Axel Kicillof was tougher than usual. Máximo Kirchner broke his silence to respond. Both political leaders, key figures from the Kirchnerite camp of the Frente de Todos coalition, defended the restrictions imposed by President Alberto Fernández. Both also targeted Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, who they accused of being “directed” by former president Mauricio Macri.
Kicillof, the governor of Buenos Aires Province, wasted no time in coming out to support the president's announcements. Given the advance of the second wave of coronavirus in Argentina, La Plata had asked for stronger measures and Alberto Fernández responded. Not only would he accompany and support the restrictions – Kicillof also delivered a fiery speech at a press conference defending and explaining the decisions that the head of state himself failed to explain.
“The truth is I wonder if it would not be better for Macri to come and discuss with us directly,” the governor declared. “At the beginning [of the pandemic] we thought that Rodríguez Larreta was going to be different because he had management responsibilities. But in the end he is the same as Macri and [ex-security minister Patricia] Bullrich.”
“The truth is that it would be more genuine – one plays hard, another plays soft – but they go the same way, "said the provincial leader.
Ever since last year, when Fernández referred to "my friend Horacio" in a press conference, the Kirchnerite wing of the ruling coalition has warned that "Larreta is Macri." Even when the president was proudly managing the pandemic together, officials such as Interior Minister Eduardo ‘Wado’ De Pedro were keen to make their differences clear.
“The consensus line is not true. Last week, in the middle of discussions, the head of [the City] government signed a statement from Juntos por El Cambio that said he was against any restrictions. They are already on their election campaign, is that understood? They are on their electoral campaign,” was another phrase that Kicillof uttered on Thursday about the opposition's positioning.
Yesterday it was the turn of the head of the Frente de Todos bloc in the lower house Chamber of Deputies, Máximo Kirchner.
"I think that the attitudes they are showing has a lot to do with the political complexity of Juntos por el Cambio or Cambiemos. I do not know the social reasons they have for doing so, but today Macri ends up leading them and that makes things much more complex," said the lawmaker.
Regarding the government’s vaccination plan, Kirchner brushed off criticism, saying: “We are going to move forward, we are going to continue vaccinating. This is going to pass and our boys and girls are not only going to return to face-to-face classes, but we are going to do everything possible so that when they do, they are well fed, something that did not matter to Macrismo.”
Like Kicillof, he defended the new restrictions: “These 10 business days should serve to lower infections. When neoliberalism talks about presence, it forgets the conditions in which kids are taught. This opportunistic sensitivity that they show to a subject as complex as the pandemic would be good if it were extended to other areas that not only have to do with education,” he said.
In relation to the International Monetary Fund and ongoing debt negotiations, the deputy insisted on the need for "responsible agreements."
"We are proposing that Argentines need time, not the government, because a government lasts four years, and this negotiation exceeds this government," he said, referring to reports Argentina would seek a deal spreading payments from 10 to 20 years.