February 5, 2013
By Elisabetta Piqué
ROME.- "The ‘creative’ lies of the Argentine friends: Maradona, Kirchner and false statistics." This was the heading of the cover page article in the daily Corriere della Sera, which on the basis of the motion of censure issued by the IMF to Argentina a few days ago, dedicated a long and harsh article to the diverse “lies” which have been told in our country over time.
These range from those surrounding the myth of Evita, those told during the dictatorship, revisiting Menem’s 1-to-1 which led to the default of the tango bonds, as they are known there, among others.
“Candidates all lie at election time. And so many governors tell lies both during and after the exercise of their functions. But then there is the case of Argentina, where exaggeration, omission and a range of lies have become an affair of state, a die-hard tradition” begins the article written by Rocco Cotroneo, a freelancer working for the daily from Brazil.
The text goes on to say that “as if this were an entire nation that lies to the rest of the world. But of course this is not the case, and millions of serious and honest Argentines bear this out. And they are also suffering, like beaten dogs at the moment, when the government exposes itself to ridicule for the ‘nth time.”
The article says that “Cristina Kirchner, as did her husband Néstor before her, has been lying for years about inflation.” And it goes on to say that the weekly The Economist refuses to publish official Argentine data which is “an unprecedented case for a democracy”.
This is followed by the disagreement with the IMF which has threatened a member country with expulsion for the first time, although this is highly unlikely. “Probably nothing will happen, but how long can Argentina go on like this?” asks Cotroneo, who also quotes Borges when he criticized the Peronists of his time, the spiritual gurus of Cristina” with his famous words: “They are neither good nor bad, merely incorrigible”.
The article published in Corriere, which was not included in the daily’s edition which reaches Argentina, underlines the current trend for historic revisionism which dealt with Evita Peron “Cristina’s maximum myth” and full of “little lies”. “She was born in 1919 not 1922 as she said. The Broadway musical then took it upon itself to glorify her humble origins and official propaganda has included this fiction ever since then,” says the journalist.
The dictatorship and Menem
The article goes on to deal with the dictatorship when “ The generals and murderers from the dictatorship lied long and hard to both the country and the world.” “Carlos Menem was unable to rid himself of this vice… he made the Argentines believe that one peso was worth the same as a dollar for ten years until its tragic demise,” he goes on, remembering the tragedy of the “tango bonds”, the Argentine bonds which became worthless for 300,000 Italians. The article continues with the famous hand of God moment for Maradona in the match against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter finals, when the footballer denied using his fist to score a goal but said this was the “hand of God”.
Towards the end, fortunately, the author admits that in all this sea of lies, the Italians do have some degree of responsibility: “over 50% of the blood flowing down the River Plate is ours,” he underlines.
He concludes remembering when Cristina told a Harvard student “I always talk to the press”, although “the President” has not given a press conference in seven years of government.” In fact she did give one after the triumph of the primary elections in August 2011.
Due to a mistake, the article did not make it into the Argentine edition.
Surprisingly, the article on the “creative lies” of Argentina, which was the cover story and took up a whole page in yesterday’s Corriere della Sera, was not included in the international edition produced in Buenos Aires. Consulted by La Nación, the director of the prestigious publication in Milan Ferruccio de Bortoli, said that this was due to “a mistake” for which he took complete responsibility and said that this article was available online.
Although probably unrelated to this episode, it should be remembered that President Cristina Kirchner four years ago brought a libel lawsuit against two journalists from the paper concerning an article published on June 4, 2008, which said that she had gone shopping to various luxury shops in this city while attending a FAO summit. In this case, the President offered to take the stand and gave a statement in a video conference at the end of last November at the Ordinary Court of Rome of the 6th Penal Section presided by the judge Elena Scozzarella. In the hearing it was clear that the article was based on false information.