Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, claimed on national television this week that the U.S. Government is plotting to kill her and overthrow the government. “If something happens to me, don’t ask the Middle East, ask the North,” Fernandez said during her weekly address to the South American country. Kirchner went on to speak of an alleged plot against her by Argentine bankers and businessmen, saying that they have “foreign help.”
Argentina’s relationship with America has soured since the Latin American country defaulted for the second time in little over a decade. The default, which occurred July 30, has sent inflation skyrocketing with many independent economists saying the inflation rate now hovers around 40 percent. The poverty level, those living on the equivalent of $7USD a day, stands at 11 percent. Financial observers are predicting the poverty rate will rise to roughly 38 percent by the end of the year due to Argentina’s inability to get its fiscal house in order.
Kirchner’s latest claim that people are out to get her is the second such claim she’s made in two weeks. Recently, the president has claimed to have received death threats from ISIS militants because of her friendship with Pope Francis, a Buenos Aires native. Many in the country’s capital are surprised by Kirchner’s claim of a “friendship” with the Pontiff. When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was archbishop in Buenos Aires, he and Kirchner seldom met and Kirchner would pointedly leave the province when the annual greeting of the archbishop was scheduled. Relations between the two didn’t improve when Bergoglio was appointed Cardinal by Pope John Paul II.
At Kirchner’s direction, Argentina ignored a $1.3 billion payment to an American investment house following a federal judge’s ruling against South America’s third largest economy in a decade-old lawsuit. Judge Griese has since placed Argentina in contempt of court status, a move that has angered many in the Argentine government. “I am not naive,” said Kirchner. “This isn’t just a senile American judge operating in isolation, the vulture capitalists are behind it.”
Fernandez came within a day of throwing out Kevin Sullivan, Chief of Mission for the American Embassy in Buenos Aires. In an interview with a city newspaper, Sullivan said, “It is important for Argentina to get out of default.” Kirchner, who has long denied that Argentina is in default, called Sullivan in to her office to receive a reprimand for using the “d” word.
As the economy continues to stagnate, the peso stays in free fall and crime rises, Kirchner has taken on an increasing bunker mentality. Fernandez is one year away from wrapping up her second term as Argentina’s leader. Because of Constitutional restraints, she is not eligible for re-election in 2015. Political rivals have not been stopped from sniping at her though. “Since she [Kirchner] can’t face the reality of high unemployment, high inflation and increasing crime, she’s inventing conspiracies,” said Elisa Carrio, a 2015 presidential hopeful.
Argentina has an abundance of natural resources and the population is extremely literate. Unfortunately, Kirchner is not the first Latin American leader to see “threats” coming from North America. Once friendly with former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, Kirchner called America the land of “hope and change.” Now, she is publicly saying that America is out to get her. Many citizens in Argentina are hoping that in the next election a better president can be found.
By Jerry Nelson