Intimacies on a campaign day: Diego Santilli, between bleak stories and requests in an electoral bastion of Peronism

Diego Santilli spoke with neighbors of Florencio Varela

Gladys laments that only one of his three children has a job and his voice breaks with emotion when he says that he does not want them to have to leave the country “to make things better for them.” Fatima asks security for his neighborhood, he confesses that schooling there “It’s complicated” and that in the health room they do not give him a turn to attend to his mother. They are two of the neighbors of Florencio Varela that on Tuesday morning they met to talk with Diego Santilli, first candidate for deputy of Juntos in the province of Buenos Aires, but your problems and your claims are almost identical to those of the rest of the 200 people present at this meeting at the Nahuel Club.

This district is one of the electoral bastions of Peronism, with some 508,000 inhabitants and one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the Buenos Aires suburbs. Here, in 2019, the mayor Andrés Watson, of the Frente de Todos, won re-election with the 54% of the votes in view of Pablo Alaniz, Together for Change, with 27%. In Santilli’s team they believe that the anger of the residents of Varela for the combo of insecurity, unemployment and lack of education it is so high that no one is assured of the outcome in the elections. Much less the ruling party.

In the spacious indoor gym of the Nahuel Club, some 150 people are sitting on plastic chairs in a wide semicircle and another 50 participate for Zoom from a screen. Each spoke of their daily dramas. “The drug is killing us in Varela”, said a woman in her 70s who opened the round. “We live locked up and barred. This district is very abandoned ”, another complained. A neighbor raised “Get the kids out of the street by teaching them jobs that are disappearing, like that of a carpenter or sheet metal worker, through the great people ”. The woman who spoke afterwards showed herself “Concerned about the future of education.” The next neighbor joked about “Those who sing fighting capital and have an IPhone and three or four drivers.” “Three times they robbed my house”, wailed another. Each story is bleak and, at the same time, coincidental.

Diego Santilli, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Esteban Bullrich, on a walk through Florencio Varela
Diego Santilli, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and Esteban Bullrich, on a walk through Florencio Varela

Santilli received a timid welcome upon arrival and left between long applause and requests for selfies. In the middle, listened carefully to the neighbors, made notes and ended with a short and forceful speech in which he answered every concern that had been raised and assured that he intended to repeat what he did with Horacio Rodríguez Larreta In Buenos Aires city. “We had a plan and for 14 years we went to the same side”, Held. And he started the first sustained round of applause when he mentioned Fernan Quirós to refer to the Buenos Aires health plan.

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In the end, he stressed that he was not going to make promises but “Feasible proposals” and that he was going to put into practice something that, judging by the applause, seduced the neighbors: “I’m going to work, work and work.” Santilli took a long time to greet people who approached him, he lent himself to a endless round of photos with them and their next stop was the Pedestrian Monteagudo, in the downtown area of ​​Florencio Varela, where a great commercial activity is concentrated.

There, the candidate of Juntos walked four blocks accompanied by Rodríguez Larreta, the Buenos Aires head of government who bets heavily on his former deputy chief to win these elections and cement his presidential project. They were accompanied by the senator Esteban Bulllrich (recognized by the people and who also lent himself to many selfies), the candidate for deputy Martiniano Molina, the provincial deputy of the Civic Coalition Maricel Etchecoin, the Chief of Cabinet of the Municipality of Lanús, Diego Kravetz, and the first candidate for councilor of Florencio Varela, Mario Kanashiro.

Diego Santilli greets supporters of Facundo Manes in Florencio Varela
Diego Santilli greets supporters of Facundo Manes in Florencio Varela

In the midst of a cloud of Juntos militants, leaders, photographers and cameramen, the procession stopped to talk to merchants and take photos with people. Rodríguez Larreta was talkative, was greeted by some like a rock star and even greeted two students to ask if they could go to school. Santilli, a few meters away, had the gesture of approaching to greet militants from the Facundo Manes list, his rival in the PASO, which were installed with a table in the Pedestrian: “Come on we are together”, told them.

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The leaders of Juntos go through a district where Peronism is very strong, but in the walk through the Peatonal no one is hostile or assaults them. Quite the opposite. Only one man approached Rodríguez Larreta to greet him and began to shout “You walk. Work! ”, But ended up acknowledging that I had nothing to reproach them for. Curiosities of a campaign entangled by the pandemic where Santilli has already traveled 70 municipalities, focuses on talking to neighbors and, as he confessed to Infobae, faces the challenge of visiting territories in the middle of “An important apathy of the people and where it is difficult to reach due to the weight of the PJ apparatus”.

Will it reach you to win? “We are going to make a good choice”, predicted, more than anything based on what he perceives in his walks and contacts with Buenos Aires. “People are angry because they do not see a future for their children, at home, at work, and to make matters worse it angers them more that the Government is not discussing their problems”, Santilli said before leaving Florencio Varela.


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