Katopodis, about the attack on Cristina: "There's no doubt there was a plan"

Katopodis, about the attack on Cristina: "There’s no doubt there was a plan"

For Katopodis, “there is no doubt that there was a plan” to assassinate Cristina Fernández


The Minister of Public Works, Gabriel Katopodis, considered this Wednesday that “There is no longer any doubt that there was a plan” by “a gang that was organized” to assassinate Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and asked “the entire political leadership to understand that living in an Argentina in peace must be a premise.”

“There is no doubt that there was a plan and that there was a gang that was organized premeditated with the aim of assassinating the Vice President,” said Katopodis, about the attempted assassination of the former president last Thursday, September 1, when entering his home in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta.

In statements to Télam, the minister criticized that “some prosecutors, judges and even political leaders did not want to recognize the assassination attempt until a few days ago.”

Photo: Daniel Dabove

Along these lines, he maintained: “Now there is no room for doubt and that is why today the condemnation has to be even clearer than when the event occurred because in this way we are going to reaffirm how we want to live in Argentina and on what bases of democratic coexistence we want to live” .

On the other hand, regarding the trial against the former president and other defendants in the so-called ‘Caso Vialidad’, Katopodis stated: “There is no doubt that there is a political persecution and that they are seeking to persecute the Vice President because not only do they go against her figure, but fundamentally they want to attack everything she represents.”

They are breaking with the basic consensus that existed in Argentina, which was that they competed at the polls and whoever won was respected. Now, with these mechanisms and these processes of serious events that the Vice President experienced, what is sought is to break with those basic consensuses that were an agreement of democracy, ”she asserted.

Photo Daniel Dabove
Photo: Daniel Dabove

The former mayor of San Martín maintained that “there is a clear decision by some sectors of national politics and some sectors of justice to rewrite history and eliminate Peronism because they do not want a popular government process to be consolidated.”

“They need to interrupt this time, so that Peronism does not last in government for another 12 years and they are going to do it in every area, in the judicial sphere, persecuting our leaders,” he added.

In that context, Katopodis advanced that “Peronism and its people will have the basic clarity to always go out on the street to defend our rights. There will always be a response from the militancy in the street to each attack on Peronism.”

Regarding the call for dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition, the minister pointed out that “defending democratic coexistence requires a resounding repudiation of what happened to the Vice President and then being able to sit down at a table and agree on how we want live because the limits were pushed away”.

Photo Daniel Dabove
Photo: Daniel Dabove

“This is not fixed in a television channel but with more politics and more dialogue with those who think the same and with those who do not think the same as us. It is built with what the majority of Argentines want because, even the majority of Macrismo voters, want to live in a country in peace, ”he said.

Katopodis concluded that “all political leaders, both the ruling party and the opposition, must understand that living in peace must be a premise that must be understood.”

On the Budget and public works

Katopodis highlighted the item of almost $ 1 billion for public works provided for in the 2023 Budget sent by the Executive Power to Congress, and maintained that this “doubling of investments” foreseen in the project reflects the Government’s conviction of the “great engine” that this policy represents, within the framework of an agenda “with a deep federal character.”

“We are ending the year with an execution of 100% of our budget: more than $600,000 million throughout the country and we are submitting a Budget to Congress that almost doubles that item. We are reaching almost a billion pesos in public works, which is a very important record,” Katopodis told Télam.

The minister also stressed that “the idea always appears that public works can be the adjustment variable”, but pointed out that “there is a government decision that is reflected in a budget that, even in this context, doubles those investments”.

Katopodis highlights that the 2023 Budget doubles the resources for public works


– How is the public work developing?
-We are ending the year with an execution of 100% of our budget. More than $600,000 million is what we are going to end up executing throughout the country and we are submitting a Budget to Congress that almost doubles that amount. We are reaching almost a billion pesos in terms of the Public Works budget, which is a very important record. Public works were a great engine in these years, in coming out of the pandemic, in the recovery of employment, in boosting part of the economy. There are 23 consecutive months of recovery in the construction sector, with more than 430,000 jobs. A historical record. There are more than 5,300 works that we are executing today throughout Argentina.

Will there be adjustments in public works to comply with the ordering of public accounts committed to with the IMF?
-When negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or now that we are in a complex context, where there is a need to order and strengthen public accounts, the idea always appears that public works can be the adjustment variable. But the truth is that there is a government decision that is reflected in a budget that, even in this context, doubles those investments. We are betting again with a budget that will be close to a billion pesos, but fundamentally it will allow us to continue supporting a portfolio of routes, roads, aqueducts, water works, bridges, schools, gardens. An agenda that, moreover, has a deep federal character.

