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The Missing Link of Business between Buenos Aires and Caracas

Without leaving a trace, José María Olazagasti, the obscure lieutenant of the Kirchnerist Minister of Planning, Julio De Vido, disappeared. Olazagasti, from the shadow, and De Vido, in public, both were the architects of the golden age of trade agreements between the Pink House and the Miraflores Palace. Most of these deals show no visible work, and some of them are the starting points of legal cases that begin to spread around in Argentina. The personal secretary was the one who managed with whom to meet and for what business.

11/20/2016 4:01:45 PM

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"Mysterious, quiet, and ambitious;" little is known about him, how he operated. He hardly talked with the media when he was with Julio De Vido, the powerful and controversial Minister of Planning of the governments of Néstor Kirchner and his widow, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who also became the business ambassador of Buenos Aires in Caracas. Even though he is the right hand —the agenda, the ears, an even the treasurer of insulin, as a newspaper from La Plata says— of Minister De Vido, and was promoted from personal advisor to the Ceremonial Director, with duties that are virtually the same as those of a Secretary of State, José María Olazagasti is almost a ghost, which few speak of because they know little or out of fear, or in other cases, for considering him a "marginal character" within the Kirchner government and a traitor. Although on the sidelines, apart and in the background, Olazagasti was the one who managed to take certain businessmen from his country to negotiate with the Bolivarian Government in his multiple trips to Caracas. Tango and salsa that mixed in the Venezuela-Argentina trust and that were music for his pocket and a change in the rhythm of life of this entrepreneur of Basque origin.

Villa Lugano is the second largest neighborhood in the city of Buenos Aires, a sort of 23 de Enero in Buenos Aires -as the politically active working-class neighborhood of Caracas-, a Peronist bastion of the Federal Capital. This was the place that saw in 1974 the birth of the son of "El Vasco Olazagasti," a historical leader of the Justicialism. The father was a friend of Julio De Vido, now a national deputy, with whom he was in a local party headquarters. "He comes from a very low social level. Even in 2002, before Néstor Kirchner came to power, he asked for work to Argentine businessmen because he was just starting out and he was a very humble guy," says journalist Francisco Olivera, of La Nación newspaper, and author, together with Diego Cabot, of the book “Hablen con Julio” (2011).