Argentine President Alberto Fernández was jeered as he was driven from the Salta airport to the provincial capital downtown for the ceremonies marking the 200th anniversary of the death of national and local hero General Martín Miguel de Güemes.
As local authorities such as the province's governor and the mayor of the city of Salta were trying to go on with protocol greetings, Fernández was shouted at go away, by the people of a rural province whose economy has been particularly affected by the national government's recent measures.
Fernández is to head Thursday's main ceremony in honour of Güemes, which will take place in the town of La Cañada de la Horqueta, where a plaque will be discovered in homage to the general who died in combat in that site on June 17, 1821, during the Argentine War of Independence.
But commemorating began Wednesday at 11.30 pm by Güemes' monument with the traditional “Guard Under the Stars” to which only some 100 VIPs were allowed in a very much fenced square, which added to the anger of the locals who are used to honouring their hero every year and were barred from it due to Fernández's presence.
In addition to that, a military parade by around 10,000 soldiers of the Güemes Gauchos regiment was postponed until November 7, due to the increase in cases of coronavirus locally.
Fernández arrived in Salta at 9.30 p.m.and was welcomed by Governor Gustavo Sáenz; Lieutenant Governor, Antonio Marocco and Salta Mayor Bettina Romero.
Let him go, Salta doesn't want him, protesters chanted. Despite the fencing and the police presence, there were no incidents. This week, the President had to suspend an act in the Buenos Aires town of Pergamino, due to a protest by rural producers.
Güemes' remains are kept in a pantheon and the city's cathedral.
Fernández is expected to announce the release of a banknote of the national currency that will bear the image of Güemes and his feat, an initiative promoted by Sáenz.
The Guard under the Stars is an activity that began in the monolith of the Quebrada de la Horqueta, then went on to the monument. It symbolizes the guard that gauchos and soldiers did in the last hours of the general, who died in the afternoon of his bullet injuries.
The vigil is in charge of the Argentine Army, the National Gendarmerie and the Güemes Traditionalist Association of Gauchos. These are divided into groups of eight people who rotate every half hour until 6 in the morning. Participants would be grouped in bubbles to respect health protocols for the coronavirus pandemic.
Salta Security Minister Juan Manuel Pulleiro has announced this year's events “will be broadcast simultaneously on television channels and radios, we ask people not to attend, the events of 16 and 17 are without crowds.”