Critical, even with those who are today his main allies, lover of rock and ‘heavy user’ of social networks, this expert behind the scenes will occupy for the first time the most important position in the life of any politician.
Alberto Ángel Fernández is the new Argentine president since December 10, guaranteeing the return of Peronism to the Casa Rosada. The center-left leader, something unknown abroad, but with a long career behind the scenes of power, arrives at the Executive in order to solve the economic crisis, and reconcile a society divided by a historical ideological gap. But who is he and how did he reach the leadership of the South American country?
He was born on April 2, 1959 in the Province of Buenos Aires, although he did not have a great relationship with his father. In fact, in several interviews when referring to his father he made reference to his mother’s partner, a judge who was dismissed from office a few weeks after the last military dictatorship began, in 1976.
He spent his childhood and part of adolescence in the neighborhood of Villa del Parque, in the capital of the country, a middle class area with beautiful houses and few buildings. He attended high school at Mariano Moreno School, in the State, and there he was a delegate in the Union of Secondary Students (UES), marking the first Peronist seal on his curriculum. Over the years, he was part of other groups and related to leaders, who later became recognized figures of the Justicialist Party (PJ), identified with General Juan Domingo Perón. Finally, after standing out in various organizations, he also joined the PJ, the most popular and representative front of Argentina.
Alberto, as everyone calls him, continued on his path along the right path, as did his adoptive father. Thus, in 1983 he graduated as a lawyer with an average of 7.80 at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), where he has been teaching since 1985. In fact, until arriving at the Presidency, he taught General Theory of Crime and Penalty System in that house of studies – public and free – and hundreds of students lined up to take a ‘selfie’ with the future president. From his role as an academic, he said that the referents of the regional center, such as Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Rafael Correa and the new Argentine vice president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, suffer a judicial persecution, which violates the bases of due process.
His beginnings in politics were during the Government of Raúl Alfonsín, leader of the Radical Civic Union (UCR), another traditional party of that Latin American nation, remembered for the return to democracy in 1983. At that time he was appointed deputy director general of Legal Affairs of the Ministry of Economy, and in 1989, under the mandate of the Peronist Carlos Menem, he was in charge of the National Superintendence of Insurance.
Then, since 1996, he was on the board of directors of companies linked to Banco Provincia, under the Government of Eduardo Duhalde in the Province of Buenos Aires, one of the most respected politicians by Fernández. Until 1999, he continued to be linked to that leader, to later be part of the so-called Calafate Group, the new progressive wave within Peronism that sought to be the alternative to the re-election of Menem, who had left his popular roots to lean toward a neo-liberal model. From there, the candidacy of Nestor Kirchner, who came to the Government in 2003, began to emerge, and Fernandez was appointed Chief of Staff.
Thus, Alberto held the position until 2008, leaving him during the Government of Cristina, with whom he began a strong distancing, generating crosses and accusations of all kinds, which today are highlighted by the opposition. Beyond that, they made the passes and the most popular leader in Argentina surprised everyone by offering her the presidential candidacy. In this new scenario, both promised not to fight “never again.” In addition, Fernández was considered the “intermediate” aspirant, without positioning himself at any ideological end. Nor did he have major causes of corruption, nor would there be time to build a file against him.
This Latin American leader may be the best example to explain pragmatism, having gone through several paths until he reached the most important position in his entire career. Although he always stood in Peronism, he knew how to join important figures who, at the time, were clear enemies of Kirchnerism. Thus, the new president is recognized for his frontal way of doing politics, a line that characterized him until today, and that many recognize him as a virtue.
Indeed, while he was able to hold strategic dialogues with Washington and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before his assumption, he did not hesitate to criticize the White House for its role in the Bolivia crisis: “USA. He returned to the worst times of endorsing coups in Latin America, ”he said. In tune, although he recognizes Brazil as a great trading partner, he always asked for the release of Lula, recently released. Likewise, adaptation to the environment is also reflected in the possible alliance with Mexico to form a progressive axis in the region, where right-wing governments abound.
In the weeks before the seizure of power, he had already become a politician who stood out for some activities, tastes and interests that have little to do with leadership life, although they say a lot about what the president is like in his daily life. Several of those points were exploited by image consultants during the election campaign.
Fernández is a guitarist. In fact, at age 14 he took classes to learn to play the instrument with Litto Nebbia, an icon of national rock. In other words, he is a great connoisseur of the genre, and listener to renowned artists of the 70s, when protest music abounded: Luis Alberto Spinetta, another local classic, is one of his favorite exponents. In addition, he came to compose his own songs and appeared in some Buenos Aires boliches. He also recorded a song, ‘The Last Summer’, included in a disc of the group The Super Mice.
The strawberry of dessert to crown the presidential campaign was to disseminate videos interpreting Argentine rock classics.
