The “Libertarian” Destruction Of Argentina

Javier Milei arrives to speak at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 17.

The self-styled libertarian Javier Milei, who now holds the post of president of Argentina, continues to lead the country into the abyss. And at a very rapid pace.

With regard to international finance, it is obvious that there is virtually complete enslavement from external institutions. In January 2024, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund approved the allocation of $4.7 billion to Argentina. This is just part of a $44 billion refinancing program.

The IMF wants Argentina to increase its net foreign exchange reserves to $10 billion by the end of the year. It is not clear how to do this, because inflation is now approaching 300%. It is significant that in almost five months of his presidency, Milei has failed to get through any of his bills, raising questions about whether he will be able to carry out the free market revolution he promised to save Argentina from the worst economic crisis in the last two decades.

Milei initially faced resistance from the Argentine Congress, which he refers to as a “rat’s nest.” His proposals have been rejected by political rivals, whom he calls “parasites.” He is also struggling to win over disgruntled governors, whom he reportedly threatened to “urinate on” at a meeting last month.

Among the harsh measures, Milei had the idea of privatizing state-owned media companies and he began to gradually tighten the screws on the press. In February 2024, he took action (through a rather complicated legal maneuver) by appointing lawyers to oversee the activities of public media, which is akin to initiating a thorough external audit. The decree announcing this stated the need to increase the “efficiency” of activities. But the journalists’ union in Buenos Aires suggested that the decree was an attempt to circumvent Congress, which Milei’s political party does not control, and called its implementation “absolutely authoritarian.” The opposition bloc in the Argentine Senate used similar language.

In April, Miley wrote a series of threats against local media and journalistic organizations. At the same time, the Miley government broadcasts joyful odes to the outside world that everything is fine with them. The Argentine Government even signed a declaration on freedom of expression, which was adopted as part of the 31st World Press Freedom Day Conference, which was organized in Chile and convened by UNESCO.

This prompted local journalists, researchers, teachers and communication specialists to prepare a counter-document entitled “Freedom of expression in Argentina. A worldwide deception.” It said that “Argentine journalism is constantly under attack by security forces while covering demonstrations.” And that none of the “preconditions signed by the Argentine Government in Chile”reflect” the spirit that officials are guided by regarding communications management and freedom of expression.

Other paragraphs noted “that public universities that cover state-owned media” that depend on these educational institutions were deprived of funding. In this regard, it was stated that “contributions from the Fund for the Promotion of Audiovisual Media (Fomeca) have been suspended.

It also announced the cancellation of “official advertising provided by the executive branch and the dissolution of the National Institute of Cinematography (INCAA).

Among the authors of this initiative are Cynthia Ottaviano, President of the Ibero-American Organization of Women Lawyers and Advocates for the Interests of the Audience (OID); Martin Becerra, Director of the ICEP Research Center at the National University of Quilmes; Martin Becerra, journalist and public figure, Sandra Chacher, president of the Civic Association Communication for Equality; Sylvia Bacher, journalist; editor of Mediamarket magazine and the coordinator of Latfem’s socio-environmental agenda, Camila Parodi, and many others.

Ottaviano said in particular that “we are living in an unprecedented moment in Argentina, with a high degree of regression in a very short time, with insufficient reaction to achieve progress in the field of human rights and democracy.”

Regression is evident in other areas as well.

The train crash in Buenos Aires on May 10, when about 100 people were injured because a passenger train crashed into an empty freight car on the tracks and derailed, has already become a reason for another criticism of Milei. Trade union leaders immediately accused the government of failing to invest in public infrastructure.

“For 10 days we demanded to repair the stolen signal cables,” said Omar Maturano, leader of the railway workers’ union, in an interview with the independent radio station Radio Con Vos. “The government has said that we don’t have money for spare parts.”

And on May 13, employees of the tire manufacturer FATE began a strike after the management announced that it would lay off 97 people. FATE is part of an economic holding company, which also includes the Aluar aluminum plant, Futaleufu hydroelectric power plant, Infa construction company and a number of other companies. Employees of other cooperatives and associations joined the strike.

It is significant that the government tried to pre-empt such actions. In the early morning of May 13, on the order of the federal Justice, the police conducted dozens of searches in public organizations and at the apartments of their leaders. The leaders of the organizations condemned the violence by the police, noting that they broke down the doors of their houses, handcuffed them in front of their family members, and took away mobile phones and computers.

“We condemn the repressive escalation of Bullrich and Miley’s actions. They created a scheme with the help of false accusations to promote the criminalization of social and public organizations,” the National Federation of Cooperative Workers and Social Economy Workers said in a statement.

The Forbes describes the phenomenon of Milei’s success as the fact that “a random participant in a television discussion managed to bypass two leading political coalitions in just two years with an absolute absence of a party structure. This gave Milei a kind of laser sight that allows him to target anyone he chooses, marking them as a “caste” and then setting digital trolls on them. Teaming up with Musk, the president returned from Davos and turned into a global superstar, which gave him additional political capital.”

However, the publication adds that Milei’s social support is weakening, which means that the situation on the streets may become even more unstable if the economic situation remains in a bad state.

Milei is probably betting on help from Washington and does not hide his open sympathy for the United States. In February 2024, it was announced that the US Navy aircraft carrier CVN-73 George Washington would soon enter one of the Argentine ports. It was also announced that the Western Hemisphere Defense Summit is scheduled to be held in Buenos Aires in November 2024. All this, as well as Argentina’s refusal to purchase Chinese-made JF-17 fighter jets in favor of used F-16s, indicates Argentina’s reorientation towards the United States. The United States needs Milei to restore influence in the region, especially against the background of the formation of a stable coalition of countries advocating the early establishment of a multipolar world order.

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