Departure of a secretary close to Kirchnerism raises tension in the Argentine government

Argentina’s Secretary of Internal Commerce, Roberto Feletti, resigned this Monday (23) from his position, increasing the crisis within the government of Alberto Fernández.

“I have submitted my resignation from the position of Secretary of Internal Commerce. I thank President Alberto Fernández for his trust and Ministers Matías Kulfas and Martín Guzmán for their always professional and respectful treatment,” announced Feletti on his Twitter account.

Feletti, a close employee of the Argentine Vice President, Cristina Kirchner, accompanied her message with a copy of the “indeclinable” resignation letter she presented.

The secretary made this decision after Alberto Fernández decided last Friday that the Internal Trade Secretariat would from the orbit of the Ministry of Productive Development to that of the Ministry of Economy, under the orders of Martín Guzmán, a minister whose economic policy is publicly contested by Cristina and by the political sector that the former president leads in the ruling coalition Frente de Todos.

In his letter, Feletti, who had held the position since October 2021, highlighted that the transfer of the Internal Trade Secretariat to the Ministry of Economy “opens a new stage, in which we are and the last one will assume the economic policy in an integral way, incorporating the price policy in its orbit.”

“In this sense, I consider that the most reasonable and professional attitude on my part is to facilitate Minister Martín Guzmán the freedom to select employees who share the defined course and the established program”, said Feletti.

At the Internal Trade Secretariat, Feletti had focused on closing price agreements with companies from different sectors in a context of very high and accelerated inflation in Argentina, which reached 58% in April compared to last year, the highest in 30 years.

However, Feletti claimed in his letter on Monday that these price control tools had become “insufficient” since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and the consequent impact on international food prices.

In this sense, he argued that the current situation requires the development of new instruments, mainly in relation to the need to decouple the international price of food from local values.

To this end, the now ex-secretary has defended the increase in export tariffs on grains and derivatives as a way to achieve this decoupling , but the measure is rejected by the agricultural sector and the opposition and Alberto Fernández himself said that it can only be taken with the approval of Congress.

In his letter, Feletti also declared that “it is urgent to implement greater coordination of the economic cabinet” and acknowledged disagreements with Guzmán and with Kulfas, also questioned by Kirchnerist sectors.

“There are disagreements about the path traced and the selected economic tools that today lead me to take this decision”, he claimed.

According to official sources, Feletti will be replaced by economist Guillermo Hang, until now director of the Central Bank of Argentina and considered a man close to the Minister of Economy.

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