Argentina: VP Sentenced to Six Years on Corruption Charges

On Tuesday, Argentina's VP Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was sentenced to six years in prison and disqualified from holding public office after a federal court in Buenos Aires found her guilty of corruption during her earlier terms as president.

Argentina: VP Sentenced to Six Years on Corruption Charges
Image credit: Getty Images [via CNN]

Facts

  • On Tuesday, Argentina's VP Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was sentenced to six years in prison and disqualified from holding public office after a federal court in Buenos Aires found her guilty of corruption during her earlier terms as president.
  • The three-judge panel declared Fernández de Kirchner guilty of "fraudulent administration to the detriment of the state" for public work contracts in her stronghold province of Santa Cruz from 2007 to 2015, but rejected the charge that she ran a criminal organization.
  • Lázaro Báez, the owner of a construction firm and reportedly the main beneficiary of the scheme, was also sentenced to six years in jail following a 12-year prison term handed to him last year on money laundering charges.
  • Fernández de Kirchner will almost certainly appeal the decision, which could take years to resolve. As sitting VP, she's immune from arrest.
  • Following the verdict, Fernández de Kirchner announced that she wouldn't be running for any office in next year's elections, a move that would leave her without immunity after Dec. 10, 2023.
  • A survey conducted in November by the polling firm Zuban Córdoba y Asociados showed that almost two-thirds of the respondents had a negative image of Fernández de Kirchner, who has long been accused of corruption by her detractors. Meanwhile, she denies any wrongdoing and says the charges are politically motivated.

Sources: CNN, BA Times, BBC News, NBC, Mercopress, and Guardian.

Narratives

  • Left narrative, as provided by TeleSUR. This is a political witch hunt and disgrace to Argentina. Economic powers on the right are uniting to take down their political opponents in an unacceptable form of thuggery. The people of Argentina must stand behind their vice president and condemn this political persecution.
  • Right narrative, as provided by Economist. While Fernández de Kirchner and her supporters may claim foul play from the court, there's plenty of evidence that during the Kirchner rule, their family friend Báez was favored in public-works contracts. Yet, it's unlikely that she will be arrested in the coming years as this case could reach Argentina's Supreme Court, and a seat in Congress would be enough to grant her immunity.