June 19, 2013
'If inflation was at 25%, the country would explode'
President Cristina Fernández delivered an address at Georgetown University on US-Argentina bilateral relations, where the Head of State praised her administration as well the economical policies implemented. Likewise, the President played down her tense relation with the press by responding to a student's question: "I love talking to the press, and I do it all the time."
The speech is the inaugural event of the "Cátedra Argentina", a new forum at Georgetown for lectures and conferences on Argentina, given by experts from the US as well as visiting Argentine government officials, business leaders, politicians and representatives of civil society.
During her address, Fernández de Kirchner stressed that "Argentina is an example to the world when it comes to human rights."
Likewise, the Head of State praised the economical program her government as well the one from her late husband President Néstor Kirchner conducted, and stressed that "Our government has been pushing forward a re-industrialization model, betting on the domestic market", and remembered that "Argentine workers wages are the best of all Latin America."
Furthermore, Fernández stressed that her government's model "does not believe there is such a thing as an antagonistic relation between Capital and Labor."
Before starting with the round of questions, the President tried to break the ice by cracking a joke that felt quite akward among the audience: "Do you know why the US is the only country in the whole American continent where military coups are not perpetrated? Because they have no US embassies on its territory."
Fernández also stressed that she "would love to be able to print dollars, but this is not the case", and remembered, "Even though we are not the ones printing them, Argentina's economy is dollar-dependent, culturally speaking. Not for nothing, and Outside of the United States, Argentina is the country where the most dollar bills circulate with and average of 1,300-1,700 dolalrs per citizen."
When asked about the controversy generated around the dubious rates and indexes release by the INDEC's statistics agency such as the inflation rate, the President ubligingly responded by asking what the US annual inflation rate was, to then unwittingly add: "but give me the official rate".
Informed it was around 2% on annual average, Fernández de Kirchner just said: "Oh, really? Come on! And you believe that? If Argentina's inflation rate was at 25% like some people say, the country will blow up in the air". With that considered as an answer, then the microphone was handed to another student.
Later today, the Head of State will meet with Inter American Development Bank’s (IDB) Chairman Luis Alberto Moreno, to then return to New York City, where she will meet Exxon oil corporation CEO Rex Tillerson on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, the President will head into the Harvard University for a public address before returning to Argentina.
It is the President's third day of her official visit to the United States. Yesterday, Fernández de Kirchner spoke before the General Assembly of the United Nations.