Alberto Fernández left this morning from his offices in Puerto Madero, in the City of Buenos Aires, driving his own vehicle, with the window down and greeting his followers. On the way he was accompanied by thousands of people, and a large crowd had already gathered in front of Parliament.
As a symbol of political conciliation, Fernandez entered the Legislative branch pushing outgoing Vice President Gabriela Michetti in her usual wheelchair.
“I, Alberto Angel Fernandez, swear by God, the homeland and the holy gospels, perform with patriotism the position of president of the nation,” said new head of Executive as he was sworn in as President. The traditional phrase was also followed by the new vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
The oath was answered in the celebration by legislators allied to Fernandez, with songs typical of Peronist militancy. The Argentine Congress was full of shouts and constant interruptions that then followed by the usual transfer of the presidential sash from the hands of former president Mauricio Macri. Both men embraced, and Fernandez thanked him.
First speech of Fernández
In his first words before the local Parliament, Fernandez stressed the importance of having ended the dictatorship: “I renew my democratic commitment, and the coexistence of Argentines beyond their differences,” he said.
At the same time, he promised “to call for the unity of all of Argentina, in pursuit of the construction of a new citizen into a fraternal and supportive contract”. In agreement, he said, “ There are more than 15 million who suffer from food insecurity and it is time to reach those that have been last first and then all with social justice. “It is time to reach the last, and then all, with social justice. He followed that with his first objective that will be to promote the Argentina Against Hunger plan: “One of every two children is poor, and without bread, there is neither present nor future”.
At the same time, the new president pointed out that the Department of Health will once again have the rank of a Ministry, because during the Macri Administration it had been reduced to a Secretariat. In addition, he confirmed that he will declare “a health emergency”, to guarantee the right of the medical attention for all the population.
“Argentina wants to pay its debt, but today it cannot do so”
Likewise, he reiterated that there will be “a present State”, to favor the national productive forces, with financing at low rates. Along these lines, he also announced benefits for the sectors of the popular economy. On the other hand, he criticized the economic measures of Macri’s government, and raised the need to reverse the crisis, “with emergency solidarity”. In addition, he said that the Frente de Todos will not give Parliamentary consideration to the recent draft budget presented by Macri’s followers.
“We must end the burden of debt. The government that is ending its term is leaving the country in a situation of virtual default,” warned Fernández. “We have inherited a fragile country,” he said. Regarding Macri’s financial commitments to the International Monetary Fund, he stressed: “To be able to pay, you have to grow first. We will seek a constructive relationship with the IMF and its creditors. The country wants to pay, but now it lacks the capacity to do so”.
“Never Again a Contaminated Justice System.”
Fernandez is a lawyer, and he placed a strong emphasis on “judicial persecution with a certain media complacency,” which included “arbitrary detentions” against political opponents, induced – in his view – by the ruling class. “A well-known criminalist said that if politics goes to court, justice goes out the window.”
From its point of view, the previous government used part of the Judicial Branch to persecute opposition leaders. Thus, paraphrasing a typical saying used against the 1976 dictatorship, he said: “Never again will we have an extortive judicial system, contaminated by the intelligence services”.
“Not one less must be the flag of all society.”
In his speech he also dedicated some moments to the vulnerable situation of many women in Argentina, a country with a high rate of femicide: “Not one less should be the flag of all society. At the same time, he promised to carry out institutional measures to protect this social group who have been the protagonists of large mobilizations against male violence in recent years. In this regard, he promised to improve their working conditions and stressed that most domestic tasks tend to fall on the women.
Fernandez strongly emphasized the reconciliation that needs to take place in Argentina. “We have to overcome the wall of resentment and hatred among Argentines,” but he pointed out that the most important wall “is that of hunger, which leaves millions of men and women outside”.
On the ideological division that crosses a large part of the population, he said: “I do not want my words to be a monologue; I want them to be a profound reflection. We have to heal several wounds in our homeland. Betting on the crack would be the same as jumping into the abyss. I want to learn from my mistakes, and not stand on a pedestal, because all truth is relative.”