The mayor Federico Bodlovic and his father, the deputy José Bodlovic, both vaccinated against Covid-19, have governed the Santa Cruz town of Luis Piedrabuena since 1999 Credit: municipalidaddecmteluispiedrabuena.gob.ar
SANTA CRUZ.- A fiefdom that was born out of an election, which was defined only by a vote of difference, is now cracked because of a handful of vaccines inoculated to those who hold power. ”While people die, politicians are vaccinated », Say the handwritten letters on a white cloth with which the neighbors yesterday planted themselves in front of the mayor’s house Federico Boldovic, bearer of the surname that transcended Santa Cruz for having started, a week ago, the rear of vaccinated VIPs that already cost him the position of former Minister of Health, Ginés González García.
Since 1999, the Boldovic family has set the pace for the 10,000 inhabitants of Commander Luis Piedra Buena, wielding iron power based on an omnipresent state with a clientelist scheme, which generates adherence and fears. Part of that power entered into crisis last week when it was revealed that the mayor Federico Boldovic, his wife Bernadette Manucci, his father José « Pepe » Bodlovic, his wife Elsa, the mayor’s driver and various high ranking officials Township were vaccinated on February 6 when half of the hospital’s health personnel had not yet received the dose.
The town founded on the banks of the mighty Santa Cruz river is boiling today. Anger took over the streets, they put aside fear and the habitual indolence of a small payment and were encouraged to ask for resignations. In a week they already have three gears, the first two were a handful, but yesterday, Saturday, after the national scandal over vaccines, many more people joined the streets, « Alberto, ask them to resign », the signs read.
«I think there is a fed up with this way of doing politics, I did not think that people went to Pepe’s, but what happened transcends the political ”, he reflects before THE NATION Adrián Suárez, councilor who filed a complaint to investigate irregularities with vaccines. Suárez is from Front of All, but it represents the opposition, within the ruling party. He is one of the few who dares to question the political patronage of the current administration. « In the month of the elections, in 2019, $ 3 million of social assistance was given, in the middle of the pandemic just $ 500 thousand », he details and adds « the elections are won with the money that belongs to all the neighbors. »
From radical to Kirchner
To understand Piedra Buena today, we must go back to the 90s, where radicalism ruled strongly and « Pepe » Boldovic was a municipal official, all-terrain, a radical city official. In fact, he was radical. However, in the 1999 election, seduced by then-Governor Néstor Kirchner, he ran for mayor for the Front for Victory. There was a technical tie and the electoral board, in Río Gallegos, defined the election by one vote in favor of Boldovic. There the lineage was born, and, also, the «pepistas».
« The Boldovics belong to the Boldovics », define before THE NATION a historical leader of the Santa Cruz PJ. In the first years of administration, the quarterly surrender was hung on the door of the municipality for all to see, a custom that lost over the years and favoritism began to grow.
Boldovic won four elections in a row, He was mayor between 1999-2015 and emerged as an unbeatable leader. Along the way, he prepared his son, Federico, who after graduating as a lawyer returned to the town to follow in his father’s footsteps. Always within Kirchnerism, but in recent times more close to Kolina, the grouping of the governor Alicia Kirchner. Before being mayor, he was a deputy for Pueblo (2011-2015), times in which he accompanied the camper projects in the Legislature. In 2015, the Bodlovics did a power swap: Federico went to the quartermaster and his father to the provincial legislature.
To think differently, to think differently, is only for the brave in Piedra Buena. For Ida Jorgenssen, former councilor for the UCR, the people in the town are afraid to express themselves, and graph “if they think differently, they know that if they say it, a Bodlovic pointer falls and they remind them how any profit can fall that they have received for living here. And he adds: “When I was a councilor, I submitted a large number of requests for reports on management. Never, but never, did they answer me any ».
Bodlovic manages a budget of 716 million pesos. Of the 10,000 inhabitants, 902 are municipal employees; the rest is distributed among health personnel, teachers, police, and provincial agencies. Control seeps into every corner, like the whims of the mayor, who in 2019 ordered to paint every wall in the city, including schools, the purple color that identified his motto. In campaign, municipal employees, dressed in purple jackets, went out to distribute their ballots and no one could refuse.
Purple are also the flyers that circulate these days on different Facebook profiles calling them « Attempted coup » to those who went out to demonstrate in the streets. The digital activists give their support to the mayor and Cesar Alarcon, the president of the deliberative council, La Cámpora’s benchmark in the town, which also benefited from Sputnik V.
Paola Mansilla is a municipal employee and he is bringing a case against the municipality: he demands that they pay him the family allowances owed. In 2015, the municipality had decreed to pay the same scale as Anses. Mansilla started a protection for non-payment, but nobody in the municipality dared to join. Judge Renato Manucci did not grant the amparo and she initiated the case through administrative channels. In the course, the municipality repealed the decree.
Manucci, the trial judge, the only court in the city, is the mayor’s brother-in-law Boldovic, wife’s brother. She is Bernadette Manucci, Justice of the Peace of the city, appointed by decree of Alicia Kirchner. The complaint for the vaccines, the councilor Suárez presented it in the Criminal Court of Puerto Santa Cruz, with jurisdiction in Piedra Buena. Except for that court, all flanks seem protected in Piedra Buena in favor of the Boldovics. However, some of that iron power is now impacted by social questioning.
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