Alberto Fernández’s memory of the night he won PASO

This Tuesday marks a year of primary, open, simultaneous and mandatory elections in which Alberto Fernández defeated Mauricio Macri

Last night, the president ended a long day and ordered diet food. He started taking care of himself. There were a few hours left until today one year of PASO, the primary elections in which he won the election for then President Mauricio Macri by 15 points.

That day he started building what would be his government in December. The difference had been great and they already believed that in October they would win again. “That day I confirmed that the secret to success was unity”said last night to Infobae Alberto Fernández remembering that Sunday, he ended up eating pizza with his close friends very late after giving the victory speech.

What he never imagined is that a year later he would be in the middle of a global pandemic and a phenomenal economic crisis. Yesterday the president discussed with Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, head of the Buenos Aires government, how the quarantine will continue at AMBA. He will do the same with Buenos Aires governor Axel Kicillof on Thursday.

The situation is complicated. “I am calm because we will be able to reverse this situation,” said the president as a summary of what is to come.

Alberto Fernández walking his dog Dylan in Puerto Madero (EFE / Enrique Garcia Medina)
Alberto Fernández walking his dog Dylan in Puerto Madero (EFE / Enrique Garcia Medina)

A year ago, Alberto Fernández knew that everything was at stake in the primaries. It was the test of union with Cristina Kirchner, after 10 years of criticism and silence, and the agreement with Sergio Massa, today president of the Chamber of Deputies. He got up early and left the department of Puerto Madero to take his dog Dylan for a walk like every morning. His partner, Fabiola Yáñez, stayed.

When Alberto Fernández met dozens of journalists, photographers and videographers, he was shocked and asked: “Guys, take some pictures of me and let me go with Dylan.” He had a little intimacy, trying to make it a normal day and it wasn’t. He had reserved the zoom of the building to eat with his longtime friends: Julio Vitobello, today Secretary-General of the Presidency, Alberto Iribarne, Guillermo Olivieri, Eduardo Valdés and Jorge Argüello, Ambassador of Argentina to the United States, among others. They ate sushi and waited for the voting to end. “At that time, I was never nervous”The president remembered yesterday when talking about the anniversary of the victory over Mauricio Macri. They also had this tranquility because they had ballot boxes and also 150 witness tables that anticipated the victory.

Cristina Kirchner had already warned that she was going to stay in Santa Cruz. He had gone to vote and had no flight back to Buenos Aires. This was the official argument for his absence. In their inner circle, they said they wanted to leave the stage for the candidate for president. In addition, pure Kirchnerism was represented in Maximum Kirchner is at Eduardo “Wado” by Pedro. And also who would be the big winner in the province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof.

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Alberto Fernández arrived driving his car to the bunker of Frente de Todos installed in the Chacarita neighborhood. In a small room, he drank his classic grapefruit and answered calls. He had his son Estanislao, his companion Fabiola Yáñez, some friends. Sometimes, he was alone.

Alberto Fernández, then candidate for president of the Front of All" suffers at the Universidad Católica Argentina during the primary elections in the Federal Capital, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, August 8, 2019. (Adrián Escandar / Infobae)
Alberto Fernández, then candidate for president of “Frente de Todos”, voted for the Catholic University of Argentina during the primary elections in the Federal Capital, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sunday, August 8, 2019. (Adrián Escandar / Infobae)

Máximo Kirchner and Pedro Wado were in another room with other leaders from La Cámpora, as The “crow” Larroque and Mariano Recalde. The leaders were on another floor and the militants on another. Máximo Kirchner and Pedro Wado went to see him from time to time.

Alberto Fernández knew he was winning by a large majority when, after 9 pm, the telegrams were interrupted and there was a moment of maximum tension that almost ended in scandal, which Infobae reported a year ago. The information that reached Alberto Fernández through a senior Macri government official was that they were winning, but by four points. Pedro Wado called the then Minister of the Interior, Rogelio Frigerio and said: “Why don’t they carry the data and give the numbers? If they don’t come and say, we will go out and report them “.

Frigerio, who was always a composer and always maintained a good relationship with the leaders of the PJ, tried to calm things down. “Wait, tell Alberto Fernández that it is a problem for the company and that they are already solving it.” For a moment, the tranquility and the desire to go out and celebrate with the leaders of the Frente de Todos almost exploded in the air.

Alberto Fernández celebrating victory on August 11
Alberto Fernández celebrating victory on August 11
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Alberto Fernández remembers that moment today as an anecdote from a day that started as a normal day and “ended very well”. After then-president Mauricio Macri admitted Alberto Fernández’s triumph, he left to deliver his victory speech. Santiago Cafiero, his campaign manager and henchman was elated, as was his spokesman, the faithful Juan Pablo Biondi. When nobody thought the story would end at Casa Rosada, they were the ones who were always with Alberto Fernández, thinking it was possible. Then there were celebrations, screams, applause. And one of the moments that most impacted him was when he approached the sector where Máximo Kirchner, Wado de Pedro and all La Cámpora were and started shouting at him: “President, Alberto president.”

Before, in a moment alone with Kicillof, Máximo Kirchner, Wado de Pedro and Sergio Massa, Alberto Fernández told them: “You realize that together we are invincible.” He had already talked to Cristina Kirchner, who followed the election by phone.

“I remember PASO, I remember the October election, the arrival at Casa Rosada. And so I think that since the coronavirus arrived, we had a tremendous vertigo “said the president last night. Last week I just remembered with Vilma Ibarra, from the Legal and Technical Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic, the speech of March 1 in the Legislative Assembly, as Infobae knew, and how it was necessary to change plans. Yesterday he also spoke to his Minister of Defense, Agustin Rossi, what Argentina was like in December and the optimistic view of the economy they had in early March. Then the pandemic came and I use a metaphor to describe the situation of the economic collapse: “Twenty guests came to eat and we only had one package of sausages for 6 people.” They also spoke of Alberto Fernández’s conviction: the management of the quarantine prevented thousands of deaths, without social conflicts on the streets and with enormous assistance from States to various sectors. “We did a lot and we know it is missing,” he assured Infobae last night.

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The Frente de Todos won by 15 points (REUTERS / Agustín Marcarian)
The Frente de Todos won by 15 points (REUTERS / Agustín Marcarian)

Today, a year after the election that started to change his political life and led him to Casa Rosada, he has the same thought that night. “That night, we confirmed that the secret to success was unity. Today, a year after that election, I am convinced that the success of the management is also in the unit ”. He referred to the fact that it is a conviction that there is no dispute with any sector of Kirchnerism, much less with Cristina Kirchner, and that he consolidates his alliance with the governors.

Management today is focused on not collapsing the health system, infections decrease, care arrives and can carry out the post-pandemic plan. “I am calm, we have a solid basis for reversing what is to come,” said the president last night. In the next few hours, you must first define how the quarantine will continue.

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