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OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 12-10-2023 14:46

Insaurralde, Milei, Melconian and the dirty campaign

We’re into the tortuous last stretch of the campaign and political operations are underway.

As if the general anguish caused by the developing economic crisis were not enough, politics has a succession of scandals and operations that only multiply the sense of unease and mistrust. It's nothing surprising, given we are just a few days before a hotly contested presidential election.

It is necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff, because not everything is the same. Proven facts are one thing; situations that are taken for granted in order to establish them are another.

The purpose of the confusion is usually the usual one: that no-one is left untainted and that a new case covers up the previous one. A sort of mamushka of impudence that triggers indignation to the point of exhaustion.

The most recent series of publicly exposed debauchery began with Julio 'Chocolate' Rigau, an employee of the Buenos Aires Province Legislature who was caught at an ATM in La Plata withdrawing cash with 50-odd debit cards from accounts belonging to supposed contractors.

Rigau's practice involves all the forces, by action or omission. A swift judicial intervention initially covered everything up. Now that the investigation has been reopened,  more than a month after the incident, it is still impossible to obtain authorisation to open Rigau's mobile phone. Nobody in the leadership is responsible for explaining anything.

Then came the well-known Martín Insaurralde scandal. This is already known: the yacht in the Mediterranean, the expensive gifts, the model girlfriend who uploaded everything to her social media accounts... Insaurralde had to resign as Governor Axel Kicillof's Cabinet chief and as a candidate for councillor in Lomas de Zamora, where he is on leave as mayor. In addition, several court cases have been opened that will have to be merged. Nothing will happen before the election.

Although he encouraged his ejection and condemned his attitude, Sergio Massa expressed his doubts about the timing of Insaurralde's trip and the role of Sofía Clerici, his companion on the romantic adventure. Within the ruling Unión por la Patria coalition they are certain, without proof, that "they made a bed for us." Never was it better said.

La Libertad Avanza have also had their share. Two recent videos circulating on social networks try to link Lilia Lemoine (the woman in charge of Javier Milei's image and a LLA candidate for deputy) and Mariano Gerván (an advisor to the national organiser Carlos Kikuchi) to alleged undeclared requests for funds. Both deny that this ever happened.

The audio-visual materials, conveniently edited, would be part of a scheme to damage the libertarians, according to a detailed investigation published by journalist Hugo Alconada Mon in the La Nación newspaper.

The most recent chapter in the dissemination of mud stars Carlos Melconian. According to audio conversations online in which here his voice appears, the current economic reference point for Patricia Bullrich refers (if these statements are real, of course) to sexual favours in exchange for State appointments, applying pressure to businessmen and advice on money-laundering.

At the time of going to press, Melconian has maintained absolute silence on these recordings, which in theory form part of a judicial file, according to the person who disseminated them via social networks. And he promises that there are more.

Bullrich has dismissed the veracity of these recordings and attributed the voice to artificial intelligence. Massa, astute, chose to bring up the subject of the audios himself in an interview on A24, but only to say that "it's all rubbish."

Within the Juntos por el Cambio presidential candidate's inner circle, there is confusion as to what response to give. 

On the one hand, some believe Melconian should give some kind of public explanation, without this implying the validation of the audio that was probably obtained illegally.

On the other, there is a suspicion that  the origin of these recordings – if true – was the espionage system historically promoted by former president Mauricio Macri, as his recording scandals in the Buenos Aires City Council and the Presidency show. 

Macri’s close friend and former head of the AFI, Gustavo Arribas, could make some contribution in this regard. Everything goes, chapter 1,000.

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Javier Calvo

Javier Calvo

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