21 November 2023
A far-right libertarian and supporter of dictatorship is about to become the country’s next president. It is a victory that the United States helped make possible.
In the days before Argentina’s presidential elections, two survivors of the country’s last dictatorship, Elsa Lombardo and Ana Fernández Carega, take to a platform in the Buenos Aires Metro to share their stories with passengers and express their views. And went to B lines. Concern about far-right candidate Xavier Miley.
Lombardo was detained for 27 days in two secret detention centers in 1978, olympus in Buenos Aires city and Bank In Buenos Aires Province. Fernandez is the daughter of Ana Careaga, who was kidnapped and tortured in an isolated detention center. club atléticoWhen she was 16 years old. (Carega was pregnant with Fernández at the time.) Both Miley and his vice presidential candidate Victoria Villarruel have denied that Argentine military forces, with the support of the United States, killed and forcibly disappeared an estimated 30,000 people. . 1976 and 1983.
“I’m asking you in the name of the thousands of people who are gone, in the name of the babies who were never found again, let us please think very carefully about our vote so that we never again fall into the darkness of dictatorship, of disappearance. Don’t go back at night. Fear, more fear,'” Lombardo said.
Their calls fell on deaf ears by a population facing inflation of just over 143 percent.
On Sunday, Miles (freedom advanceFreedom Advances) defeated Economy Minister Sergio Massa (Union for Motherland, Union for the Homeland) by more than 11 percent of the vote became Argentina’s next elected president – and the first self-styled anarcho-capitalist to lead a major country. This victory has been celebrated by stalwarts like former US President Donald Trump, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Santiago Abascal, leader of Spain’s neo-fascist political party Vox. (Like Trump and Bolsonaro, Miley has also suggested that her country’s elections were rigged.)
“Today is the beginning of the end of Argentina’s decline,” the economist turned congressman told his cheering supporters at the Libertador Hotel in Buenos Aires. “Today, we turn the page and return to the path from which we should never have strayed. Today, we once again embrace the ideas of freedom, [which] Made us the world’s leading superpower in the 19th century.”
“The changes the country needs are huge. There is no room for gradualism, for lukewarmness, for half-measures.”
Much has been written about Miley’s personal style, including in these pages. With his shaggy haircut and leather jacket, he resembles a gangster from Neil Jordan’s classic English gangster film, Long Good Friday. He has five bull mastiffs that he cloned from his deceased dog, Conan, and reportedly wants their advice. He compared posting a viral tweet to the panic and panic television hosts experience by sleeping with a “senorita” on air. At various points, he has compared himself to a “gladiator,” a “lion,” and a “king.” Additionally, he has been seen brandishing a chainsaw on the campaign trail, which he says he plans to take to the state of Argentina. It’s anyone’s guess how literal this metaphor will become.
These details make for a fun segment Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but they obscure the real dangers of his presidency. Miley has pledged to impose an even stricter austerity plan than the one set by the International Monetary Fund as part of repayment of a $44 billion credit line to Argentina – the same amount that the Trump administration had borrowed from $57 billion. The dollar loan was renegotiated after President Alberto Fernandez approved it. His right-wing predecessor Mauricio Macri. This included cutting up to 15 percent of the country’s GDP, privatizing, in Miley’s words, “as many public companies as he could”, ending free public health care, and replacing public education with a voucher system, Whose details are unclear. at best. For a country with poverty at over 40 percent by the first half of 2023, these proposals are nothing short of disastrous.
Miley also plans to abandon the peso for the US dollar and abolish the country’s central bank. Earlier this month, more than 100 economists, including Thomas Piketty and Jayati Ghosh, warned in an open letter that it would destroy Argentina’s economy and drastically increase levels of inequality. as Greek politician Yanis Varoufakis written on x (formerly Twitter), Using the dollar to eliminate inflation is like ” nuking a country to get rid of COVID-19 “.
Whether Miley has the congressional support or the constitutional authority to carry out this plan and turn Argentina into a libertarian laboratory remains an open question. But even if that fails, the mere threat of dollarization will destroy the value of the peso, drive inflation, and sap what little purchasing power Argentina has left.
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All of these measures are likely to be met with opposition and increase the risk of state-sponsored violence, especially given that Miley has signaled her willingness to use security forces to mediate social conflict.
There is blame everywhere for how Argentina arrived at this dangerous moment. Like a history of predicted death, the Macri administration laid the foundation for the country’s current economic disaster by taking on an unpaid loan and creating the conditions for capital flight. conservative coalition of together for change Abandoned its commitment to democratic principles by throwing substantial support behind Miley before the run-off. And the Peronists, who occupy the centre-left position in Argentinian politics, failed miserably to curb inflation, fueled corruption allegations and made the complicated decision to nominate their economy minister for the presidency.
Yet, no conversation about Argentina’s ills is complete without mention of the IMF, the country’s tango partner since 1958. Miley may want to turn the country into a real-life Galts Gulch – the capitalist utopia imagined by Ayn Rand in her novel Atlas Shrugged-But he is only able to do this because the US-backed financial institutions helped bring the country to its knees.
Washington is not solely or primarily responsible for Miley’s election. Indeed, the Biden administration recently helped facilitate the disbursement of $7.5 billion from the IMF in August. But unless it is prepared to play its part in maintaining a corrosive global economic order, its pleas for democracy will continue to ring hollow, and disenfranchised populations will remain vulnerable to far-right demagogues – even That even those who wish to erase the tragic history of their country.