Buenos Aires, Argentina (PanAm) – Since he took office in December, Argentinean President Mauricio Macri has uncovered several boondoggles left behind by his predecessor, Cristina Kirchner. Examples of the Kirchners’ excesses include a derelict presidential palace and a party room for the vice president at a state bank.
The latest discovery is a commission that Kirchner created in 2011 to investigate Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO’s). You read that right.
After four years of allegedly looking into the matter, the Commission for the Study of Aerospace Phenomena (Cefae) produced a flimsy 12-page report in December — when Kirchner left office — analyzing a grand total of 10 sightings. If you were wondering, none of them were alien spaceships.
Argentinean journalist Sebastián Tortora summed up the findings after years of trying to figure out what Cefae actually did:
1. One sighting compatible with the Rigel star (β Orionis).
2. Three standard aeronautical night lights.
3. The combination of the satellite Envisat, the International Space Station ISS Zarya, and “star β Grulla.”
4. A small soccer ball thrown at short distance from the camera
5. The planet Jupiter, its quadrant coordinates coinciding perfectly with the time, hour, and location reported by the witness.
6. A bird crossing in front of the camera.
7. A pair of lights from an antenna
8. The Moon, its quadrant coordinates coinciding perfectly with the time, hour, and location reported by the witness [photo taken in daylight, it should be pointed out]
9. [Believe it or not] a case without a single photo or video
10. A helicopter
With such results, it’s no surprise that the document, uploaded to an obscure army website, bears no signatures. Furthermore, it covers UFO’s reported by the population between 2014 and 2015, leaving what they did during the previous years covered in mystery.
Sadly for the Argentinean taxpayer, Cefae, which allegedly employs geologists, engineers, pilots, radar technicians, computer experts, and meteorologists, did not reveal its operating costs.
Local outlet Hoy argues that, while the commission “organized, coordinated, and methodically carried out investigations into the possible causes of unidentified objects in the national airspace,” the Kirchner administration proceeded to “dismantle” the Argentinean Armed Forces.It also notes that Cefae became an appendix “of the San Martín National University (UNSM), which government officials — as former Planning Minister Julio de Vido and the indicted former Vice President Amado Boudou, for instance — used as a personal cash register.”
Under the Kirchner administration, UNSM inaugurated a degree in aerospace engineering, but Hoy claims that the AR$200 million (US$15 million) devoted to its funding was actually a screen to pay ruling party activists and to secure contracts for cronies.
In April 2012, one year after Cefae began its operations, officials claimed that “23 possible UFO sightings were under investigation.” They also said that they had received 102 complaints, 79 of which were discarded.
Tip of the Iceberg
Cefae is just one instance of the questionable use of public funds during the Kirchner administrations.
Last week, the Macri administration laid off 140 personnel at Military Industries, a state-owned firm under the Defense Ministry, after incoming officials discovered the army agency had a small news conglomerate: it ran a TV channel, a FM radio station, a newspaper, three magazines, and had 30 people allegedly proselytizing on Twitter.
Since 2011, Military Industries increased its payroll to 1,000 people. In Buenos Aires alone, it went from having 100 employees to 500.
The Macri administration suspects that Kirchner ran a “propaganda center” inside the facility, employing non-military personnel in social media, graphic design, journalism, and audiovisual production.