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Cristina Kirchner's 11 Worst Gaffes Ever

Cristina Kirchner's 11 Worst Gaffes Ever
Worldcrunch

Argentine President and faux pas expert Cristina Kirchner graced us with yet another verbal woopsie Wednesday, when she tweeted, while on a state visit to China seeking investment:

Más de 1.000 asistentes al evento… ¿Serán todos de “La Cámpola” y vinieron sólo por el aloz y el petlóleo? …

— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) February 4, 2015

"More than 1000 people attending the event, are they all from "La Cámpola" and did they just come for the lice and petloleum?"

The comment was meant as a comeback to criticism that she packs events with her own supporters — but the point she was trying to make was somehow completely obliterated by the fact she thinks Chinese people talk funny.

This, obviously, is far from being CFK's first slip — she's become somewhat of a pro in the ancient art of inappropriate zingers and WTF remarks, and could easily take on the mantle left by the slowly quieting Silvio Berlusconi.

It's not clear where this latest one fits in the rankings of Kirchner blunders and awkward comments, but here are ten more from the past:

#10. PARANOID, MUCH?

We start with this impressive, completely uncensored, 28 tweet- and 30 minute-long rant, in which Kirchner vented all her frustrations about the International Monetary Fund (IMF, or FMI in Spanish), back in February 2013.

FMI+FBI contra Argentina. No se asusten, el FBI son los Fondos Buitres Internacionales.

— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) February 2, 2013

"FMI+FBI against Argentina. Dont be scared, the FBI is the International Vulture Fund."



#9. WISHFUL THINKING

“If I were a genie I’d make some people disappear.” A bewitching threat from CFK back in January 2010.



#8.
DOCTOR K

“Diabetes is a rich person’s illness, because they’re sedentary and eat a lot,” said Kirchner in March 2013. A vintage year apparently.



#7.
XENOPHOBIC EUROPE

In August 2012, an inexplicably elated Cristina refers to Chaco Province Governor Jorge Capitanich saying “He’s dark-skinned. He seems kind of indigenous, but he isn’t. He comes from Europe, from xenophobic Europe.”



#6. MODESTY

"I feel a little bit like Napoleon," she quipped in March 2012.



#5. MODESTY PART II


“I love building. I must be the reincarnation of a great Egyptian architect.”



#4.
MODESTY PART III


“One should only fear God. And me. A little. At least the government employees who depend on me for their appointments.” (March 2012)



#3. BASICS

“In chemistry the only thing I learned was that water is H20. That’s as far as I got,” Kirchner confessed back in 2012, no doubt appreciated by all of Argentina's high school science teachers.


#2. CFK NOT REALLY PC

“How wonderful it is to see our dark-skinned people — some call them blacks, we call them dark-skinned — enrolling in public universities,” Kirchner said in August 2012.



#1. WHAT NOW?

“The consumption of pork meat improves sexual activity. That’s no small thing. Besides, I think it’s much more satisfying to eat barbequed pork than it is to take a Viagra. Let me tell you, I’m crazy about pork.” (January 2010)

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Geopolitics

How Thailand's Lèse-Majesté Law Is Used To Stifle All Protest

Once meant to protect the royal family, the century-old law has become a tool for the military-led government in Bangkok to stamp out all dissent. A new report outlines the abuses.

Pro-Democracy protest at The Criminal Court in Bangkok, Thailand

Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra

"We need to reform the institution of the monarchy in Thailand. It is the root of the problem." Those words, from Thai student activist Juthatip Sirikan, are a clear expression of the growing youth-led movement that is challenging the legitimacy of the government and demanding deep political changes in the Southeast Asian nation. Yet those very same words could also send Sirikan to jail.

Thailand's Criminal Code 'Lèse-Majesté' Article 112 imposes jail terms for defaming, insulting, or threatening the monarchy, with sentences of three to 15 years. This law has been present in Thai politics since 1908, though applied sparingly, only when direct verbal or written attacks against members of the royal family.


But after the May 2014 military coup d'état, Thailand experienced the first wave of lèse-majesté arrests, prosecutions, and detentions of at least 127 individuals arrested in a much wider interpretation of the law.

The recent report 'Second Wave: The Return of Lèse-Majesté in Thailand', documents how the Thai government has "used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations."

Criticism of any 'royal project'

The investigation shows 124 individuals, including at least eight minors, have been charged with lèse-majesté between November 2020 and August 2021. Nineteen of them served jail time. The new wave of charges is cited as a response to the rising pro-democracy protests across Thailand over the past year.

Juthatip Sirikan explains that the law is now being applied in such a broad way that people are not allowed to question government budgets and expenditure if they have any relationship with the royal family, which stifles criticism of the most basic government decision-making since there are an estimated 5,000 ongoing "royal" projects. "Article 112 of lèse-majesté could be the key (factor) in Thailand's political problems" the young activist argues.

In 2020 the Move Forward opposition party questioned royal spending paid by government departments, including nearly 3 billion baht (89,874,174 USD) from the Defense Ministry and Thai police for royal security, and 7 billion baht budgeted for royal development projects, as well as 38 planes and helicopters for the monarchy. Previously, on June 16, 2018, it was revealed that Thailand's Crown Property Bureau transferred its entire portfolio to the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

photo of graffiti of 112 crossed out on sidewalk

Protestors In Bangkok Call For Political Prisoner Release

Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire

Freedom of speech at stake

"Article 112 shuts down all freedom of speech in this country", says Sirikan. "Even the political parties fear to touch the subject, so it blocks most things. This country cannot move anywhere if we still have this law."

The student activist herself was charged with lèse-majesté in September 2020, after simply citing a list of public documents that refer to royal family expenditure. Sirikan comes from a family that has faced the consequences of decades of political repression. Her grandfather, Tiang Sirikhan was a journalist and politician who openly protested against Thailand's involvement in World War II. He was accused of being a Communist and abducted in 1952. According to Sirikhan's family, he was killed by the state.

The new report was conducted by The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Thai Lawyer for Human Rights (TLHR), and Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw). It accuses Thai authorities of an increasingly broad interpretation of Article 112, to the point of "absurdity," including charges against people for criticizing the government's COVID-19 vaccine management, wearing crop tops, insulting the previous monarch, or quoting a United Nations statement about Article 112.

Juthatip Sirikan speaks in front of democracy monument.

Shift to social media

While in the past the Article was only used against people who spoke about the royals, it's now being used as an alibi for more general political repression — which has also spurred more open campaigning to abolish it. Sirikan recounts recent cases of police charging people for spreading paint near the picture of the king during a protest, or even just for having a picture of the king as phone wallpaper.

The more than a century-old law is now largely playing out online, where much of today's protest takes place in Thailand. Sirikan says people are willing to go further on social media to expose information such as how the king intervenes in politics and the monarchy's accumulation of wealth, information the mainstream media rarely reports on them.

Not surprisingly, however, social media is heavily monitored and the military is involved in Intelligence operations and cyber attacks against human rights defenders and critics of any kind. In October 2020, Twitter took down 926 accounts, linked to the army and the government, which promoted themselves and attacked political opposition, and this June, Google removed two Maps with pictures, names, and addresses, of more than 400 people who were accused of insulting the Thai monarchy. "They are trying to control the internet as well," Sirikan says. "They are trying to censor every content that they find a threat".

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