Argentina’s President Fernández: Leadership Means Understanding History, and “Distinguishing Between Strategy and Tactics”

On July 31, the day on which Argentina was forced into “selective default” by the murderous vulture funds and their imperial backers, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner gave several speeches, on the occasion of signing agreements on the debt restructuring of 13 provinces. Addressing her country’s current situation, she spoke of universal themes, focusing especially on the many young people who were present in the audience.

Now, she said, is the time for real national unity—rising above parties and factions, to “defend the future.” Politics, she said, “is really history, the history of generations…. I am committed to those generations, those of the past, the present and of the future…. To you youngsters, I say, learn history!… Let no one fool you. The leader is one who understands history, and appropriately interprets reality, who knows how to distinguish between strategy and tactics … and leads his people and his own forces, in the direction of victory.”

She recalled that one of her late husband and former President Nestor Kirchner’s great strenghs was that “[he told us] that we could change what we were told we couldn’t do.” They told us if we didn’t obey the IMF, we’d fall off the end of the Earth, “and he said, no, no we won’t fall off the end of the Earth…. He broke pre-established molds, mental shackles…. He broke the limitations that had been imposed on us from the outside, and expanded limits for everyone.”

Fernández recalled that in February 2004, when Argentina was devastated, he told the financiers that the country could only pay 25% of its debt, warning “If we pay more, it will have to be paid … with the hunger of our people, and it will be a new genocide on the backs of the Argentine people that we cannot allow again.” And, he added, “We wish to live integrated with the world, but it is also time for that world to put a stop to the vulture funds and the insatiable banks which seek to profit from an Argentina that is broken and in pain and needs a hand of solidarity from the world to recover.”

What has happened with Argentina today “causes me pain,” she explained, “because the world requires a different system, one more fair and just, in every sense.” The world today is “profoundly unjust and profoundly violent, and this is not just the violence of wars. What we Argentines have had to live through is also violence. When missiles are fired in war, they cost the lives of women and children; but when they are financial, such as those [fired in] 2001, they also cost lives, dreams, and illusions.” In the current situation, she said, Argentines should remain calm, because life goes on. “I feel a great responsibility as President of the nation,” she emphasized, saying she wanted to go down in history “as the President who defended the interests of all Argentines.”

Making clear that Argentina is operating from a position of strength, because it has other options besides capitulating to the forces of Empire, President Fernández reported that her government will use all the legal instruments at its disposal to deal with the current situation, and is willing to dialogue. But people should be clear. “I think the crux of the matter is this: They know that if there is a viable nation, it’s Argentina. Why? Because we have four fundamental things for the 21st century: We have energy—we will become self-sufficient—we have food…. We’re the eighth country in the world in terms of territory … much of which is habitable and can be cultivated just about anywhere…. In addition, we have very highly-skilled human resources, and we have invested a great deal in science and technology. That’s why, because we are a nation, and we’ve become a viable nation, they want to destroy us.”

The mission now to have a “monolithic unity of all Argentines, because this is the path to the future. I’m the present, and just a very tiny piece of the future of coming days; you are the future of coming years, and all of you must defend what we’ve achieved.”

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