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Facundo Manes: 'An attack will never come from me, I was trained to heal and I come to heal politics'


Pre-candidate for national deputy for the UCR in the province of Buenos Aires, he avoids deepening the internal differences of the coalition and is committed to a radicalism that will lead the opposition by 2023.

Bernardo Vazquez

07/31/2021 22:00

  • Clarí

  • Politics

Updated 07/31/2021 10:00 PM

Doctor, scientist and entrepreneur.

Can you already define yourself as a politician in your bio on social networks?

─In reality, I would define myself rather as an Argentine who does not resign himself to being robbed of the country he dreamed of, that he lived in and that perhaps the young people could not see.

That is why most do not believe in politics.

─What was that country?

The one of '83, the one of the return of democracy.

I was 14 years old and I lived a collective dream in which Peronists, radicals and socialists wanted to build a democratic system.

There was a leader, like Raúl Alfonsín, who summoned everyone.

But he never took over that period climate.

Together we achieve democracy.

─Is that period climate you are talking about transferable to 2021?

─It is what we need now to face modernity.

It is necessary to recover values ​​such as respect for institutions and that access to education is synonymous with upward social mobility.

When I grew up in Arroyo Dulce and Salto, I knew that if I was honest, worked and educated myself, I would do well, that I would progress.

The only weapon I had was education, because I was not born into an economic, social, political or cultural elite.

Today most people believe that to grow up you have to be a soccer player, receive an inheritance, or get promoted by being corrupt through politics.

You have to change that.

─Could you be a candidate for another political space?

Surely he received offers from outside the UCR ...

─I was offered it, yes, many times.

But I have been affiliated with radicalism since '92, a special year, in full Menemism and after the departure of Alfonsín from the Government.

I have a personal, family history with my brother Gastón as a valuable leader within the party.

I founded a student center in Salto in '85, one of the most important in the interior of the province.

I was always committed to the country.

─¿Hace lack


look radicalism these times?

─The values ​​of the UCR are very present, they are very topical: honesty, respect for institutions and social sensitivity.

But we must add them to modernity, to the challenges that the 21st century imposes on us.

I believe that all parties must be renewed, as the Labor Party in Britain was once renewed under Tony Blair.

─And do you find reception within the party in that search?

─Yes, clearly.

At this stage, radicalism is strongly seeing renewal within the party.

And that impacted on my decision to be a candidate for deputy.

I remember that I spoke with party leaders before a



, precisely.

And that day I told them that radicalism has to face the current and future agenda, that of the knowledge revolution.

And he has to lead the coalition, like in '83.

─Lead, directly.

Not just being part of the opposition space?

─That will be decided by the people when they go to vote in the STEP which is the proposal with which they most identify.

But I am convinced that the opposition needs not only to be "anti".

I want to beat Kirchnerism with a qualitative leap from the opposition.

And that has to be done by a centennial party, like the UCR, which summons everyone.

Manes, in his office at the Ineco Foundation, which he created after returning to the country in 2001, from the United States.Photo: Rafael Mario Quinteros.

─Most of the UCR leaders agree that in the four years of Mauricio Macri's government power was concentrated in the PRO.

Why should it be any different now?

─It was like that, it's true.

That's why it was hard for me to identify myself.

I did not belong to the government of Cambiemos, but I had a radical little heart, and the party was part of the space.

I did not like that it did not have prominence.

Today that situation changed.

I see a radicalism standing up, wanting to lead the coalition, to summon the PRO, socialism, the GEN, to rebuild democracy.

─Do you represent that change in position?

─This is not about me, or about anyone.

Forget about Manes, who can be a missing link in the way of something new being born.

The black swan of this election is not me, it is the radicalism that stood up.

This coalition was armed to give more entity to the opposition, to fatten it up and beat Kirchnerism in '23.

─Kirchnerism is your rival in this campaign, then.

─Yes, Kirchnerism is my adversary.

I have another country model, different from Kirchnerism, I want something else.

I always said that without Peronism it is not possible, but with Peronism alone it is not enough.

And in Argentina, neither now nor in previous governments, work has been done to achieve a great coalition government that has the support of at least 60 or 70% of the political forces.

One of the great problems for Argentines is that we pursue narcissistic and personalistic projects, instead of country models.

─Do you regret having said that you hoped that Santilli and Rodríguez Larreta would not spend the taxes of the porteños in the campaign?

─It was just an expression of desire, nothing more.

In politics, sometimes you look for things where there are none, that's why it was a mess.

I do not doubt that everything will be done well.

