Kirchner uses Falklands as ‘smokescreen’
BUENOS AIRESArgentinean President Cristina Kirchner is using the Falkland Islands issue with the Britain as a smokescreen to cover domestic failings, a presidential aide has reportedly said, according to Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
A source close to the president conceded Kirchner knows her verbal attacks over the Falkland Islands are futile, but help to hide headlines over the country’s faltering economy. “She just wants to ruffle a few feathers,” the source said. “The islands are being used for political ends,” Mario Menéndez, the general who led Argentine troops during the Falklands War in the 1980s, told the daily.
Argentinian economy has been seen slowing sharply due to high inflation, a sluggish world economy, waning demand from top trade partner Brazil, a drought-hit 2011-12 grain crop and new trade and currency controls that have dented confidence. Argentina clocked zero growth in the second quarter of 2012, its weakest year-on-year performance since the third quarter of 2009, when the world was gripped by the worst of the financial crisis. The survey of 2,259 Argentines by polling company Management & Fit found that 60.6 percent of interviewees disapproved of Kirchner’s management.
Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, threatened Argentina with the “red card” if it does not improve the reliability of its data within 90 days. “Argentina isn’t a football team but a sovereign nation,” Kirchner said in response to Lagarde’s comments.