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Sun Mar 19, 2017, 06:47 PM

Pro-Macri Argentine newspaper forced to retract misquote of former Spanish Premier Felipe Gonzalez

The administration of Argentine President Mauricio Macri and one of its chief backers, the top Buenos Aires news daily Clarín, were forced to retract a claim made that former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González pressed Macri to have his predecessor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, "sent to jail" in order to "encourage foreign investment."

The widely-publicized claim, published in Clarín by their chief business writer Marcelo Bonelli on March 17, was based on a meeting Macri and González held in Madrid just hours before the Argentine president concluded his state visit to Spain on February 24.

González spokesman, Joaquín Tagar, called on Clarín to "rectify the article, which reflects neither the conversation itself nor Mr. González's thinking." Hours later, the former Prime Minister appeared via telephone at the Buenos Aires evening news program Minuto Uno to further repudiate the story.

"This is totally false," González told Minuto Uno host Gustavo Sylvestre. "It reflects neither the conversation itself, my own opinions, or my way of thinking. (Bonelli) put words in my mouth, as I never spoke to him or anyone else at Clarín."

Unnamed sources

The article cited only unnamed sources for the quote, which was corroborated by no one present at the meeting. Bonelli promptly issued a retraction, albeit an ambiguous one that seemed to impugn González's word while upholding the "trustworthiness" of his own sources.

Neither Macri nor anyone in his right-wing administration responded publicly to either González or Mrs. Kirchner, or to reports that Macri officials privately admitted to the news journal La Política Online that the exchange never in fact took place.

Macri himself had already created a similar controversy on September 20, when he falsely claimed British Prime Minister Theresa May had agreed to discuss the issue of sovereignty over the disputed Falkland Islands.

Eliminating political opponents

Plagued by severe recession, the Panama Papers revelations, and a number of high-dollar conflict-of-interest scandals, Macri and his surrogates have pursued charges against their embattled but still popular predecessor, Cristina Kirchner. Mrs. Kirchner leads polling for the key upcoming Senate race in Buenos Aires Province, the nation's largest, and remains a a top contender for the presidency in 2019 should she choose to run.

Support from the Clarín Group, part of the country's largest media conglomerate, was key to Macri's narrow electoral win in 2015, and both Clarín and its cable news arm, TN, routinely call for Mrs. Kirchner to be jailed while giving the increasingly unpopular Macri positive coverage.

For González, however, the controversy goes beyond merely lying. "Using the courts to eliminate political opponents is undemocratic and goes against my deepest convictions," he said.

"I just turned 75, and have been in politics for 50 years; but I'm still amazed sometimes."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.infonews.com%2Fnota%2F306549



Former Spanish Premier Felipe González: still amazed sometimes.

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