Retired and at 74, Ángel José Spotorno was very active. His age did not prevent him from leading a healthy life, connecting with people and doing gymnastics regularly. Died June 16 from coronavirus in his apartment in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Mataderos. The disease found him after doing a risky activity, but one he had enjoyed since before the pandemic: organize political street actions from social networks. Spotorno believed that something might happen to him and was enraged against preventive and compulsory isolation.
« Of the 90 days he lived in quarantine, about 85 will have been on the street. He always took good care of himself, had no illness or had taken anything. He was my only first cousin. We had a very good relationship”, remember Marita Riera in dialogue Infobae.
Ángel became a widow five years ago and kept going. Father of two daughters and grandfather of two grandchildren, he had recently established a bond with a « 50-year-old girl with whom he was getting acquainted. » Before the pandemic, every two weeks, she ritually went to her aunt’s house for family Sunday lunch. « I wanted to continue living« Recalled the cousin.
A life-long radical, over the years he joined the ranks of the PRO and became convinced of Mauricio Macri’s project. On his Facebook he appears with photos with some leaders, such as deputies Cristian Ritondo and Fernando Iglesias and was one of the convenors of the mobilizations to support Together for Change during the 2019 electoral campaign. He found a taste for virtual activism. He spent it until the wee hours of the morning on social networks, sharing flyers and political comments. The reality is that the pandemic did not mean a major change in his routine, only that he radicalized his opinion against the Government and Kirchnerism.
« He had a lot of names on Facebook and was an administrator of different WhatsApp groups. They blocked it from time to time. Was entertaining. He said that the communists did not have to return and that he did not want to see a red flag. It was very funny, we liked listening to it ”, commented Riera.
With his cousin he talked permanently about all possible topics, among them, his virtual calls: casseroles, marches and politics. Although the « crack » had some correlate in the family (« some meetings were complicated », Riera graphs), with it he could maintain a dialogue without problems because he had never « hooked » on a political flag. However, he break point was when he started going to the anti-quarantine mobilizations in the Obelisk in full isolation. In the first marches, Spotorno came to appear on a television program and even showed his anger to the cameras with the classic gesture of « fuck you ”.
« One day he says to me, ‘I went to the rally at the Obelisk.’ We talk until 1 in the morning. I told him I didn’t understand why he was doing this knowing that most people were quarantined and he wasn’t. I was very angry, to the point of telling him that if something happened to him, to leave a note stating that he was not going to occupy an intensive care bed, « Riera described.
Ángel continued participating in the mobilizations. He will have been in at least two of the initiatives of the « self-convened » groups « Argentina does not give up » and « The Republic will never be red”, The Facebook pages that it managed. He always took a bus to go to the marches and did not avoid the recommended social distancing. It was June.
« After a week she calls me and says: ‘I caught her’”, Remembers the cousin.
Spotorno began to feel bad and gasp. On the 10th, he went to the Álvarez Hospital and the guard measured his temperature, recommended that he take acetaminophen and make salt vapors. Already with some mucus, after three days he went again, but the doctors diagnosed that it must be an allergy, so they suggested that he open the windows of his house. Since then he did not return anymore and, according to Riera, he communicated on several occasions with line 107.
According to the reconstruction that the family could do, on Monday 15 Ángel was chatting with a partymate until he suddenly stopped answering her messages.. The last connection was marked at 22:20. By chance, the same woman had asked Ángel for a time the number of his daughters to have his contact in case of any eventuality. Her co-religionist notified the family that something was going on. But the first theory was that it could be without light or with the battery exhausted from the cell phone.
The next day Spotorno was still unanswered. One of the daughters went to the apartment and rang the bell. Again there was no response from the other end of the intercom. Another neighbor rang the bell to check his father’s address. The door, closed from the inside. It was then that they called 911 and with police assistance they managed to get in. There was the father: he lay lifeless sitting in one of the armchairs in front of the television.
At first it was believed that his death had been caused by a heart attack. Being a doubtful death and in the midst of quarantine, the intervening court placed a sash on the house. The department needed to be disinfected and some practical issues had to be resolved. Spotorno’s cats, for example, were still indoors and needed to be fed and retrieved. When she managed to enter the house, her cousin could see, like the daughters, that Ángel had left a thermometer on one of the tables. It marked 38 degrees.
The morge’s death certificate arrived on Saturday the 20th. The letter settled doubts about what had happened with Ángel in his Alberdi apartment at 7000: « Pneumopathy » and « Covid-19 ».
Affected by the truth, Riera spoke with Ángel’s daughters and made the decision to tell what happened in an interview conducted by journalist Andrea Pérez for the program « El Reloj » on radio Del Plata. « My soul broke, I was very bad. I said to him: ‘If you want to live, you will receive pension and retirement and you are not bad, why are you going to go out and look for the virus?‘ His daughters also asked him not to go out. ”
According to Riera, Spotorno ended up losing patience when the City Government tried to restrict outings to older adults. “He was on the cell phone all day and administered various groups. Sometimes I think why his own co-religionists did not take care of him and told him vos stay home that we went out’. Everyone in those Facebook groups was hurt when they learned of his death and offered condolences, but I keep reading that they are putting together new calls. It is as if they have not understood. Lack of awareness ”.
-What did Angel think of the coronavirus?
-He thought it was a cold like any other. It was anti. She died thinking she had an allergy, although she was a little scared when she said ‘I caught her‘. It worries me because I don’t know how many people must be thinking the same thing. He said to me: ‘I am walking everywhere, nothing is going to grab me. ‘ I don’t know if he was wearing a chinstrap. And he greeted everyone, even the policeman on the corner. He was calm: he said that nobody was going to stop him.