Santa Cristina: the Argentine thriller of the moment

Cristina de Santa has nothing and the failed attack does not make her innocent. AGENCY ONE/FILE

I follow the news of the alleged failed assassination of the vice president of Argentina as if it were a Netflix series… although better than a Netflix series.

Two journalists from beyond the Andes help me understand the bizarre plot: the fat Jorge Lanata and the skinny Luis Majul. I see the first one on Sundays in “Journalism for All” and the second in “La Cornisa”. Both programs can be followed online on Youtube and give the perversely reassuring feeling that the grass is still greener here than in the neighbors’ house.

Majul – who, like everyone else, considers an attack to be reprehensible – recently observed that, after the event, the vice “was activated in Santa Cristina mode. And to her histrionic qualities he added the mystical touch. That miraculous and supernatural touch that so seduces the Peronists who consume circuses for lack of bread.

The circus of Cristina Fernández, widow of Kichner, has included village priests, civil nuns, conversations with Pope Francis, requests to pray for her, a rosary around her neck and an all-white look. Lanata, on her side, after condemning the attack, has denounced that “being her victim does not make her a saint.”

Thank God, it would be appropriate to say, Argentines have not shared with that enormous cartwheel and, according to opinion polls, 88% do not believe that the attack should interrupt the trial in which the prosecutor in charge requested 12 years jail for Cristina Fernández for corruption. The Kichners awarded almost all the road works in the country to a fresco who was a friend of theirs and then they received suitcases full of tickets in “thank you”. An ultra-Kichnerist senator tried to jump on the post-attack stream, saying: “Do we want social peace? Let’s stop the trial of Vialidad”, squared with the delirious desire that Cristina run for the presidency of Argentina in 2023 and not go behind bars, which is what corresponds.

Seven out of ten people in Argentina do not consider that the attack on the vice president was motivated by hate speech, as she and her followers maintain. And, as if this were not enough, the rejection of the figure of Cristina is still as high as before the attack, over 70%.

She, however, has faith and tries to cultivate a cult in the town like the one that “Santa Evita” unleashed in her time.

Twenty-seven years after it was written, “Santa Evita”, the fictionalized investigation of another great journalist, Tomás Eloy Martínez, is essential reading to understand the contradictions and disagreements in Argentina. The novel narrates the surreal comings and goings of the embalmed body of Eva Duarte, the patron saint of the shirtless, the wife of Juan Domingo Perón. The one she said (although she never said it): “I’ll come back and we’ll be millions.” The one that she had the peasantry of her country with the soul in a thread when she got sick: they feared that together with her last breath the world would end.

“Santa Evita” was veiled for 12 days, in which half a million people kissed her coffin and 18,000 flower crowns covered the funerary building where her coffin was. That, while letters and letters arrived at the Vatican giving account of her miracles, and Peronism asked for fast track canonization, on her deathbed. Between 1952 – the year of her death – and 1954, the Holy See received 40,000 letters narrating miraculous events carried out by Santa Evita.

Cristina is not even close to Evita. Evita, for Perón’s enemies, she was “that woman”, more dangerous dead than alive, due to the mythical fervor that her figure aroused and even today she is a pop bastion. Cristina de Santa has nothing and her failed attack does not make her innocent. It is worth remembering the spontaneous phrase that escaped another sanctified politician, Pepe Mujica, when he said: “This old woman is worse than the one-eyed man,” alluding to the late former president with the lost eye.

Santa Cristina: the Argentine thriller of the moment