The drone of the helicopter propellers clearly reached the offices on the first floor of the Casa Rosada. It was not necessary, but the secretary of one of the officials closest to Alberto Fernández complied with the routine: “The President has just left”he said as he opened the door and interrupted the meeting. It was 8:35 p.m. on Thursday. The lights of the Patio de las Palmeras still remained on and covered with a peaceful yellow air galleries and untraveled corridors. The President was returning to Olivos after another fateful day for your advisors and communication managers.
“Can we say that the day is over?” – This journalist asked a while later to an official who was leaving for the Paseo de la Explanada.
“You never know,” the man said before raising the window and his driver accelerating to get lost in the Bajo Buenos Aires.
The ministers have begun to assume that, even when the President retires to the Residence, one can be calm if before there was a hectic day with failed statements or furios. His Twitter account is activated without prior notice and he manages it himself. It is also he who decides when to go out, unexpectedly, on radio and television. Sometimes the hosts of the programs write to him directly and he agrees to be interviewed on the spot, convinced that he will be able to clarify situations that have left him in uncomfortable positions. Your officials find out when it’s too late. Answers are not studied, they are not even prepared. It is a criticism that is made in his face, even Cristina. Alberto trusts his intuition.
His oldest and best friends, those who have frequented him for decades -those who did during his years as Chief of Staff and those who saw him, especially during his long journey through the plain-, they advised him to change his cell phone once he was elected. It happened during the first deliberations in Puerto Madero, when everything was euphoria and confidence. They then insisted that he could not handle the communication himself. That the appearances had to be rehearsed and tackled with a team. Fernández denies that style. He hates the Duran Barba.
“If you give us the cell phone, we have fifty percent of the problems solved,” they told him. Alberto refused. Today, those same friends, some far away because they see him subjected to Cristina’s designs and others without detaching for a minute when things are not going well, are on the verge of despair. “It has to be stopped. Have to slow down a littleThey implore. They are not just your friends. La Cámpora is in a state of alert.
Fernández’s mistakes in public appearances are not new, but this week there seemed to be a break. There were three consecutive days of slips, some really serious, that not only impacted the country. “The Mexicans came out of the Indians, the Brazilians came out of the jungle and the Argentines arrived on the boats,” said Fernández, facing the eyes of Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish boss.
No one could explain how and why did he say such a thingNor why did he attribute the reasoning to Octavio Paz and not to his beloved Litto Nebbia, so beloved that he has secretly gone to see him at his streaming presentations. The last time he crossed from la Rosada to the Kirchner Cultural Center to greet him.
In the world of intellectuals K the phrase about Brazil, Mexico and Argentina fell with the weight of a bomb. The anthropologist Alejandro Grimson and the philosopher Ricardo Forster, who work for Fernández in the elaboration of his speeches, would have wanted to hide. Their cell phones exploded. “Che, do you agree with this?”their colleagues asked them. For Grimson the nightmare was complete. He has written a book, entitled Argentine mythomanias, where he says exactly the opposite of Alberto’s reflection. “The idea that Argentines are all Europeans is a myth that was linked to the founding of the Nation,” he says in the text.
While Forster and Grimson were tormented by their peers, memes flooded the cell phones of most Argentines, even those of those who could not mention the names of three ministers because they flee from politics and miss any news. A work commissioned by the Government revealed overwhelming numbers of metrics on TV portals and measurements. The subject seduced on one side and the other of the crack.
The confusion of the head of state crossed the borders. “With a statement that was widely considered xenophobic and offensive, Fernández managed to offend in his country and throughout Latin America, even in the most powerful nations in the region,” wrote The New York Times. “Alberto Fernández irritates an entire continent with a single sentence,” titled El País de España.
The issue went viral. The taunts were reproduced on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with an ironically Darwinian tone. “The Bolivians came out of the ball bugs”, “the vegans of Las Vegas”, “the Paraguayans of the manioc”, “the dwarfs come from the Netherlands” and “the Chinese come from the supermarket”, among dozens of occurrences.
Alberto surrendered to popular ingenuity. They saw him laugh out loud in his chair in the Casa Rosada as he reviewed the memes that came to him. He had previously tried to clarify the issue on Twitter. He felt so bad about the fact that it was one of the first times he asked for help before writing the tweets. Although they gave it to him, Fernández provided the last personal touch before moving his fingers on his screen. It did not go as well as he expected. Fifteen hours later he had to resume the Twitter thread. A clarification after clarification.
“I want to cry. Look, Alberto is intelligent, eh ”, one of his great friends complained, on Friday, after the last furcio, the least serious, when he said“ go and contain yourself ”instead of“ go and get vaccinated ”.
What you hear most in your circle is that you are overrun. That you have to make urgent changes. Even those who make fun of Mauricio Macri’s routines – who comes from confessing that in times of crisis of his administration he only wanted to reach Olivos and connect to Netflix – affirm that he would have to stop being linked to management and politics. 24 hours.
The presidential errors expose another scourge, also highly questioned by the adherents of the Frente de Todos: the void in the cabinet of powerful voices, an old claim of the vice president, which forces Fernández to put his face in front of every announcement or problem. Someone recalled this week a phrase from Aníbal Fernández: “Ask for the ball, crazy.”
The four bishops of the Government who stick their heads below the presidential duo speak little or do not speak. Máximo Kirchner escapes from journalists like the plague; Pedro’s “Wado” made only two or three appearances in the year; Sergio Massa appears when he can capitalize on an advertisement and Santiago Cafiero, who is the one who speaks the most, does not finish enchanting his own troops.
The confusion is such that the one who is gaining ground among the ruling party is Leandro Santoro, who does not even have a formal position. He is hardly a Buenos Aires legislator. Santoro is a regular on TV. He is not a leader who can seduce moderate voters, but from his place, he does what Alberto is asked to do. He studies, prepares the topics and has voluminous folders with synoptic tables, phrases and data on the economy made by hand in his PH of Parque Patricios. Sometimes Santoro talks or chats with Alberto and suggests coolly calculated interventions. He, like all his advisers, wants to believe that one day he will listen to him.