The two priority issues on Alberto Fernández’s agenda and the date on which he plans to make changes in the cabinet

Alberto Fernández on official tour of Concordia
Alberto Fernández on official tour of Concordia

The public information -national and international- and the confidential reports that he received from his Cabinet reinforced Alberto Fernández’s concern regarding the next arrival of the second wave of COVID-19 and its social, political and economic impact in Argentina during 2021.

The President reads with great attention the news from Europe and the United States that describe the deadly effects caused by the pandemic in those societies with robust health structures, and it is committed to facing the second wave of COVID-19 with two institutional strategies that depend little on its political will.

These strategies are linked to the provision of vaccines manufactured in Russia and China, and to the exhumation of mandatory isolation when the dead and infected cross the so-called Red line. “There is no predetermined number. We are seeing if it is a temporary outbreak or something else “, Alberto Fernández explained in the Quinta de Olivos.

The Casa Rosada signed a bilateral agreement with the Kremlin that involves 30 million doses of the Russian vaccine. Alberto Fernández trusts the word of Vladimir Putin and it assumes that Sputnik V shipments will arrive in Ezeiza between January and March without delay.

“The Russian Fund that invests in the vaccine reiterated that everything will arrive in a timely manner”said the head of state when asked if Russia will meet the delivery deadlines.

Alberto Fernández knows that Putin considers the vaccine as a geopolitical fact, but he rules out that the Russian leader privileges his global allies over Argentina that it does not have an international agenda folded to the strategic interests of the Kremlin in Latin America.

Are you not afraid that Putin will choose Turkey or Syria if vaccine production is not enough to meet the needs of his own partners in Europe and the Middle East? –they asked the head of state.

-I understand the point, and I keep it in mind. But I know Putin will keep his word. Yesterday there was a call with the Russian fund that manages the vaccine and it ratified its commitment to Argentina-, Alberto Fernández responded.

Alberto Fernández, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Axel Kicillof in the presidential fifth of Olivos
Alberto Fernández, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Axel Kicillof in the presidential fifth of Olivos

President it is also betting on the provision of millions of doses of the Chinese vaccine. The Sinopharm company produces this vaccine, and Xi JInping promised the Casa Rosada that the shipments would arrive without delay when the commercial negotiation is finished.

Beijing demands between $ 20 and $ 30 for each vaccine, while Buenos Aires is still haggling to ensure that the final price does not exceed $ 25 for the two respective doses. There are 15 million vaccines, and the difference in the amounts is gigantic. The deal would close before the first week of January.

Along with the provision of vaccines, that depend on the political decisions of Putin and Xi, Alberto Fernández evaluates returning to the hard quarantine to face the second wave of COVID-19, if the numbers of deaths and infected grow at a geometric rate.

The President is concerned about the absence of social discipline during the holidays and that is why he summoned Axel Kicillof and Horacio Rodríguez Larreta for 25 minutes in Olivos. Alberto Fernández, the Buenos Aires governor and the head of the Buenos Aires government shared information and the fear of a social overflow in January and February.

To this health concern of Alberto Fernández, Kicillof and Rodríguez Larreta, is added a political fear that is handled as a state secret: the possibility of some civil disobedience, if the COVID-19 wave is strong, and there is no alternative but to return to ASPO Category 1.

The government assumes that shutting down the economy and suffocating education and social activities will cause a great deal of concern and unease, but Alberto Fernández knows what is happening in the United States, Italy, Spain, France and Great Britain, and assured his circle of power that he will return to ASPO phase 1 if he has no other health alternative.

Felipe Solá, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Felipe Solá, Minister of Foreign Affairs

The presidential agenda is busy full due to the eventual consequences of the second wave of COVID-19. However, Alberto Fernández does not lose detail of the negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and cautiously designs a probable change in the National Cabinet.

Martín Guzmán leads the talks with the IMF staff, and now everything is uphill. The Minister of Economy had a roadmap and was making progress in closing an Extended Facilities Program. But Cristina Fernández de Kirchner marked the field in the last act of the Frente de Todos and caused a forced counter-march with an open end.

If the historical canons that the IMF executes with a serial creditor such as Argentina are considered, and the recipe made explicit by CFK in the Unico de la Plata stadium is put in front of it, It will be very difficult to find a political and economic understanding that will lead to an agreement to pay the foreign debt contracted by Mauricio Macri.

Alberto Fernández designs an official travel agenda that has two key stops: Washington and Beijing. There is still no precise month regarding the United States, while it is now closed for the President to meet Xi in early May.

And before the tour happens, to DC or China, Alberto Fernández will renovate his National Cabinet. The head of state will replace Felipe Solá as chancellor, and is looking for ministers for Production and Transportation. He is not satisfied with Matías Kulfas and Mario Meoni. And he has not yet decided how he will do justice to a deputy minister who conspires all day with his friends from the Instituto Patria.

I kept reading:

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