "In Latin America we can give cathedra about harassment and seizure."[86] She also had a chance to speak with new British PM David Cameron.

Ingrid Betancourt, Cristina Fernández and Madonna

In July 2010, she traveled to the People's Republic of China with the goal of, according the Chinese embassy at Buenos Aires, strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries[87] On her return, she signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Argentina.[88] This strained the government's already strained relationship with the Catholic Church. She also reaffirmed her policy of debt reduction in announcing to continue to pay foreign debt with Central Bank foreign reserves which reached a country historic record of $51 billion USD in July.[89][90] In August 2010, Cristina Fernández began to use her Twitter account.[91] She also preceded the 39th Mercosur summit at San Juan where the trade bloc agrees to reduce customs fees[92] and signs a free-trade deal with Egypt.[93]

Cristina Fernández in India

On September 2010, it was announced that Argentina was elected president of the Group of 77+China and prepared to act as a ‘bridge” with G-20 major economies to which it also belongs[94] Cristina Fernández visited Chile during their Bicentenary celebrations where she also assisted at the baptism of a Chilean baby, Anaís Escobar Maldonado, born in the Argentine Hospital deployed at Curico after the earthquake. The visit had a high profile in the media mainly because of the possible extradition to Chile of Sergio Apablaza. She met with president Sebastian Piñera and participated in the festivities at the national stadium.[95] She also confirmed the celebration of the III bi-national cabinet meeting for next October.[96][97] Fernández then departed for New York to give her United Nations General Assembly speech where she once again criticized Britain over the Falklands (Malvinas) issue, and Iran for the 1994 AMIA bombing whilst giving her support for an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and an eventual Palestinian state.[98] On 30 September she hosted the UNASUR presidents' emergency summit at Buenos Aires due the Ecuador crisis and started an official visit to Germany the following day in order to participate as a Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair[99] and meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. In October she inaugurates the III News Agencies World Congress to be held in Bariloche.[100] This same month, and as part of the 2006 civilian nuclear-power reactivation program, Fernández reopened the Pilcaniyeu uranium enrichment plant, put on ice in the 1990s, amid worsening shortages of natural gas.[101] Following the death of her spouse (see below), Cristina Fernández resumed activities and flew to Asia for the G20 Seoul summit. After her return she announces that the Paris Club agrees to debt talks without the International Monetary Fund intervention as proposed by Argentina since 2008. These negotiations will result in the settlement of the last portion of the sovereign debt defaulted in the 2001 crisis after the successful restructuring debts of 2005 and 2009.[102] On November she also participated on the UNASUR Summit at Guyana after which will host the XX Ibero-American Summit at Mar del Plata.

On the morning of 27 October 2010, her husband, former President Néstor Kirchner, died of a heart failure at the Hospital Jose Formenti in El Calafate, Santa Cruz Province. He had been subject to two coronary interventions earlier in the year (2010). On 7 February 2010, he developed problems with the common carotid artery and needed surgery. On 11 September, he was intervened because of coronary artery blockage and needed an angioplasty. Néstor Kirchner had a massive state funeral at the Casa Rosada.

2011

This year has been influenced by the general election that took place in October. The youth organization Cámpora increased its influence within the government, disputing offices and candidacies with the traditional hierarchies of the Justicialist Party and of the CGT. Cristina Fernández chose Daniel Filmus as her candidate for the office of mayor of Buenos Aires. On June 21, 2011, she announced that she would run for a second term as president.[103] A few days later, she announced that Amado Boudou would run for the vice-presidency on her ticket. She personally chose most candidates for deputy in the Congress, favoring members of the Cámpora.

Cristina Fernández had highly visible disagreements with Brazil, particularly regarding the trade quotas between the two countries. She also had disputes with the United States, after seizing an American military airplane.

On September 22, President Fernández addressed the United Nations. She supported the Palestinian request to be seated in the General Assembly of United Nations, blamed Iran for the 1994 AMIA bombing, and threatened to cancel flights from Chile to the Falkland Islands in order to advance Argentine claims of sovereignty over the Islands.[104]

Cristina Fernandez is a ardent advocate of social equality and earnings distribution. She also believes that the current global crisis can only be overcome by investing in production, creating jobs and stimulating consumption. She spoke at the 2011 G-20 meeting, and her initiatives were supported by global leaders and included in the final resolution of the meeting. [105]

Cabinet

The President in a meeting with her Ministers

On 14 November 2007, the president-elect publicly announced the names of her new cabinet, which was sworn in on 10 December. Of the 12 ministers appointed, seven were already ministers in Néstor Kirchner's government, while the other five took office for the first time.[16] Three other ministries were created afterwards.

 The Presidential Standard of Argentina
Chief of Cabinet and Ministers
of Cristina Kirchner's Government
Office Name Term
Chief of the
Cabinet of Ministers
Alberto Fernández
Sergio Massa
Aníbal Fernández
10 Dec. 2007 – 23 Jul. 2008
24 Jul. 2008 – 7 Jul. 2009
8 Jul. 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Interior Florencio Randazzo 10 Dec. 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
International Trade and Worship
(Chancellor)
Jorge Taiana
Héctor Timerman
10 Dec. 2007 – 18 Jun. 2010
18 Jun. 2010 – incumbent
Ministry of Defense Nilda Garré
Arturo Puricelli
10 Dec. 2007 – 15 Dec. 2010
15 Dec. 2010 – incumbent
Ministry of Economy Martín Lousteau
Carlos Fernández
Amado Boudou
10 Dec. 2007 – 24 Apr. 2008
25 Apr. 2008 – 7 Jul. 2009
8 Jul. 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Federal Planning,
Public Investment and Services
Julio de Vido 10 Dec. 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Justice,
(Security) and Human Rights
Aníbal Fernández
Julio Alak
10 Dec. 2007 – 7 Jul. 2009
8 Jul. 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Security Nilda Garré 15 Dec. 2010 – incumbent
Ministry of Work,
Labour and Social Security
Carlos Tomada 10 Dec. 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Health and Environment Graciela Ocaña
Juan Luis Manzur
10 Dec. 2007 – 30 Jun. 2009
1 Jul. 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Social Development Alicia Kirchner de Mercado 10 Dec. 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Education Juan Carlos Tedesco
Alberto Sileoni
10 Dec. 2007 – 20 Jul. 2009
20 Jul. 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Science,
Technology and Productive Innovation
Lino Barañao 10 Dec. 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Industry Débora Giorgi 26 Nov. 2008 – incumbent
Ministry of Agriculture Julián Domínguez 1 Oct. 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Tourism Carlos Enrique Meyer 28 Jun 2010[106]incumbent

