President Alberto Fernandez assured this Tuesday that “in no way can the discrepancy be resolved by firing a shot,” referring to the assault suffered by Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on September 1.
In an hour-long interview given last Friday from the Olivos presidential palace to Spain’s Telecinco channel and broadcast on Monday, Fernandez said the vice president “She is whole and strong. It was a shocking moment for everyone, especially her, but at the same time she is 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 endured dictatorship and managed to judge genocides. The slogan of democracy was truth and justice,” he stressed.
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 is coming. This should be appreciated,” he added.
Regarding hate speech on social media, the president said: “Umberto Eco once said that Twitter is a place where idiots look smart and the smart look like those who become idiots. It seems to me that Twitter needs to be reviewed. it begets 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 have come to the conclusion that you are a thief and a scoundrel” and every morning this is written and said.
“And that idea ends up taking hold” and “thus generating 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 limit advertising, I never called a journalist to tell him what to write or a media owner to tell him ” I need this cover,’ or radio or TV to tell him what he has to say, I never asked to be invited on a program.
For Fernandez, “hate speech exists, but it is very difficult to legislate and punish. Because in the end, who defines what is hate? Publish this”. But let us review and rethink, because it is difficult to build a democratic coexistence with this logic. This leads to spaces like Vox or libertarians saying ‘politics is caste’, and that’s not true because the majority works 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 wing has co-opted seats in the judiciary of many countries and in the media,” he pointed out, 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.”
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, Fernandez spoke about the economic issue and assured that the Vaca Muerta field contains “the second unconventional gas reserve in the world” and expanded: “We have the capacity to supply gas to the whole of Argentina, we are building a gas pipeline for that and we have left a very large export surplus’.
“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 said: “We are living through an extraordinary moment. Argentina has a history of living with very wide inflation. We have had double digit inflation for over 15 years. This year, you could say inflation went up 90%. But if you think the United States went from 1% to 10%, they had 900% inflation,” he said.
“So this is a very extraordinary 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.”