Cristina Fernandez Breaks Public SilenceBy: Emily Greene - January 23, 2014
Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, made her first public appearance since December 19, 2013 on Wednesday.
Fernandez has faced criticism for her recent month of silence and absence from the public eye.
During her televised speech, Fernandez announced a 600-peso ($87) a month stipend for students.
The Argentine president also mocked the criticism she has received for her absence during the Christmas period. Fernandez spent the holiday at her house in southern Argentina from December 20 to January 8, when she returned to the capital.
“I hope nobody criticizes this national address after so much clamor for my presence. They wanted to create the sensation that I couldn’t carry on,” said Fernandez.
Not long before Fernandez left for the Christmas holiday she was accused of taking taxpayers money and putting it into resort hotels. Fernandez denies the accusations made by the Argentine newspaper La Nacion.
Also during her time away from the public eye, reserves fell to a seven-year low and the peso weakened to 12.15 per dollar on the black market. The government allowed the peso to depreciate to 6.9641 per dollar to make exports competitive and to close the 70 percent gap between the illegal street market and the official exchange rate.
Foreign debt payments will continue to be an issue for Argentina in 2014. In September the government said they would use $9.86 billion of reserve to pay their foreign debts.
Another incident that occurred during Fernandez’s absence, many residents in Buenos Aires went without electricity for over a week because the national power grid couldn’t keep up with the demand. It was also the middle of a heatwave while these people were without electricity.
Fernandez took to her official Twitter account to announce the news of the public appearance and to link to the video for others to watch.
*Translation: “[LIVE] At 19 message to the Argentine people, from the Hall of the Bicentennial Women Government House.”
*Translation: “PROGRESS backup plan Argentine students”
If you understand Spanish, feel free to watch the video of Fernandez’s recent public appearance in the video below.