Saturday, July 14, 2012
If you want to publicly criticize Argentina’s government, make sure all your tax filings are in order.
That was the thinly veiled message President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner sent Wednesday near the end of a speech broadcast on all national television and radio stations. Reiterating her standard criticism that media “operations” are depressing Argentinians with gloom-and-doom stories, she derided an article published last Sunday. ... In the story, the owner of a real-estate agency, one of its directors and an employee were quoted complaining that recent government measures essentially blocking the sale of foreign currency to citizens had paralyzed their business.
Kirchner then dropped this bit of information: the firm in question hasn’t filed taxes since 2007 and neither has the director quoted in the story, whom she named.
How did she know? She had called up the head of the tax agency to ask, and this, too, she openly revealed on Wednesday’s broadcast. ... [B]y saying that she had called the taxman out of supposed concern for the real-estate agency, she unabashedly established cause and effect: you criticize me; I punish you.