The first elected female president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, spoke about Argentina’s bilateral relationship with the United States and her administration’s economic policies in Copley Formal Lounge Wednesday.

Her speech marked the inauguration of “Catédra Argentina,” a new Georgetown lecture series that includes lectures and conferences on Argentina by representatives from Argentina and the U.S.

“Our government has been pushing forward a reindustrialization model, betting on the domestic market,” Kirchner said. “This is a huge move forward from the collapse that happened in 2001 when we were running a debt over 160 percent of the GDP.”

Dismissing notions of an antagonistic relationship between Argentina and the International Monetary Fund, Kirchner argued that the country has paid off its debt to the organization, and in return, the country now has full autonomy over its economic policies.

According to Kirchner, Argentina has paid back $25 out of every $100 lent to the country after it defaulted in 2001.

“We restructured our debt in 2005 and now have corrected nearly 94 percent,” she said. “That said, we still have no access to capital markets so everything is being paid without access to those markets.”

Kirchner also pointed out Argentina’s social reconstruction, including investments in education, science and technology.

Nearly 900 scientists who left the country after the 2001 collapse have returned because of an increase in resource allotment in those fields, and according to Kirchner, Argentina has the highest number of software experts in South America.

Her speech also focused on employment improvements.

“We have created over 5.5 million jobs, and we have also succeeded in making our workers have wages that are the best in all of Latin America,” she said.

Concluding on an optimistic note, Kirchner assured the audience that today’s Argentina is a different, more stable country than the one that existed 10 years ago.

“We will continue to advance,” she said. “We will continue to recover things in our country and work with all of our Latin American compatriots to do so in our region as well.”

Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner spoke in Copley Hall Wednesday.
Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner spoke in Copley Hall Wednesday.

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