Yesterday, Buenos Aires Mayor and Cambiemos presidential candidate Mauricio Macri led a ceremony commemorating the Argentine you’ve heard most about (besides Messi, Maradona and the Pope): the very father of Peronism, three-time President Juan Domingo Perón.
Needless to say, Peronists weren’t too pleased by what they saw as Macri’s bold attempt to capture Peronist votes.
The 120th anniversary of the birth of the Judicialist Party’s founder was marked by the inauguration of a giant, five-meter tall statue of the man posing in his distinctive open-arm salute. To hug him, you’d need to climb three steps, each one representing one of his presidential terms (1946, 1952 and 1973).
Besides the PRO’s leaders, Macri invited several important members of the Peronist party such as former President Eduardo Duhalde and kind-of-former Presidents Eduardo Camaño and Ramón Puerta (they occupied the country’s most important office for a brief period each during the turbulent days that followed President Fernando De la Rúa’s resignation in December 2001, when the country when down in flames).
During the speech he delivered at the unveiling ceremony, Macri vindicated Peronism.
“Peronism is about the search to end poverty and I want to call all Peronists to reach this goal.”
“We have tried confrontation for many years, the time for unity has arrived. Some say they’re Peronists but they dedicate themselves to manipulating poverty stats instead of fighting against inequality. Perón and Evita did something historic and gave workers their rights,” he said.
According to Infobae, some 3,000 people attended the event, among them union leaders Hugo Moyano and Gerónimo “Momo” Venegas.
The presence of these pretty staunchly Peronist personalities raised many eyebrows: was Macri trying to capture Peronist votes three weeks from the elections?
The Buenos Aires City branch of the Judicialist Party seemed to think so: “It’s reprehensible that people who stand for the most extreme and foulest of neo-liberal and anti-Peronist policies should lead a ceremony in honor of Perón, just to cater to Peronist voters,” Perfil reported they said.
The Judicialists are so miffed about it that they’re planning on conducting a rally to show their discontent.
“They have nothing to do with Peronism and its principles. They’re using Perón to see if they can scratch some votes but they won’t succeed. Scioli will win on October 25 in the first round,” they added.
And that’s not even the harshest thing Macri had to hear. When asked about it today, Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández responded the following:
“If he were alive watching this from a window in his office, he would’ve been tearing his hair out.”
Opportunist or not, this massive monument called “Unidos Triunfaremos” – in reference to a segment of the Marcha Peronista– shows a five meter tall Perón doing his distinctive open-armed salute. To hug him, you’d need to climb three steps, each one representing one of his presidential terms (1946, 1952 and 1973).
The statue is located in Agustín P. Justo square near the Casa Rosada, the customs building and the Workers’ union’s central building. The legislature intends to re-baptize it with the General‘s name before the next year.
“This is the fairest honor. Today, the city has uncountable statues and monuments, but none in memory of the three times constitutional president of Argentina, Juan Domingo Perón,” reads the bill, unanimously approved by the City Congress last year.