Argentina: President Fernández's Speech Under Netizens’ Scrutiny

On March 1, 2012, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's speech took place in the Senate (watch the complete video [es] or read the official transcript [es]), in a formal act which gave way to the regular sessions of the Senate and Representatives chambers. Twitter functioned as a centralizer of comments and discussion during its broadcast, and Internet users were publishing their opinions there with respect to the event.

The speech spanned over three hours and was shown as a national broadcast [es]. Some topics that were expected to be touched upon were the conflict with the United Kingdom over the Falklands and the train accident at the Once station, which took place on February 22. The Argentine President spoke with respect to this and also reached a balance regarding the state of the nation, explaining the goals and projects under her administration and demonstrating various statistics to support her words.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner during her speech on Senate grounds.  In the window to the right: an interpreter translating to sign language for the hearing disabled.  Source: 

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner during her speech on Senate grounds. In the window to the right: an interpreter translating to sign language for the hearing disabled. Source:

The Once tragedy

Nevertheless, there were moments throughout the speech that concerned a large quantity of Internet users, one on which the majority of them seemed to focus. For example, regarding the recent tragedy of the Once train, which left 51 dead and approximately 700 injured, the President spoke about finding those who were responsible and, once again, separated the State from taking any responsibility for the event.

Many users commented on this, such as journalist Guillermo Lobo (@GuilleLobo) [es], who, citing the President, explained [es] the money that was meant to be used to improve the trains versus how much it costs the State to broadcast a free soccer channel on public television:

CFK “Si no hicimos mas es xq no hay mas recursos” TBA recibió en 8 años $1925 millones. Un año de Fútbol y TC= $1400 millones.

CFK “If we did not do more it is because there are no more resources” TBA received $1925 million in 8 years.  One year of Soccer and TC = $1400 million

Adrián Sánchez Berger (@adriansb80) [es] tweeted [es] about the time dedicated to talking about victims of the tragedy:

#CFK 3h16m de discurso y solo 2 minutos dedicados a 51 muertos #once #tba #vamosportodo

#CFK A 3 hr 16 min-long speech and only 2 minutes dedicated to the 51 that were killed #once #tba #wearegoingallout

User Max (@maxito79) [es] stressed [es] the President's five days of silence following the train accident:

#CFK pidiendo 1 min de silencio x las víctimas de #ONCE : yo pensé q ya con los días d silencio q se había tomado era suficiente #Sarmiento

#CFK asking for 1 min of silence for the #ONCE victims: I thought that the days of silence already taken were enough #Sarmiento

Users Pie (@elpiegrande) [es] and Majo (@majogm) [es] also spoke (1, 2) [es] about how Cristina Fernández criticized Mauricio Macri (Head of the Buenos Aires city government and opponent of Cristina Kirchner) and the time she allotted to him for each topic:

Ah me confirman aqui que #CFK NO se hizo cargo de #once y le pide a #Macri que SI se haga cargo de la bomba de tiempo de los subtes

Ah, they confirmed that #CFK did NOT take responsibility for #once and asked #Macri that HE take responsibility for the subway time bomb

Le dedicó mas tiempo al subte y a MM [Mauricio Macri] que a los muertos de #once. Ahi tienen cuanto le importa. #CFK

She dedicated more time to the subway and MM [Mauricio Macri] than to those who died at #once. Now you see how important it is to her. #CFK

Criticism towards educators

Without a doubt, however, one of the points that caused the most uproar was her words regarding Argentine educators: the President affirmed [es] that educators worked only four hours and enjoyed three months of vacation. Critical reactions on Twitter were instantaneous, although it is worth highlighting also that various users balanced out these comments, explaining that the State has accomplished a lot for educators in recent years.

Educator Chechu (@MCBchechu) [es] tweeted [es] sarcastically:

Así q los docentes tenemos 3 meses d vacaciones… Me cagaron como 45 días entonces! Ya voy a hacer los reclamos corresptes! #CFK #Congreso

If we educators have 3 months of vacation… then they've cheated me out of 45 days! Now I'm going to make the corresponding complaints! #CFK #Congress

Cecilia Panuccio (@ceciliapanuccio) [es], a future teacher, expressed [es] her indignation, saying:

Estoy indignadísima. #CFK es la presidente de “todos los argentinos”, como ella dice. Cómo va a hablar así de los docentes? Q ejemplo está dando?

