Alberto Fernández has strong ties with Spain for many years, but this trip of almost a week was very special. The Peronist candidate, who has the victory in the presidential elections of October 27 at his fingertips after winning by more than 15 points in the primaries of last August 11, has taken advantage of the visit to Madrid – in principle to give a class at the Camilo José Cela University- to try to clear the fears that a return of Peronism to power can raise among politicians and especially Spanish businessmen.
Fernández has had an intense agenda, he has met with key people from the economic world – entrepreneurs with key investments in Argentina, including Ana Botín, president of Santander, and representatives of other large companies such as BBVA or Telefónica – but also with politicians, among them Pedro Sánchez, who received him in La Moncloa. According to sources from Fernández and the Spanish Executive, they understood each other very well.
The message that the candidate conveys in these quotes is clear, according to his environment: he is not a Latin American populist leader in the style of Hugo Chavez, but a pragmatic Peronist willing to settle the debts that the country has contracted but also to renegotiate them so that his Payment does not sink the economy. And its environment ensures that the trip has been a success.
In his only public intervention throughout the trip, at a conference in the Congress of Deputies promoted by Pablo Iglesias -the direction of the group of Podemos We was in the front row and the leader of the leader's cabinet, the Argentine Pablo Gentili , was one of the organizers- Fernández admitted that all his interlocutors ask him in Spain if he will pay the debts. “With the debt we will do what we always did, fulfill and honor the debts that have been taken. But don't ask me to do it against more deterioration of our people, and postponing more to the Argentines, ”he said amid applause from an enthusiastic audience.
Fernández said that he has nothing against multinational companies, a point on which he has taken extreme prudence in the face of international fear that generates a possible return of Peronism to power. "It makes no sense to have oil if to extract it you have to let the multinationals come and take it away. I have no problems with the multinationals, but my main concern is to generate wealth for Argentina and the Argentines," he said.
Fernández had meetings of all kinds these days, not only economic – the most important – but also political – he met with the Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, and with former President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero – and even cultural – was with the Uruguayan Jorge Drexler and some artists and intellectuals of the Argentine community in Spain- and in all of them he sold himself as a moderate leader, away from the most extreme positions of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who will be his vice president.
He explained clearly why he decided to approach her after he had criticized her harshly. "I said it to her and I launched that phrase: with Cristina it is not enough and without Cristina it cannot be done. And she took it very badly. But that is how we built the majority and joined together so that conservatism does not harm the Argentine people anymore" , he told Juan Carlos Monedero, one of the founders of Podemos, who recommended that there is also unity of the left in Spanish politics. Before an audience very close to Podemos and Kirchnerism, Fernández praised President Sánchez, which caused some surprise. "I was excited about the meeting with Sánchez, I am sure he will help us," he said.
Fernandez, who already looks like president – at one point he joked with his own lapse when he said "the day I was elected … well, elected in the PASS" – was very hard on the management of Mauricio Macri, although he was confident that when he arrives at the Government the situation can be traced. "We will leave the well. I remember Benedetti, who said blessed are those at the bottom of the well because from then on they can only get better."
The candidate of Peronism was received in these days in Spain as the future president and achieved business and political interest especially thanks to a moderate message that combines the defense of the figure of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – insisted that in his opinion He has been prosecuted unfairly and said that if he wins he will ask for "justice to be done" with the former president – with a commitment to an integrated Argentina in the world and with a clear look towards Europe. Still, he was skeptical of some points of the Mercosur agreement but said he was willing to review them and finish off the agreement with the EU.
The former Chief of Staff of Nestor Kirchner, a 60-year-old criminal lawyer, arrived in the Spanish capital on September 3 on an unofficial visit that, he says, seeks to strengthen ties between his country and Europe. The trip was read in his country as a premeditated decision of the candidate to get away from the noises of the campaign and the turbulence of the economic crisis. On Monday, the Macri government imposed a model of exchange control in an attempt to curb the flight of currencies and sustain the peso, which since the primaries of August 11 has requested about 30% of its value. Businessmen and political leaders demand from Macri an agreement that gives governance to the country and reduces fears of a suspension of payments next year.
Since leaving Buenos Aires on Sunday, Fernández chose to refer as little as possible to the crisis in his country, on the grounds that the reasons for his trip were academic. His agenda in Madrid, however, was that of a head of state, even if the appointments were informal. Before returning to Argentina, he will pass through Portugal, where he will see the prime minister, also the socialist Antonio Costa. In Sánchez and Costa, Fernández has already found two allies to start building a different international image and try to seek help to get out of the crisis that Argentina has entered since May 2018, when he had to ask the IMF for a ransom.