August is ending, with the MPN and Figueroa "plucking daisies"
Final instances of a relationship that captures the attention of the entire local political spectrum. Sapag and his debut as "ad honorem" adviser to Minister Massa. United States and the wager for gas and oil from Vaca Muerta to reach Europe.
The first fortnight of September appears to be very important for the fate of our country's economy and the interests of the province of Neuquén. On September 9th, two very important events will take place. One of gravitating value for the economic and political health of Argentina, and another, more modest, of great relevance for the provincial ruling party.
On the same day, Sergio Massa and Jorge Sapag will be the main characters of two key events. They will be 8,143 kilometers away, but very aware of what happens in the immediate future. Massa, for the first time, will be setting foot in Houston, the "mecca" of the international energy sector and external support base for the development of Vaca Muerta. Sapag will be assuming the reins of leadership of the Provincial Convention of the MPN, the governing body of the policies that the provincial party will develop in the coming years.
The "liaison" between Massa and Sapag grows, to the point that Neuquén is considered the architect of adding Houston as an obligatory stopover for the Minister of Economy on his official visit to North America. It was Sapag's debut in his role as ad honorem adviser to the "tigrense", whom he refers to with great respect and affection as "my minister". After the Oil & Gas Expo, which took place in Neuquén, the former governor managed to bring all the sectors involved in Vaca Muerta into harmony.
He works and operates on the open phone with US Ambassador Marc Stanley, a native of Texas and a close friend of President Joe Biden. We have said it on other occasions. Stanley's presence was not a coincidence, nor was the meeting that the diplomat had with Massa, a few days before they both landed in Neuquén, during the Oil & Gas Patagonia.
The Vaca Muerta Player
Nor was it coincidence that the blessing of "advisor, owner and strategist of everything related to Vaca Muerta" received by Jorge Sapag from the strongest businessmen who are committed to the development of the Neuquén’s basin. Even less was it the result of an act of God that Massa recognized the “Neuquino” the goals achieved at a national and international level for what was achieved with the development of the Neuquén geological formation.
On September 9th, Sapag will take office at the MPN Convention, but he will also be adding another achievement to his record as a “guru” in the world of oil and gas. "His minister" will be giving free rein to his seductive skills to ensure the guarantees that the companies require to continue with the investment program, estimated to be more than 60 billion dollars in the next six years.
The three strategies that the governments of the United States, Argentina and Neuquén developed during the last Oil & Gas Patagonia, will come together on September 9th in Houston. The North Americans will be renewing the commitment to increase the flow of investments, but they also demand clear rules in terms of political, legal and economic security. Massa, as spokesman for the Argentine government and an ally of the Neuquén strategy, will listen to and revitalize everything that has been discussed with Ambassador Stanley and "his adviser”, Sapag.
US interest and push
North America needs to secure Vaca Muerta oil and gas to increase the supply of these commodities to Europe. The situation of shortages not only in oil and gas, but also in food, which Russia imposed on the countries that make up the old continent, was the main issue that Stanley addressed with the governor of Neuquén, Omar Gutiérrez, and with the former political figure Sapag.
There is a priority issue that is on the agenda of the national government, and that Stanley has highlighted in perfect Spanish to Sergio Massa: the investment process in the construction of pipelines must be accelerated to increase production levels and achieve surpluses for export to Europe.
Sapag is on the same page. He draws accounts, projects and debates at the table of the national business community. He understands that the North American concern is a great opportunity for the country and that it is necessary to move forward "deeply" in the development of investment in transport infrastructure. But he also sees the Humid Pampas, boosted by Neuquén gas, as a food-generating matrix to reach Europe and the rest of the world which is to be hit by an imminent famine resulting from what he calls "a third world war."
The announcement by the oil company YPF to invest 1.2 billion dollars to build a crude oil export port is in tune with the feelings expressed by the trio that today make up Stanley, Massa and Sapag. It is also not a coincidence that in Houston, along with the Argentine economy minister, the president of the Argentine oil company, Pablo González, would be present.
