In just two weeks and in the midst of a pandemic, the president Alberto Fernandez disavowed those responsible for the Health Portfolio in the midst of a pandemic. Last week it had happened with Ginés González García, between Monday and Tuesday with Carla vizzotti. The President exposed several officials during his first 13 months in office, but only fired two.
In recent days, Fernández publicly exposed the errors of the minister and the secretary of Access to Health. The first had authorized on December 30 an increase of 7% for prepaid medicine companies, which was corrected hours later by “express order of the President”, as detailed in the Official Gazette.
“Ginés has reason that money is needed. But there is one in the Government who knows what is happening throughout the Government, that is Alberto Fernández. Alberto Fernández knows how we are in fiscal matters and what the inflationary risk is. AND Ginés did not take that into account”Said the President in the third person and bluntly in an interview on Radio Con Vos.
Alberto Fernández with Santiago Cafiero and Ginés González García, shortly after taking office. The president overruled his Minister of Health a couple of times.
In this way, the head of state tried to silence Health businessmen, who under their breath suggested that Cristina Kirchner he had ordered to halt the increase in prepaid payments and to promote a greater participation of the State in the sector.
In the Pink House they had already exposed González García on various occasions, due to the official’s verbal incontinence. Even shortly after the pandemic broke into the country, they decided to intervene the communication of the ministry. The last episode before the failed rate increase, had been a few days ago and off the microphone, regarding the beginning of the vaccination operation before 2021, which the minister had questioned.
With Vizzotti, who gained prominence precisely due to the verbal slips of his superior, the President chose to make his discomfort known, when the number 2 of the Ministry of Health explained in an interview with Page 12 the possibility of applying one dose of Sputnik V instead of the two recommended applications. “It cut itself,” said the President’s main collaborators. “Reckless”, would have been the qualification of the president.
Alberto Fernández in a meeting in Olivos with Felipe Solá. The chancellor was also questioned in public by the president.
The term was the same and the dynamic was similar, although less harsh, to that used to discredit the Chancellor Felipe Solá when he gave uncomfortable and supposedly non-existent details of the talk between the President and the president elected of the first world power, Joe biden. The Casa Rosada then made it known that the Minister of Foreign Affairs I had not even participated of the conversation with the next president of the United States, because instead of attending the Rosada he went to Olivos.
Solá’s sinLike Vizzotti’s now, it was the same: publicly exposing a discussion that had taken place inside the Government. In that case, the possibility of asking the successor of Donald Trump to push for the removal of Mark Rosen, director of the United States before the IMF. The disavowal of the Chancellor included a request to the Bloomberg agency of the Secretary of Communication Juan Pablo Biondi to deny the chancellor and a videoconference between the Minister of Economy Martin Guzman and the Argentine director before the credit organization Sergio Chodos. Hours later, Fernández considered the conflict “over”.
Contradictory speeches on foreign policy forced the President to overrule other political ambassadors. It happened with the Argentine representative to the OAS, Carlos Raimundi, who rehearsed a defense of the regime of Nicolas Maduro. Fernández raised his discomfort and ordered the Argentine representative to the Geneva-based organizations, Federico Villegas, to vote against Caracas at the UN Human Rights Council. Raimundi, despite the offside, decided to stay in office. “Nobody leaves the government alone”Says an official with experience at La Rosada.
The former Minister of Territorial Development and Habitat, María Eugenia Bielsa, at a Cabinet meeting. It was one of the few that the government had to leave.
A similar situation had occurred with the former ambassador to Venezuela and the United Kingdom Alicia castro, chosen by Fernández to occupy that position in Moscow. After Castro’s umpteenth criticism of the Government and the Foreign Ministry, the President decided to freeze his appointment. It happened in August. Just in October the former ambassador spread a letter in which he maintained that he would not assume his position of his own accord. “I want to present my resignation as ambassador because I do not agree with the current foreign relations policy,” she said.
Tightrope walker by nature and owner of a heterogeneous space, the President decided to support lower-ranking officials that no one took the trouble to defend in the ruling party. The last and most resounding case was that of Victoria Donda, head of INADI, who whitewashed that he offered a position in the organization to his former domestic employee in the middle of a private labor negotiation. The news fell badly in the Executive. When the news got cold, the president publicly defended it. “Its nature is not to take advantage of the state“, said.
Nor did he want to expel the national director of Access to Justice Gabriela carpineti who slept in the Etchevehere family field, when Dolores – the sister of the former president of the Rural Society – let militants of the Artigas Project sleep in the ranch. The President thus avoided a new conflict with Juan Grabois, referent of the Project, of the official and ally of the ruling party.
In a friendly tone, the President instead asked the Habitat Minister to resign Maria Eugenia Bielsa, one of the “civil servants who does not work (ba) n”, in the words of Cristina Kirchner. The former lieutenant governor of Santa Fe left 16 days after criticism from the vice president.
A Peronist leader very close to the President regretted that the figure of the former minister had not been preserved. “It was honed a lot and it could have been a benchmark for these elections in Santa Fe, where we don’t have many options,” he reflected. Fernández had previously acknowledged that he was disappointed with Bielsa’s actions. “I told María Eugenia that I dreamed that at this point she would be the star minister,” Fernández said in an interview with journalist Horacio Verbitsky.
The same source regretted then that the President had not publicly supported and defended Bielsa – from his own attack, too – as he did with the Minister of Social Development Daniel Arroyo placeholder image, in April when the purchases of food with surcharges were made public. Back then, of course, the polls showed that the President was in his prime.
Alejandro Vanoli with Alberto Fernández, they hardly assumed. The head of the ANSeS was one of the few expelled from the Government.
That detail does not fully explain the actions of the head of state. A few days before the controversy in Development broke out, he aired his anger before the president of the BCRA Miguel Pesce and against the then head of ANSES Alejandro Vanoli, due to the lack of coordination that resulted in thousands of retirees queuing to collect their salaries in the midst of the pandemic. Vanoli finally weeks later he would leave his position, already without the support of the vice president.
In August, Fernández fired the Secretary of Energy Sergio Lanziani and replaced it with the Neuquén Darío Martínez. The reasons, again, had more to do with politics than with management.
In the midst of the rumors of oxygenation when the vaccination process ends, in the Casa Rosada they defend the team of ministers, many of whom they were in the sights after the latest questions from Cristina Kirchner. Despite everything, the President harangued his collaborators before the end of the year. Time flies.