Thursday, September 27, 2012
Economic definitions were not the only surprises that came from the visit by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to Georgetown University. In her extensive exchange with the students, the president said that she speak “a lot” with the press and also defended her colleague in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, of whom she highlighted his “democratic conception.”
“Why do we in Georgetown have the opportunity to speak with you when you haven’t spoken with the press in Argentina for many years?” asked Gavin, making an effort to speak in Spanish which the President praised before speaking. “It’s not like that. No. Not at all,” she said. “I talk to them every day. I speak a lot with the press, when I go to events, they interview me,” she argued before the confused gaze of the journalists present, who didn’t participate in the round of questions.
While she acknowledged that she doesn’t give “regular press conferences – it’s true that I don’t like it,” the President argued that she speaks “a lot” with credited journalists at the Casa Rosada and said that “what happens is that in Argentina to not talk to the press is not to say that they want to listen.” She recalled the sharp clash that Minister Florencio Randazzo had with a reporter during a press conference. “If they don’t like the response you give them, they scream, they protest. Once they kicked a door on us, a reporter from a newspaper of prestige ….no. An old newspaper,” she corrected herself.
She also praised U.S. culture, where the media “clearly state who they align themselves with” and warned that those in government are not “to make press conferences the center of their leadership” while they should “guarantee publicity for their actions.”
Minutes after these assertions, the accredited reporters from the Casa Rosada denied her statements through a statement, in which they pointed out that the president has no permanent dialogue with them and pointed to her last press conference which was on August 15, 2011.
At the end of the chat came the turn of a Venezuelan to ask a question. “I am Manuel Figueredo, from Caracas,” he said, provoking a comment from the President under her breath: “Mmm ... I already saw you,” it was. The student asked what she would do if Chavez loses the election and doesn’t acknowledge the result. “Would you condemn the new regime?” he asked.
Cristina said that “there must not be a Latin American president that has been through more elections than Chavez” and that “there is no precedent for saying that he won’t recognize the result, whatever it would be. Chavez is my friend and that is public and well-known,” she said, then praising the “climate of liberty” in Venezuela and asked for “acceptance that there are people who think differently.”