Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (and acting president at the time with the G20 absence of President Alberto Fernández) headed a rally in La Plata Thursday marking Peronist Militancy Day, as well as the 50th anniversary of Juan Domingo Perón’s return from exile.
Amid constant shouts from supporters for her to make a presidential run next year, the former president gave her fiery take on the country’s current situation while dodging any direct announcement as to candidacies.
The former president closely referenced the assassination attempt against her life last September 1, drawing parallels between the banning of Peronism and the failed shooting attack.
Since the return of democracy in 1983, she declared "there was a tacit agreement" that "no Argentine would be put in danger for thinking differently."
"We could have all the differences in the world, but nobody wanted to kill anyone. Not even those who made death a political instrument," she said.
The leader affirmed that "on 1 September the democratic pact to respect life was broken for the first time."
Fernández de Kirchner said that "it is the obligation of all forces to rebuild this democratic pact by separating the violent, hate speech and those who want others to die because they think differently," and warned that otherwise the country would be "going backwards."
The event unfolded amid extra-tight security, coming 11 weeks after the attempt on her life. Two security rings manned by special forces with dogs and equipped with metal detectors surrounded the Diego Armando Maradona (formerly Estadio Único de La Plata) stadium where the rally was held.
While an estimated 60,000 people gathered around the stadium, her immediate audience was restricted to around 500 special guests matching the occasion of Peronist Militancy Day and given security bracelets – even so they were subjected to strict searches upon entry. Within a 50-block radius of the stadium traffic chaos verging on total collapse was reported.
The only orator of the night, her speech contrasted the joys of her 2007-2015 presidency with the "sad faces" around the Casa Rosada these days.
"Our political space was able to serve three consecutive terms in government with a low level of indebtedness, with the best salary in dollars in all of Latin America, with the best social security income and social security coverage in all of Latin America.
“We can go back to being that Argentina because we have already done it. The people have to decide if they want to be that Argentina again," Fernández de Kirchner.
In her previous speech addressing UOM metal workers a fortnight ago, she had said: "I’m going to do what I have to do so that our people can regain their joy" but she also called for Frente de Todos unity and had kind words for the efforts of Economy Minister Sergio Massa, limiting her criticisms to the previous Mauricio Macri Presidency, the “judicial party,” greedy speculators in the business community and an opposition "promoting violence and hate.”
The vice-president went on to call for the "construction of an economic consensus" to address the country's "serious problems" – a reference to runaway inflation. Prices have increased 76.6 percent since the turn of the year and rose more than six percent in October alone.
"The big breaking point was to return to a brutal indebtedness, because we have to allocate resources not to generate value but to pay debt. This conditions our policies," she said, alluding to an agreement for US$44.5-billion debt with the International Monetary Fund, contracted by her successor in office, former president Mauricio Macri.
The audience on Thursday included a wide range of the Peronist spectrum, extending from trade unionists like Hugo Yasky (an ardent advócate of a CFK candidacy) to Movimiento Evita picket Emilio Pérsico, who has been on a collision course with the vice-president over social plans.