Early in the morning, the news was on every Argentine portal: Sputnik, Russia’s official news agency, had a front-page story calling President Alberto Fernández a “traitor and hypocrite,” right into the headlines. Borders Inside, the text was interpreted by opposition media as a response to public statements made by Fernández during his European tour as the government downplayed it. “It’s a journalistic opinion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not comment on it,” they said of Minister Santiago Cafiero. Outside the borders, the Latin American headquarters of Sputnik was seeking information in Moscow on the publication of the note. “This is not an official note from the Agency, it is an opinion note, it is not signed by an editorialist, it is a text full of adjectives and it does not come from ‘Latin America”, they replied within the agency. page 12.
Why did the article come out? This has become the most important question. The same agency source consulted is more inclined to believe that it was an unintentional error by someone who activated the note from the other side of the world without taking into account the political impact that this would have. would have. “It happened on other occasions. It happened with Evo Morales, when internal conflicts were generated in preparation for the coup that would come with the elections and the Agency interpreted them as “demands people “without understanding the position of the Bolivian government.”
In this case, the timing of the release was also surprising. The same source puts it analytically: “It’s rare that Russia wants to buy another fight, if anything can’t be allowed right now, it’s kicking potential allies, in this sense a statement of this nature would not be logical.”
What does the notice say?
The note bears the signature of Javier Benítez, with a reading of the conflict in Ukraine quite widespread among the pro-Russian left in the region. “The level of betrayal by the Argentine president towards his Russian counterpart is beyond doubt and indisputable. And this is after Russia was of great help to Argentina by providing it with Sputnik V vaccines to fight the pandemic, which Fernández himself, during his visit to Moscow last February, said recognized against President Vladimir Putin. , and after the Argentinian president’s ‘feat’ of promoting Russia’s expulsion from the Human Rights Council, now he is hurrying at ease during his visit to Germany”.
Below is a tweet from Fernández and the use of the word immoral, which the president used during the press conference with Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz in Germany. ”It’s so literal – says Benítez -, that he leaves no room for interpretation: ‘It was nice to meet Olaf Scholz, Federal Chancellor of Germany. We are concerned about the consequences of the aggression against Ukraine and we will cooperate to find ways to end it. After the suffering we are going through, it is immoral for something like this to happen.
Benítez’s text wonders if it was all for a few coins and questions the decision to offer food and energy to Europe, products that previously came from Russia. He also resorts to irony and points out that this offer is made by a president “with 37.3% of the population below the poverty line and where many millions do not have access to food”.
Why did the agency publish the article?
According to the sources consulted by this newspaper, the note does not express the editorial position of the agency. However, it was spread by her. Because? The most benevolent response from those familiar with the agency is that it was a bad read in terms of political impact. “The person editing couldn’t title a note that way, with an adjective to a president, for example,” they explain. Another possible reading is that “they let it go, by mistake or not, but they published it and if they left it it was because they had a splinter nailed in”, they add.
Voluntary or involuntary, the sources consulted agree that the note does not seem to be of great service to Russia. “They didn’t see the impact of hitting Alberto with an article that has a reading that the pro-Russian left can do with an effect that could sharpen the enmity with Putin, which is ultimately what the right wants” , they conclude.
Chez Alberto Fernandez
The world is not easy. Neither does Alberto Fernández. During the tour, the media questioned him at every stop about his relationship with Moscow and why he had been with Putin 20 days before the conflict. Fernández stated the obvious: that when he went to Moscow, the conflict had not broken out. But Putin is “evil” in Europe. And war is part of the burning agenda every day.
“Alberto Fernández tries not to have automatic political alignments, a position he took on the road during the tour, although with a certain declarative awkwardness”, explains an international relations specialist who regularly talks to responsible and prefers not to give his name. “The government also has positions in divergent directions internally: some pull in one direction and others in the other, sometimes erratically. Fernández tries to agree on the different internal positions; and the crisis geopolitics is also in the middle. All this means that they hit it from the right and from the left”, continues the same analyst. An article like this is one of those results. The same are the weekend editorials that hit each other.
On May 11, the President was with Chancellor Scholz. They gave a press conference at the seat of the federal government. They “agreed” to condemn Russia’s military “aggression” against Ukraine and Fernández spoke of immorality. “This war is immoral, especially after a pandemic. We must find a peaceful solution,” he said. They also referred to rising international food and energy prices. Scholz defined Argentina as “a reliable partner” and thanked them for taking the side of the “victims”.
As Pedro Sánchez had done before in Spain and then Emmanuel Macron in Paris, Scholz also sought the moment to recall that Argentina had voted in favor of suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. .
In Europe, Fernández disguised himself as the president of CELAC, the body he proposed as a possible means of dialogue between the parties. In Argentina, the offer was immediately ridiculed. “CELAC has Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and Nicaragua inside, countries aligned with Russia”, they recalled in the press this weekend: “Sánchez, Scholz and Macron thanked the Argentine president for his diplomatic offer, but they won’t heed it…. They’re toying with Putin and won’t vote for a single resolution that makes Russia what it is: a state that systematically violates human rights. rights in Ukraine.
Beyond the extent to which it seems that CELAC can play a mediating role in the European crisis, the argument chosen by the opposition media does not seem the best. Within CELAC, countries that refuse to condemn Russia coexist with others that have actively done so. It is precisely this lack of definition that could allow the two parties in conflict to accept good offices management.