Thursday, May 30, 2024

ARGENTINA | 16-04-2024 15:46

Kirchnerite tensions: New wave pushes for displacement of La Cámpora

Disappointed with the inaction of those aligned with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a new line of Kirchnerite figures are knocking on Axel Kicillof's door and asking him to take control of the Peronist movement.

The more traditional sectors of the Partido Justicialista (PJ) are questioning the influence of La Cámpora in the wider Peronist movement, while a new group at odds with traditional Kirchnerite leaders are growing in strength. Together, they are fighting to remove Máximo Kirchner from a central decision-making role in the pan-Peronist front and to promote Buenos Aires Province Governor Axel Kicillof as the movement’s new leader.

Up until 2023, La Cámpora functioned as a transmission belt for Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's decisions, making the former president the maximum authority and the one who ordered the movement top-down. The apostles of Cristina, and by extension Máximo, were the ones who carried forth the word of "The Boss," acting as messengers. 

But where once there was a supreme respect and even reverential fear for the black monks of the former president's son's group, relations are freezing up.

Since Fernández de Kirchner herself was removed from the forefront of institutional politics last December, general Peronist submission to La Cámpora has collapsed. Differences have surfaced and a wilder Kirchnerist movement is regaining autonomy and seeking to decide its own destiny. While Fernández de Kirchner's leadership is still respected for its trajectory, her followers have splintered, creating a non-camporista yet kirchnerista leadership group.

Only a few of her close entourage knew last year that the then-vice-president would not stand as a candidate in the election. While she never truly considered being a candidate, she still let the clamour spread in order to "empower herself and be able to keep control of the pen,” allowing her free rein in selecting the list of national deputies, reported Noticias Argentinas journalist Sebastián Hadida this week. This calculating game is said to have angered second-line Kirchnerite cadres, who felt they were being used during the campaign.

To make matters worse, this sector had to accept the presidential candidacy of Economy Minister Sergio Massa, whom those of a Kirchnerite persuasion have never believed is one of their own. Without caring too much about the desire of the militancy, Fernández de Kirchner and La Cámpora had made a pact that included the lowering of Eduardo ‘Wado’ de Pedro and Daniel Scioli from a hypothetical Peronist primary. Disappointed with the latest actions and inactions of Fernández de Kirchner, whose two presidencies are framed as glories of the recent past, this new line of activists are  already knocking on Kicillof's door to ask him to assume the leadership of the Peronist movement – and not to accept any conditions from La Cámpora.

Buenos Aires Province Community Development Minister Andrés ‘Cuervo’ Larroque, who broke ranks with La Cámpora and Máximo Kirchner almost two years ago, is the main exponent of this camp for change. But there are more champions who intend to isolate La Cámpora, so that its leaders lose influence in the new ecosystem: from national deputy Hugo Yasky of the CTA workers’ union, to mayors Jorge Ferraresi (Avellaneda), Mario Secco (Ensenada), Julio Alak (La Plata) and Fernando Espinoza (La Matanza), along with ex-Public Works minister Gabriel Katopodis, and the leader of SUTEBA teachers’ union, Roberto Baradel.

During a recent speech in San Vicente, Larroque lit the fuse, pointing out that "anyone who dares to murmur, conspire or sow strange questionings" against Kicillof "is in a strange joke and is not playing in favour of Peronism." He also questioned the way in which Fernández de Kirchner exercised her leadership in recent years, appealing to figures from La Cámpora "as emissaries to discipline the rest of Peronism K.”

"What does Cristina's leadership mean? What is Cristina's leadership? That three kids send you a WhatsApp? I don't want Cristina's leadership, I want leadership with a popular movement, auxiliary leadership cadres, discussion tables, with debate, with a programme, with method and mobilisation," Larroque declared.

Defending Kicillof, he described him as “an honest, hard-working comrade, who knows how to manage, who is empathetic with the people and who has shown himself to be successful in the elections.”



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