Moving climate, silent phones and empty offices: how was the last day of Batakis’ brief tenure in Economics



A man stands outside the Ministry of Economy in Buenos Aires.  Argentina.  File photo Jul 29, 2022. REUTERS/Cristina Silles
A man stands outside the Ministry of Economy in Buenos Aires. Argentina. File photo Jul 29, 2022. REUTERS/Cristina Silles

July 6 was the first full day of the mandate of Silvina Batakis in the Treasury Palace. Less than a month later he already had to empty his office, within hours of the arrival of a new tenant. The moving climate hovered over the main offices of the different floors of the Ministry of Economyin that limbo that represents for many officials the last days before their departures and the formal transfer of command until the arrival of their replacements.

Batakis’s last measure as minister was to travel to Santa Cruz. There she, she next to the governor Alicia Kirchner signed a delayed addendum for the delayed financing of the construction of the “Néstor Kirchner” and “Jorge Cepernic” hydroelectric dams, which are carried out by Chinese companies. “Today, I received the Minister of Economy of the Nation, Silvina Batakis to advance in the central contract that will allow the completion of the works of the Patagonia Dams. Thanks to the national government and all the parties involved who are contributing their efforts to support this important project for the province,” said the governor on social media.

When I arrived it kept ringing, everyone wanted to talk to melook now, it seems that it had broken”, joked pointing to his office telephone in the last few hours a Secretary of State who arrived, like Batakis, a few weeks ago and spent his last hours in a completely open office, without expected visits or activities on the agenda.

The climate of change flew over the main offices of the different floors of the Ministry of Economy, hours after the arrival of the new Minister Massa

It was a situation that was replicated in other official offices. An official exchanged, in the space of an hour, a handful of messages with cell phone interlocutors who agreed to ask the same thing: what is going to happen. The answer for all was the same: “I don’t know”. They even received this consultation from their own relatives.

Batakis' mandate did not last a month (Franco Fafasuli)
Batakis’ mandate did not last a month (Franco Fafasuli)

Between the fifth and ninth floors, where the main offices of the Ministry of Economy are located, the climate was one of relocation, with all that this entails: cardboard boxes, furniture without books or decorations, televisions turned off, internal telephones without calls, doors open, armchairs with cold upholstery and free time. Silence is one of the names of powerlessness.

Some, in the Palace of the Treasury and in the Ministry of Productive Development, 5 blocks away, had contacts with the officials who will replace them starting this Wednesday. For others it was not necessary because they will continue, such as Eduardo Settiwho will not move from his office on the ninth floor where the Finance Secretariat takes place. Raul Rigowho left his post a month ago, will once again be the main official of the Ministry of Finance.

Batakis and the rest of the officials have already submitted their resignations but they will be made official this Wednesday after the formal departure of Massa from the Chamber of Deputies

The time of change and transfer of command also served for some of the fleeting holders of secretariats and undersecretaries to take stock of their brief stint in the public service, and all agreed that in three weeks of management it was impossible for them to successfully propose and move forward with a certain roadmap. “It took me a week just to meet all the people”ironized one of the outgoing officials.

Those who frequented her in her short time at the head of the economic policy of the Frente de Todos assure that Batakis was not perceived as a transition minister until the arrival of a new team and that until the last moment she was convinced that she could carry out her own agenda, which she had begun to deploy slowly. But the internal noise in the coalition accompanied her since she took office and ended up defining his early departure.

Of all the team that arrived with Batakis, only Eduardo Setti (to the left of the former minister) will remain in his position
Of all the team that arrived with Batakis, only Eduardo Setti (to the left of the former minister) will remain in his position

Already after six in the afternoon the main offices had been practically empty waiting for their next occupants. Massa’s arrival will also imply a reconfiguration of the organizational chartwith secretariats that were previously ministries, with new secretariats and others that will probably fall to the category of undersecretaries, something that could happen, for example, with Tax Policy.

There will also be time to distribute the physical space in the new team that accompanies the Tigrense. possibly there is a kind of “double seat” of Economy among the officials who will work in the building in front of the Casa Rosada and many others where the productive portfolio takes place, in the historic construction on Diagonal Sur avenue.

The internal noise in the coalition accompanied Batakis since he arrived at the Ministry of Economy and ended up defining his early departure

There was a strong secrecy about what will happen in the Ministry of Energyjust one floor above the office that Batakis left this afternoon and in which Sergio Massa will be installed from this Wednesday.

A few floors higher, in the brightest area of ​​the Palacio de Hacienda building, far from the farewell atmosphere of the lower floors, the offices of the Ministries of Transportation and Public Works went through the last month of marches and countermarches in the official cabinet, at least for now.

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