The beginning of a decisive summer | Sputnik, other …

Perhaps the name “Sputnik V” led to errors, anachronisms and excesses. Ignorance or bad faith (or their mixture) of multimedia journalists who resurrected the Soviet Union, with decades of delay, could contribute. Anyway, a Cold War revival welcomes the “Russian vaccine.” Neo-McCarthyism integrates the menu: on the front pages of the newspaper Clarion yesterday the Montoneros organization was mentioned four times, in which the parents of the head of the Anses, Fernanda Raverta, and the possible new ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Sabino Vaca Narvaja, were members.

The fascination for the past joins with the short, conjuncturalist look. They seem to return topics of the autumn, the stage of the films and their detractors. Officials, opposition leaders, tweeters from both factions debate which country in the region inoculated first, how many vaccines landed in Chile, Mexico or Argentina. Deficit of historicity would lash out Rodolfo Walsh: the data of these days already entered the past, with the months it will be known how much they matter. The references of the eternal show of the media minute will make sense in coming weeks, when the number of vaccines grows, the operatives replace the photo-symbol.

The colleague Pablo Esteban wrote yesterday in PageI12 that the challenge for each of the 24 jurisdictions will be, above all, logistical. The Nation leads, the provinces implement. President Alberto Fernández articulates and dialogues with the governors. The long deterioration of the States increases the challenge. Vaccination will be universal, free.

In the first days of January, 4.7 million Sputnik vaccines would be added, 15 million more in February, Esteban notes. It is worth reading amid the shouting of self-confessed ignoramuses, paying attention to these informed and (perhaps because of) serene colleagues, not predisposed to diatribe or Manichaeism. Nora Bär fulfills that role in The nation, rigorously differentiating itself from the editorial line of the Platea de Doctrina.


Russian salad with sweet and sour sauce: The opposition took advantage of the statements of Russian President Vladimir Putin: wait for the authorization, which will come, to be vaccinated. They mediated miscellaneous complaints: from malpractice to corruption without depriving themselves of collective poisoning. The ruling party tends to get too entangled in verbal duels while dealing with what is really important. Guarantee the provision of Sputnik, accelerate the relationship with other laboratories. President Alberto Fernández’s strategy is to accumulate potential suppliers. Again, we refer to the notes of the specialists in this same edition.

The anguish of the great powers validates the chosen course. Hindsight helps: just yesterday US President Donald Trump confiscated medical supplies destined for other countries.

We note that the autochthonous establishment wears the Pfizer T-shirt attached to the skin for reasons of substance: multinational, American, payer of pharaonic advertising guidelines … An essential law was passed in the context … in any other it would have been an abdication. Wide legal immunity for the laboratory that, dissatisfied, requests a new standard. Also that it is President Alberto Fernández who signs agreements instead of the Minister of Health, Ginés González García. Perhaps this concession would be admissible, interprets this chronicler in the unpublished contingency. The new law looks like an abuse of power. The Government negotiates, against the clock and thinking of higher objectives.

In the mud, agreements and deliveries with the Chinese laboratory Sinopharm were delayed. In the Casa Rosada and in the Foreign Ministry, they blame, in part, the ambassador to that country, Luis María Kreckler. Not exclusively (“he mediated a certain laziness” they slide off the record) but preponderant in what was his primary work. Kreckler, a career civil servant, defends himself although he acknowledges (confession of part) that he had taken a leave of absence … at the wrong time.

The relationship between Foreign Minister Felipe Solá and the President is going through a bad time but they agreed on this issue. Kreckler failed to fulfill his duties or at least was inefficient to manage a state policy. He will be removed from the embassy promptly, perhaps tomorrow. Everything indicates that Vaca Narvaja will supply it, who starts with the commitment to obtain in a short period of time large shipments of vaccines.


Roast and prospective look: The speech of Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in La Plata had an impact on the Casa Rosada and areas of influence, as well as on the quinchos. Bets are raised, pre-existing internals are fired. Alberto Fernández combined the festivities with the moment: he summoned the Cabinet to a barbecue that served as an accolade, of course without verbalizing it in that way.

In the ranks of the official cast, it is interpreted that the gesture is not equivalent to renouncing possible changes in the short term. It is true that they have all worked with courage, 24×7, in adverse and unimaginable circumstances. But state action, democratic representation, electoral competition demand tangible results, not just dedication and effort.

During the summer a rebound in popular consumption should begin, with some relief for provinces or cities that depend on tourism.

The return of girls and boys to school has to be planned, with health care, articulated with the provinces and unions and even families if possible.

The economic recovery, heterogeneous so far, has to be extended to other sectors of production.

