Argentines concerned about a harsh recession have found themselves reminded of ghosts from their recent past. As Sonia Legg reports, former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has been indicted on charges she ran a corruption scheme with a public works secretary who was arrested in June while trying to stash millions of dollars in a convent.
It's more than a year since she stopped being President of Argentina but Cristina Fernandez is back in the headlines. She's been indicted on charges she ran a corruption scheme with a public works secretary. Jose Lopez was arrested in June trying to stash millions of dollars in a convent. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) 69-YEAR OLD ARGENTINE RETIREE, CARLOS GARCIA, SAYING: "She has to pay up. If you steal a chicken, you go to prison. But if you steal millions of pesos, nothing happens." Argentineans are struggling with a harsh recession. Many blame Fernandez, who favoured generous welfare programmes during her eight years in office. Mauricio Macri's new centre-right administration is trying to tackle the crisis. It says a new tax amnesty is helping, with $90 billion in assets declared so far. But economic activity in October was still 4.7 percent lower than a year earlier. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAN RANDOLPH, DIRECTOR OF SOVEREIGN RISK, IHS MARKIT, SAYING: "There have been a few upgrades in terms of outlook of ratings, but from a very high risk level. The normalisation of external relationships is extremely important and that would draw a line in the sand." On Monday the President also sacked his finance minister. Under Alfonso Prat-Gay's watch the currency lost a third of its value and annual inflation topped 40 per cent. The ministry will now be split in two and his replacements will have a tough job. More than 6,000 businesses have reportedly shut this year and 200,000 people have lost their jobs.