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Cablegate: Argentina: Buenos Aires Mayor Macri On Political Plans and Current Situation

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SUBJECT: Argentina: Buenos Aires Mayor Macri on Political Plans and Current Situation REF: BUENOS AIRES 25; 09 BUENOS AIRES 1222; 09 BUENOS AIRES 55 CLASSIFIED BY: Tom Kelly, DCM; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador hosted prominent opposition leader and Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, along with four of his cabinet members, to lunch January 28. Macri spoke openly of his planned run for president in 2011. He considered President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her husband and former President Nestor Kirchner to be politically weak, but warned that they could do significant damage to Argentina's governance institutions unless the opposition united effectively to thwart them. Macri reiterated a request for our help in standing-up the new Buenos Aires Municipal police force, and he encouraged the U.S. Government to send a suitably "emblematic" representative to Argentina's bicentennial celebrations in May. In a separate conversation, a friend and ally of Macri's told the DCM that he thinks that Macri will eventually pull out of the presidential race. End Summary. 2. (U) Ambassador on January 28 hosted Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri to lunch at her residence. Macri was accompanied by four members of his city government team: Chief of Cabinet Dr. Horacio Larreta, Minister for Security Dr. Guillermo Montenegro, new Police Chief Dr. Eugenio Burzaco, and Director for
International Relations Fulvio Pompeo. Deputy Chief of Mission,
Legal Attache, Regional Security Officer and Acting Political
Counselor joined for the Embassy. Macri Confirms Candidacy
3. (SBU) Macri openly discussed his ambitions for the presidency in
2011 at several points in the conversation (he again confirmed his
candidacy in public on February 2). He described his presidency of
the Boca Juniors Soccer Club as having been an outstanding
political education (dealing with issues like access to press and
locker rooms, distribution of seats, and business decisions in
front of a membership of about 15,000) and said that the Club's
national following was his greatest political asset. "If I receive
political support outside of Buenos Aires," he said, "in 90% of the
cases it is for managing Boca and in 10% for being Mayor of Buenos
Aires." 4. (SBU) Macri believed there was a regional swing underway toward the right, beginning with the election of Sebastian Pinera in
Chile, someone Macri described in friendly terms as a wide ranging
intellect who always knew more than anyone whatever the topic, from
culture, sports, business, government, and history. Macri believed
that Jose Serra would win the presidency in Brazil, and hoped to
follow in the regional trend himself in 2011. Kirchners Finished, but Dangerous 5. (C) Beginning with a discussion of the President Fernandez de Kirchner's precipitous firing of Central Bank President Martin Redrado (reftel A), Macri lamented what he described as the
President and first spouse Nestor Kirchner's continuing assault on
government institutions and fiscal responsibility. The first
couple's aggressive style had turned most people off, he said,
something he rediscovered virtually every day when he went
door-to-door in the city to meet citizens. Even those of the lower
middle class (the Kirchners' political base) were frustrated and
fed up with the national government On the political front, a
broad political opposition was in agreement on the dangers posed by
the Kirchner's but would have to learn to work together to limit
the damage they might cause before 2011. 6. (C) Before the Mayor's arrival, Montenegro had described President Kirchner's firing of Treasury Ministry Prosecutor General Osvaldo Guglielmino as another sign of trouble. (Note: Guglielmino reportedly drafted the firing order against Redrado, and the press speculated that he was being dumped in part because that process went so poorly). Montenegro described the named replacement, Joaquin Da Rocha, as a close ally of Cabinet Chief Anibal Fernandez. He was the least bad option among the few remaining qualified Kirchnerites, Montenegro concluded, but was not an impressive candidate for the job 7. (C) As he has in the past, Macri pressed on the U.S. approach
to the Kirchners, seemingly urging more open criticism of measures
we considered unwise. Ambassador responded that the Embassy would continue to seek a positive working relationship with the
Government of Argentina while raising in a constructive fashion our
areas of concern. 8. (SBU) Macri shared an interest in further exchanges with U.S. law enforcement to assist his Police Chief in training and guiding the soon-to-be-deployed city police force. Ambassador discussed the benefits of a visit by a successful U.S. big-city police commissioner or former commissioner. Macri and his team also strongly encouraged the United States to consider sending an "emblematic" American, whether from culture or government, to joinin the country's May 25 bicentennial celebrations at the
refurbished Colon theater. 9. (C) Footnote: An influential banker whose daughter works with Macri said that he believes that Macri will eventually pull out of the presidential race. He said that, though Macri has committed fewer political missteps recently, many in Macri's camp realize that his chances to win in 2011 are miniscule and receding. This source said that the electoral alliance that seems to be emerging between Peronist senator Carlos Reutemann and erstwhile Macri ally Francisco de Narvaez will marginalize Macri, as Peronists disaffected with the Kirchners will gravitate naturally to a
Reutemann-de Narvaez alliance. (In this scenario, Reutemann would
run for the presidency and De Narvaez would set aside his
presidential aspirations and compete for the governorship of Buenos
Aires province.) The banker speculated that the 50-year old Macri
will decide that he should abandon a quixotic candidacy in order to
focus on developing a successful record of governance in the City
of Buenos Aires, with a view to the next presidential election in
2015. MARTINEZ

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