Expand public works and housing construction. If a significant rebound in GDP is estimated, it is urgent to accompany it with redistributive measures. The agreement with the International Monetary Fund is another dish that will be cooked in the summer.

Thus, the selective renewal of the official team to underpin a less unequal growth is a pressing need, which Cristina put in words and on display.


Definitions in Congress: The two Houses of Congress will have decisive sessions on Tuesday 29. Laburo in full swing, just on gnocchi day. The anniversary is best celebrated by the members of the Supreme Court who prepare suitcases for the fair.

In the Senate the Law of Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy is resolved. Style rule, which we abide by: talk about an open ending, in which there is even a chance that Cristina should tie the tier. Possibly two senators missing. Former President Carlos Menem for health reasons. The Tucuman José Alperovich who extends a license for justifiable reasons. He had to resign long ago because it is impossible for him to return without scandal and little seriousness that the absence will last forever. As it were, the voting looks even, the two sectors exceed thirty votes, the rest will be measured minute by minute. The street will wait anxiously.

It is recommended to read, for more details regarding the session, the note by Agustín Alvarez Rey in this same issue.

The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church lobbies until the last minute. Against the illusions of the President, Pope Francis, on this issue, once again behaved like Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio years ago: a fundamentalist wanting to impose his valid religious convictions on third parties, implacable, intolerant.

The new formula for updating pensions, quarterly and very similar to the one that prevailed in the Kirchnerist stage, it also adds wills one by one. In the lower house, the Frente de Todos needs the support of minority blocks in view of the cohesion of Together for Change. Possibly the Cordobesistas led by Governor Juan Schiaretti will accompany the initiative. The “landless”, whose reference is the Mendoza José Luis Ramón, will serve to define. In the Lavagnismo, the wide avenue in the middle tends to narrow and skew to the right … it will be necessary to see.

For the moment, the project to suspend the Simultaneous and Compulsory Open Primaries (PASO) for the 2021 elections is on hold. Juntos por el Cambio, in general, opposes the measure although several of its governors manage it without stridency.

In the ruling party, the positions of the governors (who are promoting the suspension) and Kirchnerism differ, the Cámpora in particular. A matter of interest, which is not settled and the eventual move is kicked forward.


Summer arrived: This summer rather started without exploding, the next few months will be crucial. The hope of the vaccine comes when the infections reappear and the collective relaxation climbs. It is difficult for national, provincial or municipal leaders to control the overflows; there seems to be a decrease in persuasion or propaganda campaigns.

Christmas shopping dropped, a foreseeable circumstance in the economic malaria situation. A positive externality: the victims of fireworks decreased.

The vaccination campaign should inspire a new collective effort, with state workers as champions. It is fashionable in the global village to question public employees, in parallel with the state; in the contingency they were, are and will be essential not only for being so named. They deserve more than what they received, in a material and symbolic sense.

The end of the year, let’s touch wood, comes with accumulated social sadness but also with governability and family gatherings. Ordinary people want to toast, keep hope. Civil society, preponderantly, demonstrated solidarity, resilience, cooperation. The flat-earthers, the aggressive disobedient, constitute a minority, with a high capacity for harm. But a minority, it should be repeated.

At the beginning of the pandemic, optimistic interpretations proliferated, perhaps conditioned by what happened in the first months and by the idea that everything would be brief. The role of the State would be revalued, “the market” would lose relative weight, solidarity would grow. Suffering would push promising social values, such as the defense of the environment.

The prolongation of the plague discourages the balance sheets, the anticipations are weak in the middle of unpredictable processes.

Either way, Argentine civil society showed strengths. Popular organizations, unions, solidarity kitchens, clubs and schools converted to help, priests and faithful of churches of all faiths close to the most humble. At the risk of recurring: more solidarity and care than selfishness.

We are talking about society, in the economic sphere inequalities persist, the concentration of power, the anguish of the richest. They have been winning in the crisis and they intend to perpetuate that advantage, as they did in 2008-2009.

The disputes continue, the mark on the calendar means nothing in the course of an unfinished global tragedy.

In this framework, identities endure, ideologies retain meaning and reason for being. The relationship between the signer of the column and his readers continues to be a privilege even at this stage of remote, unusual work, without precise coordinates.

For this reason, in the last Sunday installment of 2020 the chronicler raises the glass and proposes a virtual toast with the readers. If you allow yourself a memorable irony: I also did it when face-to-face reigned… Thank you for joining us.

The word “health” doubles its meaning.

Wishes for a good and better year. The majority of humanity, the majority of Argentines deserve and need it. Take care, let’s take care.

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