In a classic somersault in the country of “never say I shouldn’t drink this water”, the assumption of Sergio Massa, in a position that would surpass even that of a prime minister, impacted the dollar billboard, the lectern that the opposition looks at to stir up or stop his destituent speech. The only thing that matters now, in the climate of uncertainty that had been created, is the relief of a falling dollar that fuels hopes of a drag effect on inflation, although this month’s figures will surely be a pain in the neck. groin.
The figure of the new Minister of Economy, Production and Agriculture, –plus other duties– declined when he distanced himself from Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, then grew in the 2013 and 2015 elections and declined again in a shipwreck that even led him to the Davos summit at the hands of Mauricio Macri. Until he returned to the fold and joined the Front of All. The head of the lower house was clearly aligned with the ruling party there and articulated with all the internal currents in a correct performance.
On this occasion, his old adversary whom he defeated in the 2013 elections, Martín Insaurralde, was one of the first to demand his incorporation into the cabinet. When the Frente de Todos was organized, a downcast Massa had preferred not to be in management but in legislative activity and thus became the head of the lower house.
The strong grinding in the figure of Alberto Fernández due to inflation and the run on the dollar culminated with this call where the decision-making capacity in the economy will have an undoubted projection towards politics. Massa is a politician, he is not a technician. Managing the economy also gives him a hand in politics and, if he does well, he will be a formidable platform by 2023.
At the end of June, when the shortage of dollars was already notable in the Central Bank, before resigning, the former Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, jumped into the pool when he no longer had water and demanded control of all the related springs. with economic policy. But it was his actions that had produced Rosemary’s baby, so it was only natural that the president would reject his demand. Giving Guzmán full control of the economy so that he could do the same thing that had spawned the crisis did not seem reasonable.
At that moment, Massa’s option appeared, which posed the same requirement: control of all or nothing. After several days of pondering, the President opted for Silvina Batakis, who accepted with fewer demands. But her appointment was not enough; the dollar, the macrista field and inflation maintained this growing pressure. The President did not give him time to prove himself and backed down on a decision in whose deliberations Vice President Cristina Kirchner also participated.
With that pressure the month became long and every minute of inertia increased the discomfort. Taking time to reflect before making a decision is good, but saving time is often better. The process to decide was long and produced a very strong erosion in the government. And in the popular sectors the agony of seeing the purchasing power of wages shrink day by day was prolonged. That means each day is one less thing to eat or wear. It is a maelstrom of decline in the quality of life of the majority. The decision of medium and large rural producers not to liquidate their crops while waiting for a devaluation for which they themselves were pressing ended up worsening the situation of the majority of Argentines and put the country on the brink of a catastrophe.
Although they justify it as a logical commercial decision about something that belongs to them, it was an act that did not show solidarity with their country. They did not lose money if they yielded the harvest. The silver had been saved during the first months of the year with the liquidation of a smaller part of the grains due to the high international prices pushed by the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Massa’s entry coincided with or ended with deciding the departure of Gustavo Beliz, who had been appointed Secretary of Strategic Affairs to take advantage of the contacts he had gained from his long years as an official at the Inter-American Development Bank. Beliz was interested in the presidency of that organization. He was proposed by the government for that role, but was defeated by Donald Trump’s candidate.
In the government they think that Beliz lost interest in management and from then on he dedicated himself to blocking Chinese and Russian investments in large works, as if he was doing good writing in relation to his career in those organizations that are based in Washington. His replacement by Mercedes Marcó del Pont will unblock the projects that Beliz hindered.
Much of the crisis has a political factor. In this plane, the government was strengthened with Massa in management. He is the trident of the main leaders of him in strategic places of the government. That strength will depend on maintaining the bridges between them, but above all with the vice president. Discomfort over the economic situation and the proximity of the electoral process turned this movement into the government’s last bullet. You won’t get another chance. The government trio cannot make mistakes or cut each other by their own. The coalition government will not resist another disagreement.
There have already been signs of improvement and the move forced the macrista opposition to go from an all-out offensive, to an attitude of expectation – it could be misplaced if it insisted on its attacks and requests for an early exit and political trial– The incorporation of Massa strengthened the government. But at the same time it raised questions.
In the midst of a crisis, the measures to resolve it are not lukewarm because they need to break the negative drift of the markets. Every measure he takes needs full political support, because weakness anesthetizes decisions. For this reason, the articulation of Massa, Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández is essential.
Even so, the result is not guaranteed and in the coming days, when the measures that Massa will promote are known, it will be possible to see if there is a path of recovery that goes hand in hand with the political recovery of the Frente de Todos facing the elections of the 2023.
Massa’s central presence also aroused a certain mistrust and mistrust among the other allies of the Frente de Todos. For some Massa has a neoliberal vision of the country. Others define it as “productivist”. In general, the economists with whom he refers, from the Basque José Ignacio de Mendiguren, to Miguel Peirano, with nuances, have a more “productivist” than neoliberal profile.
Others apprehensively remember Massa, chief of staff of Cristina Fernández, in 2008-2009, as an ambitious young man in a hurry to climb the pyramid of power. Others who have worked with him in recent years in Deputies, assure that he is not the same and define him as someone more measured, more flexible and more knowledgeable of his times.
The redesign of the government, with the preponderance of Massa, necessarily implies the redesign of the internal equation in the Frente de Todos, where future candidates for 2023 are already beginning to enlist. Massa occupied an important, but accompanying, role. He now he moved to the center of the scene, management and pure decision. A place where costs or benefits are received live and direct.