Cristina Kirchner's corruption trial enters a key moment

The trial of Argentina’s vice president, Cristina Kirchner, for alleged corruption during her government (2007-2015) entered this Monday- fair (5) in one of its final stages, that of the defenses’ allegations, in a scenario of strong political upheaval in the country.

This key moment of the trial began after the vice president had suffered an attack last Thursday, in a context of high tension between the ruling party and the opposition, which has been accentuated since the last day 22 of August , when the prosecutor involved in this process requested a sentence of 12 years in prison for the former president.

The case is refers to alleged irregularities in the concession of 187 public works to companies owned by businessman Lázaro Báez during the governments of the late Néstor Kirchner (187 -2007) and Cristina in the southern province of Santa Cruz, political birthplace of Kirchnerism.

The defense of Héctor René J esús Garro, former president of the General Administration of Roads of the province of Santa Cruz, opened the pleadings phase this Monday.

Garro’s lawyer began his speech by expressing his “rejection ” to the attack on Cristina last Thursday and begged God that “hatred does not win” and that “any violent manifestation is absolutely an exception to the rules of society and social coexistence”.

The allegations of the vice president’s defense, accused of alleged illicit association and fraudulent administration of public resources, are scheduled for the coming weeks.

Request for conviction

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The prosecution requested Cristina a sentence of years in prison and perpetual disqualification from public office, while at the same time proposing the confiscation of assets of the defendants in this judgment in the amount of 5,231 billion pesos (about R$ 187, 6 million).

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In their closing arguments, the prosecutorsaccused the former president of having created, together with her late husband, Néstor Kirchner, “one of the most extraordinary matrices of corruption” in Argentina.

Businessman Báez, the former Minister of Federal Planning Julio De Vido and former Secretary of Public Works José López, among other former employees, are also accused in the case.

In Garro’s case, his lawyer asked for his acquittal and contested the accusations by prosecutors saying that “one cannot identify a line of argument other than misrepresenting evidence, abusing circular fallacies and asserting absolutely non-existent issues.”

Defense and polarization

The former president anticipated a defense by releasing a statement on the last day 23 of August on her social media, in which she stated that this oral process , started in May 2019, is “a judgment of Peronism and national and popular governments”.

Cristina blamed prosecutors for adopting the media’s “script” of communication linked to the current political opposition, stated that the sentence against her “had already been written” and again denounced being a victim of judicial persecution.

After the request for conviction, the vice president managed to agglutinate the support of a Peronism that until then was strongly divided, particularly in relation to economic policy.

Even the Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, with whom the vice president expressed her differences, came out in defense of Cristina , which led to criticism and lawsuits by the opposition for the alleged interference in legal proceedings.

Since the complaint made by the prosecutor, a vigil has been set up at the doors of the building where the vice president lives , in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, which intensified tensions between the ruling party and the opposition coalition Juntos pela Change – which former president Mauricio Macri is a part of (2015-2019) and who governs the city of Buenos Aires.

It was on this vigil mounted by Kirchnerist militants that last Thursday night a man of Brazilian nationality was arrested after pointing a gun at the vice president and trying to shoot twice, without the ammunition being fired.

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