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Thursday, October 24, 2013

‘I’ll bare stigma of being Clarín’s candidate’

By Luciana Bertoia
Herald Staff

Journalist Mirta Tundis, third on the Renewal Front ticket, talks to the Herald

Journalist Mirta Tundis is in the third slot on Sergio Massa’s Renewal Front (FR) ticket for the Lower House of Congress. When the lists were formed, her name appeared unexpectedly. But since then she has been presented by the ruling Victory Front (FpV) as “Clarín’s CEO Héctor Magnetto’s candidate.”

In her house in the City neighbourhood of Mataderos, Tundis talked to the Herald, acknowledging her new “name” caused her sadness.

“I have spent nights crying because they used to call me that,” the journalist specialized in social security issues, who worked for more than 20 years at Channel 13 or the cable TV channel TN, part of the biggest media group in Argentina.

“I think that will be a stigma I’ll always have,” she sighed.

The 57-year-old defines herself as Socialist and said that Massa was not aware of her political ideas.

“My father was a socialist. He never went to cast his vote but always talked about sharing and rights. I have never been an activist but have always agreed with these ideas,” she said, while drinking a cup of coffee.

Tundis also said jokingly that Malena Galmarini, Massa’s wife, likes to tell her: “Well, Mirta, come on. You’re now a Peronist because Alfredo Palacios’s bills became real during Juan Perón’s presidency.” (Palacios is an icon of the Argentine Socialist movement).

Why did you accept Massa’s offer to be included on the ballot?

I never wanted to take part in political activities because it was easier to sit on the other side and to receive people’s affection. Politics is a field that I do not know well. Massa phoned me and made me feel that I had to do something. He said: “take your seat and stop complaining from a screen”. It had been a long time since I last spoke with Massa. I was a bit scared...

You define yourself as a socialist and socialists are divided into those who support the government and those who don’t. Would you have accepted if the Broad Progressive Front or Kirchnerites had invited you?

I don’t know. It was a very difficult decision to take Massa’s offer. I accepted because I have known Massa for years, since he was a public official. I used to criticize him while he was the head of the ANSeS social security agency.

Last Saturday, Massa held a meeting with former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, an apologist of “zero tolerance” policies. Isn’t it dangerous to turn to right-wing policies?

No,because Oscar Naranjo (a former Colombian police chief) was there. He does not want “zero tolerance” policies; he says that intelligence tasks should be carried out and that we should follow the cash route.

Colombia does not seem an option, mainly due to the militarization of the security agencies...

We have to invest and not militarize because we had a painful history. But we need a system to control crime.

Would you vote to decrease the age of criminal responsibility as th FpV candidate Martín Insaurralde has suggested?

No. Children should go to school and leave the streets, preventing them from being victims of crime networks.

In times of battle between the Kirchnerite administration and the Clarín media group, how was your relationship with the government?

It was not good. I work for a channel which is allegedly opposed to the government but I am not. I have always highlighted the good measures of the Kirchnerite administration. I was free to express my opinion. During Carlos Menem’s presidency, I express my rejection to AFJP priovate pension funds and I praised the government’s nationalization. But I suffered some attacks from Kirchnerite activists on the street just for working for the group.

What’s your opinion on the Media Law?

I’m in favour of it if it means diversity. But what disturbs me is that it can be used to silence some journalists who think differently.

In fact, the Law does not establish any limitation on content...

But we face censorship due to the lack of official advertising.

What is the role of women in the RF?

Well, in fact, I’m devoted to that campaign. I do not have much experience holding meetings. Sometimes I come across some of my fellow candidates.

Have you talked to Sergio about the 2015 presidential election?

Well, Sergio does not want to talk about that. But, in my opinion, if he was able to transform the ANSES social security agency, he might be able to transform the country. He has a presidential point of view and many share that opinion. After the elections, we will convince him.

Didn´t the diversity of Massa´s front concern you?

No. They did not ask me if I was a socialist. Why should I do it? I like to highlight the good things in every political space.

@LucianaBertoia

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