Presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

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Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner - Foto Oficial 2.jpg
President of Argentina
Assumed office
10 December 2007
Vice President Julio Cobos
Preceded by Néstor Kirchner
Personal details
Born (1953-02-19) 19 February 1953 (age 62)
La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina[1]
Political party Front for Victory (FPV)
Justicialist Party (PJ)
Spouse(s) Néstor Kirchner (1975-2010 (his death))
Children Máximo Kirchner
Florencia Kirchner
Alma mater National University of La Plata
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website The Casa Rosada

The Presidency of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner began on December 10, 2007, when she became President of Argentina. She was an Argentine Senator for the Buenos Aires Province at the time of her victory in the 2007 Presidential election. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became the second female president of Argentina, and the first one directly elected as such (Isabel Martínez de Perón was elected as vice president, and became president after the death of Juan Domingo Perón).

Election to Presidency of Argentina[edit]

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.[2] 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%.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5]

On November 14, the president-elect publicly announced the names of her new cabinet, which was sworn in on December 10. Of the 12 ministers appointed, seven were already ministers in Néstor Kirchner's government, while the other five took office for the first time.[6] Three other ministries were created afterwards.

The president elect began a four-year term on December 10, 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 Institute of Statistics and Census of Argentina, 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.[7][8][9] 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.[10] 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.[11] Some political analysts compared this type of government with a diarchy.[10]



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 August 4, 2007 at a Buenos Aires airport. U.S. 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 U.S. to divide Latin American nations. On December 19, 2007, she restricted the U.S. ambassador's activities and limited his meetings to Foreign Ministry officials; a treatment reserved for hostile countries, in the opinion of a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.[12][13][14] However, on January 31, in a special meeting with Kirchner, the U.S. 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 U.S. government[15]

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

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 U.S. are a "smokescreen", that the U.S. involvement in the affair was merely symptomatic, and the root cause of the scandal is corruption in the Argentine and Venezuelan governments.[16]


Cristina Kirchner with former Brazilian President Lula

Riding a wave of approval during a dramatic economic recovery from a 2001-02 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.[17] This led to a nationwide lockout by farming associations, starting on March 12, with the aim of forcing the government to back down on the new taxation scheme. They were joined on March 25 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.[18] 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.[19][20][21] On April 1, 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."[22]

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".[23]

The large majorities in the Argentine Congress enjoyed by the Front for Victory could not ultimately guarantee a legislative blank check: on July 16, 2008, the presidentially sponsored bill met with deadlock, and was ultimately defeated by the tie-breaking "no" vote of Vice President Julio Cobos himself. 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.[24]

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[25] to an unprecedented 23%.[26] Once recovered from the conflict with agrarian interests, Cristina Kirchner's public approval improved; her job approval ratings rose by 30% (Poliarquía, 08/22/08). 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",[27] and as of February 2009, her job approval rating was 28%.[28]

On October 20, 2008, Fernández proposed the transfer of nearly US$30 billion in private pension holdings to the social security system,[29] a law that was passed by Congress in late November.[30]

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 November 15, 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 U.S. 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 April 2, 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.[31]

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.[32][33]

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


Cristina Kirchner with Michelle Bachelet and Pope Benedict XVI commemorating Argentina and Chile friendship

Following the June 28, 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.[34] 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 December 11, 2009.[35]

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).[36]

On October 17, 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.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39][40]

With President of China Hu Jintao

Following charges of embezzlement filed by a local attorney, Enrique Piragini, on October 29, 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".[41] The investigation was suspended by Judge Oyarbide on December 30, though a week later, Piragini appealed the ruling.[42]

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.[43]


Cristina Fernández and Barack Obama

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 January 7, 2010.[44]

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 at a recess period at the time, but most of its opposition members considered returning to override the decrees through an extraordinary session.[45] 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.[46]

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.[45] Judge María José Sarmiento handed down a ruling preventing said use of reserves, and the Government reacted by appealing the ruling.[47] President Kirchner defended the policy as a cost saving maneuver, whereby government bonds paying out 15 percent interest would be retired from the market.[48] 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 January 12 against a central bank account in New York.[49]

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.[50] 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.[51][52][53]

Cristina Fernández and her husband Néstor were in January 2010 reported to the Judiciary because of "illicit gain". It was reported that their personal fortune grew surprisingly too much from the period of 2007 to 2008. This incident came on the heels of the issues with the Central Bank and Martín Redrado.

