Cristina Fernández de Kirchner condemns lawfare against progressive leaders in Argentina

Argentine Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kircher said that her mission is to rebuild a democratic state in Argentina, in which the guarantees established in the Constitution are respected

March 23, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch
Argentina Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
During an event organized as a part of the III World Forum for Human Rights, Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner denounced the lawfare against progressive leaders in the country. (Photo: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner/Twitter)

Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, on Tuesday March 21, said that the judiciary, controlled by the oligarchy, had been using lawfare as a mechanism to persecute progressive political and social leaders in the country.

Speaking at an event organized as a part of the III World Forum for Human Rights, to an audience of thousands of people, Fernández de Kirchner said that the reason behind the persecution she and other progressive leaders face is because they seek equality in societies and fight for social justice. 

“The construction of a new Argentina, a different Argentina, began in 2003. Néstor Kirchner, together with Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, decided to pay off debt to the IMF, so that it could never again manage the economy in Argentina. It was a virtuous decade. It was the moment when economic and social inequality was reduced the most in the region, this is the key. They do not persecute us because we are populists, or from the left, from the right, or from below or above. They persecute us because we seek to equalize societies, fight for social justice, for the rights of the workers to actively participate in the gross product of what they produce,” said the vice president.

“It is not only the reconstruction of the economy, but also what we were able to build in terms of human rights in Argentina. They will never forgive us for that,” she added.

In this regard, the former president added that “the lawfare cannot be explained without the mass media. The sentence is written in the media and then a prosecutor or a judge signs the accusation or signs the sentence.”

Fernández de Kirchner said that, although she runs the risk of being imprisoned, her main mission is to rebuild a democratic state in the country as stated in the Constitution.

“I don’t care if we are going to be condemned or if I am going to be disqualified, or if I am going to be imprisoned, what matters to me fundamentally is that we return to rebuild a democratic and constitutional State, in which the guarantees established in the Constitution are not painted cardboard. To rebuild the country we once had can be done because we once did it,” she said.

At the event called ‘Popular Will and Democracy: From the Military Party to the Judicial Party, threats to democracy,’ Fernández de Kircher was joined by former Bolivian President Evo Morales, former Colombian President Ernesto Samper, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and former Uruguayan President José Mujica, among others. The event was organized in support of the Argentine vice-president  by the Puebla Group, which is a political and academic forum made up of progressive presidents, former presidents, political and social leaders from around the world.

In December 2022, Argentina’s Federal Oral Court 2 sentenced Fernández de Kirchner to six years in prison and disqualified her for life from holding public office on corruption and fraud charges. A three-judge panel found her guilty of “fraudulent administration” and diverting nearly 1 billion USD in government funds through public works contracts during her presidency between 2007 and 2015. Fernández de Kirchner rejected and denied the accusations, saying that the charges and proceedings against her were politically motivated. She has appealed the verdict.

III World Forum for Human Rights

The III World Forum for Human Rights was inaugurated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Monday, March 20. It is being held at the National Auditorium of the Kirchner Cultural Center (CCK) and will conclude on Friday, March 24. Nearly 20,000 human rights activists, representatives of social organizations and trade unions from almost 100 countries and several former presidents of the Latin American and the Caribbean countries are participating in the forum. Argentina is hosting the meeting for the first time as a part of the celebrations of 40 years of uninterrupted democracy in the country.

President Alberto Fernández inaugurated the forum, alongside the director of the  CIPDH-UNESCO Fernanda Gil Lozano, the Secretary of Human Rights of the Nation Horacio Pietragalla Corti, human rights activist and cofounder of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Taty Almeida, and human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.

During his speech, the head of state said that “holding the III World Forum for Human Rights in Argentina has a very special meaning for us, because the Argentine people have made human rights a true State policy.” Likewise, he referred to the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo and expressed his appreciation for their vital contribution to democracy and human rights in Argentina. “They are the midwives of our democracy, to them, true guardians of the homeland, all my gratitude,” said the president.

For her part, Gil Lozano highlighted that “for 40 years, Argentina has become a model for the defense of human rights and an example of dissemination of public policies that strengthen it on the world level as a country that does not belong to the rich North.”

At the same, Pérez Esquivel stressed that “democracy is not given as a gift, it is built, and we are responsible for the construction of democracy,” and called for the strengthening of democracy and promotion of public human rights policies and judicial reform. “We need cultural rebellion to change our country and the world,” he added.

Lawfare, a form of “political warfare” that has become common in the region in recent years and that involves politicians, the judiciary and the media working together with a view to smearing leftist leaders as corrupt, is one of the topics being addressed during the forum.