- BBC News World
Argentina’s presidential family violated the quarantine, one of the strictest in the world, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. And now that celebration has consequences for the president.
This became clear when photos of a meeting held on July 14, 2020 at the presidential residence were published this week by local media.
It was from the birthday of Fabiola Yanez, the president’s wife, Alberto Fernandez, who goes through a sensitive political moment: The economy is still in the doldrums, there are signs of fractures within the ruling party and legislative elections will be held in November that can compromise the majorities of the Peronism that he represents.
“Definitely I realize that it should not have been done,” Fernández admitted this Friday during an event in which the ruling party wanted to be unified.
“I’m sorry that it happened (…) It won’t happen again,” he apologized.
The scandal, the main news item in the media during the week, seems to have given a boost to the opposition, which announced the intention to impeach the president for handling the pandemic, which has left 108,500 dead in a country that had some of the longest and most rigid mobility restrictions in the world.
Although the impeachment initiative has little chance of succeeding, due to the fact that Peronism has majorities in both houses of Congress, the gesture has a symbolic value that can mark the midterm elections in November, on which the rest of the mandate of Fernandez.
The photos of the scandal
The photos were revealed by two journalists from La Nación +, the television channel of one of the most important newspapers in the country.
Then they reached all the media, including Reverso, a media conglomerate managed by Chequeado, an expert verification portal, which made a thoughtful analysis of the photos to conclude that they were not only true, but that it was the birthday of the president’s wife in the heart of Quinta de Olivos.
A June 2020 news item from the state news agency Télam also circulated in which it was reported that the president’s wife had celebrated her birthday for Zoom.
In the photos you can see at least a dozen people who do not wear masks, do not maintain el social distancing in a room with the windows closed.
And these are precisely some of the orders outlined by the presidential decree, signed by Fernández himself, which set the guidelines for a quarantine that, for many, was very strict and that had a strong impact on the Argentine population, most of whom It lives off the informal economy.
“The situation unmasks the hypocrisy of the president,” read a statement from several opposition parties calling for impeachment.
“By then, a strict quarantine was in force that prohibited social gatherings and limited the circulation of essentials. He, who orders to fulfill what he does not fulfill or enforce his narrow circle in the place where he lives, shows an inequality before the law that it grieves a republican country. ”
The opposition has taken advantage of the photos to attack a president who already accumulates several scandals, including a case of exclusive vaccination for members of the Argentine Ministry of Health.
In addition, inflation continues to skyrocket (it is at 50% per year, one of the highest in the world), half of the population lives in poverty and the parallel dollar, which marks important sectors of the economy, rose to 180 pesos per dollar this week.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.