President Alberto Fernández has fired the head of the ANSES, Alejandro Vanoli, for his error-prone management of the social security administration.
The Casa Rosada briefed journalists Wednesday that Vanoli’s departure was part of a move to seek "a more dynamic management, closer to the needs of the people … in the framework of the general emergency caused due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Vanolid's replacement emerged this morning – Buenos Aires Province Community Development Minister María Fernanda Raverta, a La Cámpora militant who was a Unidad Ciudadana national deputy until last December. Raverta, who ran an unsuccessful mayoral candidate in Mar del Plata last October, departs Governor Axel Kicillof's provincial government for a post in the national administration.
Reports on Thursday said another La Campora leader, Andres "Cuervo" Larroque, who has kept a low profile, working in deprived neighbourhoods in the Conurbano had been named as Raverta's replacement in the Kicillof administration. Government House in La Plata later confirmed the news.
Vanoli was summoned to the Casa Rosada on Wednesday, where Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero gave him the news, asking for his resignation. According to reports, Deputy Cabinet Chief Cecilia Todesca – who is said to have the president's upmost confidence – rejected an offer to take over, before the president settled on Raverta.
Vanoli had managed to survive an administrative fiasco at ANSES (Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social) at the start of last month. On April 3, during the first fortnight of the coronavirus quarantine lockdown, he not only exposed thousands of pensioners to contagion by paying out retirement benefits through the banks in a single day, he compounded the risk by choosing that same date for the IFE (Ingreso Familiar de Emergencia) emergency family income payment.
The IFE was the occasion for further errors being laid at Vanoli’s door when many of the cheques for the emergency-assistance payment were dated for June or July instead of April, while millions of people also complained (rightly or wrongly) about their exclusion from the mass benefit.
But, according to reports, the last straw was political rather than social – delays in naming the state directors to the boards of 50 private companies where ANSES is a stakeholder, thus running the risk of leaving the nominees of previous president Mauricio Macri in place. These companies include such giants as Telecom and Techint.
Vanoli had been assumed to enjoy the protection of Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner by analysts. He was the last Central Bank governor of her 2007-2015 presidency but he had alienated the ex-head of state’s son, Máximo Kirchner, by failing to appoint a sufficient number of the La Cámpora militant youth grouping to top posts inside ANSES, according to local reports. If those grievances are as reported, that call would presumably be satisfied by Raverta’s appointment.
Government sources assured local outlets, some other post would be found for Vanoli in due course.