Argentina has witnessed a political earthquake as Javier Milei, a libertarian outsider candidate who has been compared to Donald Trump, has been elected as the next president of the country. Milei, who describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist”, won the run-off election on November 19, 2023, with 56% of the votes, defeating the centrist candidate Sergio Massa, who had 44%. Milei’s victory marks a historic shift in Argentina’s politics, as he is the first president who does not belong to any of the traditional parties that have dominated the country’s democracy since 1983.
Milei’s campaign was based on a radical platform of economic liberalization, monetary reform, and state reduction. He promised to end the central bank, dollarize the economy, slash public spending, privatize state-owned enterprises, abolish income tax, and renegotiate the country’s debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He also vowed to defend individual rights, such as freedom of speech, gun ownership, and abortion. He appealed to a large segment of the population that is fed up with the economic crisis, inflation, corruption, and political polarization that have plagued Argentina for decades.
Milei’s controversial personality and rhetoric
Milei is not a typical politician. He is a 52-year-old economist, businessman, and media personality who gained fame and popularity by raging against the “political caste” and the “socialist plague” on television and social media. He is known for his eccentric style, his long blond hair, his colorful ties, and his provocative gestures. He often insults and mocks his opponents, calling them “idiots”, “parasites”, “thieves”, and “traitors”. He has also made controversial statements about women, minorities, and human rights.
Milei’s supporters see him as a charismatic leader who tells the truth and challenges the status quo. They admire his courage, his intelligence, and his humor. They view him as a defender of liberty, prosperity, and dignity. They also share his distrust and resentment of the political establishment, the mainstream media, and the international organizations. They believe that Milei is the only one who can save Argentina from the economic collapse and the social decay that have been caused by decades of interventionism, populism, and socialism.
Milei’s challenges and opposition
Milei faces a daunting task as he takes office on December 10, 2023. He inherits a country that is in deep recession, with an inflation rate of over 50%, a poverty rate of over 40%, and a public debt of over 100% of GDP. He also has to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed over 120,000 people and infected over 5 million in Argentina. He has to implement his radical reforms in a hostile environment, where he has little support in Congress, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, the unions, and the provinces. He has to negotiate with the IMF, which holds a $44 billion loan that Argentina has not been able to repay. He has to confront the opposition of the outgoing government, the Peronist coalition led by Alberto Fernandez and Cristina Kirchner, which still has a strong base of loyal followers. He has to face the criticism and resistance of the civil society, the human rights groups, the feminist movements, and the environmental activists, who fear that Milei’s policies will undermine democracy, social justice, and human dignity.
Milei has said that he is ready to face the challenges and the opposition, and that he will not compromise on his principles and his vision. He has warned that he will not tolerate any attempts to sabotage or overthrow his government, and that he will use all the legal and constitutional means to defend his mandate and his reforms. He has also said that he will seek to build alliances and dialogue with those who are willing to cooperate and respect his authority. He has expressed his confidence that his policies will bring positive results and that he will prove his critics wrong.
Milei’s impact and implications
Milei’s election has sent shockwaves across Argentina and the world. He represents a radical departure from the political and economic model that has prevailed in Argentina for most of its history, and that has alternated between left-wing and right-wing populism, with occasional periods of neoliberalism. He also challenges the regional and global order, as he is an outspoken critic of China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other authoritarian regimes, and a staunch supporter of the United States, Israel, and other democratic allies. He is also a vocal advocate of cryptocurrency, blockchain, and other disruptive technologies that he believes can empower individuals and bypass the state.
Milei’s election has also sparked a debate and a reflection about the future of democracy, capitalism, and liberalism in the 21st century. He is part of a global trend of anti-establishment and anti-systemic movements that have emerged in response to the crisis of legitimacy and representation that affects many democracies. He is also part of a global trend of libertarian and conservative movements that have emerged in response to the rise of progressive and socialist agendas that seek to expand the role of the state and the regulation of the market. He is also part of a global trend of populist and nationalist movements that have emerged in response to the challenges and opportunities of globalization and multiculturalism.
Milei’s election poses many questions and uncertainties about the direction and the destiny of Argentina and the world. Will he be able to implement his reforms and achieve his goals? Will he be able to govern effectively and democratically? Will he be able to overcome the obstacles and the opposition that he faces? Will he be able to deliver the change and the hope that he promises? Will he be able to inspire and influence other countries and regions? Will he be able to transform and transcend the history and the culture of Argentina?