That is why Sapag is enthusiastic, without neglecting the internal front and taking into account that "his minister" feels affection for him, and secretly works in favor of the candidacy for governor of a certain Rolando Figueroa.
The "beatification" of Cristina
August is ending and it seems that everything is as it was a long time ago, but it is not. While at the national level Kirchnerism advances with its strategy of “beatifying” Vice President Cristina Kirchner, situations are taking place at the local level that deserve attention. Let's see them.
The government of the province goes through important days. In judicial matters, the cause of the fraud with social credit cards advances in its investigative stage and high-impact news is expected for the next few days.
Depending on who you talk to, it will be the story you will find, but the real thing is that the scam existed, that there are more than a dozen people involved, many of them directly or indirectly linked to a sector of the MPN and that the fraud would exceed 200 million pesos.
So far, 15 days after the scam was known, there has not been a single detainee. The evidence is there, the people who were withdrawing have been identified, but justice has not yet been served. At least no one has reported anything to the contrary.
This "event" is the one that occupies the MPN the most and as the days go by, it directly or indirectly affects the candidate for governor of the Blue List, Marcos Koopmann. For the time being, except for the Minister of Social Development Abel Di Luca, the other members of the cabinet have done a disappearing act. The cause burns and the farther away it is, the better.
The anger that wasn't
The one who played hard on this issue was the oil leader and referent of the Blue and White List of the MPN, Guillermo Pereyra. Last Tuesday, the president of the Social Security of the oil tankers, in dialogue with LU5 AM600, requested the resignation of the minister and all the officials responsible for the area where the social credit cards are processed.
"I hope that the governor takes the necessary measures," Pereyra launched as a warning. On Friday afternoon, a photo showing Pereyra and the governor, Omar Gutiérrez, smiling, circulated endlessly through all the cell phones imaginable. The snapshot was part of a sequence of meetings that the provincial president had held throughout the day on the last business day of the week. They showed Gutiérrez posing separately with the mayor of the capital, Mariano Gaido; the one mentioned with Pereyra and another similar photo with the highest referent of the Blue List, the former governor, Jorge Sapag.
“Reunited with colleague and friend Guillermo Pereyra. Working to strengthen the development of the province of Neuquén and our beloved NPM. Thank you for receiving me at the headquarters of the Private Oil and Gas Union of Río Negro, Neuquén and La Pampa.”- Tweet de @OmarGutierrezOk
No details of the meeting emerged. The Government only highlighted that the event the political figure starred in hinted that these meetings will have direct effect on the announcements of the new party authorities in the coming days.
A slow-burn deal
There is a feeling in the MPN that Sapag and Pereyra established the foundations for a future understanding, and that Gutiérrez, after the meetings on Friday, would have advanced in the final closing of the political agreement that everyone is talking about but that no one will reveal any details on.
“We can say that things are going well. Let's not rush the times, there is little to go”, said one of Gutiérrez's direct collaborators. "I don't know anything about what is being said. I haven't talked to Pereyra for several days. I am immersed in issues of great importance to our union and the province,” said Rucci.
The Secretary General has been in Buenos Aires for the last 15 days. He is concerned about the political and economic situation in the country and how it could lead to a "stop" in the investments that were announced for Vaca Muerta. "We are very concerned and attentive to what Sergio Massa, Minister of Economy, achieves on his tour of the United States," said the "cacique". "We are in contact with the companies that will receive the minister in Houston and obviously, we are working hard for him to do well," Rucci told this reporter.
One of the people linked to Pereyra, for many years, confirmed the meetings in which the former oil secretary general was a part of and agreed with the comment made from Government House, "it seems that there will be an agreement, but do not take it for granted because with Pereyra, in politics, in the closing of the negotiations, nothing is certain until they are closed and definitively announced”, he said.
