Down in Argentina, where tango is king and fútbol is the national religion, the ex-first family is back in the news:
Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina was indicted again on corruption-related charges on Tuesday, and this time her son and daughter were also charged in a case involving a family real estate company.
The federal judge, Claudio Bonadio, said there was enough evidence to indict Mrs. Kirchner for conspiracy over allegations that businesses rented properties from the real estate company, Los Sauces, in exchange for public works contracts and other favors.
For the first time, Mr. Bonadio also indicted the former president’s children, Máximo and Florencia Kirchner, in the case that includes charges of money laundering and negotiations incompatible with public office.
The charges could lead to prison sentences of up to 10 years if the Kirchners are convicted. Mr. Bonadio also ordered the freezing of assets of about $8.5 million each for Mrs. Kirchner and her son, and $6.5 million for her daughter.
As my friend from Argentina said yesterday, “diós mío – where did they get all of that money?” Then he answered his own question: “El sistema. ¡La corrupción!”
The answer is sadly obvious. As my friend said, it’s the corrupt system that started many years ago. We call it “crony capitalism” up here, and they call it “el sistema” down there.
The allegations include kickbacks involving the renting of rooms in a hotel owned by the Kirchner family. By the way, the name “Kirchner” refers to her late husband, the man she followed in the presidency.
The ex-first family has been indicted on fraud and corruption charges relating to public works projects in Santa Cruz Province in southern Argentina. I guess there is always a public works project when we talk about corruption in Latin America.
First, there was Evita Perón, although she never became president. Second, there was the second Mrs. Perón, who did become president in the 1970s and resigned over corruption. Third, there is now President Cristina, who is apparently going down with her kids as well.
It all makes for some rather remarkable political drama, with President Cristina now tweeting her innocence and calling everything a witch hunt.
At least Evita had a Broadway play named after her. They still love her down there! She never became president, and that may have been a blessing.