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Column 020215 Brewer

Monday, February 2, 2015

Argentine President is again mired in Corruption Allegations

By Jerry Brewer

President Cristina Fernandez of Argentina continues to lose her credibility on a world stage, much beyond the recent events in the alleged suicide of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman on January 18.

In Nisman’s death, he was found collapsed against the bathroom door of his apartment with a bullet wound in his head – a 22-caliber handgun nearby. A security camera in the service elevator of his apartment building was not working, and there were no cameras in its stairwell. This just hours before he was to testify before Argentina’s National Congress regarding a criminal complaint he filed against President Fernandez and her inner circle. 

Nisman, an Argentine prosecutor since 2005, had been adamantly seeking justice in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured hundreds more. Nisman claimed that Iran was behind the bombing, and that the Argentine government was trying to block his efforts to prove it. He claimed they were making secret deals to forgive Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing in exchange for increased trade and access to Iran’s energy market.

And today, reportedly, hundreds of hours of wiretapped phone calls that Nisman collected have yet to surface.

Nisman was described with a reputation as an independent and fearless prosecutor.  Boldly, he had stated that he had definitive proof that the Argentine government had tried to negotiate the deal to safeguard Iranian officials from prosecution in the 1994 attack.

President Fernandez was quick to label Nisman's death a suicide on her Facebook page. But she eventually said that she believed the “suicide was no suicide,” calling it an attempt to smear her reputation.

The alleged and described alliance and secret pact with Iran is reminiscent of the deception, subterfuge and allegations of corruption against Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez, and his own dealings and loyalty to Iran. President Fernandez has been described as a Hugo Chavez protégé.

Throughout Chavez's tenure as Venezuela's leftist leader, he willingly embraced the Iranians and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Chavez's hypocrisy was graphically demonstrated to a world audience as he supported the Iranian regime and its virulent anti-Semitism, and his stubborn denial of the Holocaust as well as Iran's quest for nuclear armaments.

As for Ahmadinejad, he repeatedly called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

Chavez was no stranger to the Middle East and the related circle of terror networks lurking and conspiring to do harm to the Western Hemisphere.  In 2001 Chavez paid state visits to Iran, Iraq, and Libya.  Fidel Castro was quick to follow his protégé with visits to Syria, Libya, and Iran.  Chavez signed cooperation agreements with Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, and Iran's ruling mullahs.  Iran eventually became the second largest investor in Venezuela.  

Venezuelan Jewish leaders complained about "verbal attacks against Venezuelan Jews by Chavez and members of his PSUV party." The administration had also been accused of "ignoring and encouraging various crimes committed against Venezuela's Jewish community," including the vandalism of a synagogue and an attack on a Jewish community center in Caracas in 2009.

During the presidency of her late husband, Nestor Kirchner (2003-2007), he was quoted in a speech to Venezuela's National Assembly as saying, "Venezuela represents a true democracy fighting for the dignity of its people." And President Kirchner's remaining days in office closely followed his alignment with much of the Chavez doctrine.

Subsequently Argentina descended to shamefully achieve the reputation of "a pariah state among international creditors," due to loan defaults, according to Bloomberg Business.

As well, Chavez was later accused of funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to the presidential campaign of Kirchner’s wife, Cristina Fernandez.

Taking a page from the socialist doctrine of Chavez on expropriation, under President Fernandez, Argentina announced the seizure of a controlling interest in the YPF oil company, 51 percent of which was owned by Repsol of Spain. This action mirrored many of Chavez's actions in nationalizing businesses in Venezuela.  As well, Fernandez parroted Chavez in a fire-and-brimstone speech on TV in which she blamed "foreigners" for the energy shortages plaguing her country.

In what raised many eyebrows worldwide, in 2012 President Fernandez joined neighboring leftist governments in voting to support a Palestinian state, this with a large Jewish population in Argentina that has been victimized by terrorist bombings.

Claims of breaches in trust, malfeasance and associated skullduggery were hurled at President Fernandez in April 2013, as an estimated one million people took to the streets of Buenos Aires to protest. This was the third mass protest against her rule since the previous year. Chants of "Defend Democracy and Justice," and calls for an end to impunity, echoed across the widest avenue in the world – Avenida 25 de Mayo – as many banged on pots and pans in symbolic unity of discontent with the government's actions and direction.

With respect to the Nisman incident, Fernandez has now shifted some of the blame to Argentina’s intelligence service (SI-Secretariat of Intelligence), and she recently announced its dissolution in favor of a newly designed “Federal Intelligence Agency.”

She claims the SI “has not served national interests.”

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Jerry Brewer is C.E.O. of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global threat mitigation firm headquartered in northern Virginia.  His website is located at www.cjiausa.org.

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