It was hard to know where to start when it came to dissecting President Mauricio Macri’s extensive package of decrees this week. But one set of appointments that did catch the eye were those of four future ambassadors who are set to take charge of some of Argentina’s most crucial diplomatic missions. There is doubt and controversy, however, about the permanency of each appointment, given that they must first receive approval from the Senate.
Heading to Washington is Fernando Oris de Roa who will replace former ambassador Martín Lousteau. Oris de Roa is a businessman with extensive experience across a number of areas in Argentina’s key agricultural sector. A Harvard masters programme graduate, he has worked predominately in the private sector, aside from a brief stint in the City government’s Modernisation Ministry. Oris de Roa has also been an adviser for the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and a member of the Administrative Council of CIPPEC.
Darío Giustozzi, a former ally of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and later Sergio Massa, will take over Argentina’s mission in Ecuador, where President Lenín Moreno is seen to be shifting the country away from the populist legacy of former president Rafael Correa in line with broader changes in regional politics. Giustozzi could face hurdles, however, over ongoing investigations into alleged irregularities in public works projects in Almirante Brown city, where he was mayor.
Mario Barletta is set to head to Uruguay, a crucial though friendly neighbour in Argentine diplomatic terms. The Radical party politician will replace incoming lawmaker Guillermo Montenegro at the Embassy in Montevideo. The appointment was reported by Clarín as “prize” for Barletta whom the ruling Cambiemos coalition forced off the ticket of national candidates for Santa Fe province in last October’s mid-term elections despite his popularity. Barletta is a hydroelectric engineer with extensive party political experience, having presided the Radical Party from 2011 and 2013 and run for governor of Santa Fe on two occasions.
Finally, Héctor Lostri has been named ambassador to Paraguay. Lostri was pushed from the Defence Ministry under current Minister Oscar Aguad but has long enjoyed Macri’s support since his time at the City’s Urban Development team during the president’s time as mayor of Buenos Aires. A controversial figure, Lostri has been tied to the recent wave of lay-offs in the Military Manufacturing department of the Armed Forces and Defence Ministry. In 2007, he faced allegations of pursuing business deals that were inappropriate for a public servant.