– Crazy, this can go to hell, see if you understand me ...-
The President of the Nation, without the duty to submit to protocol or the press, angry, voice to voice with his ministers, he speaks like any porteño speaks when the anger wins him the head and the tongue.
That phrase, more or less words, including the extreme noun used as an adjective to describe with lunfardo the most feared horizon in the face of a possible Covid-19 overflow, was the way that Fernández used to explain to his officials why he had announced that he would suspend for fifteen days face-to-face classes for students from kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and universities in the Federal Capital and the Province of Buenos Aires. That action surprised his own government. She was resisted by her team.
President argued and ignored the councils of its main secretaries of state and ministers, who did not agree with closing the schools again and even the university as their boss finally did.
There was, yes, an official plan more “gradualist” and the “shock” was being prepared before the worst pandemic scenario.
According to three national ministers, two secretaries of State, an official governor and mayors of the Buenos Aires PJ, the President announced the suspension of school attendance convinced by the arguments that the governor of Buenos Aires, Axel Kiciloff, repeated several times, and also by the impulse of the vice president, Cristina Fernández and his son, the head of the block of the Deputies of the Frente de Todos, Máximo Kirchner. That coalition within his governing coalition publicly pressured him with tough measures to stop Covid-19.
Last Wednesday, there were frantic meetings in the Quinta de Olivos, in which he heard his most trusted officials arguing with him with temperament and firmness, trying to convince him not to impose a closure of schooling.
The opinions of those who were not there weighed more.
Kicillof. Cristina. Maximum.
The suspension of classes for fifteen days was the novelty that continues to have, at least until today, the greatest social and political impact on these measures of cuts of freedom of movement.
The Casa Rosada also extended the restrictions to move in the Federal Capital and Buenos Aires in a longer schedule than the one it had ordered a few days ago.
The suspension of face-to-face classes for fifteen days was a measure resisted but followed by the Chief of Staff, Santiago Cafiero; the Legal and Technical Secretary, Vilma Ibarra; and, above all, by the two specialized ministers in these two specialties, the Minister of Health, Carla Vizzotti, and the Head of Education, Nicolás Trotta.
Kicillof had publicly pressured him, as well as other officials in his administration, to apply a total quarantine of fourteen days in his Province. The main diffuser of this idea was his minister of Buenos Aires Health, the continuous announcer of possible health catastrophes Daniel Gollan.
The opinion of the Buenos Aires officials was lwhich prevailed over that of national officials. This is how the ruling system of power works.
Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Alberto Fernández at the meeting they held at Quinta de Olivos on Friday. Presidency Photo
The new restrictive measures generated the President a new confrontation with the opponent with whom he has better harmony, the Buenos Aires boss, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta. Paradoxes: the National Cabinet, regarding the new anti-Covid-19 measures, seemed to coincide more with this opposition leader than with the allied authorities that govern Buenos Aires.
Vizzotti and Trotta, wounded
The President canceled the face-to-face classes on Wednesday the 14th, despite the fact that that same day the Minister of Health Carla Vizzotti had announced in a press conference in the morning that citizens should take precautions but defending the continuity of schooling.
The same was said by the Minister of Education, Trotta, on Wednesday the 14th, in a meeting with his peers from all the provinces.
Vizzotti defended his pro-school arguments in Olivos in front of the President. With character and sustained debate. In vain.
The next day, he ratified his pro-schooling position.
As reported by Santiago Fioriti in this edition of Clarion, Minister Trotta was unable to speak to the President on Wednesday. The confirmation of the suspension of classes was transmitted to him by the Chief of Staff, Cafiero.
The person who did speak with Trotta during those hours was the head of the K deputies’ bloc, Máximo Kirchner, with whom he exchanged opinions on this crucial issue. The K family was really interested in influencing that measure.
The Minister of Security, Sabina Frederic, who was in Olivos on Wednesday, began the debate defending the continuity of the classes but after hearing the President changed her mind.
Just one example of the vertigo that was experienced that day in power.
The President later ratified the continuity in their positions of Trotta, and Vizzotti.
Stage It is very complex. The problem was deepened due to their own explanations on the subject: they angered families with children in school; to associations of the disabled by said about people with different capacities to which the president alluded; and also from the medical community that interpreted that the President belittled the work of health workers.
The street protests grew as the hours passed. In a context with underlying problems: the lack of provision of promised vaccines and the costs caused by the so-called “VIP vaccinated”, amid broken promises and contradictory statements from Casa Rosada officials.
March against the new restrictions, this Saturday at the Obelisk. Photo: Rafael Mario Quinteros
The Minister of Education, Trotta, maintained the paradoxical idea, agreed with the President, of maintaining schooling as much as possible in the Argentine provinces. He called several governors, such as the Riojan, Ricardo Quintela, the Catamarca, Oscar Jalil, the Santa Fe, Omar Perotti, and the Entrerriano, Gustavo Bordet, to suggest that in their districts classes continue to be face-to-face.
Beyond the controversial arguments, refuted by medical specialists that Fernández gave about why he had decided to close the schools during the next fortnight, that decision was implemented only for the Federal Capital and the Province of Buenos Aires. Fernández also expected greater support from the leaders regarding his new plan against uncontrolled contagion of Covid-19, “Everyone asks for measures but finally nobody takes them for fear of paying political costs, Well, I take that risk“, repeated Fernández.
The K group that convinced him to take more restrictions alerted him with reports on possible collapses in Buenos Aires hospitals.
The President’s measures generated a social reaction that was very feared by the ministers of the National Cabinet.
“Rebellion” was described by Fernández himself to announce that he would not accept that what he dictated in a DNU was not fulfilled.
Minister De Pedro, although he thought that the plan to close schools might have to wait until Monday, defended the President on Twitter. He often says that he supports Fernández’s decisions both in private and in public.
The same did the majority of the Buenos Aires mayors.
Governors, other high government authorities?
On Monday, several of the aforementioned officials had heard in a virtual meeting with more than a dozen specialists from different areas of health that lthe classes had to continue, although some of them warned about the risks that could be run with a relaxation of the educational community and the young people who returned to interact in a pandemic.
On Tuesday, after nine o’clock at night, another group of officials, back at the Casa Rosada, in which other ministers participated, such as Labor, Claudio Moroni, Tourism, Matías Lammens, the Deputy Chief of Staff, the Economist Cecilia Todesca and the powerful Secretary General of the Presidency, Julio Vitobello, had decided, although not announced, that the hours of restriction to circulation would be extended beyond night hours. A day later, the suspension of classes changed the situation.
On the same Wednesday 14, in an act with strong symbolism, held in a sector of Campo de Mayo of the National Gendarmerie, the President promoted a new Security plan led by Frederic to deploy federal forces in Buenos Aires. They were a good part of the Buenos Aires mayors of the PJ. Neither Kiciloff nor the Rosada’s new enemy, Berni, were invited.
Fernández spoke, as did the communal chief of Hurlingham, Juan Zabaleta, and the mayor of Quilmes, Mayra Mendoza, of La Cámpora.
The next day Frederic had to guarantee the new “night isolation”. Fernández was satisfied.
The fight with Berni will continue.
Just like the protests of families and students who demand that schools open and not close.
Last night the street protests resurfaced.
They are affected in other areas, such as gastronomy and tourism.
The real dilemma for the government will occur tomorrow.
A network of protests prepares for resistance, in what could be described as “The Apron Rebellion”. It could deepen, sharpen, and be more massive.
“Obedience”, said the English writer Chesterton, adding: “What a thunderbolt.”
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