Argentina's late Transport Minister Mario Meoni was laid to rest Saturday in his hometown of Junín in the province of Buenos Aires in an event which proved both how much he was appreciated where he had been mayor for eight years and that there are exceptions to the rule of social distancing.
President Alberto Fernández and House of Deputies' Speaker Sergio Massa were among those who attended the funeral.
Meoni, 56, died Friday between 9.30 and 10 pm on National Route 7 near San Andrés de Giles in the Province of Buenos Aires when he apparently lost control of the government's armoured Ford Mondeo he was driving on his own after official engagements in Rosario with the President and other cabinet members.
But the causes of the accident in which the car overturned are still under investigation. Crashes involving just one vehicle are among the rarest.
Fernández, who arrived by helicopter in Junín, stressed that Meoni gave everything he had at the head of the minister in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic to do things right and said that his death is an immense loss for the State. He also pointed out the many times he and Massa had tried to talk Meoni out of his road trips home every Friday evening.
Fernández highlighted Meoni was not nine-to-fiving at the Ministry and that he would leave from his office at 9.30 pm at the earliest and then drive 247 kilometres to Junín all by himself. ”We always told him: 'Stop, stop, that at some point our bodies fail us.' He never lost the concept of ordinary people, that's why he drove his car.”
Men's hearse drove through the Eva Perón Stadium of local football club Sarmiento so that the crowds could pay their last respects, but that did not stop others gathering outside the local cemetery for an even closer farewell, which in the middle of the pandemic that has barred thousands from being next to their loved ones in their last minutes, was infuriating to many who understood Meoni deserved no special treatment and expressed their disapproval on social media.