Relationship with the media

Fernández and her husband have always had a tempestuous relationship with the national media, particularly from 2007 onwards (despite previous excellent rapport) with Grupo Clarín corporation which is owner of video cable networks, multiple TV Channels, radios, the main newspaper and through most of a decade before 2010 the monopoly of the Argentine football, a so-called opinion-former.

In April 2008, Kirchner received a stern public rebuke from the Argentine media owners Association (Spanish: Asociación de Entidades Periodísticas Argentinas, or ADEPA) for having publicly accused the popular cartoonist Hermenegildo Sábat of behaving like a "quasi mafioso".[107] In addition, a government proposal to create a watchdog to monitor racism and discrimination was received with suspicion by ADEPA, who called it a "covert attempt to control the media".[108] Néstor Kirchner, Cristina's husband and predecessor in office, received a similar rebuke for publicly and falsely denouncing Joaquín Morales Solá, a journalist critical of the government, for having produced an inflammatory text published in 1978.[109]

On 11 September 2009, she advanced the decriminalization of injurious calumny against public officials, a charge which had, in 2000, resulted in a prison term of one year for Eduardo Kimel, a journalist investigating the San Patricio Church massacre of 1976.[110] She drew fire from a highly controversial Audiovisual Media Law proposed shortly afterwards, however. Defended by the government as a reform intended to fragment ownership of media companies as to encourage plurality of opinion, the bill was criticised by part of the opposition as a means to silence voices critical of the government, especially those in the Clarín media group (the country's largest).[111] However, a significant amount of opposing congressmen voted in favor of the law, as they considered it was clearly an improvement on the existing one, and that the government had been willing to negotiate and modify parts of the proposed new law to improve it.

The law has aroused further controversy, given that in its passing through the chambers of the legislature, the mandatory 7 day period between debate and assent of the new legislation was ignored. The view among the part of the opposition that opposed the bill is that Kirchner’s government tried to rush the law through parliament before December 2009, when the government could have lost its absolute majorities in Congress.[111]

Dr. Lauro Laíño, the president of ADEPA (media owners), in a speech given on 24 September 2009, opposed the proposed law, and added that in Latin America, especially in Venezuela and Argentina, “press freedom was being undermined under the suspicious pretext of plurality”[112] Others, notably press freedom advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontières, have expressed some support for the measure, citing the need to repeal the Radio Broadcast Law of 1980 enacted by the National Reorganization Process, Argentina's last military government.[113]

The acrimony between Cristina Kirchner's government and the national media was exacerbated by a series of lock-ins carried out by the truck drivers' union led by Pablo Moyano, son of Hugo Moyano, a close ally of the Kirchner government. During the lock in, the country's most widely circulated newspapers (Clarín and La Nación) were prevented by force and threats of violence from distributing papers to newsstands.[114] On 7 November 2009, the Association of Newspaper Editors of Buenos Aires (AEDBA) issued a statement in which it claimed that the truck drivers' unions' actions had been the fiercest attack on the free circulation of newspapers the country had seen since its return to democratic rule in 1983.[115]

On 2010 the Supreme Court of Argentina ruled that the judicial movement made by an opposition deputy who tried to suspend the new Media Law, which was approved by the National Congress, was illegal.[116]

Public image

Cristina Fernández meeting people from José C. Paz during an income housing delivery in 2008.

In 2008, she was ranked by the magazine Forbes as thirteenth in the list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, being the second female head of government in the list below Angela Merkel.[117] In 2009 she rose to eleventh,[118] but in 2010 she fell to sixty-eighth.[119] In 2010, she was ranked by the magazine Time as second in the list of the Top 10 Female Leaders of the World.[120]

Her public image decreased during the conflict with the agricultural sector, leading to a defeat of the party in 2009. The death and state funeral of Néstor Kirchner increased her public image again.

Style

Cristina is known for being passionate about clothes.[121] According to The Times, "Cristina has deployed her glamour and sexuality as potent weapons on her way to a goal that not even the legendary Eva Perón was able to achieve.".[122] She likes the mixture of textures, colors and prints, and has some favorite designers from Argentina. She always wears makeup and high heels.[123]

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is often criticized by observers—in both the media and the world of politics—for her excessive spending on clothes, jewelry and shoes. She rarely wears the same attire twice,[124] and in many cases has been criticized for arriving late to meetings with international leaders because she was getting dressed.[124]

Since Néstor's death, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has decided to wear only black attire. So far, she has worn more than 200 different black outfits.[125]

Bibliography

  • Mendelevich, Pablo (2010). El Final. Buenos Aires: Ediciones B. ISBN 978-987-627-166-0. 

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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Néstor Kirchner
President of Argentina
2007–present
Incumbent
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Hilda de Duhalde
First Lady of Argentina
2003–2007
Succeeded by
Néstor Kirchner
as First Gentleman of Argentina


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