Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Patricia Bullrich launched an angry broadside against Security Minister Aníbal Fernández late Thursday after he claimed that “blood and deaths” would be the consequence of a right-wing win in October’s elections.
Fernández, a veteran Peronist politician who has something of a reputation for putting his foot in it, declared in an interview with the C5N news channel that the economic proposals put forth by presidential hopefuls from the opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition and La Libertad Avanza would deliver fatal social upheaval in Argentina, should either grouping win the race for the Casa Rosada.
Fernández, 66, claimed introducing such policies would deliver “streets drenched with blood,” while forecasting an “enormous level of repression” from the authorities. This, he suggested, would lead to violence and potentially even fatalities.
"I can't help but see the degree of madness with which the segments represented by the right wing are exhibiting themselves," said the minister, who went on to say that proposals from the right could only be introduced via “an enormous level of repression" Argentines would not tolerate.
Opposition leaders were outraged by the remarks from Argentina’s outspoken national security minister.
“Neither blood, nor deaths. There are those who light the fire. And us, the ones who put it out. Violence never again,” Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta tweeted, referencing the slogan rejecting state terrorism in the wake of the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.
“In our administration, we had the lowest homicide rate since it’s been measured, Minister Fernández. The streets are already watered with blood and death, in case you didn’t know. Take charge,” PRO chair Bullrich tweeted in response.
During his interview, Fernández repeatedly questioned the proposals of libertarian economist Javier Milei, La Libertad Avanza’s presidential candidate, and those of Bullrich and Rodríguez Larreta.
"The streets drenched with blood and deaths would be produced if they had the possibility of being in government” in the elections,” said Fernández, adding that “no-one in their right mind” would “accept that.”
The minister also suggested during the interview that President Alberto Fernández should run for re-election this year, saying he was the best-placed leader in the ruling Frente de Todos coalition to win the vote.
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Fernández later doubled down on his remarks, posting a series of articles retelling his comments on Twitter.
He also won the support of Presidential Spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti, who in her weekly press conference accused the opposition of "making too much of a fuss over a phrase."
She accused former president Mauricio Macri and Milei of "announcing storms" and claimed they planned to "dynamite the country."