The relationship between Alberto Fernández and Foreign Minister Felipe Solá, at the worst moment

The relationship between the president Alberto Fernandez and the chancellor Felipe Solá is going through an uncertain future. They recognize him in the Casa Rosada and in the Palacio San Martín. In the Executive they repeat that the head of state does not answer the phone or answer the foreign minister. This week the actions of the two-time governor of Buenos Aires they fell back into considerations of the President and rumors of possible replacements soared. One thing is for sure: this weekend there will be no news. Solá will accompany Fernández on Tuesday on the state visit to Chile. And then? For now it is anyone’s guess. The chancellor has no intention of leaving office.

The Foreign Ministry’s greeting on its institutional Twitter account to the new President of the United States Joe Biden who included veiled criticism of Donald Trump In the same message, he filled the patience of the President, according to the account of some of Solá’s colleagues in the Cabinet. “It looked like a manifesto of the Evita Movement more than a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” they lamented. In the Chancellery they reduced the importance of the text. “It was a tweet, not a statement”, minimize. In the Executive they emphasize that the error was “political and not communicational.”

The President already had “in pectore” the letter in which he worked with the Argentine ambassador in Washington Jorge Argüello and had to anticipate with a formal salutation without double reading On twitter. “It was almost a denial,” they insisted on Rosada.

The slip of Solá after the telephone communication with Biden, when he was already elected president of the first world power, was still fresh in the president’s memory. The chancellor pointed out in an interview that Fernández had asked Barack Obama’s former vice president to intermediary to replace Mark Rosen, Director of the United States to the IMF.

Unofficially, sources from the Presidency discredited Solá. They made it known then that the foreign minister had not even participated in the conversation with Biden, because – instead of attending the Rosada, where Fernández was – he went to Olivos. The Minister of Economy Martín Guzmán and the Argentine director before the IMF Sergio Chodos held that same day a videoconference with Rosen, who to be removed from his post needs an agreement in the US Senate. President ended up publicly acknowledging the communicational short-circuit with Solá and gave it up.

On Wednesday – via Twitter – the floor creaked again for the chancellor, according to the description of officials with offices in the Casa Rosada.

Solá, like several of its predecessors, has part of the most important relations of the Foreign Ministry intervened. The link with the United States is administered between Argüello and the Secretary of Strategic Affairs Gustavo Beliz, which also conducts the relationship with the Church and weaves those with multilateral credit organizations such as the IDB, CAF, FonPlata and BICE with which it managed to approve $ 2.45 billion in loans. The link with the IMF depends on Guzmán and relations with China are concentrated by the new ambassador Sabino Vaca Narvaja (who took office after the noisy departure of Luis María Kreckler). The agreement with Russia for the coronavirus vaccine was due to a direct management of the President with Vladimir Putin.

Solá’s absence from Fernández’s excursion to Uruguay – where the Eastern Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo was – was not interpreted at the Foreign Ministry as a disgrace, but as part of the President’s informal style.

Ambassador Argüello also sounds like a possible candidate, but in La Rosada they relativize those versions. “The President is very satisfied with him. We are not going to undress a saint to dress another ”, they point out.

In the last hours, the hypothesis that the ambassador in Brazil Daniel scioli it could take the place of Solá. The government celebrates the efforts of the former presidential candidate in Brasilia. The two dined together at Villa La Ñata with Jair Bolsonaro’s influential Secretary for Strategic Affairs, Flavio Viana Rocha.

The reports on the departure from Solá are similar to the criticisms received by the former Minister of Habitat Maria Eugenia Bielsa before leaving office. However, the former Buenos Aires president does not have the same weight as the former deputy governor of Santa Fe. Although he does not have his own army, he played a prominent role in the creation of the Frente de Todos: he broke Sergio Massa’s block and approached Cristina KirchnerAlthough today he accumulates some criticism in the Instituto Patria and the words of the vice president about the fear of the ministers still hang over him. Solá continues to be, in addition, the first congressman of the national PJ for the Province, whom Fernández aspires to preside.

If the President forced Solá out on bad terms, he could suffer some consequence. The agent always look for some elegant outlet for your officials. The coveted UNESCO embassy in Paris that was left vacant after Pino Solanas’s death – and Bielsa rejected after being fired – remains empty. It seems little for the current head – on paper – of Argentine diplomacy.

The mention of an official’s “Evita manifesto” may not have been accidental. The group of Emilio Pérsico -deputy chief of the Cabinet of Solá in the Province- and Fernando “Chino” Navarro -both with positions in the Executive- supported in 2019 the pre-candidacy for president of the now foreign minister, whom they don’t let go of his hand. “We are Felipe’s companions and he is very close to Evita,” they recall in the organization that in 2014 he supported the candidacy of Jorge Taiana, another of the names that sounds -but not the safest- to replace Solá, whom he knows and Estimated from the National Buenos Aires. Taiana left Evita in 2017 to share the ballot with Cristina Kirchner.


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