Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on Tuesday repeated her claims that she is a victim of a carefully orchestrated campaign of political and judicial persecution, declaring before a regional summit of left-wing and progressive leaders that “lawfare” is “flooding” the region.
Argentina’s vice-president, who was convicted of corruption and sentenced to six years in prison and a lifetime ban from holding political office last December, linked the alleged campaign to economic interests and the media.
The verdict against Fernández de Kirchner has been appealed by the former president’s defence team and has not been confirmed by a higher tribunal, though she faces at least five other investigations in the courts related to similar offences.
Addressing a Grupo Puebla forum in Buenos Aires entitled “Popular Will and Democracy,” the vice-president trained her ire on Argentina’s justice system, alleging that the charges against her are fabricated and part of a plot to damage her reputation.
"It is necessary to recover the judicial system, not only for what happens to leaders committed to popular causes, but also for the dramas of society,” she declared.
"If they are going to convict me, if they are going to disqualify me. If they are going to put me in prison, I don't care – what matters to me is to return to building a country like the one we once had," stressed Fernández de Kirchner, who used the speech to defend the Kirchnerite administrations that ruled Argentina from 2003 to 2015.
"Forgive me for talking so much about the economy, but everything that happens, everything that is suffered, has to do with the economy," said the former president.
"If you go with the others and with the media you have no problem, the problem is when you decide to play on the side of the interests of the people," said Fernández de Kirchner.
"Perhaps it is because I represent them that they are so bitter towards me, not only the economy but also what we have done in human rights, they will never forgive us," she declared.
The 70-year-old – who was interrupted several times during her speech by activists calling on her to run for the nation’s highest office in this year’s presidential elections – also attacked her successor as president Mauricio Macri, accusing them of being so out of touch that “they seem to have come out of the craters of Mars.”
Among those in attendance to hear the vice-president’s speech were former Uruguayan president José "Pepe" Mujica, former Ecuador president Rafael Correa, former Colombia president Ernesto Samper and former Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.