Written by Anthony Constantini
What’s happening: Argentina’s Javier Milei, a conservative with libertarian leanings running on an anti-establishment platform, won the presidential election over Sergio Massa, the economy minister and run-of-the-mill center-leftist.
- The backdrop? Argentina is in crisis mode, suffering from a nearly 140 percent inflation rate, crime concerns, and tanking government-approval numbers.
A quote machine: Milei, often compared to Donald Trump, is about as unique as a political figure can get. He’s made a name for himself by sarcastically bashing leftists (”they will kill you”) and by poking fun at political correctness (”If you do not recite ‘cool socialism’ or if you are not woke, you are a danger to democracy”).
- If you want a friend, get a dog: Milei has five dogs, all of which are clones of his beloved dog Conan, who died in 2017.
Not just image: His platform is a rare mix of hardcore libertarian economics and strong social conservatism, and his plan is to make radical changes in Argentina.
- An anti-bank warrior: Milei has said he is “obsessed” with Argentina’s central bank — but it’s no love affair. He’s called for its elimination, blaming the bank for the country’s inflation rate. By contrast, even American libertarians like Sen. Rand Paul often push only for an audit of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- Dollarization: Some countries, like Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, are looking for an alternative to the dollar, but Milei hopes to make it Argentina’s official currency. The Argentinian Peso has plummeted in value, down 858 percent in value over the past five years against the dollar.
- The BRICS: Argentina’s current president had announced the country was set to join a partnership of countries including China known as “BRICS.” But Milei has said that’s not happening. He’s sworn it off, saying he “won’t make deals with communists.”
- Social conservatism: Milei opposed Argentina’s legalization of abortion in 2020. He has pledged to ban it again, arguing life begins at conception.
Why it matters: It is not a coincidence former President Donald Trump was elected the same year of the Brexit nationalist movement. Milei could make ripples across a South America that has recently moved left. He’s also already being charged with criminal cases by the current government, which echoes Trump’s situation in America.