“I lived in strange situations. And now, when I think about them with all this we are seeing, they seem even rarer to me. Rare and dangerous”Says a former employee of María Eugenia Vidal. It is about a man who handled public resources, who managed personnel, who for several years moved in cars with drivers – who were also custodians – and who is supposedly trained for the outrages of Argentine political life. I would never admit it in public, but that rotten skin that has been acquiring for so many years today is not enough: that man is afraid. It shows and says it.
Suddenly, as if it were a device of the cinema – an analepsis or flashback– Vidal’s former ministers were forced to anchor themselves in scenes from the past. To stand exactly in certain situation to analyze whether this or that meeting could have been filmed. That is: if many of the atrocities that can be said or planned privately, exaggeratedly, subliminally or, worse, with full intention, could have been clandestinely recorded. What if there are, as is speculated, other banned videos? Worse: What if the recordings are not limited to politics? .
On the C5N channel a shocking figure was risked: it was said that there are 400 hours of illegal filming. The data circulated quickly. Worry not only assails those who worked for Vidal. Also the former officials of Mauricio Macri look uneasy. The main protagonists of the opposition, even those who were spied on, closed ranks long ago: they rule out that the former president was aware of the espionage. Who ordered them then? The Federal Chamber spoke of the self-employed. But since the appearance of the video paranoia grows and those who believed one thing today could be believing another.
One of those fearful former officials confessed among his intimates that he began to tie up the uncomfortable moments that happened to him during his administration, which he considered hazardous, and that he now suspects that they were not. The conjectures multiplied. They began to think about people who went from one place to another without knowing exactly what task they were doing, but who at the same time participated – or were allowed to witness – important talks. There are former officials who now let us know about conversations of only two people who later arrived at unexpected places. Or called anonymous. And something no less disturbing: recordings of telephone conversations. A senior official of the previous national government can attest, to whom, on any given day, an anonymous wooden paper envelope would have arrived with a transcript of one of his talks.
There are heavy topics that could break through if there were more banned videos. The kick was seen this week. The political atmosphere was altered due to the leak of a meeting in the Buenos Aires offices of Banco Provincia, on July 15, 2017. The document was presented to the Justice by the authorities of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI). There you can see the former Buenos Aires Minister of Labor, Marcelo Villegas, saying that “if I could have a Gestapo, an onslaught force to end all the unions, I would.” In the filming, they aim to recruit evidence against Pablo “El Pata” Medina. At the table are three AFI officials.
The recording of that scene, which actually belongs to two hours of filming, required complex engineering, done by true professionals, according to those who plunge into that underworld. Kirchnerism, and Cristina Kirchner in particular, are trying to take advantage. For them, the maneuver was part of a systematic persecution plan that Macri led and that included judges, prosecutors and journalists. The famous theory of lawfare, which could collapse just by looking at the files of the corruption cases that affect the former president.
Vidal learned of the existence of the video in the run-up to Christmas, a few days before it was released. He was in Pinamar, where he spends his vacations with his family. He did not want to talk about the issue in the media. Neither did Macri. Espionage left marks. She herself was spied on while she was governor. It was a difficult week for Vidal. Perhaps the worst since he left the Government. The video was coupled with a new law approved in the Buenos Aires Legislature, in record time, to enable another re-election of the mayors. She and Sergio Massa boasted for a long time about this initiative, which blocked the mayors’ intention to perpetuate themselves in power.
The ruling party’s maneuver had the nod of many PRO and UCR leaders. Several of them who, were supposed, were unconditional to Vidal, like Fabián Perechodnik, who was the secretary general of the governorate. The PRO mayors made their contribution, especially Julio Garro from La Plata and Néstor Grindetti from La Plata, who walked the corridors of the Legislature to speak with the deputies. With one difference: Grindetti said he will not run for a new term and Garro is one of the most enthusiastic about holding on to the couch.
The opposition could finish 2021 cloaked with successes after its electoral triumph. It did not. The voracity of information and especially his own mistakes conspired at the end of the year. As the consultant Juan Germano, from Isonomía, usually explains, in recent times the dynamics in the country makes “micromoments” live and that it goes from euphoria to unease “on one side and the other of the crack.”
Even having consolidated a notable victory at the polls, Together for Change looks to 2022 entangled in its own disputes, if not in implausible facts such as facilitating the approval of a law, in part, due to the stay of a deputy who had just sworn in and he went to Disney (Gabriela Brouwer de Koning) or another that provided the quorum (María Clara del Valle Vega) for the Frente de Todos to modify Personal Assets. It is not pleasant for those who dream of being the renewal of this Government that Juntos por el Cargo is already spoken so lightly.
Macri exploded with fury since his rest in El Cumelén. He spoke of a setback. Rodríguez Larreta preferred to zigzag the issue. The exegetes of the head of Government admit: “We cannot throw ourselves against the mayors who are going to help us in two years to win the elections.”
Alberto and Cristina accompanied the law in favor of the mayors with silence. They were always on the same side, it must be said. The same as La Cámpora. The more re-elections the better for the project. Privileges are not touched, less if, in theory, they serve to attract votes.
The question is always in the heads of politicians, no matter how much economic crisis and pandemic lie ahead. The President may well say so, who barely lost the elections enabled the PASO for 2023 and revealed his desire to continue for four more years. There is an incipient plan in place. A23, they call it. The first posters have already been printed. The movement is led by the same people who, during the first year of government, proposed to Fernández to create albertism. His lifelong friends. Alberto refused. Today he does not refuse, although he clarifies them, perhaps so that it reaches Cristina’s ears: “I will not do anything against Cristina ”. A familiar phrase sounds again: you cannot against it, without it it is not enough.
The purest Cristinistas warn privately that they would not tolerate a second term for Fernández. The disputes lie in the official world. “We need less fights and more government”Ricardo Pignanelli, the head of SMATA, said a few days ago in a meeting with leaders of classical Peronism.
Like Cristina, critics who do not take their feet off the plate believe that Alberto’s administration is mediocre on the bottom and that there is little to highlight. The militant artists who accompanied the vice president in Pilar, in the end of the year toast, told her so. Actor Dady Brieva asked him bluntly: “What’s going to happen in 2023?” He asked. She just laughed.
Eduardo “Wado” De Pedro, the Minister of the Interior, warned that, if there are primaries, La Cámpora will have its candidate. But to differentiate himself from albertism, he said that it is not the time for candidacies and assured that neither he nor Máximo Kirchner will be candidates. He missed adding: for now.
“Wado” has been installed as a possible dolphin for Cristina. He always said that stuttering made it difficult for a major candidacy. But his press team has mounted a campaign to turn this alleged inconvenience into a strength. Máximo never left the grid. And Cristina does not rule out that it could be a woman.
The dance of names comes and goes. From the ruling party to the opposition. The crisis remains there, untamed.