Argentina's ex-president Cristina Kirchner arrived in court on Monday to give evidence in a corruption trial in which she is charged with diverting public funds, just a week before she returns to the country's government as vice president.
Kirchner, 66, smiled and waved to a group of banner-waving supporters when she arrived at Buenos Aires' Comodoro Py courthouse.
Shortly before her appearance, Kirchner denounced her trial as part of a concerted effort to demonize and destroy her.
In Argentina, as in the rest of Latin America, the coordination of the media and the judicial apparatus, with the objective of demonizing and destroying the leaders of popular and democratic governments, has been transformed into a systematic plan, Kirchner wrote on Twitter.
She is accused of having favored companies owned by businessman Lazaro Baez in the award of 52 public works contracts worth 46 billion pesos (US$1.2 billion) during her presidency and that of her late husband Nestor Kirchner.
During her three hour defense before the court, the former president said that it was Congress that approved the budget, and the cabinet chief responsible for implementing it, and not the president of the Republic. Thus the accusations about alleged manipulation of budget funds must be answered not by her, the former president, but by the cabinet chiefs.
An extraordinary defense since two of the cabinet chiefs during the Cristina Kirchner mandates are now her closest political allies in her comeback, president elect Alberto Fernandez and the head of the Lower House, Sergio Massa.
The trial is one of eight separate cases in which she faces charges stemming from the couple's time in office.
Gregorio Dalbon, one of her lawyers, said on Monday the case against Kirchner had no substance and that prosecutors were using the law to persecute her for political reasons. Those responsible, Dalbon told reporters, will surely be tried in the future.
In everything they've said about Cristina, they have found nothing. Cristina is going to prove today that this case has been concocted in order to pursue her.
Her lawyers petitioned the court to allow her testimony to be televised, but the judge refused.
Kirchner swept back into government last month, credited with masterminding the electoral triumph of president-elect Alberto Fernandez, who united a fragmented left to push incumbent President Mauricio Macri's center-right coalition from power.
The inauguration takes place on Dec 10.
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@ThinkDec 04th, 2019 - 06:26 pm +1
I'm not surprised she's made her case so convincingly - she's a rare politician in today's time, one who combines a populist, anti-establishment standpoint with sharp intellect and eloquence in speech. Far more common in our days are so-called populist politicians, such as Bolsonaro and Trump, who can't give a coherent form to their anger at the media due to their faulty or undisciplined intellect.
However, it also helps media critics on the left that the media are historically much more opposed to the left than to the right, and so it is easier for leftists to make our case.
@DemonTreeDec 05th, 2019 - 02:31 am +1
I won't comment on Trump, since I'm a non-American and I don't understand the US media culture. There's no doubt that he hates the press; how well-grounded the hatred is, I don't know. As someone who's from Brazil, however, I can see why Bolsonaro would resent some media outlets. It is undeniable that many big-wig journalists (for example, on Globo network) were visibly rooting against him in the 2018 election. It remains the case, however, that Bolsonaro owes his election last year to these selfsame journalists, who spent years demonizing the left and human rights NGOs, and feeding middle class resentment against the poor and slum dwellers.
It also remains the case that Bolsonaro is a sui generis politician when it comes to how deep his connections with the organized world is, though the media are yet to treat him as the scum that he truly is. There's no doubt that he is involved in the murder of Rio councilwoman Marielle Franco, and there's even less doubt that he and his family have stolen public money by hiring ghost public servants just so they could gobble up their salaries, and by having people in the PSL party (originally Bolsonaro's party) launch fake candidacies so the Bolsonaros could, again, take over the public funds to which political candidates are entitled. But the media remain pulling punches in this respect, having pursued left-wingers, such as Lula, much more vigorously on much more spurious grounds.
She's right. Anyone who's studied the history of military coups in Latin America, knows that they overwhelmingly count with support from mainstream media outlets, and that this support in based on ideological hatred against the left-wing. Sometimes this backfires on the media. The Brazilian media whined when the military elite decided that the coup government wouldn't last just a couple of years, but decades, and the Brazilian media is whining once again now because Brazil's military president, Bolsonaro, is a low IQ thug with no respect for democratic norms, including press freedom. But neither the '64 coup nor the '18 election of Bolsonaro would have succeeded without nonstop demonization of left-wing presidents and movements by the media.Dec 03rd, 2019 - 05:42 pm 0