Considering tomorrow’s feriado marks the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I suppose it’s only fitting that in our latest installment of the ridiculous squabble over where the presidential power transfer should take place, Juan Carlos Pallarols, the artisan responsible for making the presidential staff, is now threatening to give the baton to the Virgin Mary if the incoming and outgoing heads of state don’t reach some kind of agreement over where to hold the ceremony.
“If they reach an agreement, I’ll leave the staff wherever they tell me to. But if they don’t reach an agreement, I’m going to Luján and I’m giving it to the Virgin,” Pallarols told FM Blue.
Luján in the Province of Buenos Aires is best known for a Catholic basilica constructed in the 19th Century in which a terra cota image of the Virgin Mary — the Virgin of Luján, as she is now called — is enshrined. Thousands of Catholics make annual pilgrimages to the site.
Pallarols was caught in the crossfire last week when he received a phone call from Presidential Ceremonies personnel threatening to seize the baton if he didn’t surrender it to the government. Although there is no law mandating it, tradition dictates that Pallarols is the guardian of the presidential staff until December 10.
The December 10 change of command, which will see Mauricio Macri receive the aforementioned presidential staff to mark his assumption of power, has, unbelievably, become the focus of a power struggle between the President-elect and outgoing President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. While Macri insists the change of command ceremony should take place in the Casa Rosada, Cristina claims the rightful location is Congress. They’ve both made schedules, drawn up guest lists and begun preparations for events in the two separate locations.
Pallarols may be onto something: at this point, some sort of divine intervention may be the only thing to put an end to the madness.