The Maradona revolution
Por Ignacio Fidanza
The taking of the Patio de las Palmeras adds to Peronist symbolism in a dovetail of popular culture and chaos.

Peronism has a long tradition of extreme demonstrations - they're bred in the bone - from the historical day of October 17 to the Ezeiza massacre.

Peronism likes to turn up the heat and then see what happens. It's not about the perfect plan. It's more like a driving force, that in some way seeks to relive that foundational time, when the shunned populace was transformed into historic subject matter.

In this vein, the events of November 26 of this year are more faithful to Peronist history than the careful choreography Cristina arranged during her second term in office - an efficiency that actuated mass mobilization (with few hiccups) a la Grossman's avant-garde esthetic.

These maneuvers though are above the current cast of governors' pay grade, which is why in the critical hours before the taking of the Patio de las Palmeras, when the president and vice-president were occupying a residence that they no longer controlled, internal reproach focused on the Chief of the Cabinet.

The chaos already experienced is overlaid onto that matter of payments to retirees that has been building up since the beginning of the pandemic. Once again we sense a lack of coordination among different areas in the State and the complex intersection of multiple jurisdictions that foreshadow growing unrest in the streets.

The temptation to rush head first into the thick of popular legitimacy that is offered by the fallen idol is understandable and almost inevitable. After all, Maradona was an activist convinced of the national leftist luck embodied by Cristina, which was his personal vision of Peronism.

To cast him as a pawn used by higher ups is to ignore his intelligence, and more than that, his legitimate political convictions. The problem was that the situation heated up and boiled over into a movement with a foreseeable outcome. And those in charge of controlling things did not anticipate that it might have been necessary to have support on hand to control the situation. Is this irreparable damage by the presidential authority? It's hard to believe that anything in Argentina is irreparable.

Argentina, the country that for some time has been left to smolder unattended. So, is it a matter of neutrality? No, not that either. If the potentially explosive eviction of Guernica squatters led to actions by Cuervo Larroque, then those who truly pay attention to politics beyond what is in the headlines know that the lack of skill in how Maradona's funeral was managed gives credence to the idea that the President does not have a team that is on a par with major events.

But behind all these developments are more interesting questions: Was Maradona's death the outlet for accumulated social tension caused by the economic crisis and COVID confinement? Was this the first flare-up of a frustrated populace, one that is perhaps disoriented? The impact on health-related matters will unfold over the coming weeks.

Common sense indicates that everything that has happened will contribute to the virus spreading and to weakening authorities who demand stronger measures be taken. There is nothing new to add to what we have already gone through over these interminable months. In terms of what this has cost politically, what will be closest to reality is something in the middle, as is usually the case.

Without a death toll or unbearable damages, what happened harms the intangible power of authority and effective intervention. But to what degree? Is this irreparable? These are the only important questions. Alberto Fernández has been working on his image as a good- natured President, friend of his friends, Uruguayan, who is slightly distrustful of technocracy, Quantum leaps and overbearing ideological principles. So for those who are not interested in efficiency as an asset, what happened was a sort of fracas at the local police station.

Unfortunate, but of the sort that becomes part of local legend. To believe that these developments jeopardized the Republic because what is popular became accepted as reality is perhaps an exaggeration that is as Argentine as believing that Maradona is the only one who could save us. Even though that is close to the truth.

Translation: Jesse Tomlinson 

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