The meeting room still has gifts piled in the corners, unopened packages, remains of a celebration that already happened in the first days of December, when the Government took office. Between the stifling heat outside and the empty offices due to the presidential trip to Israel and Rome, La Rosada is deserted. The only sound that stands out is that of a group of foreign visitors who are on the tourist route of the House.
24 hours have passed since the fall of the Bases law and in the privacy of power, only revenge is breathed. “We were missing an opponent. “Now it's clear.” Wasn't caste already? “Yes, but now it will be much more concrete, personalized and frontal.” The official speaking lists a list of options to show the capacity for revenge: they are almost unpublishable.
Read also: The dialogue governors accuse Milei of having an extreme speech and are considering going to court for the cut of funds
Sergio Massa, the opponent
It seems ironic, but he assures that the anger is so great that they would be willing to withdraw gendarmes from Santa Fe to exemplify Maxi Pullaro, their governor. Hard to think of it coming true. In the middle, they activated an atomic bomb for the provinces when they announced that the transportation subsidy was being canceled without a transition period. It is a massacre to the pockets of the municipalities and the people. They had the political and social astuteness not to harm the AMBA with that decision because the metropolitan region is protected by the SUBE. The governors and mayors of the rest of Argentina were evicted.
Sergio Massa and Javier Milei during the last presidential debate (Luis Robayo/Pool via REUTERS
It is striking that Sergio Massa appears on the list of “traitors” not published by the President. They see him playing politics behind the movements of the leaders of Misiones, Salta and Neuquén, and he grew fiercely angry. If there is one area where Milei showed pragmatism, it was in his relationship with the former minister. The history of that link and the agreements that were made has not yet been written in detail. For this reason, with the message sent that they were pointing him out as the author of the collapse of the law, around Massa they were incredulous: “There is no possibility of him messing with Sergio,” said someone out there.
Summit in Rome
The thing about Rome was written. The ongoing conversations between the President and his star advisor, Santiago Caputo, were going in one direction since Tuesday night. Neither Osvaldo Giordano from Córdoba, nor Flavia Royon from Salta were going to continue in their positions. The decision was communicated while the Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos, was about to leave for Ezeiza to fly to Italy. Sandra Petovello arrived in the Vatican area last night.
There was subtle pressure from Petovello to support Giordano, in charge of Anses, and from Francos to calm down the speech of betrayal and return to dialogue. The Minister of the Interior said on TN that he hopes that a meeting with all the governors in La Rosada will happen again when the earthquake passes. He dreamed that the papal aura would calm the fury of the President. Everyone knew that wasn't going to happen.
They'd better be thinking of a scheme where the relationship with Congress is only one of provocation. Send projects that “bother the caste.” In that folder is the cancellation of the entire automotive property registration system, a structure that historically benefited politics. The will of the Minister of Justice, Mariano Cúneo Libarona on this issue is not clear.
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The fall of the law cracked a fragile balance between confrontation and dialogue: a hawks and doves version of La Libertad Avanza. It is clear that the hawks win.
With this scenario, a group of governors from Together for Change began to organize messages of harmony. It is a mixture of economic anguish and political disorientation. “We are willing to turn the other cheek,” they said. The Minister of Economy, Luis “Toto” Caputo, is more receptive to answering the phone to some of them. When it is to talk about dialogue, not money. This was learned by a JxC leader who this week looked for ways to release an amount that corresponds to him. It was 1500 million pesos. He asked three strategic people if they could help soften the minister's wallet. The three intermediaries told him that there was no point in trying to manage it.
The fiscal desperation of provinces and municipalities spills over to panic levels. Some big supermarket chain entrepreneurs know this well. One received an unusual penalty in a suburban district. For 15 expired yogurts detected in an inspection, the Secretary of Commerce of that municipality wants to charge you 25 million pesos. He is still appealing the move.
Mauricio Macri to Santiago Caputo: “Let yourselves be helped”
Rumors of change in the Government activated Mauricio Macri. From La Angostura, he called Santiago Caputo on Wednesday night. The conversation lasted an hour. They are two people who know each other, but don't necessarily trust each other. “Let yourselves be helped,” the former president insisted. An obvious concern is beginning to grow: without law, without alliances, without its own power and without a team to complete a management that only seems alive in Economy and Security, for how long is it sustainable?
Even though they are at their maximum level of enmity and lack of communication, uncoordinated pincer pressure is deployed from Patricia Bullrich and Mauricio Macri. Both offer the PRO's governance menu. She still presides over the party. He is going to replace her on March 13 if reality follows her plans. Milei has a chat called Mesa with her sister, her friend and advisor Caputo, and Posse, the chief of staff. There it does not occur to anyone to raffle off power.
Luis “Toto” Caputo” was Minister of Finance in the government of Mauricio Macri (File photo; NA/Mariano Sánchez).
But the problem persists. There is internal pressure on Posse so that he can, at the very least, formally appoint officials. Here we wrote last week about the Ferraro case. The Minister of Infrastructure is still technically in his position. There is not just a question of “less cruel” self-care in his case, as one decision-maker acknowledged. What keeps him in office is the problem of the signatures. There is no one with whom.
Officials without functions
Daniel Scioli is already in Buenos Aires. He occupies his office as Secretary of Tourism, Environment and Sports, he traveled to Los Alerces National Park to see the fire up close, but there is not much he can decide. He has not yet been appointed to the position. “He is doing a spectacular job… ad honorem,” the Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Francos, author of Scioli's arrival to the Government, ironically said on TN.
Sandra Petovello's Ministry of Social Development is in a worse situation. Only the Secretary of Children and Family, Pablo de la Torre, “has a signature” – the way in which public management calls for being officially appointed. The other secretaries and undersecretaries are temporarily acting as advisors, so at least they receive a salary. They also do not have the capacity to sign decisions. That management funnel is starting to grow inside. Yesterday even Patricia Bullrich complained on television that many appointments are missing.
Guillermo Ferraro, one of the first officials of the Milei administration to have been removed from his position.
They are all simultaneous, not connected to each other or barely united by lack of coordination rather than by the organization of a Government with a unified command. There are more examples: one would believe that presenting a project that criminalizes abortion again is a consensual political decision. But not. The proposal bears the signature of deputies who do not even say they have given their consent. And yesterday there were conspiracies and paranoia in Government House about who had been behind that move. In any case, they assure that it will not prosper.
The former president enjoys her active silence at the Patria Institute. She has been in Buenos Aires since the last week of January and on Tuesday, when the Bases law ceased to exist, she received people until night to listen to interpretations of what may come. She is ecumenical in her meetings. People who didn't have access so often now find her very willing to chat and in a good mood.
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Nobody sees her worried about the judicial front. Peronism organizes a low profile. “We are not going to interfere while the enemy makes mistakes,” says an essential operator with links in all sectors of power. He also conveys the same perplexity as almost the entire political class: “We are facing an unimaginable adventure. This never happened. Nobody ever made a Government without its own power, with enemies but without alliances. It is not a method that has been tested until now.”
There will be, in a few days, one more test of this method. It will be March 1, when Javier Milei cannot turn his back on Congress and will have to give the opening speech of ordinary sessions. He planned to arrive with the law approved. That's not going to happen anymore. He is already working on how to differentiate himself from any other President who has passed through since the return of democracy. He has only one decision made: “It will not be a speech of dialogue and consensus.”