Ultra-Kirchnerites rally against Griesa — without candidate
Staunch Kirchnerite organizations and leftist allies yesterday staged a show of force against more moderate Victory Front (FpV) candidates a year before the PASO primaries during a rally against vulture funds that took place at a fully packed Luna Park stadium.
There was something missing though — a clear presidential hopeful.
The staunch Kirchnerites were not able to show a candidate of their own at the hugely symbolic Luna Park yesterday. Entre Ríos Governor Sergio Urribarri, the presidential hopeful openly backed by most of those in attendance, was travelling to Paraguay alongside President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on an official trip and limited himself to sending a written message supporting the event.
“The important thing here is that we’re all Kirchnerites,” La Cámpora youth organization leader Andrés “Cuervo” Larroque told supporters last night.
Minutes earlier, Buenos Aires province Lieutenant Governor Gabriel Mariotto took aim at former FpV candidate Martín Insaurralde, who during the last few months has flirted with the idea of switching to the Renewal Front led by Sergio Massa.
Without naming him, Mariotto blasted Kirchnerite leaders “who are leaving the FpV trying to win under another ballot” and even seemed to blast his own boss Daniel Scioli when he talked about those leaders “who stayed” in the Kirchnerite camp but seemed “comfortable” — meaning they had stopped supporting the fight against the powers that be.
However, the main leaders of the fight against holdout creditors were nowhere to be seen, as neither President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner nor Economy Minister Axel Kicillof took part in the much-publicized event.
Major representatives from the Kirchnerite administration included Labour Minister Carlos Tomada and the head of the Education ministry, Alberto Sileoni. It was clearly an event for and about the government-backed Unidos y Organizados (“United and Organized”) group and the progressive and leftist allies of the CFK administration — including the Frente Grande, the Communist Party (PC) and the MILES political force headed by social movement leader Luis D’Elía — who feel at home with the anti-imperialist rhetoric of the “Homeland or Vultures” slogan.
The rally was on the verge of collapsing several times, since every time there was silence activists banged drums and sounded horns for several minutes, which made the event drag on for longer than expected.
Host Angela Lerena — a public television presenter — was interrupted several times by activists shouting chants about “(Hugo) Chávez, Evo (Morales) and Fidel (Castro)” — but other speeches were also drowned out by the sounds of the Murga from a cultural group called Los Dandys de Boedo, who were playing their own beat, regardless of what the rest of the audience was doing.
Yesterday afternoon, as pro-government activists were already entering the Luna Park stadium, Insaurralde revealed he had not been invited to the event.
“Inside the Victory Front there are different sectors that make their own spaces,” the former candidate told FM Delta.
Insaurralde also differentiated himself from staunch Kirchnerism when asked whether he liked the slogan of yesterday’s rally.
“No, I don’t like anything that implies dividing people,” the former Lomas de Zamora mayor replied. (Ironically enough, as the Herald was able to verify, some of the minibuses carrying people to the event were from Lomas).
Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo, a moderate Kirchnerite presidential hopeful, also said he had not received an invite to the Luna Park event — but made it clear that he believed there was “no political reason” behind the decision.
“I’m not bothered by that,” Randazzo told Radio América. “Running the country takes up most of my time.”
Back at the event, Mariotto recalled the 2005 and 2010 debt restructurings that had been accepted by most of the bondholders.
“Peronist governments are those who actually reduce public debt in this country,” the former AFSCA media watchdog head said. The Kirchnerite administration “is paying off the debt of those who go to the TV shows (to criticize the government) and had previously asked the IMF for loans.”
The iconic leader of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo Hebe de Bonafini also took her time to criticize opposition leaders.
“They were the ones who brought us to where we are today so I think it’s time for them to shut up a little bit, show us you have some sense of shame left,” Bonafini said to the applause of some 10,000 supporters who were present at the stadium, according to organizers.
One of the three official videos screened during the event compared the ongoing struggle between the Argentine government and vulture funds to the 1806-1807 English invasions of Argentina — whose anniversary was yesterday.
Another short film showed footage from late former president Néstor Kirchner speaking about the social consequences of the country paying the full amount to its creditors. He was loudly applauded as activists at the back of Luna Park took the opportunity to start their drumming again.