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ARGENTINA | 02-04-2024 15:34

Short-stay: More than 30 officials have left Milei’s government since December

The product of resignations and dismissals, President Javier Milei’s government has lost more than 30 officials since taking office. Heavyweight departures include Infrastructure Minister Guillermo Ferraro, ANSES chief Osvaldo Giordano and Labour Secretary Omar Yasín.

More than 30 officials – including ministers, secretaries, undersecretaries and directors – have ceased to form part of the Javier Milei government since December 10.

The officials are the product of resignations and dismissals provoked by various controversies that were triggered in the first 100 days of the La Libertad Avanza administration.

Last month, the resignations of Fisheries Control director Julián Suárez, Foreign Ministry coordinator-general Pablo Ferrara, Public Employment undersecretary Ricardo Bocacci, Casa Patria Grande Néstor Kirchner director Marcelo Basilotta and Televisión Pública director Juan Parodi have been made known.

Suárez and Ferrara presented their resignations amid controversy over illegal fisheries off Ushuaia, while Bocacci resigned in the midst of a series of dismissals in different state entities and on the eve of the termination of thousands of contracts in various governmental areas with Basilotta – the right-hand man of Human Capital Minister Sandra Pettovello – quitting for “personal reasons.”

Meanwhile Parodi, who only assumed his role last month, resigned over the “restructuring” of Televisión Pública programming, which wrapped up various television features such as Cocineros Argentinos and the weekend news edition, to be replaced by old programmes, documentaries and sports transmissions.

Official sources confirmed to Somos Télam workers (ex-employees of the state news agency) that Parodi’s resignation “would be accepted shortly” with a rapid replacement lined up.

The first resignations from the national government were Eduardo Roust and Juan Caruso, who quit their posts as Media undersecretary and Communications director respectively in the first week of the administration. Both resigned their posts adducing the “impossibility” of working in the area of government communication. 

Before the year was out, Communications secretary Belén Stettler – who formed part of the team of government advisor Santiago Caputo, one of Milei’s closest aides – resigned after less than 20 days for unknown reasons. 

The headline exit from the government was former Infrastructure minister Guillermo Ferraro in late January. He was accused by certain government sectors of “leaking information” to the press when it became known that Milei was aiming his darts at provincial governors.

The parliamentary defeat represented by the return to committee of the so-called “Omnibus” or “Ley de Bases” law spelled the fall of two officials linked to the governors of the provinces of Salta and Córdoba respectively, Flavia Royón (Mining secretary) and Osvaldo Giordano (ANSES social security administration).

“The inherited economic crisis and the current historical moment require public officials committed to the modernisation and simplification of the state. Those assuming the responsibility of public office must understand the harsh reality facing Argentines, defending them from the constant attacks of those who seek to sustain their privileges at the cost of the hunger of the people,” explained a communiqué carried by the head of state’s official X account explaining those resignations.

Yet in Giordano’s eyes, the explanation lay elsewhere: “The reaction to the vote [against] some clauses of the omnibus bill by my spouse [Hacemos Coalición Federal deputy Alejandra Torres] was the motive. I think it was a badly channelled reaction of annoyance, in my judgement, to the failure of that law, leading to that decision being taken.”

Another high-profile departure came just last month. Decree 206/24 – hiking Cabinet salaries by 48 percent before being repealed – triggered the removal of Labour secretary Omar Yasín from the government amid rage from Milei.

A long list of other officials who have left the libertarian government includes: Ricardo Schleiper (Sports undersecretary), Enrique Rodríguez Ghiantore (Health superintendent), Horacio Pitrau (Labour undersecretary), Armando Guibert (State Transformation secretary), Diego Marías (Public Media trustee), Pablo Rodrigué (Social Policies for Children undersecretary), David Arauchan (ANDIS National Agency for the Handicapped), Pablo Lostri (Housing secretary), Sebastián García de Luca (Federal Coordination secretary for the Security Ministry), Cristian Sedam (CONTAR platform manager), Alejandro Guglielmi (head of the Casa Militar presidential household guards), Guillermo Abdala Bertiche (Marine Life director), Geraldine Calvella (in charge of monitoring the RENAPER National Registry’s Documentation Centre), Ricardo Spartano (Administrative Coordination secretary for the Human Capital Ministry), Nicolás Striglio (Financial and Economic Control manager for the Health Superintendent), Agustín Sánchez Sorondo (administrative director for the Human Capital Ministry), Daniel Ibáñez (PyME small and medium-sized firm undersecretary) and Juan Ignacio López Montoiro (administrative undersecretary for the Labour secretary).

Some officials have abandoned their posts while continuing to serve in the government – Rodrigo Aybar resigned as the undersecretary for the Innovation of Economic Solidarity within the Human Capital Ministry, only to become Housing undersecretary.

 

– TIMES/PERFIL

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