Something was wrong with Sergio Massa. He always spreads smiles and jokes as he articulates his legislative tactic, but hardly any of that happened in the week of March 7th. Those who frequent him heard in his tone of voice the echo of what happened last December 17, when this year’s budget was frustrated after an incendiary speech by Máximo Kirchner.
The opposition deputies were reassured by the sign language of the president of the Chamber. They knew they could safely go to the bone to rip up the bill containing the IMF deal. as Martín Guzmán wanted it. The minister assured that the agreement and the economic plan had to be approved at the same time, something that Together for Change would never have supported.
Massa cleared up his doubts on his own. He had a Zoom with the IMF staff put together by Sergio Chodos, the country’s representative in the organization. They told him that the conditions put by Guzmán had more to do with the minister than with Washington and it advanced without fault in the negotiations that avoided the default.
Last Thursday the Senate finished closing the agreement with the Fund, the most important economic fact of the management of Alberto Fernandez. It is also a gift to the oppositionthat he hopes to unwrap it in 2023.
With nuances, PRO economists Hernán Lacunza and Luciano Laspina conveyed to other leaders –Maria Eugenia Vidal, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, Christian Ritondo– that the law puts a muzzle to a government that until now has been outrageous.
The PRO, radicalism and the CC hope to return to power next year. The intention is that by that time the road is as smooth as possible. despite the potholes that the management will leave of the Front of All. The agreement with the IMF allowed them to cross a line on the list of future pending issues. There may be another negotiation, but it will not be done with the weight of a default.
Congress imposed the doctrine of Elisa Carrio. Those concepts gradually convinced Rodríguez Larreta and Patricia Bullrich. He even ended up accepting Mauricio Macri himself. Carrió’s bishops maintain that chaos suits “a madman” -according to the terminology of the Civic Coalition- or Cristina Kirchner, but not Together for Change.
The invasion of Russia was mixed in the negotiations to avoid the Argentine default. On Sunday, March 6, there was a march in favor of Ukraine. Rodríguez Larreta and Bullrich were there, but also Maximilian Ferraro and John Manuel Lopezpresident of the CC and head of the block in Deputies. Everyone got together that same afternoon to drink water, lemonade and discuss the Fund in Corrientes and Pellegrini, the final destination of the demonstration. Invited by the head of government.
Ferraro and López told Larreta that his plan was bad. If he won the abstention, they argued, the law would lead to a project that could be easily prosecuted. Bullrich summed up what had been floating around in one sentence: moving towards a one-article law. It is what happened.
Seen in the light of Carrió’s reaction a week later (“my disappointment is absolute; I don’t trust anyone, only the Civic Coalition”), the meeting in toast will occupy an important place in the history of the Together for Change unit.
Two days later, Mario Negri (UCR), Laspina (PRO) and López transmitted the idea to Massa. At the same time that Martín Guzmán left for Houston, the proposal that the minister had defended with clenched fists fell in Congress.
Economy chose to be happy with the agreement rather than be sad because its original recipe did not prosper. It is almost normal behavior. Guzmán got used to asking for a lot to settle for much less. He did it in the private debt negotiation, when he fired Federico Basualdo, who continues to work in the Ministry, and in the negotiation with the International Monetary Fund.
The leadership of Together for Change had to make an additional move to calm the internal effervescence. Martín Lousteau, active on the phone with the US like Massa, protested because Rodrigo Loredohead of his block, had not been invited the day before. We had to give them a gesture of goodwill. On Wednesday morning they met in the space of the Civic Coalition to write a single article. Almost everyone was there: Margarita Stolbizer, Silvia Lospennato, Paula Oliveto, Cristian Ritondo, Lisandro Nieri and the heads of Evolución.
The hosts enlivened the neutral space of the Civic Coalition, as they called it, with croissants and coffee. The language of war also invaded Argentine politics, although the shock wave did not reach the Senate, where it was discussed this week with the calm of those who play with their cards turned upside down.
There is a widespread idea that goes from the opposition to Máximo Kirchner. Alberto Fernández’s economic results so far are poor and there is no reason to expect them to improve in the next 18 months. It is an inconvenient platform to do politics. Added to the Excel evidence is Cristina Kirchner’s break with the President.
Alberto Fernández thinks the opposite. He believes the IMF deal may be his last chance to improve the economy. That spirit began to pour into the people from him. While the vice president does not answer the phone, Fernández’s emissaries They recommend La Cámpora to abandon his posts in the State if they are not convinced of the project.
Officials loyal to the President see in their own irreverence the lukewarm possibility that Albertism will emerge, something that Fernández himself has always been in charge of stifling until now. The first stop on that potential run will have to do with inflation.
Without formalities, Fernández told last Wednesday night to Daniel Funes from Rioja (HIGHWAY) Hector Daer (CGT) and Hugo Yasky (CTA) that on Monday they will call them – possibly Julius Vitobello– to organize a meeting where prices and wages are agreed, something that has been done unsuccessfully several times since 2019, as was the spirit of yesterday’s announcements. The war of the Casa Rosada against inflation is fought with wet gunpowder.
The economy looks like a merry-go-round that would leave the future president almost in the same place where Together for Change left, because the Argentina of 2023 will be a problematic place, but with elements well known by the team that accompanied the previous administration.
It is another gift from Guzmán for the one who follows: a little out of conviction and another out of necessity, the agreement with the IMF promises to raise interest rates, lower the fiscal deficit, accumulate reserves in the Central Bank and devalue without frights.
The economic program that Alberto Fernández defends has some of the main elements of the one promoted by the former Macrista Minister of Economy Nicolás Dujovne. Certain similarities reach unsuspected levels: Economy put in writing that the Front for All expects to borrow US$5.2 billion in dollars in 12 months. It is the same reason why the Casa Rosada wants Mauricio Macri to give explanations in court.