I am so outraged. #CFK is the President of “all Argentines,” as she says. How is she going to go and talk about educators like this? What example is she setting?

Much like many users, Mariana Agustina (@anillobencenico) [es] is troubled [es] by the President's statements despite supporting her administration:

#CFK yo te banco a muerte, pero los docentes NO tenemos tres meses de vacaciones. Media pila

#CFK, I support you until death, but we educators do NOT have three months of vacation. Come on.

User Ignacio Greborio (@nachogreborio) added [es] that:

Fueron desafortunadas la declaraciones de #CFK pero los docentes también son unos ingratos con lo que hizo este gobierno

#CFK's declarations were unfortunate but educators are also ungrateful for what this government has done

Pablo Corso Heduan (@corsopablo) explained [es]:

#CFK criticó más a los Docentes que a Macri: no tiene la más mínima idea del laburo que hacen los docentes para poder sobrevivir.

#CFK criticized educators more than Macri: she doesn't have the slightest idea of the hard work that educators do to be able to survive

Meanwhile, Federico Fernández (@federicofl) [es], who defines himself as a “pure Peronist” on his Twitter profile, wrote [es]:

… tengo una madre jubilada docente y peronista , muy satisfecha con el discurso de #CFK , Fuerza CRISTINA , Peronismo Revolucionario …

… I have a mother who is a retired educator and Peronist, very satisfied with #CFK's speech, Go CRISTINA, Revolutionary Peronism …

But many educators continued demonstrating their outrage on social networks, and various syndicates reached the media to respond to the President's wrongful claims, as the daily Clarín published [es]:

Ningún docente trabaja cuatro horas diarias, se hace mucho trabajo fuera de la escuela que nadie paga, por otra parte. Y los tres meses de vacaciones son una leyenda. Los docentes concurrimos a las escuelas hasta los últimos días de diciembre y luego a partir del 10, 12, 15 de febrero, a más tardar, estamos en las escuelas realizando las tareas preparatorias. […] la Presidenta evidenció un desconocimiento de la realidad que es muy sorprendente. […] Sentimos una mezcla de pena y bronca. Son palabras que lastimaron.

No educator works four hours a day, and they do so much work outside of the school that no one pays for, on the other hand. And three months of vacation are a myth. We educators attend school until the last days of December, and then after February 10, 12, and 15, are in school even later preparing lesson plans. […] the President showed ignorance towards reality, which is quite surprising. […] We feel a mix of pain and anger. Those words hurt.

Words and facts

Upon the conclusion of the head of state's speech, the @Chequeado‘s [es] Twitter account published [es] the following tweet:

Terminó el discurso de CFK: tenemos bastante trabajo, manden frases y fuentes para chequear #Chequeandoeldiscurso

CFK's speech is over: we have quite a bit of work, send in phrases and sources to check #checkingthediscourse

Website [es] defines itself as a nonpartisan site dedicated to verifying the statements of distinct politicians, economists, businessmen and public figures. One day after Cristina Fernández's speech, the website published an analysis of some of her claims. The report can be read at the following link: “The speech under a magnifying glass” [es].

It is also interesting to note, as Perfil published [es] the same day, that the President omitted and forgot the principal objective of the event:

[…] La mandataria omitió mencionar formal, protocolar y oficialmente el 130° período de sesiones ordinarias. Según consignó la asesora parlamentaria Sonia Buhler, “CFK habló más de 3 horas pero se olvidó de dejar inaugurado el período de sesiones ordinarias”.

[…] The leader failed to formally and officially mention the 130° period of regular sessions.  As parliamentary adviser Sonia Buhler stated, “CFK spent over 3 hours talking but forgot to inaugurate the period of regular sessions.”

Finally, the speech's reception on the very grounds of the Senate was very positive: the President received much applause during the speech, from distinct groups that came to support her government so much as the civil servants present there. Ambar (@zeinicienta) [es] made [es] a comment with respect to this, attributing it to the fact that these same civil servants recently went [es] from charging $18000 to $35000:

No podría haber público más receptivo al discurso de Cristina que ese grupo de personas que incrementaron sin obstáculos un 100% sus dietas.

There could not be a more receptive public to Cristina's speech than this group of people who increased their diets by 100% without any obstacles.

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