Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner may no longer have to worry about a criminal investigation regarding an alleged cover-up of the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history, but she is still rebuking her detractors. In a nearly four-hour speech before the Argentine Congress Sunday, the president lashed out at government critics, federal judges, Israel and prosecutor Alberto Nisman, whose abrupt death in January set off one of the biggest political scandals Kirchner has faced during her tenure.
Before Nisman was found dead in his apartment on Jan. 18, he had accused the president and several of her allies of colluding with Iranian officials to shield Iran’s role in the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA; Argentine Israelite Mutual Association), a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. But Kirchner said there were documents in Nisman’s safe from December and January that praised her international speeches on searching for justice for the bombing victims. According to Kirchner, one document signed by Nisman requested that the government appeal to the U.N. Security Council to order the accused Iranian perpetrators of the bombing to be extradited to Argentina.
“Which Nisman do I go with?” she asked, according to Argentine newspaper La Nación. “The one that accused me of a cover-up or the one that addressed me, recognizing everything we have done?”
“It’s Nisman vs. Nisman,” she added, saying the documents showed a stark contradiction between his attitude toward the government in December and the nearly 300-page complaint he filed against Kirchner in mid-January.
Kirchner initially supported early theories that Nisman’s death may have been a suicide. But last month she reversed course, suggesting he may have been used as a pawn by other parties looking to destabilize her government.
During her speech Sunday, she also took aim at Argentina’s Supreme Court, accusing it of failing to advance an investigation on the 1992 attack on Israel’s embassy in Buenos Aires. Similar to the 1994 bombing, no one has ever been convicted of perpetrating that attack.
Israel, she said, had also not done enough to bring the culprits of the embassy bombing to justice. “I don’t understand why the state of Israel demands justice for AMIA and not its own embassy,” she said.
The speech wasn’t confined to the Nisman case. Kirchner also spoke out against critics of her economic policies, including those who opposed the government’s bilateral financial accords with China. “How can we ignore the most important economy in the world?” she asked. “How can we not have relations with those who offer investments? You have to be stupid!”
Kirchner, whose presidential term limit expires in October, has faced one of the biggest tests of her political career in light of Nisman’s accusations. Last week, a federal judge threw out the case against her and several other political allies, saying there was not sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal investigation into any alleged cover-up. Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita, who resubmitted the charges after Nisman’s death, may still appeal the case.