I want to come to talk about a new agenda, I did not come to attack anyone, I was trained to heal, I come to heal politics.

They will never hear an attack from me, they can attack me like these days or attack me, but it will never come out of me.

I want to contribute to harmony.

─What response do you give to the accusations of Elisa Carrió, who warned that she will denounce him in court?

─As I have already said on this subject, my rival on this path is not a person, but the decadence in which Argentina has been submerged for decades.

My fight is to try to

unite Argentines behind a common purpose, of a collective dream.

─Did you recently talk with Santilli and Rodríguez Larreta?

─No, I did not speak to them these last few days.

I spoke with Rodríguez Larreta two months ago, and Santilli, the truth, I don't know him very much.

I do not compete against them, I compete with despair, poverty, lack of direction, the decline Argentina, child malnutrition and lack of knowledge paradigm.

─What do you value about Rodríguez Larreta's country project?

Do you see him presidential in 2023?

─I don't know the vision of the country that he offers.

If I have to be

based on what made the PRO in the government 's

change, I think it gave many social plans, but no job prospects


─In other words, his management is related to that of the PRO from 2015 to 2019.

─I don't know, I repeat that people have to decide.

I am happy just to put the debate on a new country model on the agenda.

─Even though he was not an official of Cambiemos, he had a stint in the Buenos Aires government of María Eugenia Vidal in an

ad honorem



Or not?

I was not part of your government, or of any other with whom I have collaborated from my specific discipline.

Upon assuming, in 2015, Vidal contacted me to see what contribution I could make.

I did so from the elaboration of a report, totally

ad honorem

and together with other colleagues, which reflected the contributions of cognitive neurosciences to think about solutions to poverty and contribute to the integral development of the population.

─ He commented that he spoke with Macri a few days ago.

What role do you think you have to fulfill within the opposition army?

─Me called to congratulate me

, to tell me to

not stress and do not pay attention to social networks.

I believe that in Argentina all former presidents must be respected.

I envy other countries when they are all together in one act.

We have to recover the culture of listening to those who have the experience of having governed.

You have to respect Macri, then society will decide his future.

Facundo Manes spoke with Clarín about his expectations for the next elections.

Photo: Rafael Mario Quinteros.

─You promote a renewal of politics, but the list you head appears a former mayor linked to Peronism, such as Jesús Cariglino, from Malvinas Argentinas.

─Our list represents the diversity of the province of Buenos Aires.

It is a coalition that integrates radicalism, Peronism and the GEN.

Cariglino was previously a Cambiemos official.

I did not create my own political party, I joined a pre-existing coalition.

I think that everyone on the list will be committed to collaborating because they know that if not, Argentina will be bogged down, like now, but forever.

Today the court is unplayable.

─If he is elected, he must legislate on the problems of the province of Buenos Aires.

Are they the same as in the country?

They are the same.

Inequality, poverty, hopelessness and unemployment.

I am from the province, I know its problems.

My family lives in Salto, my best friends too.

I understand the problem of agribusiness, we must support the countryside because it is the great engine of Argentine development, but it cannot be the only one because if we do not face each crisis we ask it to solve it.

And I also know the Conurbano, I was born in Quilmes.

We must organize the social fabric, promote neighborhood clubs and ensure that people can buy their piece of land.

The Conurbano is where there is more anguish, stress and fear.

I want to embrace the pain of my people.

─Are you surprised that in the midst of a pandemic on the list of the Frente de Todos, former Health Minister Daniel Gollán is the second candidate?

─I believe that in a pandemic, officials have to stay in their place and work where they were working.

It is my opinion, but I am not the person who is going to define what is right or wrong.

Society will reward or punish those decisions.

─How do you rate the health management of Axel Kicillof's government in the province of Buenos Aires?

─The Kicillof government's handling of the pandemic was not good.

The decision not to return to face-to-face classes on time is something that will impact us for decades.

The boys are scared, anxious.


I always said that it takes less fear and more care.

I believe we need leaders who lead us with hope, who unite us, not who lead us with fear.

-Is the pandemic on its way to ending as vaccination progresses?

─This is a marathon that doesn't end now.

We are just entering the Covid decade.

By next year we will have about 70% of the entire population fully vaccinated.

We do not consider that this is a tsunami in a fragile country, that it does not have the support of Germany, and that we will not be able to solve it with slogans or phrases.

The launch of Manes, in Salto, the city where his family settled when he was a child.

The analogy between health and the economy and what the knowledge revolution means

Facundo Manes participates in politics, is a fruitful writer of books that became


and even defines himself as an entrepreneur.