Figueroa raises his critical profile
Those who have been surprised by the attitude of the oil tankers are the adherents of the Violeta list that promote the candidacy for governor of the national deputy, Rolando Figueroa. "They are pathetic," said one of the men closest to Figueroa. One day Pereyra comes out asking for the resignation of Executive officials and a few hours later they are reunited and smiling,” was the response released by the young assistant to the national deputy.
The possibility of an agreement between the ruling party and the oil workers revived the "advisory council" that the national deputy has in the legendary MAPO, today made up of former leaders who held important positions in MPN governments in the 1980s and 1990s. and 2000. In the statement, they pointed out their criticism of the leadership of the MPN and described the last internal party election as one of "low" participation. Concepts that the council of advisers of “rolandismo” has unraveled on other occasions but that, in this one, will surely be the beginning of something that many are waiting for.
The photos of Gutiérrez with Pereyra, Gaido and Sapag; impacted the "MPN world", which is approaching the date of the next open elections in which they will define the candidacies for provincial and municipal executive and legislative elective positions. The agreement between blues and blues and whites is already closed. It is even vox populi among the Figueroa operators who kept the hope that the oil tankers would support the candidacy of the current national legislator. “We don't wait any longer. We are starting another stage. There was a time to build trust, now we are going to the concrete facts”, commented from the GENES group, a powerhouse of ideas that was presented in society last Saturday in Plottier and that will have the responsibility of building the electoral platform of the violets.
It is confirmed that Figueroa will be a candidate for governor, but the mystery remains as to whether he will do so from within the MPN or if he will go directly to the provincial general elections heading a coalition of political parties and social spaces.
Meanwhile, the official candidate, Marcos Koopmann, continues with his routine visiting different towns and places in the province.
The candidates and the pendulum of the MPN
The blues accommodated the troops at the top of the summit. The supremacy of Mariano Gaido and Omar Gutiérrez is noted in the joint photos leading different government activities. Koopmann alternates his presence in the capital district with interventions in other towns in the province. The candidate, in this stage of territorial construction, dispenses with "G and G" and marks his own path for the future of the years.
Together with Sapag, they analyze each step and have the "social blood pressure monitor" at hand. “Marcos is not affected by the issue of card scams. This did not occur during his management and, from what we know, it is a crime of fraud between third parties”, quoted one of the most direct sources to the deputy governor.
It is said that a note has been taken of what happened and that a purge of "pointers and operators" is taking place with absolute secrecy.
The MPN has installed two candidates that are very dissimilar to each other, and conceived as required by what the national outcome holds for the next presidential term. Koopmann emerged from the laboratory of "sapagism" appears with a profile shaped to the demands of an electorate that, according to the figures that "the Doctor" keeps "in pectore", would be linked to a profile equidistant from Kirchnerism and macrismo. A centre-moderate.
Figueroa deepens his differences with the current leadership of the MPN and begins to raise the critical tone in what he calls the "absence and abandonment of the province in issues inherent to social, development and inclusion policies”. The former mayor of Huinganco is critical and with the same emphasis is shown as the "most Neuquén of all the candidates." In the manners and in the action, the Peronist roots are noticeable, but he also takes a lot in the DNA elements of “macrismo”.
These are the two options with which the provincial party has monopolized the attention of the provincial political scene. It remains to be seen if they will finally confront each other in the open internal MPN or if they will finally go with their ideas and proposals directly to the provincial elections in April of the upcoming year.
Opponents activate and deal decks
The MPN monopolizes the attention of the entire Neuquén political arc. The opposition accepts the important interference that the future outcome of the "soap opera" mounted by the provincial party at the request of Koopmann and Figueroa has.
The two great spaces of Juntos por el Cambio and the Frente de Todos confirm that they are victims, involuntary, of the "empenista tyranny" and that they are taking measures to detach themselves from the plot.
