Written by Piero Messina
It is no coincidence that Javier Milei is called El Loco, the madman. Yet the Argentines had no hesitation in entrusting him with the government of their country. Milei defines himself as an anarcho-ultracapitalist even though he has never explained how it is possible to combine the two philosophies. In his program he explained that he would destroy the country’s system because he believed it to be obsolete, demolishing welfare and rewriting the rules of the banking and financial system. He did it. But now the Argentines are afraid. Because it took Milei just two weeks to go from being acclaimed as the savior of the country to being considered a crazy and unscrupulous dictator. Thus, the celebrations for his recent election have been forgotten and the square is in uproar, from Buenos Aires to Rosario. But ultimately it’s the Argentinians’ fault: Milai is doing exactly what he promised.
His inauguration at the helm of Argentina has reserved some dramatic twists worthy of the vaudeville show. Because, it is good to keep in mind, today we know that his main advisors are five dogs: Conan, Murray, Milton, Robert and Lucas. Indeed, to be precise, his main advisors are the spirits of his five deceased dogs. It’s not a joke, it’s the dramatic reality that Argentines have to coexist with. Stuff that would make Emperor Caligula pale with envy.
If we really want to tell this whole crazy story, the five four-legged advisors received all presidential honors. In Argentina it is customary for the president-elect to wear a white and blue sash and hold a scepter. Milei wanted a scepter different from those held by other Argentine Presidents. El Loco had a personalized scepter made, decorated with the faces of his five dogs.
Nothing new for those who know the character. Son of a businessman and a housewife, with a past in a rock band and a passion for tantric sex, Javier El loco Milei is no stranger to politics. In the 1990s he was elected as a deputy for the first time, only to be expelled a year and a half later for crimes against humanity. In his first short period in the Argentine Congress he made headlines for his decision to make his salary available through a lottery, because “for me it’s dirty money”. He returns to the Lower House in 2021, but participates very little in the country’s political life until his rise to the position of “Argentine Trump”.
The entourage he surrounds himself with is as particular as he is. The curator of his image is a professional cosplayer, who compared him to the comic book hero Wolverine due to his hair and attitude. A rabbi is among his most trusted advisors, given Milei’s desire to convert to Judaism. Furthermore, the candidate of La Libertad Avanza also receives help from the afterlife. It seems, in fact, that El loco is an expert in telepathy and that he often communicates with the spirit of his beloved mastiff who died in 2017, to receive guidance on how to conduct his political activity.
Milei is a strong supporter of the closed borders policy and even advocates for the sale of human organs, arguing that no one can stop someone else from doing “what they want with their life”.
So it was logical to expect a dose of madness. And madness it was. On the economic level he promised shock. He had said “There is no money” and three days after the election, the first move arrived, announced by the Minister of Economy, Luis Caputo: the peso, the Argentine currency, was devalued by 50% compared to the dollar. The official exchange rate went from 400 to 800 pesos per dollar in an instant. Cuts will be made in public spending, the State will no longer call tenders for infrastructure works and contracts already awarded but whose works have not started will also be cancelled. Everything passes into private hands. The progressive reduction of energy and transport subsidies was also confirmed. At the same time, the government announced the suppression of the current import authorization system and its replacement with an open system based on statistical data. In short, the worst is yet to come. The weakest sections of Argentine society, already tried by decades of crisis, are already below the poverty line.
With a decree dated 20 December, President Milei announced “the public emergency in economic, financial, fiscal, administrative, social security, tariff, health and social matters until 31 December 2025”. The second is dedicated to deregulation and states that “the national state will promote the existence of an economic system based on free decisions, adopted in a context of free competence”. To achieve this aim, the text states, “the broadest deregulation of trade, services and industry will be implemented”. The third article instead concerns foreign commercial policy, and states the need to adopt international standards regarding trade in goods and services in particular compliance with the recommendations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for International Cooperation and economic development (OECD). But above all Milei links Argentina’s destiny to the American dollar. The street protest immediately exploded with shouts of “The homeland cannot be sold” and “Milei rubbish, you are the dictatorship”
There are those who applaud. The International Monetary Fund welcomed the measures announced by the new government. «These bold initial actions aim to significantly improve public finances so as to protect the most vulnerable in society and strengthen the exchange rate regime. Their decisive implementation will help stabilize the economy and lay the foundation for more sustainable, private sector-led growth.” The magic word is “private”. It is the golden rule of the IMF. Just ask Greece.
It was quite obvious that the new Argentine government announced its exit from the Brics. What is a little surprising is the vulgar way in which this move, much hoped for by Washington, was announced. The farewell to the Brics was announced with a message on X by the new economy minister, Diana Mondino. But Milei also wanted to have his say.
Javier Milei told: “I wouldn’t do business with China. We will make transactions with the civilized side of life – the West. I don’t transact with communists.” Perhaps President Milei has not yet come to terms with Argentina’s economic dependence on the yuan. We will see.
What was the reaction of the now former Brics partners? Putin called the logic behind Argentina’s new government’s decision to switch to the dollar understandable, “but it is a significant loss of sovereignty.” Putin warned Argentina that a strong attachment to a foreign currency carries serious socio-economic consequences.
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