Argentina is a country that has all the political climates in a matter of hours. Da to pasteurize, figuratively. On Saturday, the thermal jumped over the resignation of Martín Guzmán while Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner spoke (and demolished him). Scene worthy of a Netflix series. Perhaps objectionable by Borgen’s writers: too much parody tone, too much acceleration.
On Sunday, while ordinary people lived their normal day, the political-media microworld (a subculture that few of us integrate) was aware of rumors, operations, self-installations, efforts to fill the air on the radio and on TV.
The key to the day: President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner They had to talk, after months of silence. Put aside intransigence in the face of the magnitude of the financial-economic-political crisis. Show that they are cooperating to face it.
The resounding silence translated, for the moment, a congenital problem of the official coalition: the absence of dialogue, of organic instances, of mechanisms of consultation and decision of its referents. A harmful mechanism that (contrary to what is often said) does not affect other coalitions on the planet. The isolation was accentuated as time passed. The two protagonists moved away, they sent messages to each other privately or through speeches or reports. Yesterday it became sore that the system does not work. It was necessary to agree on a political gesture motivated by the need to restructure the Cabinet, to replace Guzmán, to suggest that the Government retains the helm, to cushion a “Black Monday” in the markets.
The call was delayed. From Olivos or from Kirchnerism the lack of talk was attributed to the other party. Various personalities mediated The head of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo Estela Carlotto intervened, spoke in her own way (cordial, sweet, with authority) to the president, recharged his batteries… the moment of the talk came when night was falling. Carlotto had been deserving the Nobel Peace Prize for profound reasons, for decades. It would be necessary to invent another Creole award for his constructive action of these hours.
As the days go by, dissimilar versions of that icebreaker talk will be revealed. It is premature to imagine if it will continue. It would be a mistake not to try. The coalition was born with an exotic format: an uneven binomial. Power in one hand is archetypal.
There were few triumvirates in Rome, around here in the 19th century, in the CGT. They are unstable, it seems, but at least a majority of two can be put together, to break the tie. Diarchies tend not to exist; the risks of stalemate or isolation are high. Even more convoluted is a diarchy made up of the leader as vice president and the president as candidate, elected by her first and then by the citizens.
The suppression of instances or mechanisms that appear in any policy or management manual is a mistake that cost a lot. Discussing which protagonist or which sector had more responsibility is logical, inevitable but not pressing today. Note that the operation harms those represented, a fact that remains valid.
As it was, at a limit moment both understood that they had to arrange a move. That no new authority would deserve the name of such without having the backing of the leadership of the Front of All. The white smoke for Silvina Batakis as the new Minister of Economy appears auspicious in that aspect. The deputy Javier Milei shouts that the designated person lacks technical knowledge: another accolade, the disqualification of an obtuse, ultra-right in addition. From the different factions of Peronism the reception was very good. The officer deserves it.
He has a long career, in difficult portfolios, in the province of Buenos Aires and in the Nation. Until now, she was in this management, as Secretary of Provinces in the Ministry of the Interior. She gets along well with Eduardo “Wado” de Pedro, with his colleagues from the National Cabinet. Also with Daniel Scioli, whom he accompanied in the governorship and of whom he would have been national minister if the 2015 elections were won. He landed in that place years later in disproportionately more serious circumstances. She has experience, she knows Argentina well.
It seems like a very good option among those being considered. Being a woman adds points. From there it should be noted that he touches a very complex stage.
Guzmán’s clumsy departure accentuated the damage, weakened the president, detracted from his work as minister for more than half of his term.
As is the rule in public debates and national sports, the fallen are kicked. He is accused of all the plagues that plague the Homeland. More than four opinion-makers or leaders take it for granted that his departure will be a panacea, that everything will be put in order. That a different course, with another official better directed, will correct all the anomalies, lower inflation. None of that will happen, if anyone knows, it’s Batakis.
Structural problems survive and also controversies regarding how to assume them. The classic argument “the problems are primarily political” is flawed. Of course, without public power, without a pen, management of the State and decisions, there is no successful economic policy. Or even more: there is no economic policy, only drills.
But, paraphrasing something from file: without policy there is no plan, program, or economic model that works. With only politics, it is not enough.
The energetic and polarized debates continue about what to do with prices, regulations, foreign exchange markets, salaries, inflation, social plans, the Universal Basic Salary and a bunch of etceteras.
The ruling party partitioned ministries and departments, parceled it out according to belongings. It didn’t work.
He is delinquent in decisions and in various portfolios, slow in budget execution.
When Batakis takes office, when the new Cabinet design is completed, when it is defined how much power the incoming ministers accumulate will be seen.
Adversaries lurk, enjoy official missteps or provoke them with good or bad arts. The country and its people who work hard for low pay deserve a leap in quality that includes a professional and committed management of the government and the ruling coalition.
The previous Cabinet crises (post STEP, post resignation of Matías Kulfas) did not work miracles. They didn’t even improve management much except in specific areas. There are no reasons for volunteerism, but there are reasons to work hard and better. The greatest incentive, worth the paradox, are the difficulties to overcome.
The total design of the Cabinet, the internal distribution of power and the first results are essential pending facts when this note is written at midnight on a rare Sunday for politicized Argentines. Perhaps normal for the rest of the people, less and less interested in politics. This distance is a crucial issue that transcends the economy and has an impact on the democratic system.