She hinted that her support for a deal with the IMF will not depend on her, but on the President. And he demanded that the opposition “hawks” pay the political cost.
Cristina Kirchner knows that each of her gestures is interpreted in a political key: whether she interrupts Alberto Fernández in a speech or if she stands silently and gravely beside him. Whether you post long messages on social media denouncing a judicial conspiracy or maintain a strategic silence after being dismissed in a case. Whether officials related to his line criticize the President and threaten to resign, or if he praises the Government that, hidden, carry a warning.
This time, with the letter entitled “The silences and curiosities”, was not the exception, so that after having run from the center of the scene and having left the protagonism to Alberto Fernandez After the electoral “comeback” that gave political oxygen back to Peronism, he chose the right moment to drop a new “bomb.”
His interventions, now more dosed, make each intervention become a matter of analysis for everyone. And, with her renowned rhetorical ability, the vice president manages to send messages to various audiences. First, of course, to its militant base, with which it periodically renews emotional ties and provides a “political line” for public debates. Second, for the internal government coalition itself, starting with Alberto Fernández himself and the minister of economy, Martin Guzman. Third, for the opposition, both in his version of “hawks” and “doves”. And, this time, he added other recipients, such as the International Monetary Fund and, in a more subtle way, the judicial corporation.
But if the effect of Cristina’s letter had to be summarized, it could be synthesized in two veiled warnings, one addressed to the President, and the other to Mauricio Macri.
Alberto: hidden warnings in praise
Cristina leaves nothing to chance, and that is why it is no coincidence that she cited a speech by Alberto Fernández at the act of July 9, as a reminder of the commitment that the president assumed with his own electoral base.
“Never expect me to sign something that will ruin the life of the Argentine people, never, never. And I hope you understand me, because if someone expects me to give in to creditors or to give in to a laboratory, they are wrong. I am not going to do so. to do. Before I go home “, was the paragraph quoted by Cristina.
The funny thing is that, on that occasion, Alberto was speaking to Kirchnerism, that with less and less dissimulation revealed his criticisms and doubts. The allusion to “giving in to a laboratory” was referred to a phrase that Máximo Kirchner had pronounced days before in the Chamber of Deputies, where he implied that the Government had a weak attitude and gave in to Pfizer pressure, in the middle of the debate on vaccines against covid.
Cristina’s son warned about the sign of weakness implied by introducing changes to the vaccine law, just when the country is facing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.
Aloberto Fernández, first recipient of Cristina’s letter, who recalled that “he has the pen” and distanced himself from his economic decisions
It is also symptomatic that Cristina, when referring to the conditions of an agreement with the Fund, has warned that, according to what is signed, you can define whether there will be growth or permanent adjustment. It is not by chance, as any user of the networks knows, that he has chosen capital letters to emphasize that the country needs growth “WITH SOCIAL INCLUSION”.
The implicit message is very clear. And if necessary, it was again Maximum Kirchner, who in the very legislative electoral campaign questioned whether Kirchnerism would support the draft budget of Martin Guzman, where a path of reduction of the fiscal deficit is anticipated.
At that time, Máximo had warned that “the numbers have to close, but with the people inside.” And the phrase came just weeks after Cristina’s public reproaches to Guzmán for not having fully executed the authorized budget items.
The diagnosis of Kirchnerism is that the electoral debacle of the PASO was due to insufficient public spending and poor management of social assistance, which made the higher-income segments not aware that the economy is recovering at a “Chinese rate “of 9%.
Ultimately, the vice message is a reinforcement of their previous positions, just at a time when “the” question in the political arena is whether Kirchnerism will accompany Alberto in his new economic plan and assume the inevitable political cost of a fiscal adjustment.
What Alberto is decoding is that “he has the pen.” That is to say, that Cristina will give you the initiative and that, in case the new plan looks too much like an adjustment, there will be a break, but that it will not be attributable to her but to the presidential deviation from his own promises. Not by chance, in recent days an internal controversy has overflowed between a pure Kirchnerist, such as Roberto Feletti, which is hinting at more interventionist measures against the countryside, much to the concern of the more moderate officials.
Deepening the fissure in opposition
But Cristina’s message also had a clear recipient in the opposition and even in the IMF itself. It had been very suggestive in recent days that the spokespersons of the organization demanded that the new multi-year program that Alberto sends to Congress – and that will be the basis for the agreement with the organization – “must have broad political and social support.” And everyone understood what the IMF was referring to: they did not care so much about the support of Horacio Rodríguez Larreta but that of Cristina Kirchner, the only person with the real capacity to make the economic plan fail if it does not follow the measures.