At times, Alberto’s pets stole the attention of voters. In fact, his dog breed collie was the center of all eyes. His name is Dylan, in honor of Bob Dylan. And he even has his own Instagram profile: “I was born in Pilar (Province of Buenos Aires), my best friend is Alberto Fernández. I am a national and popular collie, ”says his description, making a clear allusion to the typical Kirchner motto.
But that is not all. The networks explode when photos of Dylan are published with one of his puppies, Prócer, who is named for his resemblance to a dog that appears in a chapter of The Simpsons. Obviously, the virtual community went crazy when he noticed that the then candidate was a faithful follower of the yellow family.
Active in networks
Twitter is the social network most used by the politician. This is the channel chosen by Fernández to interact with the ordinary citizen, since he has his personal account, as of May 2010. Thus, until there was time to encourage complicated students with their exams, causing virtual fury .
Respond to the press
While it is true that Fernandez used to have a good relationship with media companies, compared to leaders like Cristina, he does not hesitate to answer the false news and leave many journalists unemployed. In fact, it is rare for the brand new president to pass ‘fake news’ without denying them, exposing the media that was responsible for publishing them. The new Argentine leader is very careful of his public image.
He wrote a book about Nestor Kirchner
He considers him the best president of democracy, and he never hid it. Thus, in 2011 he published the book ‘Politically incorrect: Reasons and passions of Nestor Kirchner’, which tells the background of many measures, written in a personal tone.
However, not all are flowers, it also has a few detractors. In fact, many highlight some aspects that they consider reprehensible in Alberto’s career, and also his emotional ties.
Old differences with Cristina
Why could one of the president’s toughest critics rule with her? This is one of the main questions of the opposition about the Fernández-Fernández formula. It is that before, Alberto launched comments worthy of an iron opposition: he criticized the memorandum signed with Iran during the Cristina Government, considering that the impunity of the attack on the AMIA was sought, hinted that the then president coerced the Judicial Power in her favor and He even stated that “he threw away everything Nestor did.” In line with the opposition arch, he emphasized with emphasis the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who appeared lifeless in his department before making a complaint against Kirchner before Congress.
In a 2015 interview with Diaries and News, he highlighted the extension of rights that was achieved in the first term of that leader, but said that in the second period “there are no more elements to ponder.” And he added: “The economy is destroyed, reserves are lost along with the dollar – peso ratio, poverty increases and its existence is denied.” Alberto’s objections were many, but he does not hide them, and argues that criticizing is healthy for democracy.
One of the most tense moments occurred during a report on the C5N channel in 2012, when it was already quite critical. Suddenly, the transmission from the studio was cut, and Alberto publicly argued that the interruption would have occurred on the orders of Cristina officials, although the channel director argued that they had exceeded the time of the live report.
Alliance with leaders questioned
The local left took care to emphasize that in 2000 that leader integrated a list led by Domingo Cavallo, an economist who brings bad memories to many Argentines. On that occasion, Fernández was elected legislator of the City of Buenos Aires. Before, Cavallo had already been undersecretary of the Interior and president of the Central Bank in the dictatorship. And in the 90s, while neoliberal policies were expanding, he was Minister of Economy.
In the midst of the 2001 crisis, when the Ministry re-directed, Domingo was the architect of the ‘corralito’, a measure that limited the extraction of cash from the population, consummating the largest social outbreak of the last decades. However, Fernández’s participation in his ballot had been a year earlier.
In turn, the same leftist sectors repudiate the affection that the president shows for Duhalde, his former political partner, who presided over the country on an interim basis when the ‘Avellaneda Massacre’ occurred. On that day in 2002, the Police murdered Maximiliano Kosteki and Darío Santillán, while various social organizations complained in the Province of Buenos Aires for better living conditions, amid galloping poverty.
Prior to becoming the most important politician in the South American country, Fernández was a leader who used to use his spare time to exchange opinions with cybernetters, although diplomacy was not always abundant. In fact, “boludo” overlooking the sea, “written in 2013, was one of the answers that became more viral in recent months. Thus, the old replies on Twitter of the now president, who make militants laugh, were highlighted by the opposition to try to deny the measured position of the Peronist. And the list of insults can continue.
The new Argentine president does not comply with the stereotypes of a typical traditional family. Alberto is divorced and has a girlfriend 22 years younger than him, Fabiola Yáñez, an Argentine journalist and actress. With his previous wife he had a son, Estanislao, a young ‘drag queen’ and a transformer, who has great popularity in social networks.
That boy was the victim of a clear media attack after confirming his father’s candidacy, and even Bolsonaro’s son made fun of his female characterizations. Thus, hundreds of journalists rushed to ask Fernández about his offspring: “He is one of the most creative types I saw in my life. How are you going to fuck me asking about my son? I feel proud for him, ”he replied.
There is a long way to qualify his administration, but the presidential image has already turned 180 degrees.