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 asesors, Julio Daniel Álvarez, resigned for the same reason.[54]

On February 22, 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.[55] 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 [56] but the 2010 drill carried out poor results.[57] As a result Desire's share price plummeted and the company announced further work could begin later this year (2010).[58]

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.[59] In the same month Fernández received the visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Buenos Aires, where she received great support for the way her administration was managing the foreign debt issue [60] and emphasized the positive relationship between the two countries[61] something which was not reported by local major news media [62]

With President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev on 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.[63] 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.[64] 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.[65] On April 19, she was invited to the bicentennary of the independence celebrations in Venezuela, where she was the main speaker in front of the National Assembly.[66] She signed 25 trade agreements with Venezuela relating to food, technology and energy.[67]

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.[68] 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.[69]

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.[70] Argentina external debt now represents 30% of the country's GDP,[71] whilst the Central Bank foreign reserves reached $49 billion {USD},[72] 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.".[73] 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 PM 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.".[74] Later addressing the press she added, "In Latin America we can give cathedra about harassment and seizure."[75] She also had a chance to speak with new British PM David Cameron.

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 [76] On her return, she signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Argentina.[77] 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.[78][79]

In August 2010, Cristina Fernández began to use her Twitter account.[80] She also preceded the 39th Mercosur summit at San Juan where the trade bloc agrees to reduce customs fees [81] and signs a free-trade deal with Egypt [82]

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 [83] 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 Sebastián Piñera and participated in the festivities at the national stadium.[84] She also confirmed the celebration of the III bi-national cabinet meeting for next October.[85][86] 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.[87] On September 30 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 [88] and meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel. In October she inaugurates the III News Agencies World Congress to be held in Bariloche.[89] 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.[90] 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.[91] On November she also participated on the UNASUR Summit at Guyana after which will host the XX Ibero-American Summit at Mar del Plata

Death of Néstor Kirchner[edit]

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 February 7, 2010, he developed problems with the common carotid artery and needed surgery. On September 11, he was intervened because of coronary artery blockage and needed an angioplasty.


Kirchner on election night.

The 2011 year was influenced by the general election in October. The youth organization Cámpora increased its influence in the government, disputing offices and candidacies with the traditional hierarchies of the Justicialist Party and the CGT. Cristina Fernández chose Daniel Filmus as her candidate for the mayor of Buenos Aires.[92] On 21 June 2011, she announced she would run for a second term as president. A few days later, she announced Amado Boudou would run for vice-president on her ticket. She personally chose most of the candidates for deputy in the Congress, favoring members of the Cámpora. She had highly publicized disagreements with Brazil regarding the trade quotas between the two countries. She also had a major dispute with the United States after seizing an American military airplane, accusing the U.S. of smuggling in undeclared firearms, surveillance equipment, and morphine for ulterior motives.[93]

Kirchner giving a speech in the United Nations regarding the Falkland Islands.

On 22 September, she addressed the United Nations. She supported the Palestinian request to be seated in the General Assembly, and threatened to cancel flights from Chile to the Falkland Islands in order to advance Argentine claims of sovereignty over the Islands.[94] The 2011 election took place in October, and she won with 54.1% of the vote.

Second term[edit]


After the electoral victory of 2011, the ruling party regained control over both chambers of Congress.[95] They initiated a period of fiscal reform, which included several tax increases, limits to wage increases, but increases in protectionism and reorganization of state-owned enterprises.[96] Congress passed an anti-terrorism law, criticized for its vague and imprecise terms, that may allow it to be used against political opponents of the government.[97] Hugo Moyano, main union leader, who was a strong supporter of kirchnerism, began to oppose the President.[98] Moyano would later organize a big protest at Plaza de Mayo, with 30,000 people, requesting the abolition of capital gains tax.[99] However, her close union ally Enrique Omar Suárez, another powerful union leader, has remained in support of her.[100] The Vice President Amado Boudou got involved in a political scandal, suspected of favoring the Ciccone currency printing business.[101] The poor maintenance of rail services led to a rail disaster that left 51 dead and 703 injured.[102] The government has also begun to devote more attention to the Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute (prompted by the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War).[103] Fernández also supported the nationalization of YPF.[104]

In 2012, the government tightened currency controls, allowing access to other currencies to only those people who traveled outside the country.[105] The blockade of other currencies affected financial activities and led to a black market in currencies.[106] On 15 May, The governor of the Buenos Aires province Daniel Scioli voiced his intention to run for the presidency in 2015.[107] On 11 July, Fernández criticized the administration of the Buenos Aires province because the provincial government didn't have money to pay their workers wages. The province requested a transfer of funds from the federal government but were initially denied by the President. On 20 July, the federal government agreed to transfer funds to the province.[108] Moyano claimed the denial to transfer funds was to harm Scioli's image, as Scioli has the highest rate of approval of any governor in the nation.[109][110]

200,000 people took part in a cacerolazo against Kirchner.