How did the budget for public works evolve in the years of your management?
-The public works budget since we started the administration and with what we are presenting for 2023, represents 598% more between Macri’s last budget and the one we are presenting. There is a huge gap between what we execute and what we receive from the previous government. In these four years, the public works budget has grown by almost 600%, well above inflation. We are almost 350 percentage points above the inflation accumulated in three years, and that allows that today the shipment of cement and iron, the participation of companies, jobs, all the indicators of the construction sector are giving a result absolutely positive.

-And how was the evolution in terms of participation in the national budget?
-During the macrismo, investment in public works, especially between 2018 and 2019, was below 20% of the national budget. We are surely above 40% of the entire national budget. We are doubling the participation in the Budget, between what the macrismo executed and what we are executing. There is no doubt. The investment in public works capital in the 2023 Budget will represent more or less 80% of the budget. This means that the National Budget is going to be, in some way, strongly guiding everything that is investment in capital.

What conclusion do you draw from the audit opinion that requests the removal of the concession in the North and West accesses?
-That of tolls is a very serious issue: the previous government, in 2018, decided in an absolutely arbitrary way to extend a contract for 10 years, that is, a business for 10 years, through a decree without any type of public tender. In addition, it decided to grant the concessionary companies the recognition of an alleged debt that at no point in the proceedings appears any explanation or justification of how it originates and is determined. A debt of more than US$ 500 million for Ausol (Acceso Norte) and US$ 270 million for Grupo Concesionario del Oeste (GCO), and, fundamentally, they decide to dollarize that debt, in a framework where all contracts in Argentina are pesified . This was an exception, and these companies were clearly granted a privilege, an absolutely advantageous and ruinous situation for all Argentines.

“We need the contract to be annulled and the highways to return to the head of the State”

The Minister of Public Works confirmed that In the next few days, a criminal complaint will be filed with the federal justice for the irregularities detected in the 10-year extension of the road concessions of the North and West accesses arranged by the management of Mauricio Macri and that its annulment will be requested with the conviction that the management of the highways must be in the hands of the State.

“A legal action is going to be initiated in federal justice, which is the only area that has the authority and competence to annul a contract. Us we need this contract to be annulled and that the highways return to the head of the State”, Katopodis stressed in an interview he gave to Télam.

The minister advocated that “this real business be interrupted, stopped” that the macrista management carried out “with the tolls and that they also did it with the Post Office, with the public-private participation concessions (PPP), and in every place in the State that they touched, taking advantage of it to do business.”

“They (referring to the opposition coalition Together for Change) have been stating that they are an expression of transparency and honesty, that throughout their administration it was a symbol of making things clear, but the issue of tolls is an issue more, not the only one, where that discourse clearly has no bearing on reality”, Katopodis stressed.

He pointed out that the macrismo “extended the toll contracts and unfoundedly determined a debt in favor of the companies, that dollarized it”.

“The way they found to make this debt effective, so that the companies could collect those millions of dollars, was not only to extend that contract but fundamentally to use the toll system as a means of payment,” the official stressed.

Thus, the head of the infrastructure portfolio remarked that “all Argentines, every time we use any of these highways, we are contributing, obliged, to pay on behalf of the national State that presumed debt to these businessmen.”

In this sense, in line with what was expressed last week by President Alberto Fernández, Katopodis recalled that the government of Cambiemos – today Together for Change – resolved to “dollarize the rate, and what today costs $ 100 is transformed and updated at an absolutely irrational value of $1,200, which was what was established in the contracts and rate updates.”

“It was what they fundamentally needed so that, in these 10 years until 2030, with the use of those road corridors and highways, Let all of us Argentines carry this debt on our backs, which has no foundation or serious element as to how it was determined.”, concluded the minister.

Through a decree published last Thursday in the Official Gazette, President Alberto Fernández ordered the initiation of legal action to nullify the concession contracts for the highways of the North and West accesses to the companies Autopistas Del Sol SA (Ausol ) and Grupo Concesario del Oeste (GCO), respectively.

According to the contracts signed at the time of Macri, and as requested by the companies, in some toll stations they should be paying 1,830 pesos if the Government had not acted months ago to establish the values.

In its article 1, Decree 633/2022, which bears the signature of the President, Minister Katopodis, and the Chief of Staff, Juan Manzur, states: “They are declared harmful to the general interest, by virtue of the existence of serious vices that affect its legitimacy, Decrees Nos. 607 and 608 of July 2, 2018, respectively, approving the Comprehensive Contractual Renegotiation Agreements of the Concession Contracts of the North Access and the West Access to the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, by virtue of what is stated in the recital of this measure”.

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