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Will Cristina Kirchner End Up in Prison? Argentine Prosecutor Risks His Life Accusing Vice President of Corruption

El American

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Few families in Latin America have accumulated as much power in recent decades as the Kirchners in Argentina. The late Néstor Kirchner was president of the nation from 2003 to 2007. He was succeeded in power by his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who remained in office until 2015, and later returned to power as vice president in a duo with the current president Alberto Fernández. They are joined by their son, Máximo Kirchner, national deputy and one of the leading candidates for the presidency of the ruling party.

For more than 30 years, the Kirchners have been involved in politics, following Perón’s legacy and formulating an ambiguous political movement that combines different leftist strands with pronounced statism, high economic interventionism, populist subsidies, and progressive cultural programs. Along the way, they have established alliances with like-minded politicians and heads of state, such as the late Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, the Workers’ Party in Brazil led by Lula da Silva and the leaders of the Cuban revolution, among others, so that their influence extends far beyond their borders.

The inexhaustible power that the Kirchners have accumulated has protected them from various legal cases in which they have been accused of corruption and bad administrative practices. A good part of the Argentine population accuses them of being behind the death of former prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who, according to the official account, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head hours before testifying against then President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, on January 18, 2015. He accused her of treason for allegedly covering up for the people behind the AMIA terrorist attack in Argentina in 1994, which left 85 people dead and more than 300 wounded.

The former prosecutor alleged that Cristina Kirchner, together with Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and other Argentine officials, had negotiated an impunity pact with the Iranians behind the terrorist attack against the Jewish community in the nation, but hours before testifying he appeared with a bullet in his head and that case continues to be on hold since then.

Since then, the Argentinean justice has been excessively careful when trying to open the pending cases that the current vice-president has with the justice system. However, one man is about to change history and put himself in the line of fire to prosecute the head of the Kirchners. His name is Diego Luciani, a federal prosecutor of the Republic who accuses the former president of constituting associations to commit crimes and corruption.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Cristina Fernández and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, created “one of the most extraordinary matrices of corruption” during their terms of office. Luciani affirms that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has accredited that between 2003 and 2015, “an illicit association of unique characteristics” and in a “pyramidal” form, managed by the Kirchner family operated within the State with a huge embezzlement of the nation’s resources.

The Argentine outlet Infobae reports that “Prosecutors Luciani and Sergio Mola pointed out on Friday in their eighth plea hearing that in their opinion it has been proven that Cristina Kirchner committed two crimes: she was the head of an illicit association that from her government and that of Néstor Kirchner designed an illegal scheme for the businessman Lázaro Báez to receive public works for Santa Cruz during 12 years, most of which he did not finish but which he collected in full overpriced and in breach of regulations, and that in this way he also defrauded the national government”.

Luciani, according to the same source, will request that the vice-president be sentenced to between 7 and 16 years in prison and that she may no longer hold any position in the Public Administration.

This is not the first nor the second time that the current vice-president faces charges against the justice system; in addition to the alleged cover-up of the AMIA bombing, the current corruption charges, she has also been tried for alleged usurpation of title, sale of future dollars, cases for bribes in public works, among others. To this could be added the mysterious death of prosecutor Nisman, on which she was never charged, but due to the scenario, a good part of the population considers that she could be the mastermind.

The great power and money accumulated by the Kirchners inside and outside Argentina have saved Cristina from ending up behind bars on numerous occasions in the past. Today, a brave prosecutor, despite the terrifying precedent of a colleague, has decided to bring the head of the most important political dynasty in the south of Latin America to justice. The world must be attentive to the outcome of this trial, and of course, watch over the physical integrity of prosecutor Luciani.

Emmanuel Rincón is a lawyer, writer, novelist and essayist. He has won several international literary awards. He is Editor-at-large at El American // Emmanuel Rincón es abogado, escritor, novelista y ensayista. Ganador de diversos premios literarios internacionales. Es editor-at-large en El American

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