Several other political scandals came to light in 2012, such as the liberation of sentenced prisoners for government-organized demonstrations,[111] political advocacy of The Cámpora at elementary and high schools,[112] and the creation of paramilitary units in Jujuy, led by Milagro Sala.[citation needed] More than 200,000 people in many cities of the country took part in a protest against Kirchner in September 2012;[113] the protest was followed by a protest of the gendarmeria and another of the CTA.[114] The largest demonstration was the 8N, which took place on 8 November.

The managing director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, warned the Kirchner Administration of the need for Argentina to provide the IMF with reliable estimates of inflation and growth. A BBC report noted that, while official government data reported inflation at 10 percent, private economists estimated the true rate at around 24 percent.[115] Kirchner rejected Lagarde's demands.[116]

Her administration sought to increase bilateral relations with Angola and Iran. Since there is suspected Iranian involvement in the 1994 AMIA bombing, Kirchner's relations with the Argentine Jewish community deteriorated.[117] Fernández gave her United Nations General Assembly speech where she again criticized Britain over the Falklands (Malvinas) issue, and Iran for the 1994 AMIA bombing while giving her support for an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue and an eventual Palestinian state.[118]

The Argentine navy training ship ARA Libertad (Q-2) was impounded in Ghana in October 2012 as part of an extended legal battle between Kirchner's administration and "holdout" holders of Argentine government debt who had refused to accept the earlier write-down of principal and who continue to pursue full payment through the courts. On 26 October, New York judge Thomas Griesa issued a ruling favoring the holdout creditors, and against the government's practice of excluding them from payments made to those bondholders who had participated in the earlier debt restructuring. The government is appealing Griesa's judgment.[119]


Kirchner meeting with Pope Francis in 2013.

Argentina signed an accord with Iran in relation to the Amia bombing. According to it, the Iranian suspects will be interrogated in Iran, under Iranian law. Not all suspects would be interrogated, but only those with a "red alert" arrest order from Interpol. This accord was rejected by the opposition parties and the Jewish community, who deemed it unconstitutional.[120]

Buenos Aires and La Plata suffered floods in April, with more than 70 deaths. Mayor Mauricio Macri pointed that the national government prevents the city from taking international loans, which did not allow for infrastructure improvements.[121] A week later, Kirchner announced an amendment of the Argentine judiciary. Three bills were controversial: the first proposes to limit the injunctions against the state, the second to include people selected in national elections at the body that appoints or accuses judges, and the third to create a new court that would limit the number of cases treated by the Supreme Court. The opposition considered that those bills attempt to control the judiciary.[122] The 2013 season of the investigative journalism program Periodismo para todos revealed an ongoing case of political corruption, named "The Route of the K-Money", which generated a huge political controversy.[123] Both things led to a huge cacerolazo on 18 April, known as the 18A.[124]

The aforementioned amendment of the judiciary was repealled by the Supreme Court, which ruled the law to be unconstitutional. The Front for Victory is defeated at the October midterm elections, with a sound victory of Sergio Massa at the populous Buenos Aires Province. Still, the government retains the majority in both houses of the Congress.[125] The Supreme Court rules the media law to be constitutional, a pair of days after the election. Cristina Fernández, who was under medical treatment during both events, changed the cabinet at her return, appointing Jorge Capitanich as chief of cabinet, Axel Kicillof as minister of economy, Juan Carlos Fábrega as president of the Central Bank, and Carlos Casamiquela as minister of Agriculture.[126] The interior trade secretary Guillermo Moreno resigns the following day.[127] The international controversy over the renationalization of YPF ends with a financial compensation for Repsol.[128] The year ends with several electricity blackouts and with police revolts at several provinces, which causes looting.[129]


Cristina Fernández de Kirchner at the UN General Assembly

The year began with a renewed economic crisis, which led to a nation-wide strike of teachers, and a general strike by union leader Hugo Moyano. The crisis was temporarily solved with a rise of the interest rate. On January 22, Cristina Fernández announced the government-sponsored programme "Progresar", which gives a monthly subsidy for youths aged 18 to 24 who wish to complete studies but are unemployed or work under the table.[130] Cristina Kirchner visited Pope Francis for a third time. The scandal over Amado Boudou grew when he was summoned for inquiry by Federal Judge Ariel Lijo. The country paid the debt with the Paris Club. US judge Thomas P. Griesa rules that Argentina must pay as well to the hedge funds that did not enter into the Argentine debt restructuring,[131] which Argentina failed to do. Still, the government denies that such failure may be a new sovereign default; Standard & Poor’s defined it as a "selective default".[132] She said in a speech at the United Nations that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant jihadist group may be trying to kill her, and later that it would be the US; Elisa Carrió dismissed such threats as mere conspiracy theories.[133] In her speech, she accused the "vulture funds" of destabilizing the economy of the countries and called them "economic terrorists".[134][135] The government promoted several new laws and law amendments, such as an overhauled civil code,[136] hydrocarbon law[137] and telecommunications law.[138] Cristina Kirchner was denounced in the Hotesur scandal over a firm headed by her and her sons to manage the hotels in Calafate. She is suspected of using the hotels for money laundering. The judge Claudio Bonadio, heading the case, was in turn called for impeachment.[139]


Cristina Kirchner announces the bill to dissolve the Secretariat of Intelligence.