That is why Cristina made a clever move: minimizing her own political influence, she recalled that, by law, any agreement with the IMF must be endorsed by Congress. That is, by the entire political representation of the country.
And that phrase, at first obvious sight, has hidden effects, because it comes just after the opposition victory that gives it a majority in the Senate.
In other words, Cristina tells the Fund that she does not have the political force that they believe, to the point of being able to sabotage an agreement. And, incidentally, he reminds the opposition that his electoral victory carries the responsibility of having to share a political cost in the next two years.
Cristina’s strategy is clear: if the agreement with the IMF effectively frees the obstacles to the country’s growth, she will seek to capitalize on those achievements as part of her policy of social inclusion. AND if what is coming is a period of adjustment, has already warned who will be the culprits, by action or omission.
The “timing” chosen by the former president is strategic, because in the opposition a debate is taking place, less and less disguised, between the “dialogist” wing of Rodríguez Larreta, Diego Santilli, María Eugenia Vidal and part of the UCR, confronted to the “hard” sector of Mauricio Macri, Patricia Bullrich and Miguel Pichetto.
Macri, from the very night of the legislative election, is warning about the “trap” that can be to go to dialogue called by the President.
“You have to understand what that call means, who does it, who is going to govern in the next two years in Argentina. Does the president do it? Does he have the support of the vice president, La Cámpora, Massa, or is it just him ? “, raised the ex-president, who put as a condition that there be a” deep self-criticism “on the part of the Front of All.
But, above all, his main concern is not to fall into a political trap: he fears that the unity of the opposition could be broken and that, in addition, it will be made to share the political cost of unpopular measures.
“If today people feel hope because Together for Change has shown maturity. Then let’s take care of that, and I also say to you journalists, do not push artificial things,” he asked in his first interview after the electoral result. But the feeling remained that he was not only speaking to the media but, above all, to his partners in the opposition coalition.
Alberto Fernández himself demonstrated that many of Macri’s fears are well founded: the presidential call for dialogue has already started with accusations of the Macrista administration for the consequences of the debt taking. And, explicitly, the president tried to provoke an opposition fissure by saying that he was not interested in talking with Macri but with the “responsible opposition.”
Cristina’s letter gets into the fissure between “hawks” and “doves” of the opposition and claims to assume political costs of the agreement with the IMF
That is why Cristina’s message to Macri was very clear: there is no escape. If you really want the reduction of the fiscal deficit, the increase in tariffs and the decrease in the monetary financing of public spending, it will have to bear a political cost in Congress.
In Cristina’s political strategy, the best that could happen is that this situation would lead to an internal fissure of the opposition, which would weaken the electoral chances in 2023.
A suggestive silence on the “lawfare”
There was, finally, an issue that Cristina did not refer to. And, precisely for that reason, it was the most striking fact. Something like “the elephant in the living room” that nobody talks about: the letter was published just a day after the federal court had The former president was dismissed in the Hotesur / Los Sauces court case.
The fact that Cristina has been silent for so long and that, just as she makes her reappearance on the political scene, does not mention the issue that caused a political shock, already implies a message in itself.
After having campaigned with intensity and eloquence for years on the denunciation of “lawfare” – that is, the persecution of “popular” leaders by way of setting up court cases, in a collusion between the judiciary, the opposition media , the big companies and opposition politicians, now Cristina preferred not to make any mention of it.
It could be interpreted that, after having been dismissed in the “future dollar” and “memorandum with Iran” cases, Cristina wants to make this third ruling in her favor already seen as a natural fact. A “non-news”, in the sense that the accusations against him are so weak that what is expected is that a string of judicial decisions ensues in the same way.
In fact, his public argument when he defended himself for the Iran agreement made it clear that his strategy was to stain all the cases against him with suspicion of “lawfare”, regardless of the evidence that may have accumulated in his case. against.
Now even though she didn’t speak, two people around him were very eloquent.
“When there is no Judicial Table with officials squeezing judges, the facts and evidence weigh more than the covers of Clarín or La Nación … and the armed cases fall to pieces!”, Wrote the Minister of Justice, Martin Soria, in a message where he reproduces newspaper covers.
More explicit still, his lawyer, Gregorio Dalbón, made it clear that he will not be satisfied that his client has been released from the instance of the trial, but that he will seek public redress.
“The dismissal of Cristina Kirchner is not enough. They have to pay many with their charges for what they armed judicially and the journalists for what they defamed the vice president and her children for years. It is not free,” he warned.
So, also in this case, the message is clear, and the addressee is the judiciary: Cristina hopes that the next legal cases – such as, for example, that of the “bribery notebooks” – will meet the same fate as the ones that have just “fallen apart.”
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