During the week, the national senator and Kirchnerist leader, Oscar Parrilli, will meet with the Parlasur deputy, Ramón Rioseco, and the former Secretary of Energy of the Nation, Darío Martínez. The senator intends to set the guidelines for the armed future with which they could compete in the provincial elections next year. They will arrive at the meeting after participating in the march they held on Saturday in support of Cristina Kirchner. The call had the support of all sectors and was the reappearance of Martínez in the Neuquén territory.
According to what we were able to build in the exchange of information with different referents of Peronism, Parrilli's idea would be to convene open internal elections to elect the heads of the executives. That is, put into play the candidacies for governor and mayors where there was no consensus. The date that appears on the Parrilli calendar is the third Sunday in October. According to what is brewing among the referents of the Frente de Todeos, those candidates who will not be winners in the internal, will be the head of collecting legislative lists. This last point is a matter of debate because it is not yet determined whether they will open the space to other political parties or continue with the historical set-up.
"Although Figueroa's definition is being watched, he is no longer expected in the FdT, it is speculated that, if he goes outside, by dividing the MPN, our chances of being competitive in the next election for governor increase", one of the territorial delegates that Peronism has today expressed sincerely.
In Peronism, they rule out any agreement with Pablo Cervi and radicalism, a version that has circulated in recent weeks at the request of Rioseco. In Neuquén, councilors Ana Servidio and Marcelo Zúñiga are projecting strongly to go for the mayor's office. In Zapala, there are great chances that the current provincial deputy will try to unseat the MPN from the administration. La Cámpora seeks to gain space in the distribution of positions within Peronism, but does not stop observing the movements that Figueroa makes, inside and outside the MPN.
Macri and his pampering of Rolando
In Juntos por el Cambio the scenario begins to clarify. They agree with the Peronists that the staging of the MPN with its "soap opera" staged at the request of the candidacies of Koopmann and Figueroa took away their strength and presence. They took advantage of the presence of the head of the Buenos Aires government, Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, and they are already working with full engines.
It is assured that they will go to internal elections in October, that there are external interventions from Buenos Aires in favor of support for Figueroa's candidacy for governor outside the MPN. The initiative is referenced in the wishes of the former president, Mauricio Macri, and in Neuquén it would have some supporters.
Operators of Juntos por el Cambio confirmed that the presence of Figueroa in the space, these days has been important. “They are trying to close an agreement or they are trying to delay the installation of one of our candidates with the excuse of forming a new coalition”, said one of the Neuquén PRO operators who works in Larreta's presidential campaign teams.
From the context of national deputy, Pablo Cervi, the assertions of his cousins from the PRO were confirmed regarding how the figure of Figueroa flies over the JxC firmament. “We are accommodating the entire province in order to close candidacies,” they indicated. The businessman's strategists work on the idea of defining the spaces to later specify the names that would occupy each of the candidacies with which they would compete in an internal one that is indicated would be in October.
In Jorge Sobisch, they have their main stumbling block, because they understand that the "mustache" will hardly manage to put the Federal Republican Peronism with its papers in order. "Without papers he cannot be part of the game and the order from Buenos Aires is to contemplate his presence", they indicated.
The Figueroa question is a matter of nuances between Mauricio Macri and Horacio Rodriguez Larreta. The former is enthusiastic about the idea of reaching the provincial government at the request of the emepenista. “The one who is excited about that possibility is Macri. On Larreta's side, they don't see that because it only offers ministries and, after that, those agreements are very difficult to sustain," commented a direct line with Enrique "Coti" Nosiglia, a radical leader and main "lobbyist" for Buenos Aires senator Martín Lousteau.
Of those consulted both in the Frente de Todos and in Juntos por el Cambio, the difficulties that arise in their own assembly due to the lack of definition of the inmate in the MPN are accepted. They feel that it conditions them and takes away oxygen in the assembly of the spaces themselves. They are going to advance in the design of the candidacies, but with their eyes attentive to the possible stampede that could be generated by the hypothetical slamming of Figueroa's door in the ruling party.