On 14 January the federal prosecutor, Alberto Nisman, filed a criminal complaint against Kirchner and others, accusing them of conspiring to cover up Iran’s alleged involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires which killed 85 and injured hundreds.[140] On 18 January, just hours before he was set to testify in Congress against Kirchner, Nisman was found shot dead in his apartment.[141][142] A gun and spent shell casing were found next to the body, and a government official said the death was likely a suicide although others considered the death suspicious.[143] Kirchner said that Nisman was murdered by rogue agents of the Secretariat of Intelligence, and sent a bill to the Congress to dissolve it.[144] On 3 February, Viviana Fein, the lead investigator into the death of Nisman, announced that a draft arrest warrant for the president had been found among his papers.[145] The criminal complaint was taken by prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita, who formally accused her of conspiracy, alongside with other people included in Nisman's original project.[146] Minister Jorge Capitanich described it as "an active judicial coup".[146] The case will be heard by judge Daniel Rafecas.[146]


The President in a meeting with her Ministers

On November 14, 2007, the president-elect publicly announced the names of her new cabinet, which was sworn in on December 10. Of the 12 ministers appointed, seven were already ministers in Néstor Kirchner's government, while the other five took office for the first time.[6] 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
Dec. 10, 2007 – Jul. 23, 2008
Jul. 24, 2008 – Jul. 7, 2009
Jul. 8, 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Interior Florencio Randazzo Dec. 10, 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
International Trade and Worship
Jorge Taiana
Héctor Timerman
Dec. 10, 2007 – Jun. 18, 2010
Jun. 18, 2010 – incumbent
Ministry of Defense Nilda Garré
Arturo Puricelli
Dec. 10, 2007 – Dec. 15, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010 – incumbent
Ministry of Economy Martín Lousteau
Carlos Fernández
Amado Boudou
Dec. 10, 2007 – Apr. 24, 2008
Apr. 25, 2008 – Jul. 7, 2009
Jul. 8, 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Federal Planning,
Public Investment and Services
Julio de Vido Dec. 10, 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Justice,
(Security) and Human Rights
Aníbal Fernández
Julio Alak
Dec. 10, 2007 – Jul. 7, 2009
Jul. 8, 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Security Nilda Garré Dec. 15, 2010 – incumbent
Ministry of Work,
Labour and Social Security
Carlos Tomada Dec. 10, 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Health and Environment Graciela Ocaña
Juan Luis Manzur
Dec. 10, 2007 – Jun. 30, 2009
Jul. 1, 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Social Development Alicia Kirchner de Mercado Dec. 10, 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Education Juan Carlos Tedesco
Alberto Sileoni
Dec. 10, 2007 – Jul. 20, 2009
Jul. 20, 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Science,
Technology and Productive Innovation
Lino Barañao Dec. 10, 2007 – incumbent
Ministry of Industry Débora Giorgi Nov. 26, 2008 – incumbent
Ministry of Agriculture Julián Domínguez Oct. 1, 2009 – incumbent
Ministry of Tourism Carlos Enrique Meyer Jun 28, 2010[147]incumbent

Major legislation[edit]



Foreign policy[edit]

Social policy[edit]

Relationship with the media[edit]

Fernández and her husband have always had a tempestuous relationship with the national media, particularly the Grupo Clarín corporation, which is the owner of video cable networks, multiple TV Channels, radio stations, the main newspaper, and—through most of a decade before 2010—had a monopoly on Argentine football broadcasts: it is thus so-called opinion-former. By 2010 it was obvious to independent sources that the traditionally major news media were in a direct conflict with the government, often reporting misleading Information.[148]

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".[149] 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".[150] 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.[151]

On September 11, 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.[152] She drew fire for a highly controversial Audiovisual Media Law proposed shortly afterwards, however. Defended by the government as a reform intended to fragment ownership of media companies so 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).[153] 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; also, 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 seven-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 is trying to rush the law through parliament before December 2009, when the government will lose its absolute majorities in Congress.[153]

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”.[154] Others, notably the 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.[155]

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.[156] 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.[157]

In 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.[158]


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