President Alberto Fernández assured that “in no way can the discrepancy be resolved by firing a shot,” referring to the attack suffered by Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on September 1.
In an interview of about an hour given last Friday from the presidential palace of Olivos to the Telecinco channel in Spain and which was broadcast on Monday, Fernandez said that the vice president “is whole and strong. It was a moment of shock for everyone, especially for her, but at the same time she was working.
“I experienced it with great sorrow” because “Argentina has not had a similar episode, after the dictatorship there have been no crimes of a political nature,” he said about the fact.
The president pointed out that “the ungrateful fact of finding ourselves with a gang of criminals who abuse democracy should not make us think that this is Argentina.”
“We all feel that we have gone back a few squares after having advanced a lot in democracy. We suffered the dictatorship and could judge the genocides. The slogan of democracy was truth and justice”, he emphasized.
Fernandez added that “the mothers who lost their children because they were killed or disappeared, the children of the victims of the dictatorship never took justice with their own hands, they always wanted justice. And justice came. This should be appreciated,” he added.
“The ungrateful fact that we find ourselves with a gang of criminals who abuse democracy should not make us think that this is Argentina
Regarding hate speech on social media, the president said: “Umberto Eco once said that Twitter is a place where asses look smart and the smart look like those who become asses. It seems to me that Twitter needs to be reviewed because it breeds these things. 90% of this social network is robots and machines that log in and influence others. I relativize the idea that social networks have democratized thought,” he said, noting that “when networks are misused, they pollute debate.”
He wondered “how much the pandemic has affected us psychologically” for various reasons and believes that this scenario “generates a fertile environment”.
“There is something extra going on in Argentina because hate speech did not start with the pandemic, but rather we spent decades of journalistic notes denouncing Cristina,” he said, expanding: “It is a speech that promotes a deep sense of rejection towards the other. For example, “we came to the conclusion that you are a thief and a scoundrel” and then every morning this is written and spoken.”
“And that idea ends up being implemented” and “it creates stigma and social condemnation where there is no room for collective reflection, not even judicial reflection,” he added.
Fernández expressed: “The pride I have as president is that I did not persecute any media, I did not restrict advertising, I never called a journalist to tell him what to write or the media owner to tell him “I need this cover”, or radio or TV to tell him what he has to say, I never wanted to be invited to a program.
For Fernandez, “hate speech exists, but it is very difficult to legislate and punish. Because in the end who defines what hate is. I have never banned a newspaper cover or called the owner of one of those newspapers to say “Stop publishing this.” But let us reconsider and rethink, because with this logic it is difficult to build a democratic coexistence. This leads to spaces like Vox or libertarians saying ‘politics is caste’, which is not true because most work honestly.”
He pointed out that in Argentina “the so-called libertarians who are not so libertarian are the ones who proclaim the freedom of the powerful.”
“Unbeknownst to us, the right has taken seats in the judiciary of many countries and in the media,” he said, adding that “this libertarian discourse has little in the way of defending freedom and defends caste, the freedom of those who have the most, and indeed, with their speech, which is violent and disgusting, they put democratic coexistence at stake”.
“So-called libertarians are those who proclaim the freedom of the powerful”
For Fernández, “it would be very useful to have a code of journalistic ethics in every media” and he recalled that “many years ago” the late journalist Tomás Eloy Martínez “wrote a decalogue of journalists that it would be great if all Argentine journalists read and respected “.
“Sometimes the boundaries have to be self-imposed, the media has to decide,” he said, adding that “there is a delicate balance between freedom of expression and hate speech.”
On the other hand, during the interview, Fernández spoke about the economic issue and assured that the Vaca Muerta field contains “the second largest reserve of unconventional gas in the world” and expanded: “We have the capacity to supply gas to all of Argentina, we are building a pipeline for that and we have a very large surplus left for export”.
“In order to export to Europe, we have to liquefy the gas, which will take no less than three years. I learned that Spain has 30% of regasification installations and it would be a great opportunity for Spain and Argentina to do something together,” he stressed.
Regarding inflation, he expressed: “We are living in an extraordinary moment. Argentina has a history of living with very high inflation. We have had double-digit inflation for more than 15 years. Inflation can be said to have increased by 90% this year. But if we think that the US went from 1% to 10%, they had 900% inflation,” he said.
“So it’s a very special moment. Two major suppliers of food and energy, Russia and Ukraine, withdrew from the world and that changed everything,” he said, giving the example that “when they catch a cold in Russia, we sneeze in Argentina, and the effect of globalization is there.”
The President also spoke about the Care Prices program, implemented in 2014 and currently with 1,300 products, and said that “this is an agreement between the producers with the state and the system and it works in the big supermarkets”, but “these points represent only 30% of food sales,” and admitted that “it’s an incentive, but not a solution.”