Recently, representatives of over 40 organisations defending human rights claimed that Argentinian democracy, re-established 39 years ago, is once again at risk.
During 2022 the Argentinian vice-president, Cristina Fernández, suffered threats, abuse, an attempted assassination and a court conviction, events which moved citizens, organisations and leaders of several countries.
In less than a year, members of far-right groups such as Revolución Federal threw Molotov cocktails at the Casa Rosada, placed body bags bearing her photo in the area surrounding the seat of government, said they would take her to the gallows and threw rubbish at the Patria Institute, which she founded. On 1st September a man called Fernando Sabag tried to kill her with a pistol while she greeted people who had gathered outside her house in the capital’s Recoleta district to express their support to her in the face of constant judicial persecution.
Although he pulled the trigger twice the bullet was not released, something many consider a miracle.
Following the attack an investigative process began, questioned by the former head of state because of irregularities committed and the refusal of judge María Eugenia Capuchetti to continue probing when the clues pointed to alleged links between three suspects, extremist forces, opposition politicians and businessmen associated with former leader Mauricio Macri (2015-19).
Finally, on 6th December Federal Oral Court number 2 imposed a sentence on Fernández of six years in prison and disqualification for life from holding public office for alleged fraudulent administration to the detriment of public management.
This verdict relates to the so-called Roadworks Lawsuit for alleged irregularities in the awarding of 51 works in Santa Cruz province between 2003 and 2015, facts that the former president rejected and denied during three years of hearings.
The former head of state highlighted the existence of a parallel state, a mafia and a judicial party that prosecuted her for offences she did not commit.
Furthermore, she claimed her disqualification from public office is the real sentence sought by judges, prosecutors, businessmen and politicians opposed to Peronism.
Several times before the sentence, Fernández warned that she was in front of a firing squad and raised the alert over a judicial party, the replacement of the military party that impeded the free expression of the popular will and conditioned democracy during the dictatorship.
In this context she ruled out being a candidate for the presidency in 2023 in order not to expose Peronism to mistreatment during an electoral period.
The attacks against her were denounced by political, social and union groups, leaders of countries like Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia and Venezuela, Pope Francis, the Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and organisations like the Puebla Group.
President Alberto Fernández, ministers, legislators from Everyone’s Front (FdT in Spanish), ambassadors and organisations such as the May Square Mothers and Grandmothers expressed their indignation and bewilderment and condemned the attempts to remove her from the political stage shortly before the date with the ballot box.
This is the scenario put forward by Macrism, where they are the ones who pick the candidates. Peronism is once again put in the same dilemma. The options are: resign oneself to moving in the narrow space they assign one, where there is no possibility of making any change, or leave the system.
The verdict’s announcement coincides with the revelation about a journey made by judges, businessmen, former civil servants and ex-agents of the Federal Intelligence Agency to a mansion in Lago Escondido, in Argentinian Patagonia, belonging to the British magnate Joe Lewis. Among those involved, accused of accepting gifts and failing to fulfil their duties, are Julián Ercolini, the magistrate who heard the case against the vice-president; executives from media company Grupo Clarín and people linked to Macri.
The president ordered an investigation into the case.
(Translated by Philip Walker – Email: email@example.com) – Photos: Pixabay