2023November 2023WorldAmericas

Argentina’s New Libertarian President

Anthony Samaniego
Staff Writer

On Sunday, November 19, Argentina held its second round of Presidential Elections where right- wing Libertarian candidate, Javier Milei, won the elections with 55.8 percent of the votes over his Centrist opponent, Sergio Massa, who received 44.2% of the votes. Born in October 1970, Javier Milei grew up in Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires.  Milei had a short career as goalkeeper for one of Argentina’s professional club teams, the Chacarita Juniors. He went on to receive his masters in economics and had a career as a university professor teaching micro and macroeconomics. After Milei’s career as an economics professor, he went on to work for several financial companies, according to. According to, newly elected president Javier Milei entered the race as an outsider with radical views and proposed to fix Argentina’s struggling economy. The country’s economy is currently experiencing an inflation rate close to 150 percent, a looming recession and rising poverty rates, says Reuters. Milei promises economic shock therapy under his administration Reuters further reports. Milei plans to shut down Argentina’s central bank, replace the country’s peso currency with the US dollar to “kill” the country’s hyper-inflation problem, and slash public spending on social services. The popularity of Javier Milei is seen particularly with the country’s youth who have grown up seeing their country experiencing one economic crisis over another. Some Argentinian voters described the votes for Milei as the choice of “lesser evil” while other voters reported that they chose the potentially risky economic policies of Milei over anger at current Minister of Economy Sergio Massa from the Peronist Party, whom they deem responsible for Argentina’s economic crisis. Voters report that the economic crisis includes Argentina deeply trapped in debt and unable to access global credit markets. During his presidential campaign, Javier Milei also proposed to cut economic ties with China and Brazil in regards to trade. Milei expressed that he will not deal with communist countries to support his proposal of cutting trade deals with China and Brazil and has advocated to strengthen commerce with the United States and Israel.

Javier Milei’s inauguration and entry into Argentina’s presidency are less than two weeks away and many are asking how both the policies he proposed and how his positions will face reality, according to BBC. Many detractors say his policies towards the central bank and dollarization could take time if carried out since it will require approval from Argentina’s congress and possibly even changing the country’s constitution. Although Milei won a victory in Argentina’s recent presidential election, his political party affiliation, La Libertad Avanza party, is not even the third largest political force in Congress, which could mean difficult negotiations when proposing to implement his policies, BBC reports. Some Economists express his plans are not very feasible and say his government’s ability to manage domestic monetary policy will weaken. Economists have additionally expressed that his proposal to dollarize Argentina’s economy and shut down the central bank would leave Argentina’s interest rate policy in the hands of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Furthermore, economists have argued that if dollarization is implemented, Argentina’s economy would be vulnerable to external shocks involving the dollar like rising oil and fuel import prices. External shocks involving the dollar could make internal adjustments inside the country more painful, reports BBC. Javier Milei has also proposed a wave of privatization as president. According to the Associated Press, Milei proposed to first privatize Argentina’s state-owned media outlets and the privatization of many public companies would follow. When Milei was a guest on Buenos Aires Station Radio, he expressed that everything that feasible to be within the private sector will be controlled by the private sector, further reports the Associated Press. Milei named former Finance Minister Luis Caputo as his economy minister for his presidency, says the Financial Times. Luis Caputo ran the country’s central bank from 2017 to 2018 under former Argentine conservative president Mauricio Macri.

Milei has already traveled to Washington, D.C. this past week to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden’s  national security advisor, according to Politico. Javier Milei’s economic policy advisors have already met this week with members of the U.S. treasury in D.C. to discuss Milei’s proposed economic policies and commerce with the United States, says Politico. Javier Milei made it clear during his campaign and after his presidential victory that Argentina’s strongest trade relations will occur with the United States and Israel. Milei often waved Israeli flags during his campaign rallies and promised to visit Israel as one of his first foreign trips. One of Milei’s first foreign policy promises was to move Argentina’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, emulating the US’s foreign policy move with Israel under former President Donald Trump.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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