But with every word he says he prints the stamp of a doctor.

Even in times of campaign, Manes will not stop fulfilling functions as a neurologist at the Ineco Foundation that he himself created when he returned to the country from the United States in 2001. "It will be an intense stage, but I am used to it," he says, about the hyperactive agenda that comes before him at least until the STEP of September 12.

The analogies he makes between the economy and health are a constant.

"If a patient comes with different symptoms, such as fever, pain or dizziness, but I see that he has diabetes, pneumonia and hypertension, that he smokes and what he drinks, I can give him something to reduce those symptoms, but I will have to discuss the disease systemic, "he explains.

In Argentina, he believes, that does not translate to economic problems.

"Here we do not discuss the systemic disease. Argentina never did the correct treatment. If a patient comes who is still ill, but was well medicated, I am pessimistic. But if I see him badly because he is ill medicated, I will be optimistic. That is the case. from Argentina, which has great potential even though we are mired in despair, "he says.

One of

Manes' campaign


is to bet on what he defines as "the knowledge revolution."

As he believes "this country does not generate the wealth we need to give our people well-being" and that, he considers, is explained by several reasons.

"Unlike what we believe, Argentina is not enough to grow simply with its natural resources. Today, even natural resources do not drive the world economy. He exemplifies that" 70% of cocoa imports are concentrated in three countries in Africa, but they do not have an impact on the chocolate industry like Switzerland or Belgium do. "

Although he says that he does not like to take specific models from countries to imitate, he believes that Canada is an example to follow, because it has part of its economy based on raw materials and another part that is not. He also assures that the field is an example to follow, since "it bet on genetics and innovation, on the development of technology." "You have to invest in research and scientific development. Argentina only invests 0.5% of its GDP in this area, while countries such as South Korea and Israel do so by 4% and the average of developed countries it is 2.2% ", he details.

In addition, he thinks that once the pandemic is over, the relevance of health on the agenda of the world's governments will be rediscussed.

"Pandemics throughout history have come to change. And this one is also going to change us. For better or for worse, it depends on how we get out," he says.

At the local level, he believes that "this pandemic is the greatest crisis in Argentine history. And it is not over yet."

He is primarily concerned with the psychological impact on society.

"There is a difference many times between physical and mental health. And health is only one, it includes both, says the WHO. Here we are focused on the physical, nobody talks about psychoeducation, how to help people who are anxious, depressed, apathetic, "she describes.

For Manes, in Argentina "common sense is lacking."

And he explains it in the fact that he is always fighting over ideologies and false dilemmas.

"First it was quarantine vs. death, then economics vs. health, and then open schools vs. closed schools. We have to leave that behind, every intervention of mine will prioritize common sense and evidence, how we work in the developed world" , he comments.

It also asks for explanations for the contract that the Government has just now closed with Pfizer.

"Argentina had total priority over the development of this vaccine, because a large part of the study was done in the country. It is necessary to explain why it was not achieved before," he concludes.

Right now

Interview with Facundo Manes.

Photo Rafael Mario Quinteros.

A project:

Inspire Argentine society to take the step that changes our course and leads us towards development.

A leader:

Raul Alfonsin.

A hero:

René Favaloro.

A meal:

My old woman's ravioli.

A drink:


A society that I admire:


A memory:

That of my old man, a rural doctor, attending our house in Arroyo Dulce and Salto.

A pleasure:

Playing soccer.

A dream:

That we Argentines can unite for a long-term country project.

A film:

Cinema Paradiso.

A series:

The Office.

A book:

"An Anthropologist on Mars", by Oliver Sacks.

A challenge:

The knowledge revolution.


He was born in the Iriarte de Quilmes Hospital, Buenos Aires province, on January 11, 1969. Since he was a boy, he lived in Arroyo Dulce, a town that belongs to the Buenos Aires province of Salto, where he later moved. He is married and he has two children. He is a neurologist and neuroscientist, graduated from the University of Buenos Aires and the University of Cambridge, England, where he obtained a doctorate in Sciences. In 2001 he returned to Argentina and created the Institute of Cognitive Neurology (Ineco), the Institute of Neurosciences of the Favaloro Foundation and the Ineco Foundation for research in cognitive neurosciences. He is a Conicet researcher and has more than 230 investigations published in the most prestigious international scientific journals. Affiliated with the Radical Civic Union since 1992,he is a pre-candidate for national deputy for the province of Buenos Aires for that party and within the Juntos coalition.

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-08-01

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