In an emotional but brief (eleven minutes) ceremony Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, on Wednesday late evening, was back on stage at the Casa Rosada, the first time since she underwent cranium surgery six weeks ago, for the oath-taking ceremony of three new top officials who will be decisive ministers in the last two years of her second mandate.
Looking fresh and absent of mourning colors, smiling and waving the Argentine president walked into the main ceremonial room, Salon Blanco, packed with officials, ministers, lawmakers, political and union leaders, members of the youth movement, which gave her a standing three minutes applause.
As could be expected the swearing ceremony was quick, with some minor protocol mishaps but neatly calculated (the best part would come later). First to take the oath as cabinet chief was the governor from the province of Chaco, (on leave from his elected post), Jorge Capitanich, described by the opposition as a man of dialogue and efficient performance.
In October mid-term election which saw the government's support plunge, Capitanich in Chaco consolidated and even increased the number of votes for the incumbent Victory Front.
Capitanich was followed by economist and professor Axel Kicillof, who was sworn in as Economy minister and is considered a controversial and even dangerous figure because of his adherence to Keynes and Marx, or maybe the other way round, but undoubtedly supporter of government intervention. The brains behind the seizure of YPF from Spain's Repsol, of some of the Dollar/Peso measures, convinced of safeguarding Argentina's domestic market and manufacturing but also opening the energy sector to ensure self sufficiency.
Apparently he has a good relation with Capitanich, with whom he worked in several think-tanks, and indebted also because the new cabinet chief insisted in having Domestic Trade minister Guillermo Moreno removed. Moreno was the real juggler in everyday economics in all those issues related to inflation, prices, supply of staples, inflation reporting with very much despised bullying tactics.
Moreno had been in the job since 2005 and had the full confidence of former president Nestor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Fernandez..
Finally the new Agriculture minister Carlos Casmiquela, considered a very intelligent agronomist who comes from Argentina's Agriculture Technology Institute (think-tank) and well informed of farm issues. Allegedly a good match for the ever restless Argentine farmers.
But when the ceremony was over and the official spokesperson had thanked all those present and congratulated the president on her recovery, Cristina Fernandez uttered a brief comment, you have forgotten to mention the militants, they deserve to be mentioned and cared.
That marked the beginning of the real show, and full of messages about future policies and dialogue with the opposition.